Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Book Piracy and Just Plain Cheap!

"Jesus has returned to earth. But it will cost you five bucks to see Him."
"No thanks, I'm pinching my pennies."

Maybe it doesn't seem logical, but there's a school of thought amongst some authors and publishers that books robbed off the internet, or what's better known as "pirating," doesn't hurt individual book sales one single bit. This seems illogical since those doing the pirating won't have to buy the actual product. It's been the same for the music industry. Pirated music doesn't need to be bought, so the artist suffers. Or does he?

I can't tell you how many people ask me for a "free book" or who tell me that their brother gave them their copy, who got his from a friend, who got theirs from a used bookstore, and when they're done with it, they're going to pass it on to their Aunt Trudy who will hand it over to the Salvation Army bin and then ask for a receipt for her taxes. Cheap ass Aunt Trudy.

My point?

Is this not a form of piracy? Only difference between stealing books or music off the internet and people passing paperback or hardcover books around without having to buy them, is that the latter group commits their crime right out in the open. In fact, nothing irks me more than being approached in a crowded bar and some obnoxious blond will walk up to me and shout "Where's my book?" Like I somehow promised her a freebie. What I always wanna say in response to one of these cheapskates is, "Ok, the novel is 20 bucks. Let's see, you keep the books at a construction company for 15 bucks an hour. How about you do an hour and a quarter's worth of accounting for me and I'll trade you a signed copy of Moonlight Falls for it. Deal?" Inevitably, I'll receive a kind of screwy upturned brow look, that screams, "Well aren't we all high and mighty?" Well, I write for a living, lady!

What will happen the next week? I'll see the same dame in the same bar, and once again she'll scream, "Where's my book?" Only this time, she'll tell me she's started on her own novel about her second marriage to some guy who didn't know he was gay until he got in bed with her. Or maybe he wished himself gay. "You're agent will love it. What's her email address?"

JA Konrath has yet another interesting experiment going in which he is allowing people to pirate his novels. He's going to prove the piracy won't affect sales. I wonder if he ever willingly gives away hard copies to people who refuse to pay for them?

Stay tuned....and anyone interested in pre-ordering The Remains...click Here!


  1. I think the big problem/difference with e-piracy is that people can give it away INDEFINITELY to 5,000 people if they want. One print book is one print book, period. And eventually it will wear out after several "re-giftings".

  2. The way I see it someone isn't my fan unless they paid for it or got it free legitimately (from my site or from emailing me. If someone is too poor to pay 99 cents or they don't know me and want to try me, I'm more than willing to give them a free digital copy).

    But someone who can't have the courtesy of even contacting me or taking legitimately, who want to STEAL, they aren't my fan. I don't care how much they say they like my writing, they don't like it enough to attach monetary value to it.

  3. Interesting viewpoint. How do you feel about public libraries then? Isn't that just organized and approved piracy?

  4. Libraries right? Ok, my take on all this is a little goofy, and I'm more annoyed with the particular blond in particular, but in all reality I actually give a way a lot of books, so long as I know know people are going to appreciate them...E-Books are different in that I'll only just getting started with them...I'm not sure what the future holds...:)

  5. I think the same thing. I feel guilty about sharing books but then it's a great way to introduce people to authors they might not otherwise read.
    I found my favorite author that way and have purchased several of his novels thanks to that gift.
    Personally, I don't purchase a book unless I plan on keeping it in my collection.

  6. @wildlypoetic I offer freebies from my own site that are legal. I offer very inexpensive e-reads. I'll have a free podcast.

    I think it's respectful if someone wants to try out a specific author for them to at least check to see what the author is offering them.

    Some of us really do go out of our way to make it EASY for someone to want to buy us by giving samples and low-cost e-reads.

    There is a point where piracy is discovery and a way around all the draconian BS of large corporations, but then there is a point where piracy is just being a douche.

    Even Kindle offers GENEROUS free samples of everything they sell and an app so you can check it out on your PC if you don't have a Kindle.

    The arguments for piracy get thinner every day IMO.

  7. Regarding the library argument: libraries have been an established, ACCEPTABLE way for people to have access to all kinds of books. As an author, I don't consider people borrowing my book from the library as piracy at all.

    First, the library bought my books, so I've been paid my royalty. Secondly, there are programs established in Canada that pay me when libraries (and other places) use my works, so I feel compensated. Eventually the paperback of Whale Song will wear out and they'll have to replace it--hence, another sale. Or they'll discover they need more copies and will buy more.

    So no, libraries are not even close to pirate sites.

    I'm with Zoe here. There aren't any excuses. Piracy is theft, plain and simple, which is why it is illegal. If those laws change, we'll have to learn to adapt. Until then, these are the laws and authors have the right to fight piracy.

    Support authors, buy a book!

    Cheryl Kaye Tardif