How do you feel when you find out a site has pirated your book and is providing free copies to those who frequent their page?
I used to tell other authors that I never minded this happening because I was also giving away thousands of free books myself. It was a way to get new readers and a promotional device most of us used from time to time. Therefore, these people were just helping me spread the word about my work.
There were many who didn’t agree with me on this principle – that the most important tool an author has is exposure. In fact, many were downright fierce about protecting their rights, their income, and I believe, resenting that they were being cheated.
So I kept my thoughts to myself when they complained on the loops and stayed out of the arguments.
Then I read this post by Tim Grahl. It explained exactly what I had tried to share, but much better than I ever could. So take a moment and read his explanation. It might make more sense to you put in this way.
I will add one last thought. I have had notices from Amazon that they found my work, which supposed to be exclusive to Select, elsewhere on the internet. When this did happen, it was annoying and worrying. Both times, I was able to write to the pirating website, asking them to take down my work and then send the copy of my words to Amazon. It seemed to be all they needed, and I heard no more. Truthfully, I suspect that Amazon is aware of these pirating places and realizes, that in some cases, there is no way for an author to know about them or to contact the people. It made me worry less when I realized this.
Kate Hill says
I understand what you’re trying to say and offering readers free books is fine, however there’s a difference between giving away a book for marketing purposes and someone else taking one that isn’t free and giving it away because they don’t care that they’re stealing. For example, if you opened a new bakery and decided to give away chocolate chip cookies to your customers so they can taste your product and hopefully buy more, that’s fine. Let’s say that night someone breaks into your bakery, steals your entire inventory, and hands it out for free on the street corner. You probably wouldn’t be happy about it, even if the thief said that he’s trying to help you by exposing more people to your goods. To me, that’s what piracy is. Someone taking a product that you’re not offering for free and giving it away. There are so many ways people can get free books legitimately (Amazon and Smashwords for example), that I won’t condone piracy. I understand that you’re trying to ease the frustration of authors being pirated and show the bright side, but theft is still theft, in my opinion.
Mimi Barbour says
You’re right there. I sure wouldn’t want someone taking my entire inventory and giving it away. And – stealing is stealing. I guess I’ve looked at it in a way that when I buy a physical book and give it to the thrift shop, I know they’re making a few cents on my purchased book, but I’ve let it go and I never worry about how many people will eventually read that book for free. It would please me though, if someone who did decided to go and buy another from the same author because they’d discovered someone’s work that they loved.