Often on social media sites you will see a post or a tweet from an author offering a free copy of their book in exchange for a review. Or you may see a graphic of a box decorated with a bow and the caption, “The greatest gift a reader can give — a review.” Or the variant, “Support A Local Author – Leave a Review.”
What you don’t hear about as often is the worst gift you can give an author, “Piracy.” Print books are being offered on pirate torrent sites in multiple digital formats. Sometimes without the author even selling a single copy.
Imagine your anger/resentment/despair when you’ve found out that for every book you sell, 10,000 are downloaded for free — stolen from you. Adding insult to injury is when someone asks you for a copy of book 2,3 or 4 in a series. “I enjoyed book 1 so much but don’t want to pay for the rest. Won’t you send them to me for free? Not to review, just to read and then pass on. I have a site I upload books to.”
A digital ebook is NOT for passing on like a hard copies. It needs to be treated like software and like that other digital product is subject to copyright protection and infringement enforcement.
Now nothing is going to stop the pirates when they play the shell game with their names. Those who can make a difference are those who repeatedly upload a copy of a book as soon as a copyright violation request takes one down. People who download a book for free from known, or obvious pirate sites, aren’t stealing from big corporations who can afford it. Then could literally be taking away the food an author needs to live on.
As to what started this rant, an article by a reviewer about reviewers selling advanced reader copies. I hope you’ll read, Reviewers selling ARC’s.
The next time rather than downloading a “free ebook pdf,” I hope you’ll consider borrowing the paperback from the library, or for digital versions, get it from Overdrive via your local library or one of the legitimate lending libraries.
An even better option would be to consider buying the book. An author will thank you.
~till next time, Helen