As some of you might know, I attended IRC (Indie Romance Convention) last weekend in Lebannon, Tenessee and had the great opportunity to sit on the “Ask A Blogger” panel.
I really didn’t go into this panel with a lot of expectations, but figured it would have more to do with approaching bloggers for reviews or how to interact with us. My mind was kind of blown when the main topic became PIRACY and how to stop it. And NO I am not talking about the pirates that you wish would raid your panties or are in search of buried treasure.
pi·ra·cy – noun \ˈpī-rə-sē\
: the act of attacking and stealing from a ship at sea
: the act of illegally copying someone’s product or invention without permission
ARCs (Advanced Readers Copies)
“Free” Book Sites
Last year I organized and started a book club in our small town. I would pick one book per month and always tried to keep the price under $5.00 (ebook). Many of the small group were on a tight budget. It came up several times about why we don’t read “free” books and I ignorantly assumed we were talking Amazon FREE – which is the authors choice to reduce their sale price for a time of their choice. I tried to stay away from most Amazon Free for the most part, but that is an entire separate topic.
Again, it came up that this person could get any book for “free” if just searched for it. Yes. This is a person I know and she is a very good person. Not a liar and not someone that would steal, but what she was talking about were the pirate sites that offer “free” copies. That is the real problem. Our society does not view downloading virtual or digital copies of anything as STEALING. They just don’t. PERIOD. They truly do not understand what kind of financial impact downloading these books has on authors and artists. This is not limited to literary issues. It is is also rampant in the tv, movie, and music scenes as well. I have heard the free sites justified by our society by comparing them to libraries. *head desk*
NO JUST NO
Libraries are there as a public service and allow you to BORROW the book. When you are finished, you return it. That is how the whole thing works. That is the beauty of libraries. Libraries also have other things you can borrow like those lovely movies I talked about a second ago. Libraries are even going all techy on us and you can borrow ebooks. THAT IS RIGHT – LEGALLY! Is your mind blown yet?
See how easy it is to get free books without stealing? Amazing, right?
Readers and general society – if you download from a site that is offering books free without the authors enforcement you are STEALING. It is no different than breaking into their house and taking a book off of their shelf.
The Geeky Blogger is actually doing a current #LoveMyLibraryCard special. If you are want more information about what makes libraries so special – I am pretty sure she covers it! http://www.geekybloggersbookblog.com/?s=lovemylibrarycard
Now for that part I might get stoned (and no…not that kind) for:
Not All Bloggers Are Good
Shocking, right? Some bloggers are just thieves that steal your books, put them on pirating sites, and even sell your ARCs on places like eBay before your release date. *LE GASP* It is true. Hell, I have even seen some ARCs for sale in used book stores. (I buy these just to get them off the floor)
I know some bloggers have been completely busted and I know others are probably on many authors “naughty” list. There is no way to know how many of the blogging and reviewing community has malicious intent or how many are just ignorant, but it all hurts the artists the same.
This brings us the next dish:
What the Hell Can We Do About It?
This was the ultimate question during the panel and I have no freaking idea why anyone would think we would know anything, but it turned out that we did. Even if it isn’t a complete fix it will hopefully help shrink the level of abuse.
1. Don’t send out PDFs.
You are just asking for it. Unless this is a review blogger you have a long term established relationship with, I would just not do it. Period. Lets face it. If you are an Indie book reviewer you have figured out how to read and open the EPubs and Mobis.
2. Gift Copies
It is easy enough to Gift Copies through Amazon or Barnes & Nobel. If you are sending out copies after your release this is a great way to do it. This also applies to giveaways. BIG NO NO. You are basically giving someone your baby and asking them not to steal it. GIFT THEM COPIES.
3. Embed a Code or Mark Each Review Copy
Embedding code…I have no fucking idea. You guys are SO going to have to research this yourself. However, marking a review copy is easy enough. Seriously, you could do something as simple as add a number on one of the pages and keep a record of which copy went to which person. When you see a pirated copy on one of those sites, you can download it yourself and compare the number.
4. Copywright ©
Someone great actually brought this up in the audience and it was such a great idea. You can easily copywright your work with the Copywright Registry. Here is a link to get started. http://copyrightregistry-online-form.com/ This link also has the Infringement claim information as well.
Hope this helps!
*All images used in this post were from http://www.freeimages.com/