I was just looking at my websites stats and was surprised to see how many people have been googling me. Its not that I was googled that caused the shock, its what the key words were: lily graison stories for free…wicked series free…tempt me not free…the list goes on. I find it odd that people would want something that costs so little for free. The Wicked series books cost $2.99 each. That’s less than what it costs you to eat lunch at McDonalds.
The long-standing debate of eBook piracy will likely never come to an end and I, like many authors, have no solution for the problem. I’m sure I don’t need to explain what I’m talking about but in case someone out there doesn’t know, I’ll spell it out for you.
If you take an ebook, one you’ve purchased or received from a friend, and redistribute that book to another person through email, files sharing systems/website or make printed copies to hand out, you have violated copyright laws. EBooks don’t hold the same rights as a print book you’ve purchased does. It’s not a tangible thing so, in essence, you don’t own it. You aren’t allowed to give it away or let a friend borrow it.
The best way I can think of to explain it is like this: When you buy a paperback book, read it and loved it, you can share it with a friend. You hand them the ONE book you have in your hand and send it on its way. When you buy an eBook and pass it along to that same friend, you’ve sent them one COPY because you still have the original copy you bought…then your friend sends it to her friend, so there’s another copy because you and your friend still have their copy….you just made another to give away so your one book is now 3. The cycle continues and hopefully one of those friends doesn’t decide to post your eBook copy on a file sharing system because them you have thousands of copies flying through the interwebs all because you gave ONE friend a ‘copy’ of an eBook. Now the author of that book you loved made, on average, anywhere from $3.00 – $5.00 on that one purchase you made (actually, chances are she only made 35% of that. The publisher get the majority of it) and the 700 copies that are now floating around the internet because of your ONE copy doesn’t give the author anything in return. Your author spent months writing, then a few more with an editor getting it all shiny, only to have 700 copies of her book stolen. And that’s exactly what those ‘extra’ copies are. Stolen material. The author doesn’t benefit from it at all. Sure people may read the story and love it but they won’t bother emailing the author to let her know that, they’ll just goggle her again using the keywords: Author X stories for free and the cycle continues.
I can’t remember who said it, but I saw the other day, another author say eBook piracy was like someone coming into her home and taking her stuff while she sat on the sofa and watched them. And that’s exactly how it is. It takes me months to write a story because I’m picky about how it comes out. I know I’m not perfect but I try to be regardless of that fact. I want my stories to be the best they can be so by the time they reach you, the readers, it’s as flawless as it can be. I can understand the frustration authors feel. No one is getting rich from writing. No One. Even the ‘big name authors’ aren’t. Of the $7.99 cover price you pay for that print book from Barnes and Noble, the author receives 6% of that. They have to sell millions of copies to make anything from it and those of us in the eBook world? LOL We’re losing before we even begin.
My intention wasn’t to come on and rant but I’ve seen this issue pop up so much lately that when I saw people were actually searching out free copies of my book, I felt the need to say something about it. I love the fact people want to read me…I just wish those same people would to repay me for my hard work by tossing a few bucks at me for my effort. If I wanted to give it all away, I wouldn’t stick a price tag on it. I can’t live off air alone. Stealing is a crime, whether its food, clothing or books.
If you read some of the excuses people use for stealing, trust me, you’d rant. A-I cant buy it in my country. (I cant buy a british mini, but I don’t go over and steal the guys across the street.) Price is too high. (Not mine, and not yours-and theres a lot I can’t afford, I just don’t buy it-or steal it) It helps your sales. Phleeze, we who write only e books, have only income from e books, when someone has them for free, no one (zip) is going to come pay for it. There’s others, and one blogger has been tracking one certain vocal pirate who has been going around talkig about why she uploads and steals, and how it’s cause authors don’t respect her. (go figure) We discovered right after my store opened a customer bought all the books at once–yes, those books show up on file sharing, and those php places just keep moving around. The people who do this, don’t care what you say about copyright or the legal end–They knew that when they put them up to share. Anyone can justify stealing (they didn’t have my fav bread at the store 10 people wanted it, so I stole Jane Doe’s and shared it with them) ha! Sounds crazy to us but from the pirates who have posted, they knew what they were doing and some (shrug) said they just didn’t give a crap. Now if we who put out only e books don’t sell, we cant keep writing or paying web host or anything. And guess what pirates, if we stop writing, there can’t be any copies of the work floating out there because we own copyrights and decide where its sold and who can display it.
I’ve followed links and some of the writer sites now tell you how to track down the thieves. Most I have found are not in this country at all. And scuse me, but my books are avail world wide, so there’s no excuse for stealing from me. There’s times I feel like packing it all in because already with the lowest prices, I’m struggling to pay for software and web fees. I love writing, but my dream was to publish it for ppl to buy and enjoy–not to feel violated and taken advangage of and robbed. It doesn’t bring you readers (why pay when they can get it free) and no stealing can be justified. I’m so dissappointed in people who do this because they are (readers) and I want to think they all have some respect for time we take to write, and also that we need to eat and pay for our stuff, in order to write) sigh.
I don’t know where it’s going to end up. Print authors have a problem with it, but they don’t lose all their sales to these sites, they still have bookstores. we have nothing–no chance of making anything when every copy of everything we write has been pirated and is out there free.
Maybe someday, but I have a feeling it won’t be because the pirates care-
Gayle Eden/Eve Asbury