Piracy, Ebooks, and Authors – Oh, my!

September 18, 2014 Blogger Thoughts, My Thoughts, Uncategorized 9

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.


A’hoy matey!

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

: the act of illegally making television or radio broadcasts

Definition from the Merrium-Webster Dictionary (online) 

Several questions were asked and I hope to help Indie authors in some small way with this information.  I also have my personal opinion as to why this is such a huge issue in the literary industry.

ARCs (Advanced Readers Copies)

 I know some bloggers and reviewers have different personal opinions on if these can be shared or not.  In my opinion NO.  ESPECIALLY an ecopy.   Although, sharing by definition is not piracy I feel it could be contributing to the problem.

Think of it like this.  If you let your best friend “borrow” your credit card number and info you will probably be ok.  If you let 3 aquantainces “borrow” your credit card number, you would be a dumb ass.


Don’t be an ass.

You see my point?  Your BFF is someone you can likely trust, but you cannot give everyone that level of trust with someone else’s work.  They put blood, sweat, and tears into that book.  The least we can do is honor them by not passing it around because it will end up quickly on one of the “free book” sites.  Which leads me to the next issue.

“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*


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?


Isn’t it beautiful?

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



My precious…..


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/

9 Responses to “Piracy, Ebooks, and Authors – Oh, my!”

  1. Felicia The Geeky Blogger

    Great tips for them. I am glad they asked as I think they probably needed a lesson. There are also places like peachpit.com where they can watermark their PDFs. It won’t stop the piracy but they will know for sure that it came from one that they sent out if it is watermarked. Piracy happens but there are ways to deter it and make it harder.

  2. Bitten by Romance

    Authors can also put our blogs names on the arc pdf copies and once they find it on the pirated sites they know for sure who to avoid then.

  3. Mary Kirkland

    I’ve been given pdf, mobi and gifted copies from Amazon like you said. I don’t write a lot of book reviews so it doesn’t happen a lot. I had wondered how many reviewers were taking these copies and putting them on pirate sites of giving them away in fb ebook sharing groups, *yes they exist*. I wondered how authors could figure out who and why readers were sharing their review copies when most of us know better. So I think putting some sort of number that corresponds with the person the author send it to is a great and wonderful idea. I know right now there are some authors really upset but all the piracy going on online and while I understand this I think they need to be careful as to what they say online. Calling people out, bashing them, calling them names and calling an entire fb group thieves just because they happen to be a part of the group is going a bit too far and it will turn prospective readers against them, I’ve seen it happen.

    • Annie Slasher

      I think authors and bloggers both need to to be careful bashing anyone. It never helps and can only negatively effect the person doing the bashing. I do think being aware is the best thing to do. 🙂

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