Friday, April 4, 2014

The Piracy Plague: Why it Hurts (not helps) Authors

Piracy is just like checking a book out of a library or borrowing one from a friend...wait no...Actually piracy is more like stealing a book from the store, scanning every page, and printing thousands of copies to give away (or sell) to random people on the street. Hmm...somehow that doesn't seem as innocent as just borrowing a book from a friend. Maybe, that's why piracy is a crime.

Read John Green's "Why Libraries Are Different From Piracy" 

A whole 2 days after the release of my most recent novel, A Different Kind, I found it being illegally downloaded on a website. As usual when this happens I find myself feeling crushed and disappointed.

First I was saddened to find that one of my trusted readers had betrayed me so, and second I was enraged that the book I'd spent over a year writing and reworking was being given away like lollipops at the doctors office.

My books aren't expensive. You can get A Different Kind for $3.99 on Amazon. I love doing giveaways and I take advantage of KDP free days. Not to mention all it would take to get a free copy of one of my books would be to e-mail me and ask for one. It's not the fact that people weren't paying for my book that bothered me. It was that they were getting free copies illegally.

I'm not going to say that the sales don't matter. They do. I'm an indie author and every sale counts. I don't break the bank with my book sales. I can't support myself on them. They're just enough to pay a bill or two a month (sometimes more, but also sometimes less). Still, I'm not in it for the money. I write because I love to write. So if someone were to ask me for a book, I'd most likely send them one. I just wish they'd ask me, instead of getting them from someone who's making illegal copies behind my back.

Now, I know there are people out there who think piracy isn't so bad. Some even think it's a good thing for authors. But I disagree...

Why Thinking Pirating will help Authors is ILLOGICAL:
There are two main objections that supporters of pirating offer.

1. Exposure is an authors friend. Pirates who give your book away get your name out there and increase your sales.

2. People who download pirated books wouldn't have bought them anyway, so you're not really loosing sales.

Now, I don't know about you, but what I see here is completely circular logic. These can't both be true. If my books go up on a pirated site, then the people who will see them are those who buy pirated books, and if people who buy pirated books wouldn't have bought them anyway, then how does any of this increase my sales? Now, some will say "Well, those people then tell other people about your book!" But, lets be honest, are they going to go tell other people to go buy my book, or are they going to tell other people where they too can download it for free?

Now I could go on and on about all the different "justifications" of piracy and explain one by one why none of them are valid, but that's been done. So if you're interested here's a few links to sites that explain each and every facet of this issue well.

Myths About Pirated Books
25 Thoughts on Book Piracy

I also want to make a note that many of the illegal copies of books you find online are early, unfinished copies of the book. Often they're copies that were given to beta readers or ARC copies. Reading these books is like watching a bootlegged copy of that new movie that's still in theaters. It's stolen and crappy because the guy you bought it from recorded it on his iPhone so the screen constantly shakes and you can hear someone coughing through half the film. Is that really the way you want to experience your books?

Here's the Bottom Line Folks...

Whether or not giving your books away for free is a benefit to the author or not is irrelevant. I think giving out books for free can be a great way to find new fans, but it should be up to the author to give those books away. I give books away for free all the time, and that's cool, because they're my books. It's not okay to take that decision out of an authors hands and give their books away for free for them. It's not your place to do that. That's stealing.

Now, earlier I said that it wasn't the fact that people weren't paying for my book that bothered me. It was that they were getting free copies illegally. And I stand by this. So to prove my point I will give a FREE book to anyone who e-mails me and asks for one. Seriously, send me and e-mail and ask me for a book and I will GIVE you one. Paperback, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, whatever. All I ask is that you share this post. Simple as that. Share on Facebook, get a book. Pin to Pinterest, get a book. Just shoot me an e-mail at

Support Indie Authors!

You can find A Different Kind for sale at the following sites.
Kindle US | Kindle UK | Paperback | Nook | Kobo

If you enjoyed this post you might also like "Ten Ways to get Book for FREE (That Are Legal)"


  1. I am sorry to hear about your book being pirated. I totally agree with you about the decision being taken out of the authors hands. I wish you all the best with your future books and hope people realise how damaging piracy is to the author.

    Chanzie @ Mean Who You Are.

    1. Thank you. It's frustrating, but you just have to deal with it as it comes up.

      Thanks for your support. :)

  2. How did you find out yours was being pirated? I mean, I wouldn't even know....

  3. The easiest way is just to google the title of your book with your name ex: "A Different Kind, Lauryn April" and look at any link that comes up that's not Amazon, Goodreads or a blog you know.

    I'm currently working on a post talking about how to know if you've been pirated and what to do to get your book removed from those sites. If you don't already follow me, add my blog to your reading list so you don't miss it.

    1. Thanks!
      I do follow you. :) I look forward to that post. And sorry about your book. :(

  4. Lucinda, Lauryn, I'll never get that Wordpress log in sorted out...
    I so agree with all your comments.The pirated versions are strangely mutilated and make you ashamed to be thought the author of something so sloppily done!


Indie Book Goal 2018