So this will be one of many blog posts speaking out about book piracy. It's not a new thing. Every time someone is exposed as a pirate, everyone gets outraged but nothing is done about it. In fact, the people reading it will be my supportive readers who buy my books or download them for free legitimately. Two people were exposed in my newsfeed this weekend. One, a pirate (I won't call them a reader, they don't deserve it) and one a supposed book blogger. Neither seemed to comprehend how downloading a book that was not intended to be free = stealing.
Here's the thing. I write full time. I was able to turn this into a full time job after about 2 years of writing solidly. Finally, my earnings were enough to just about pay my bills and have enough left over to ensure we didn't starve. During this time, I became a single mum and I support my family alone. Our current situation, having moved out of the house I shared with my ex, means I'm currently an hour's commute from the kids' school. (I'm working on getting them transferred). This means to get a 'real' job would be very hard because of the few hours I am actually not driving or looking after children. Sometimes I wish I had a standard 9 - 5 job but my job allows me to earn without, I don't know, hiring a chaffeur and a nanny or something! The world unfortunately sucks when supporting working parents.
But while I've always been able to support us without panicking, certain changes to the publishing world has made it harder and harder. The fact is I'm having to put in more hours than ever before. The only time I'm not working is when I'm feeding kids, driving to and from school, and walking the dog. I'm no different to any other working parent but I deserve to get paid for each and every download of my book. The downturn in the industry is due to many reasons, because the publishing industry is in a very real flux. This does mean every sale is very important.
So pirate sites cost. If you're not sure if a site is a pirate site, ask yourself, does it link to one of the big sellers i.e. Amazon, B&N etc? Sites like Bookbub, Freebooksy etc, will always send you to a legitimate site.
The other form of piracy that is very rife right now is Amazon returns. There's been numerous pushes to get these people who buy a book, read and return for a refund shut down and to get Amazon to own up to changing the policy, but hey, they're the big fish and we're tiny little annoying voices to them so that won't be changing any time soon. A word of warning to those serial returners though--authors do--and have--tracked many down. I can also tell you that I have personally tracked down several piraters downloading books. One woman lived down the road from me--something I discovered from her blog that I found via her email. You are trackable and can be held accountable so be warned. There are people who have been sued for music piracy. I think its only a matter of time before someone gets their ass whooped for book piracy.
So I know those who are reading this aren't pirates but I implore you to keep doing what you're doing. Keep outing them. Keep letting them know there are safe ways to get free books. Authors rely on your support. In my poorer years, I lived off free Kindle books--many of which became all time faves. And of course the Kindle app is free so if they can afford a computer or a phone, they can download with ease. I'm assuming if they download books, they love them. Why not return the favour and consider become a reviewer? You can get a ton of great new releases, if you just leave a short review.
So I guess more than anything, this is a thanks to the real readers out there who wouldn't dream of damaging authors' livelihoods and continue to try to educate the ignorant. Here's to you!