Friday, July 26, 2013

Blogger Book Fair: Let's Talk About Pirates

Blogger Book Fair is all about supporting new authors, indie authors, and the community of bloggers, readers and reviewers who love them. Giveaways, Rafflecopeters, Prizes, Free Ebooks... all of these things are the authors giving back to their readership, supporting the community and each other.

So why do some people feel the need to ruin it?

There are sites and Facebook pages giving away free copies of books without the knowledge or consent of the authors or their publishers. There's a word for that.

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  1. The practice of attacking and robbing ships at sea.
  2. A similar practice in other contexts, esp. hijacking.
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Book Piracy is a serious problem for authors, especially indie authors who don't make a whole lot of money to start with. Maybe JK Rowling doesn't mind if her books appear on ebook pirate sites - or, more likely, she has a team of lawyers at her disposal who look for and deal with this kind of thing for her. Those of us just starting out have to rely on Google Alerts and the kindness of others to alert us when our books are being stolen.

Piracy is stealing.

When an author or publisher DECIDES to reduce the price of a book, that's one thing. When an author decides to GIVE AWAY COPIES of their book in a contest, that's the author's choice. Most authors routinely give away ebook copies to reviewers, bloggers, and contest winners. But when someone ELSE decides to post that book for free... well, that's not only rude, it's illegal.

Should this make authors wary about sending out copies of their ebooks to bloggers and reviewers? Should it make authors think twice before offering free copies as contest prizes, worrying that the winner will turn around and post the book somewhere illegal?

I hope not. I enjoy receiving books for review, and feel I'm helping my fellow authors by posting my honest reviews. I'm happy that some great bloggers posted reviews of my book on their sites, as well as on Amazon and Goodreads. But just like in elementary school, some bad apples spoil it for everyone.

What can we in the Blogger/Author/Reader community do to combat piracy?

First, DON'T DOWNLOAD FREE EBOOKS FROM QUESTIONABLE SITES. If an author wants her book to be available for free or 99 cents, chances are that sale is going on at Amazon, or Smashwords, or at the publisher's website. As much as you may want to read that book for free, it's not the right thing to do if it's not what the author intended.

Second, LET THE AUTHOR KNOW HIS/HER BOOK IS BEING PIRATED. This rant is here today because I just spent yesterday dealing with a book pirate site. I wouldn't have even known about it, except that 3 other wonderful authors contacted me and let me know my book was being pirated. Authors need to stick together in combating piracy.

Third, PURSUE YOUR RIGHTS TO THE BEST OF YOUR ABILITY. If you aren't sure how to get your book taken down, ask. Post in a forum. Ask your publisher. Ask your author friends. We may not all have JK Rowling's team of lawyers, but we have each other.

Thanks for listening to my rant. If you have comments on this topic you want to share, please leave a comment - especially if it will help others. The only pirate I want to blog abut going forward is Johnny Depp...


  1. I heard a rumor, and I have no stats to back this up, I was more curious if anyone heard anything supporting or refuting this- that piracy helps with sales. Have you heard that as well? I haven't seen any proof of it offered.

    1. I'm not sure how that could be. I will say that on the one hand, I felt strangely flattered to be listed alongside some really great bestselling novels... like this is proof that people want my book so much that it's being pirated.

      ... but on the other hand, it's just so wrong and hurtful.

  2. I've read what Libby posted. But, as a self-pubbed author, I really don't see how piracy is beneficial to sales. Stealing cars doesn't help the sale of those models.


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