How to Decide If You Should Call in Sick

Thanks again for checking out my book Off Be the Wizard, (Available for Kindle (USUK),  Nook, old-school, dead tree form, and as a free sample), and for using my Amazon Affiliate links (USUKCanada).

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Reader Comments (48)

Went to buy an e-book version of your book (and create an account with Amazon or Barnes and Noble). It appears that with both Amazon and Barnes and Noble, I don't really purchase a book. A purchase access which can be revoked at any time. The first 30 or so pages got me hooked, I'm not inclined to kill trees to read it though, and as I user I care about my rights to much to purchase something which could be flippantly taken away.

April 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGreg

We've had a run of sick people at work lately - me included - some of us haven't taken sick days (17 years for me) - and I did take a sick day (it was my flex that I usually work)... I did feel the guilt!!!

April 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterOldbear42

If I'm going to be miserable, I might as well be miserable and get paid. (Our sick days aren't paid)

April 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWetcoaster

great comic!

ps. don't ever call in sick also. It's the guilt@

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterreader

This is how I usually feel about work. A cold slows me down but doesn't usually take me out. Right now I have no coworkers to infect, so it's a question of ability.

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLummox JR

Hi, Scott. While Greg's comment (above) may seem a little ungracious, I actually agree. The price you're asking for your book is completely fair, and given what I know your other work (i.e. this comic) I would pay it in an instant. But I just hate paying for anything with DRM, which I know could evaporate at any moment, or die with my device.

If you made a DRM-free download available from this site at the same price, I would unhesitatingly buy it. I don't know how many others of your readers that's true of, but I am guessing a fair few.

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike Taylor

About your e-book: Same here. I'd love to buy it, but not Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterUlf

How to decide if you should call in sick? It's Monday, call in sick. Only problem: I didn't think of that whit I was still in bed... :(

Finished the book! EXCELLENT READ! Must have a sequel! MISSY! Encourage him to write a sequel, or even a whole series!

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermohrorless

Well, I just started reading your book, and a couple of paragraphs in I have to tell you something...

"He wasn't a hacker. He was just a guy who really liked monkeying with computers."

That's what hacker meant, back before the media convinced everyone that it meant "monkeying with other people's computers".


I know it's way too late to roll back that particular change, but dang.

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterResuna

Well, if ALL you have is a cough, it's kind of lame to call in sick. Especially when it's a weak lingering one like I've had for 3 weeks. There's only so far behind you can get, and if I took off every day I've had the cough, I'd be using vacation time. For a f---ing cough. Besides, if you make the boss sick, he won't come in, and then you get an easy workday!

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

I ALWAYS go in. That way, just as I am getting better and everyone else is developing what ever it is, I can delight them by telling them what they have in store. And that always makes me feel much, much better.

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNick in the UK

@Greg, Mike, & Ulf
Obviously, you are the same guys who spend endless hours on Flakebook and Tweeter.

Perhaps Scott could hand deliver a stick to you with the contents of the book on it. Hopefully it won't offend your sensibilities...

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Obvious

Mr. Obvious, I don't understand what point you're making.

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike Taylor

I just wish the book was available on Google Play.

And I'm "sick" (I'm just stuffed up and blowing my nose a lot) and I know I got it from someone here at work, so they're just going to have to deal with me.

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTheMortallyWounded

C'mon, guys, The book is only four bucks. That bag of Doritos in your hand probably costs more than that and has a shorter shelf life.

Scott: Great book, great comic. I hope that this career turns you into a thousandaire many times over.

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDB

I thought I was pretty darned clear that the price isn't the issue. The issue that a Kindle book bought from Amazon doesn't belong to me, and could easily vanish under any of a selection of circumstances. When I buy a physical book, my continued access to it is not at the whim of the vendor. Nor need it be for e-books, but vendors that insist on DRM make it so.

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike Taylor

Our vacation and sick days are in the Dogbert "Time Bank" (thought you wouldn't mind the nod to Scott Adams' comic, since he endorsed you a few years back). As a result, people always work sick so they don't give up vacation time. While the team at "Mythbusters" may have shown you *can* be around people and not infect them, people at my work aren't that diligent.

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGryphonBrokewing


"I have a *cough* cough.."


not only funny but
well let's just leave it at that.. *cough*


April 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterlarry english

Really good book, enjoying it immensely so far.

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkjs

@Mr. Obvious:
Sorry to tell you that I have not spent a second on either Flakebook or Tweeter. Plus, Scott did not offend any of my sensibilities. Maybe you should rethink your interpretation of the word "obvious".
Just to make this clear: I am prepared to buy an e-book at an online store, but not at one where the book can be revoked whenever the store feels like it. I don't think this is too much to ask for.

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterUlf

I've got similar concerns with the e-book. I purchased an ebook from an author whose work online I followed for some time, only to find that after releasing a "new edition" of said book for sale, my current copy was revoked. I recieved no refund, no new copy, and can no longer read the old edition I had purchased. Neither Amazon nor the author in question ever even responded to my emails asking for some kind of compensation, cash or credit optional (I loved the book, I just wanted to keep reading it since I'd paid for it; I'd have gladly settled for the newest edition, which given that it's DIGITAL, would have cost them next to nothing to let me download).

While I personally doubt Scott's capacity for shifty dealings, I don't have a similar level of trust for the major websites. I won't be buying ebooks with strings attached ever again. I don't like anyone's book enough to buy it twice for no reason.

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChase

I'm actually kinda ok with buying a license to use something for a while rather than needing to "own" things like books or games or movies forever. If the price is right, of course. Why be a hoarder?

My wife spent $4 at Red Box last week. We didn't own the movies, but we watched them and had a good time and got our $4 worth. If we wanted to own those movies forever and share them with our children, we'd pay more for the physical media.

Which is why I'm getting the book in dead-tree form. :) Want to make sure my kids grow up surrounded with great literature (and real, physical books).

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Note to everyone: we're currently researching DRM-free options, as well as Kobo, Apple, Google Play, and other offerings, and hope to have them available shortly. We just weren't able to get every possible outlet set up in time for launch. We totally understand peoples' issues with DRM. ~Missy

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMissy

I bought the book last week and read about 90% of it yesterday. I'm enjoying it very much. Thanks!

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKarl Swift

Boys, here's what you would sound like at Starbucks:

“Grande extra hot, soy, caramel macchiato, no foam, stirred, with whip, extra caramel, at 200 degrees.”

“I’ll have a grande, no-fat, sugar-free Cinnamon Dolce Latte, no whip.”

“A half-caf, grande rice milk latte with five dashes of cinnamon in the bottom of the cup, two pumps sugar-free Irish cream syrup, very light foam, 175 degrees, in my personal cup so I get a 10 cent discount.”

Just buy the dang book. It's a good `un.

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Obvious

Hey, I bought the book for the "Kindle" on my Mac from Amazon, and am now reading it in Moon+Reader on my Android tablet. Not too hard to arrange.

The better interface of that reader was worth the help of Apprentice Alf and DRM Tools in Calibre to convert it from Amazon to straight up epub. My copy is still watermarked with my account, of course.

And as a side benefit, this way Amazon has no remaining hooks to convert my purchase into a revocable rental and take it back, like they do from time to time. Governance and rationality for Amazon is applied only after negative publicity makes their getting caught at it a PR problem. The best examples for those that don't already know are the "1984" incident, plus what Amazon did to Linn Jordet Nygaard, and does to others, as documented here . Cheers!

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRichard Johnson

Love the comic, but I gotta say that in panel one, cartoon-Scott sure looks like he's faking that cough :)

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWiley Whiner

"... in my personal cup so I get a 10 cent discount.”

My dear Mr. Obvious. As you would know if you'd actually read the comments you're responding to, I did not ask for a discount. What I and others are asking for is a cup of coffee that Starbucks will not magically disintegrate while we're half way through drinking it.

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike Taylor

It's that kind of paranoid fringe stance that makes building an online economy so hard. Yes, if you buy a book from Amazon, they could potentially yank your DRM rights someday. If you buy a soda from Coca-Cola, they could potentially have filled it with plastic explosives. But that's never happened EVER, so to guide your actions by that fear is ridiculous. As far as I am aware, there are zero instances of a major e-book company dissolving and destroying all their customers' e-libraries.

If that happens even once, then yes, research options catering to the now-justifiably hesitant. But please don't waste time catering to this nonsense. They're probably just looking for something they'll be able to torrent more easily for free...

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDel

@Mike Taylor said:
"My dear Mr. Obvious. As you would know if you'd actually read the comments you're responding to, I did not ask for a discount. What I and others are asking for is a cup of coffee that Starbucks will not magically disintegrate while we're half way through drinking it."

Obviously you misinterpreted what I wrote. I did not accuse you of asking for a discount. I wrote some fake phony Starbucks orders. They may have even been funny to some people. Quit worrying about it.

The answer to your dilema is obvious: buy the dead tree form; you will never have to worry about drm - or the Borg.

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Obvious

I'd buy a DRM-free download of Off to Be the Wizard. I love your humor, but my e-reader won't display DRM-ed ebooks. (It's an old model, no longer supported by the manufacturer, and was first won as a door prize and then given to me as a gift.)

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRebekah

The likelihood of calling in sick is directly proportional to how crucial to your pay it is that you show up. Salaried middle managers will call in sick when a cuticle is over-exposed; salesmen will show up to work a week after they're dead.

The book is terrific, by the way - a fun read that makes you think. And to whoever that first guy was, let me say with love that you should not worry about DRM. The odds of someone "taking" your book are way less than a physical book falling in the bathtub. Work big to small. Good news: Big Brother is not out to get you. Bad news: Big Brother doesn't really know you're alive or care one way to the other. Relax and enjoy a digital book. It's one of the great things about living today and not in medieval England. (The other is the lack of wagon traffic noise and dung in the streets. Unless you live in Queens.)

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTom Bisciglia

I doubt this will sway anyone's minds about buying through Amazon, but if it helps, don't think about it as buying. Think about it as a one-time fee to lease the book for an indefinite period of time, accessible almost anywhere and any time, without having to carry any extra weight with you.

As a grad student who has to carry plenty of books that aren't available electronically, it's awesome to be able to have instant access to any of my Kindle books, whether they're for school or for pleasure, on my phone, laptop, or Kindle.

One last thing: $10 for a paperback you enjoy is hardly egregious, and $4 for a Kindle lease is fantastic. If you'd rather wait for an independent electronic copy, by all means, wait. But Amazon offers an incredibly convenient service on the cheap.

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMKE Dave

Scott, you should be highly complimented that your readers are so worried about the possibility of losing their copy of your novel!

Rather than another format, I suggest a mindset change. Instead of spending $4 on a 'product' that you want to 'own,' consider yourself giving $4 to Scott for being awesome and letting you read something he wrote.

Excuse me while I go give Scott $4 for awesomeness......

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen

I wonder if Stephanie Meyer has to put up with these kinds of arguments. Nah, she probably pays someone else to put up with them.

Scott, I hope you get that rich some day.

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave H

* Some authors and publishers have requested that Amazon publish their books DRM-free, so it is possible.

* So far as I know, no eBook libraries have yet shut down, but individual eBooks have gotten revoked, and music libraries have shut down (ask the people who got Played For Sure by Microsoft).

* Unbreakable copy protection for general purpose computers is fundamentally impossible: you have to deliver the ciphertext, the algorithm, and the key to the reader, and keep them from putting the three together in one place except when you say they should.

* Eventually, eBook publishers will learn the lesson music publishers learned.

* In the meantime, it's only four bucks, I see it as encouraging him to write the next book in the series. And hopefully DRM-free next time, but, as archy says, wotthehell wotthehell.

* It's a pity that Martin hadn't read Steven Gould's novel "Jumper" (not the movie, though, I've been told the movie sucked).

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterResuna

Hi. just finished the book.
terry pratchet would be proud.
Great scott, GREAT, SCOTT!
I have no words, should had sent a poet....

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCisco

Ugh, I go through this every time I'm sick (Fortunately not TOO often)! Keen observations. :)

Also, great book! Got a couple of people to buy it. Not a hard sell; it's dirt cheap.

April 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJai

I'm a writer (scifi, fantasy, etc.) and I publish my stuff through Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, etc.. DRM is a choice the publisher makes - I, for one, do not enable DRM on any of my books.

Don't boycott the retailers because they allow it as an option, encourage the publishers to choose not to use it.

April 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason Halstead

I am OK with killing trees. They grow back. Book showed up yesterday. Can't wait to read it. They cannot revoke access to your pulp library.

April 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMikey

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