Book piracy is a huge problem for authors. Yesterday, I got an alert from Google that one of my books was available for download on a piracy site. It’s not the first time, nor will it be the last. I sent a take-down notice, but 24-hours later, it’s still there for free. It will probably get ignored like all the rest of the notices I’ve filed.
In a writers group today, I read about an author who had sold 47,000 copies of a book that was pirated 101,000 time – that means 101,000 books downloaded, and she didn’t receive a penny.
Piracy is a word that perhaps conjures up images of Captian Jack Sparrow in the Caribbean, being the somewhat comical pirate pillaging and stealing. He may be an entertaining character, but he’s still a thief. For authors, piracy is no ship ride that we enjoy to see our hard work posted by thieves and given away to the general public. Perhaps those who download think they have the permission of authors to do so because occasionally authors will do free giveaways for a limited time or have a permanently free book for readers to download. On pirate sites, that’s not the case, and most of these sites don’t advertise to those who visit them with flashing neon signs, “We stole these books so you could read them for free.”
Below is a good article from the Guardian talking about illegally downloaded books and the damage it does to authors. Next time you are tempted, please don’t hit the download button. Authors are like any other people – they are working people who have bills to pay, families to feed, etc. We write for you, the reader, and only ask for a small amount in return for the joy of reading our books.
To keep in perspective, when you pay 99 cents for a book on Amazon, authors get 35 cents. When you pay $2.99 for a book, we get $2.06. For a $3.99 book, we get $2.76, which will get me a cup of coffee at Starbucks. I can’t live off of coffee, even though I’ve tried.
The next time you’re tempted for a free book, please pay and give the author a nod of thanks for their hard work.
As publishers struggle with ‘whack-a-mole’ websites, experts, authors and Guardian readers who illegally download books, assess the damage