Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A few thoughts on ebook piracy

Yesterday, it was a bittersweet day. I’ve been offline for a whole week due to health issues, and while trying to catch up with what I missed, I discovered two things: one, Amazon sent a check, which is good because meds are expensive around here, and two, I found my books on two ebook pirate websites. Bummer.

A couple of times a year, I check torrent sites and known ebook pirate sites to see if my books are there, and they’re not. It can only mean I’m not a big name yet so nobody bothers to pirate my work, and that’s fine. But when I find them on amateur-looking sites with bad design and copyright infringement report buttons right in the menu, it’s not fine. I don’t even know if the files are really there, it could only be a scam and I don’t have time to waste half a day cleaning viruses from my pc, but it still pisses me off. Because even if it’s all a lie, these people are using my name and my work to trick other people into falling for their game. And let’s face it, who does that for free? One way or the other, they’re making money out of it, and a little bit of it is made on my expense.

After the week I just had, I sure as hell don’t have the energy to chase after pirate sites and send copyright infringement notices to their host providers left and right. I will at some point, but not today. I’m not so sure those help anyway. Even if the files are removed, there’s no guarantee they won’t show up again next month, or if the site goes down, another one can appear over night. It’s kind of a lost battle if you see it this way, and people tend to say it’s free exposure and you’re not losing any sales. Well, I’m not so sure I agree with that either.

So, isn’t there anything we can do? Yes, there is, but this only works for me and other writers might not agree. Dear readers, if you can’t afford to buy my books, come to me. I’m still at the stage where I can use all the exposure I can get. I’ve already given away hundreds of free copies, a couple more won’t make me go broke. As I write this, you can enter the giveaway on LibraryThing to win a copy of Broken People, and you can download The Impaler’s Revenge for free from NoiseTrade. Yes, but they are free because I decided to do so and not because other people made that decision for me.

Let’s not make other people rich based on my work, okay? That’s money I’ll never see. Go directly to the source. You won’t have to worry about viruses and having your credit card information stolen, and I’ll have the satisfaction of making my readers happy. It’s not the best solution, someone still needs to pay those medical bills, but at least the bad guys will lose too. And that’s almost as good as a win. Come to me.

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