Thursday, May 17, 2012

Book Piracy

Would you walk into your local bookstore and steal the latest book by your favorite author? Would you steal a $20 from a stranger to buy a couple of books? I’m guessing your answer is a resounding “no.”

So why do people think it’s okay to download ebooks from pirate websites?

Let me make my position clear: It is NEVER okay to steal a book, whether it’s paper or electronic. N e v e r.

The ladies over at Deadline Dames have a great article about how much piracy sucks!

Now, some of you reading this might think, well, it was just one book or maybe authors make enough money anyway or I can’t afford to buy all the books I want to read. Do you think these are good excuses? Um, no.

All of those illegal downloads add up and the vast majority of authors aren’t making tons of money. Most have another job they work to make ends meet. I’m not complaining – I write because it’s what I love. I never had illusions about buying a new BMW with my sales! But it’s hard work. It takes months or even years for the author to write a book. (Not to mention all of the people required to offer a single book for sale: cover artist, editors, marketing people, publishers, etc.) Imagine how we feel when we find out people have downloaded our work illegally hundreds or thousands of times.

I understand not being able to afford your reading habit. Some people can read a book a day easily. But a voracious reading habit doesn’t make it okay to become a thief.

There are plenty of books out there to read that will cost you little to nothing. Kindle has an ebook lending library containing over 145,000 titles. Your local library has countless paper books, and many of them offer ebook lending too. Used bookstores allow you to trade in your old books for credit to buy new ones. Share books with friends.

And yeah, buy the books you can afford from your favorite authors. It’s the only way to ensure they keep creating those books you love! For example, I know a very successful writer who stopped writing because she didn’t have enough recent sales. There’s also a series I used to read that never got finished because the publisher didn’t think there was enough interest.

So please, don’t download from pirate websites. It’s illegal. And moreover, it’s just plain offensive to the authors.

*Please feel free to comment, but don’t mention names or web addresses of pirate websites. The last thing I want to do is point more traffic in their direction.*


  1. "I understand not being able to afford your reading habit. Some people can read a book a day easily. But a voracious reading habit doesn’t make it okay to become a thief."

    Well said!

  2. Your post was pretty similar to mine I posted this week.

  3. TOTALLY with you on this, Jennifer! If you don't want to buy a book, go to a library. But don't steal someone else's work just because you can.

    A number of years ago, my first book went out of print. I worked long and hard on that book, and it was a labor of dedication. When it went out of print, a mysterious someone bought up the remaindered copies, and literally republished the book by slapping a new ISBN on the spine. I couldn't do anything because the thief was based in another country, and I didn't lose much, financially - traditional publishing contracts do not favor the author - but wow, was I steamed.