Okay, today I have been busy finishing my novel, and now I have to go pack for my holiday. So, I’m passing the reigns.
Now, I won’t tell you how I stumbled upon Peter Koevari’s post, Authors and Piracy, eBooks on the high seas, - but it was funny. Anyway, I really liked it and wanted to share it with you guys. So, I illegally downloaded it for publication here. Later on I’ll be touring London, selling it on printed flyers for the small fee of 99p. Just to be clear, the author will be receiving none of this fee…. but Shhhh – don’t tell anyone.
I couldn’t think of a better titled that Peter’s, so I stole that too.
Over to you, Peter.
I am going to tackle what I think is a very important topic for Authors and creative artists. I’m going to talk about
Johnny Depp piracy!
It’s a funny thing, piracy (aaaarrrg!), as we live in a world where it is very easy for people to jump onto torrent and release sites and download whatever they want, for free. Most people accept that this is the case and at some point in their lives, have likely done it themselves.
What if we got you as a reader, and a room packed full of people and asked the question, “Raise your hand if you have *never* downloaded absolutely anything illegally or broken copyright laws. Never copied a movie in a VCR, photocopied copyrighted material, bought anything pirated, downloaded an image and used it on a blog from google images, or absolutely anything that can be considered a breach of copyright?”
I would be surprised if any hands went up, and I would be floored if a number of hands went up. Do I endorse it? Absolutely not, but you can’t change the world… you can only adapt.
Lady Gaga was quoted to say that she is happy for people to download her songs, as she makes all of her money from touring anyway. This is not such a case for us as authors, is it?
We don’t “go on tour” to sell out tickets to our shows and make a huge packet, do we?
So, why did I bring this topic up in the first place?
Because I googled my book title with a timeframe of the last week, and discovered that my books have been pirated. Was I happy about it? Of course not, although the attention is flattering.
The funny thing about everyone who pirates is, it doesn’t bother them and they have all sorts of justifications for pirating… and that is all well and good, until it’s *their* work that is being pirated. They don’t slave over manuscripts for many years to write a novel, pay editors, cover artists, work every day to promote their novels. No, they enjoy reading the books that other people produce… just like we all do as readers.
After all, pirates are just regular people, but with a different perspective and values. Do I consider them criminals? No. Do I want to run out there and track down everyone who downloaded my book illegally and persecute them? No.
You may be looking at me in shock and horror, but why on earth would I want to ruin someone’s life over copyright laws, for wanting to read my books?
Let us face the reality about the argument of potential sales: It’s flawed.
I put pirates into a few categories:
A) Pirates who NEVER buy what they download
B) Pirates who download to try without paying, and then go ahead to buy what they really like
C) Pirates who buy what they really like, and pirate what else they can, because they can and they may want to look at it later.
D) Pirates who (for whatever their circumstantial reason) cannot afford to buy the things that they want.
E) Pirates who cannot buy what they want, due to restrictions
The pirates who are in category A, will never pay for our books. Are they a lost sale? No. Are we losing money because they download our books? No. Are they still ripping us off as authors? Yes… but what exactly can we really do to change it?
The best we can hope for is that they tell their friends and families about our books (if they enjoy them) and some of them may want to buy them.
Pirates in category B, will try our books without paying for them first. If they like them, they will probably purchase them… but likely not.
Category C is similar, but the stuff they hoard and download will likely never be seen or read, but will definitely be shared.
Category D is a tough one. I mean, at the end of the day… just because we can’t afford to have something, doesn’t give us a justification to take it without paying because we want it. However, people do what they need to do and although we don’t like it, there are some real reasons why people would like to genuinely buy something, but the way they need to purchase it deems it “not viable”. Does it excuse it? No… but we can understand it. We can hope that those readers do help us as authors by spreading the word about books that they like, and when they get into a position that they can afford it, they support us as authors.
Category E concerns me greatly, and the fact that people can’t buy ebooks over the Internet, due to restrictions is just ridiculous. We should all push for any companies who do that, to change.
Whatever category these pirates are in, it does not matter, they are going to do what they do, regardless of what we try to do about it. People who would buy our ebooks and paperbacks will still do so, even if the availability of our books on pirated channels would make them more accessible for free. Not everyone pirates, and lots of people out there like to support authors and keep them writing.
For any pirates out there that think all eBooks should be free, I would like to ask you… would you go to work from 9-5 for no paycheck at the end of the day? I doubt that you would, but if you are happy to work all your life for no money, then you can stand tall with that argument.
For those Pirates that say that Authors are the real pirates for controlling their work and restricting what you can do with it… I really question that. If you buy my paperback, you can sell it, share it, sleep on it, use it as a paperweight, throw it in the air… I really couldn’t care less what you do with it… but I do hope you share it with your family and friends.
eBooks are usually considerably cheaper than paperback editions, and I have not put DRM on my ebooks (Can’t change the kindle Legends 2 edition when purchased from Amazon, they wouldn’t let me undo it). Although I don’t encourage emailing my book to every man and their dog, I see no reason why you couldn’t share the read in the same manner as a paperback.
As for the analogy of people buying ebooks and that they can’t sell it as they would a car, that is an interesting one. There is no real “second hand market” for digital works. Like second hand video game stores, further sales only profit the people trading in them… not the makers of the game. The same applies with eBooks.
Why would someone want to buy a second hand eBook when they can just buy it online themselves? We’re not talking cars worth huge money, are we?
Writing books is hard work and we work for nothing until we make any sales on our books. I am an indie author, what does that mean? We don’t get fat pay cheques from publishers, and we have to pay our own way and promote our own way for my books to be successful. Unlike movie studios, we don’t make millions or hundreds of millions in sales.
As much as the world is what it is for pirates, it is what it is for authors. We write for you, the reader, to enjoy our stories. If we all stopped writing, there would be no more books to read.
Having said all of this, what disappoints me the most… is that if any of these pirates bothered to come to my site and contact me, asking if I can give them my ebooks for free… I would have offered them an honourable deal of giving them my ebooks in return for an honest review. The act of pirating my ebooks is an unnecessary exercise of breaking copyright laws and using torrents or hosting sites.
I would love for pirates to consider buying my books and sharing them with their friends and families, but it is their choice if they wish to support me as an author, or not.
As a result of all of this, I stand by my words and I have put up a page on this very website that clearly offers review copies of my first book, Legends of Marithia: Prophecies Awakening (Uncut and Extended Second edition) to anyone willing to show some class and honour, and review my books for me on Amazon, Goodreads, etc. No need to break laws or illegally distribute my books!
It shows that you respect me as an author, and I will… in turn, respect you as a reviewer and respect your opinion. I don’t care if someone is a pirate or not, the offer is open to you equally.
If you decide to change your approach and buy my books (before or after you have read them, and however you have obtained them. eBook or paperback), then you have my gratitude for supporting me as an author.
Do you have an opinion on this? Have you had this happen to you? Comment and talk about it.
Follow Peter on twitter @Peterkoevari