Growing up, we always had that romantic notion of a pirate. Even if a lot of movies depicted them as thieves and the bad guys, there was always that mysterious allure of the sword-swinging, treasure hunting pirate.
And then, of course, Hollywood saw fit to give us cast of characters like Orlando Bloom as Will Turner and Jonny Depp as Capitan Jack Sparrow, which didn’t help either . . .
Okay, so before you drool all over your keyboard, let me get back to my point. Which is unfortunate, I must say, considering I know you won’t think my point is as delicious of a subject.
I’m talking about book piracy.
Yuck. Boo. Hiss. Get back to Orlando Bloom please.
Yeah, I know. Believe me.
However, while I’d love to indulge you, I can’t. This is kind of a serious matter, and one that needs our full attention.
A few weeks ago I came across this post from author Eliza Knight on her Facebook page. Of course, I wasn’t surprised to see an author ranting over book piracy. I was, however, shocked at what she had to say on the subject.
“I’ve said it before, but I’m going to say it again, because my assistant sent me a horrifying email this morning…I subscribed to a new anti-piracy software, Blasty, a couple days ago. Today she gave me the number of copyright infringements on my work she found online. Are you ready for the number? Because I’m not sure I’M READY and I’ve already seen it. 1,182,709… Yes, one million one hundred eighty two thousand seven hundred nine. Over a million times my books have been stolen. I am sick. I am horrified. 4K was scary — over a million?!?!? This is stealing! This is ILLEGAL. Readers, an author’s work, my work, whether its a short story or book, is available for sale at reputable retail sites like Amazon, iTunes, Kobo and Nook/B&N. Occasionally, I have sales, or give away books for free. But if you find my work, or ANY AUTHOR’S WORK, for sale or free at a site that is not one of the one’s above, chances are it IS STOLEN. They will steal your information when you download. They are thieves. That is their business. Protect yourselves. Protect authors. JUST SAY NO TO PIRACY!”
Are you kidding me?
If my books were stolen that many times (well the ones published with my publisher because of the royalty percent difference) that is the equivalent of $413,948.15 dollars.
Do you know what you would do with $413,948.15 dollars? Because I sure do.
To make it even worse, if I were to take that number times my royalties under my own house, the amount is even more . . . coming in at a whopping $1,265,498.63!
That’s called retirement. And it’s all been stolen.
So what can we do about this? I’m afraid that in all the research I’ve done on the subject, I haven’t found a single solution. Pirate sites will still continue to pop up, review sites will still sell the ARC PDF’s that authors give them (without the authors permission), and more disgustingly, readers will still think they that it’s utterly acceptable to steal our books.
The only true thing we can do is fight as much as we can. Share pirate sites with other authors when we find them so we can join together to shut them down. Educate people that it’s stealing and press the importance of buying books ethically. We can also band together to bring down review sites that aren’t legit and who sell ARCs.
A little over three years ago I wrote a letter To People who Pirate Books and still to this day the words ring with absolute truth.
This is a big problem, and we need to stand together to help fight it.
I’m still waiting for the copyright infringement numbers to come in for my novels. While Blasty is a good, reputable site, it takes several months, unless you want to pay the one time fee. My results should be in around the middle of December (Merry Christmas to me! UGH!).
Of course, I don’t think they will be as high as Ms. Knight; however, having gone through a round with Instafreebie and Shifted Sheets Promotion, where I gave away 500 PDF copies of my novels, I’m still scared. How many of those people sold their copies? I know they weren’t all readers interested in reading and reviewing the novel as they were asked to do, so why else download unless they had evil intent? And just because there was a “protection” on the documents doesn’t meant that it won’t be sold. As you can tell, I’m not very trusting when it comes to people and free stuff anymore. I’ve been burned . . . several times.
So followers, how are you battling against book piracy?