Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Effects of Piracy

*deep breath* As the last one to post in the month of free topics, I’m going to blog about a topic that is a pretty sensitive subject for me: ebook piracy. As a reader and writer, I feel it’s a pretty important topic. And it does have an effect on the industry.

For those who don’t know, ebook piracy is “the illegal uploading of digital copies of copyrighted works to a website, or the illegal downloading of such material.” So why is this bad? Well, skipping over the ‘illegal’ part as it pertains to copyrights, let’s look at some of the negative effects of piracy.

To start with, authors work tirelessly to write, rewrite, revise, edit, and publish these books. A lot of them are working full-time jobs on top of this because, well, let’s face it, writing books doesn’t make nearly as much money as some people think it does. Not everyone ends up being the next Stephen King or JK Rowling. Their time and effort is just as important as, say, that chef in the restaurant you’re eating dinner at. Would you think to just walk out without paying the tab? No, not usually. So why would an author be any different?

When a book is pirated, it isn’t a one person, one download situation. It is done by the (tens of) thousands, as people keep passing it along. For every book that is pirated, that is a sale the author will never see royalties for. That is someone else reaping the benefits of an author’s hard work. For free.

Along with stealing sales, piracy also impacts an author’s future. If book sales are weak, it is less likely an author will continue getting contracts with publishers. And you know what else? It is less likely for books to show up in bookstores, as bookstores look at previous book sales for that author when ordering their new books. Some authors have even had to discontinue series because of this. So not only are authors not getting paid, their writing careers are at risk.

We all know an author’s time is precious. With ebook piracy on the rise, more authors are spending countless hours hunting out piracy sites offering illegal downloading of their books, reporting said sites, and sending cease and desist notices. This, of course, takes away from the task at hand: writing new books.

And here’s one for the readers- ebook piracy contributes to the rise in ebook pricing as publishers attempt to recover losses due to piracy. For all those people who are reading for ‘free’, they are screwing things up for those of us who do to support authors by buying their works.

I could go on and on. But because I am known to go off on tangents when it comes to such a sensitive subject, I’m going to link to a few other posts that have covered the topic from various angles.

Have you come across a great stand against piracy? I’d love to read it!

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  1. Great post! I've never pirated, but I've heard of people who do. It's terrible, and I never understand why people do it -- I mean, you get nothing else for free; why would books be any different?

  2. Excellent post! Piracy is one of those things that people do that thinks doesn't harm anyone. But it does. Writers make such little money and to have people steal from them is pretty heinous.

    1. I have heard some ridiculous excuses/justifications for piracy, including one person who said they cannot afford to read as much as they do otherwise. I'm not sure they realize that some authors cannot afford to give away that many books for free.