A plea to authors – please speak out about piracy

I’ve had a worrying experience with a local book club. I’m not sure it is as it appears, so I won’t name names. But either way, it raises worrying questions about the way authors’ work is valued.

Recently, a book club invited me to make a presentation about Lifeform Three. The club voted to read it. The organiser went out of the room. Ten minutes later she returned. The books were ordered, she said! So quick. Everyone went home happy.

Except. I should have seen seven UK sales within 24 hours but there was only one. An ebook. Being indie, I know the local bookshops don’t have that many copies. Also, cheap second-hand copies on Amazon are scarce. Did the club just pretend they were going to read it?

It was sweet of them to spare my blushes. And I couldn’t exactly ask.

I shrugged it off. But this week I was talking to an author friend. She said she’d had the same puzzling situation, several times. She said that local book clubs had contacted her because they were reading one of her titles. They asked her questions about the text. But she saw no corresponding rise in UK sales. Like me, she knows local shops don’t have that many copies. The libraries don’t stock her books. Secondhand copies are in short supply. Each time a book club takes up one of her titles, she sees just one UK sale – one ebook.

It seems to be a pattern.

Finally, she said, she found the answer. She said that one club admitted that it buys one ebook and shares it among all its members. Could they be passing one copy between them all? Unlikely as they all needed to read it at once. She strongly suspected they were making duplicates.

Was this also the explanation for my book club experience? I saw just one sale, remember.

I asked. I was told: ‘We mostly get our books through Amazon, and often from the second-hand sellers. I like to read a real book and don’t have a Kindle’. So be it.

But why was I ready to believe villainy?

Because it fits a bigger picture. Because I frequently meet people who think piracy, file copying and illegal downloading hurts nobody. They say it’s a ‘victimless’ crime. They defend their right to do it. These are people in well-paid jobs, BTW.

What harm can it do? Let’s illustrate that by giving book clubs a fair hearing. Let’s show the good that just one group can – and does – do for an author’s reputation and sustainability and why we appreciate them so much.

The power of book clubs

Imagine if one club orders seven copies in a store. That puts the author in the store owner’s good books. If they’re bought online it spreads beneficial juice through the chart algorithms. Just seven copies can make a real impression. Many clubs are a lot bigger.

You might think traditionally published authors don’t have to worry as much because they’re funded by the publisher, but if the book doesn’t gain traction, the publisher drops the author.

So a book club is not only putting money where it deserves to be. It is doing a lot of good for that author’s long-term career. Thank you, BTW.

Money, money, money

I’m sorry to mention money so much, but I think this is one of the stumbling blocks. How many times have you had to explain to non-authors that books have not made you steaming rich?

Indeed, I wonder if we’ve helped create that impression? All these carefree pictures of authors signing heaps of books in crowded bookstores; holding launches in front of appreciative audiences.

Films and TV are even worse. I’ve seen LitHub articles that laugh at the kind of blissful artistic life that moviemakers think is the norm for writers.

Of course we like to share our highlights, but the public is getting an erroneous message that we’re all living the dream in a utopia of wordy fulfilment. So what’s a lost sale? Or 10?

We’ve failed to emphasise how much of an impact lost sales and piracy have (thanks for the pic Leo Reynolds on Flickr).

Selling ourselves too cheaply?

And obviously the freebie culture hasn’t helped – that’s a rot we can’t reverse. Neither have subscription services, where content is an all-you-can-eat buffet. We often hear people say they can’t afford to buy books, but many of those people can fund foreign holidays, concert tickets and regular doses of frothy coffee. They can’t fund their reading?

Because they don’t think they should have to.

Stealing is the new black

Yesterday I saw a sign in a charity shop: ‘If you steal from this shop, you are stealing from animals.’

Think about that. Who would steal from a charity shop? But it happens so frequently that the shop had to display a sign. How did the thieves justify that to themselves? The stock was donated so the theft harms no one? Another kind of victimless crime?

Unfortunately, there have always been ways to share files and cheat their creators. Ask any musician. It’s too late to change some people’s minds. But we can speak up so that more people don’t drift into it unawares. Ebook copying is damaging authors’ careers.

I don’t know how we’ll change people’s minds about this. Suggestions?

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  1. #1 by Peter Snell on July 24, 2018 - 7:44 am

    Well said Roz. No crimes are victimless and stealing books is a crime. I really feel it personally and in my wallet when people steal books from my shop. Showrooming also hurts both me and the author. If you rip off copies of books then you rip off authors and booksellers. Stop it you are a thief.

  2. #3 by mrdisvan on July 24, 2018 - 2:50 pm

    I saw somebody on Facebook saying that he’d seen a few million free downloads of his work and he didn’t think it mattered because none of those people would ever have been potential paying customers. But I suspect that while famous writers can shrug off (or even endorse) downloading, for the average struggling scribe and friendly neighborhood bookseller it really does mean lost sales.

    • #4 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on July 24, 2018 - 3:10 pm

      And we certainly feel the impact of those lost sales. Many authors are operating on very small margins so lost sales really hurt. On G+, one commenter is using the example of piracy in the games industry, but it’s not comparing like with like. Book publishing doesn’t have the overhead of the games industry, so it can survive at small scale. But that also means that cannibalised sales make a big difference

  3. #5 by The Story Reading Ape on July 24, 2018 - 3:04 pm

  4. #6 by dernhelm6 on July 24, 2018 - 3:09 pm

    Reblogged this on Indie Lifer.

  5. #8 by Alexander M Zoltai on July 24, 2018 - 4:16 pm

    Reblogged this on Notes from An Alien and commented:
    Bonus re-blog…

    Something to Ponder………

  6. #10 by Teddi Deppner on July 24, 2018 - 4:23 pm

    Changing people’s minds and perceptions is usually a long game. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort. Talking about it like you are here is a good way to raise awareness, at least among people who care to read an author’s blog. Encouraging other authors to talk about it helps, too.

    But I imagine that authors asking people to pay for books may appear self-serving to some. Encouraging other entities (high profile readers, reviewers, book clubs, libraries, schools, etc) to talk about the subject (and providing them with compelling tools, tactics, and shareable quotes or images) is another idea.

    Again, this is a long game. Someone has to be willing to take time out to create graphics, compelling quotes, document a few short stories that illustrate the difference between getting those seven sales and getting only one. Someone needs to be willing to document sales numbers that illustrate the real challenges of making a living selling books. (How long it takes to write, how much money is invested in editing, cover design, layout, ads, and then how long it would take to earn that back just to start seeing a modest profit, etc.) Brainstorming catchy taglines that appeal to different readers. “Do you want an author writing the next book in the series, or working at their ‘day job’ because half their readers are pirating their books?” (That’s not catchy, but anyway…)

    Maybe someone with a good sense of humor and some art skills could make some cartoons about the subject. Get some celebrity cartoonists to take on the topic with some funny and memorable punchlines. Get someone to make some of those awful, misspelled memes that appeal to the viral crowd. 😉 Anyway, just throwing out ideas.

    Personally, I get plenty of free books from author friends (or just authors in general) because they want to make new fans and get reviews. But my policy is this: If the book was good enough for me to review it and give it some love that way, it’s good enough for me to plunk down a couple dollars so my review is a “verified purchase”, too. I’m grateful for the free books, but I’m dedicated to my author friends. Because I know what a difference it can make. I’d like to think that more people would choose to pay if they knew the reality of things.

  7. #12 by Catherine M Wilson on July 24, 2018 - 4:24 pm

    The day I found a group of my fans (FANS!) offering copies of my books for free, I quit writing. So one consequence of stealing is no more books from an author whose work you love. I write for a tiny niche audience that few people write for. It wasn’t so much the lost income that upset me. It was the disrespect. When you take my work for free, you are telling me it has no value.

    • #13 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on July 25, 2018 - 5:59 am

      Hi Catherine ! It is hugely disrespectful, isn’t it? And often when we point this out, we’re met with a backlash – people tell us we should be grateful to have readers or that we’re becoming ‘less obscure’.

    • #14 by Marina Costa on July 29, 2018 - 12:21 pm

      I would have been glad that I have more readers. I would have seen no disrespect, by contrary, the willingness to be known worldwide.

      I care more for readers than money. I wouldn’t mind if someone would distribute my books for free. I have given them for free to enough people, so that more free distribution would mean more readers and more fans. I had my day job (and now pension) for daily expenses. I write to be read, not to be rich.

      • #15 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on July 29, 2018 - 12:37 pm

        Well congratulations. You’d like to drag the rest of us down with you. For some of us, writing is a profession. An attempt to use our considerable craft and skill to make a living. Not to buy a yacht, just to live. Our writing often enables other people to buy yachts, though – the people who need our skills so that they have something to sell.

        • #16 by Marina Costa on July 29, 2018 - 3:52 pm

          For me, writing is a lifestyle, not a profession. I have been writing all my life, because I couldn’t without. For profession, I studied Economics, while always writing on the side. And when the conditions allowed it, I succeeded to publish too. For now, 3 novels. (I am not talking about the professional books and papers published in the past, but literature.) More will come, this year and the next years. Sincerely, I wish I would supplement my income with writing. But I can do without it. My most important wish is to be read as wider as possible and to interact with the readers, to answer their questions… I am glad that, besides my mother country, some of them have arrived to readers in other 7 countries. (1-2 readers in each country, to keep it realistic!)

          • #17 by mrdisvan on July 29, 2018 - 4:16 pm

            Some people play football for nothing, happy just to kick a ball around the park on a Saturday afternoon. Others take it up professionally and may earn anything from a meagre wage to lavish riches.

            The trouble with giving books away for free is that, unlike the guy playing football as a hobby, you’re encouraging readers to believe they ought to get something for nothing. Then when somebody who is actually trying to earn enough to keep writing puts their book out, those people pirate it and that writer (who may not be lucky enough to be able to do without income from writing) is unable to continue.

            • #18 by Marina Costa on July 29, 2018 - 6:36 pm

              On the other side, without giving them for free, I might not have readers for reasons not related with the book quality (the difficulty to get into a bookstore, some local regulations forbidding book promotion events in schools, etc.) Even the county libraries in our country are asking the authors for book donations if they want to be read outside the main cities, because there is no budget for libraries to buy books (and no way that the authors receive anything from being read, as I read in this article it’s the UK case).

    • #19 by Tom Southern (@_TomSouthern) on August 2, 2018 - 9:49 am

      Catherine, please, start writing again. I don’t know you or your niche but don’t let people like that put you off. Write in another niche. Write in the same niche. But, please, start writing again.

      • #20 by Catherine M Wilson on August 2, 2018 - 7:18 pm

        I explained in another post (that may be awaiting moderation) that I simply cannot afford to write. I am 74. I am a landlord and I do typesetting and formatting for other indie authors. I can’t do that and also write. My trilogy took me ten years, and I wasn’t working a day job. But thanks for the encouragement. If I get lucky and win the lottery, I may be able to write again.

        • #21 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on August 2, 2018 - 9:28 pm

          Catherine, was that a comment on this post? I approved one further up. I can’t see any others waiting in the pending queue!

          • #22 by Catherine M Wilson on August 2, 2018 - 9:54 pm

            Hi Roz,

            I replied to Marina Costa’s comment on my first comment, but it hasn’t shown up. Here’s the post:

            I’m replying to Marina Costa, who replied to my earlier comment (#11).

            Here’s some background for context:

            In 1996 I was working as a software engineer. When I was laid off (Microsoft bought the company I worked for), I had already started writing my trilogy, and I thought, Oh, I’ll just take six months or a year off to finish my book and then I’ll go back to work. I finished the trilogy ten years later (2006) and since I wasn’t working a day job during those ten years I ran through my retirement savings and most of my inheritance. By then I was unemployable as a software engineer, so I put all my efforts into publishing and marketing my books. I got lucky that it was then possible to publish independently, and in the last ten years my books have made a little over $260,000. Not a huge yearly paycheck over the ten years and not nearly enough to finance another book. To make ends meet I do typesetting and formatting for other indie authors, a reliable source of income as opposed to writing books. If people aren’t willing to pay authors, we literally cannot afford to keep writing. I am 74. I should be retired. I just hope I never come to regret taking those ten years to write the book I knew I had to write, but I will most likely die in poverty.

            • #23 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on August 2, 2018 - 9:58 pm

              Glad you got the comment in this time, Catherine! Thanks for coming back to it. It’s worth saying.

  8. #24 by DogLeaderMysteries on July 24, 2018 - 4:40 pm

    Thanks for this timely and insightful post on pirating and how it affects writers, small press publishers, and book shops. I agree. All writers need to speak out and to write on the harm piracy does to us.

    One bright point on the digital horizon is IBM and other big companies are testing Blockchain technology as tool to defend digital rights. Music and publishing can both benefit from a theft preventative technology.

    • #25 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on July 25, 2018 - 6:01 am

      Thanks, Deborah! And thanks for bringing up Blockchain. I haven’t yet met anyone who can explain clearly how you’d apply Blockchain to a book but it’s certainly necessary.

  9. #26 by DogLeaderMysteries on July 24, 2018 - 4:51 pm

    One more thought I have. When you sell your books to libraries you gain a larger fan base. Libraries buy a full set of print copies for their book clubs. I am not sure why people risk copyright laws instead of joining or starting a library sponsored club.

    I am a member of a library sponsored Classical Greek book club. We read books the library buys for the dozen readers we discuss. Not sure if U.K. libraries do the same. Do they?

    • #27 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on July 25, 2018 - 6:04 am

      I’m not sure how UK libraries decide which books to buy. And I don’t think they buy everything that’s published!

  10. #28 by Monique Desir on July 24, 2018 - 6:05 pm

    Insightful post about piracy that ignorantly view as a harmless crime. It hurts writers, book stores,
    and small press publishers. If you are an author or reader, I exhort you to speak out against this.

  11. #31 by Lucinda E Clarke on July 24, 2018 - 7:29 pm

    Reblogged this on lucinda E Clarke and commented:
    Food for thought – copying e.books?

  12. #32 by Lucinda E Clarke on July 24, 2018 - 7:33 pm

    On one large FB writing / reader group one reader proudly wrote that she never pays for books ever – just waits until they are free. I’d love for her to write a book and understand what time, effort and angst goes inot producing even one short book.

  13. #34 by charliecountryboy on July 24, 2018 - 7:50 pm

    First of all I have to say I pirate nothing and I won’t listen to pirated music or watch pirated films. Not because I am a ‘goody two shoes’ or what ever term one could use, but because if someone does some work they should get paid for it. Now the media love to print the fact that Brad Pit earns millions of pounds. Adele earns millions of pounds and artists love to make statements such as ‘Its about the art not the money’ Add to this that we have created a selfish greedy one up man ship society with downloads classed as a free for all and ‘voila’ it seems perfectly OK to download an ebook and copy it for distribution amongst a book club. They probably justify it by saying that their word of mouth recommendations will boost sales. One answer surely is that ebooks could be produced like a PDF so that they can’t be copied? Interesting post, sorry about the rant 😜

  14. #36 by Loretta Livingstone on July 24, 2018 - 8:19 pm

    Reblogged this on lorettalivingstone.

  15. #37 by Rebecca Bryn on July 24, 2018 - 8:24 pm

    Reblogged this on Rebecca Bryn and commented:
    Years of honing our craft, months of research and writing, endless hours of promoting and pouring money into promoting our books, for which we charge what… £1.99 – £3.99 at most for an e-book – royalties in pence per book- to give hours of pleasure to a reader, and it’s fair to steal this from us? There is no such thing as a victimless crime.

  16. #39 by Wm. Allen on July 24, 2018 - 11:21 pm

    I never worry about piracy, I’m just glad anyone would take the time to read my book. If I had it to do over, I would have priced my book even lower. However, even at the price I used, I still never broke even.

  17. #40 by Scott Mullins on July 24, 2018 - 11:59 pm

    The internet at it’s core is a resource of free information, people expect to be able to access anything and everything. People don’t see sharing an ebook as an act of stealing, it’s the whole basis of the internet to freely share information.

    Unfortunately, this throws up complications when thing such as books, music and movies are added to the mix.

    I think we’ll never stop people downloading books, music or videos illegally. Rather than trying to change the mindset of the people who are sharing these ebooks and trying to shame them by classing them as thieves (it worked so well for the music industry and video industry), it requires a shift in how authors and the publishing industry monetise books.

    In the music industry Spotify and similar services got around it by offering the music for free to the listener taking away the need to illegally download the songs. The monetisation was done in the backend rather then an upfront cost. Money is given to artist by Spotify not the listener. Inserting advertising into the free content and offering premium subscriptions allowed those who wanted free content and those willing to pay to do so while still providing the artist with revenue.

    Sites like Wattpad are already doing this for authors. By directing bookclubs to read an author’s work on sites like these it allows them to access the work for free and still provide money to the author.

    • #41 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on July 25, 2018 - 6:12 am

      I still think we can stop people drifting into it thoughtlessly.

      • #42 by Scott Mullins on July 25, 2018 - 10:31 pm

        Agreed, but you’ll never stop piracy. People will, and can, easily find ways to illegally download a book, movie or song.

        By taking away that need and by making money in different ways, writers could be making more money per reader without the reader even having to physically shell out the cash.

        Writers have been conditioned to think that there is only a certain way they can make money from their work – from a single sale – but in a digital environment that’s no longer the case.

        Rather than us getting up in arms about a readers illegally downloading a book shouldn’t we be questioning why authors are almost forced to sell their work for 99c – $4.99 to get in front of reader. Where a simple minds shift in how the book is monestised could potentially make them $10 – $20 per reader. And if that reader shares the book, like the book club in your article, the amount made could be multipled across each reader without them even having to fork out a single dollar.

        • #43 by Teddi Deppner on July 25, 2018 - 10:44 pm

          I’m curious, Scott — what type of monetisation are you referring to here ($10-$20 per reader)?

          • #44 by Scott Mullins on July 26, 2018 - 12:55 am

            I threw a general number out there based off ad revenue.

            A service like Wattpad inserts ads on their free books every few chapters. I’ve never used Wattpad so not sure how much a story can potentially earn.

            However, on a normal website a click on an ad is from 30c to $5. Let’s say a book had and ad every 1-2 chapters for a free reader. For a 25 chapter book these ads could generate maybe generate $3.60 or more in adsense revenue. If 1- 2 of these ads were bid options they could generate up to $5 – $10 per click. And then if at the end of the book an option like Patreon was thrown into the mix asking the reader “If you enjoyed this book share with your friends or support the author with here (insert Patreon link)” it could generate another $5.

            While I don’t have exact figures I’m sure someone out there using a service like Wattpad has written about it.

            All I’m saying is that authors need to look at how other content creators are earning revenue YouTube, Patreon, Podcasts, Twitch Streamers etc. Authors need to move away from the one product one sale model. Use the sharing culture of the internet to help grow their revenue stream.

            At the moment the publishing industry and writers haven’t found a way to do this properly and it needs to be considered.

  18. #45 by Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Café on July 25, 2018 - 1:31 am

    Is the best option not to just avoid going digital? I may be a cynic, but I think digital copying will never be stamped out. So if you don’t want your book copied, just publish in print. Even if you have fewer sales, all sales will be legitimate. I’m glad I read this article, because it has made me decide to not publish the book I am working on in digital format.

  19. #46 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on July 25, 2018 - 6:15 am

    In case anyone needs more ammo … Maggie Stiefvater writes in this article about the real threat from this thoughtless kind of behaviour. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/nov/06/pirated-ebooks-threaten-future-of-serial-novels-warn-authors-maggie-stiefvater

  20. #47 by gfb246 on July 25, 2018 - 7:37 am

    The Federation Against Copyright Theft announcement on DVDs has helped to reduce pirated DVDs. We need the same for ebooks. A statement at the front of all ebooks giving the same message and asking readers to report the site that gave them the free ebook.

    • #48 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on July 25, 2018 - 7:26 pm

      That’s a good idea! Who do we lobby?

    • #49 by Scott Mullins on July 25, 2018 - 11:34 pm

      To be honest this did very little to stop illegal downloads. Even with the ban of torrent sites and taking down sites like piratebay it only pushed people illegally downloading to use VPNs or route there IPs through proxy servers to hide their IPs.

  21. #50 by robbiesinspiration on July 25, 2018 - 12:18 pm

    I felt sad when I read this. I know what you are saying is true. I am a professional and I know a lot of people who pirate films, music and books. It is a very bad thing as if authors can’t make a living from their work it becomes unsustainable even if we do love writing.

  22. #52 by LM Milford on July 25, 2018 - 12:29 pm

    I’m so glad you’ve posted this, Roz. One of the women in my book club does this, although she doesn’t even buy them from a reputable source anyway. She gets them for 50p from some online ‘book club’. And she’s proud of it. I’d like to take her to task on it but not sure how to calmly broach the subject!

  23. #54 by Don Massenzio on July 25, 2018 - 1:22 pm

    Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out this important post from the Nail Your Novel blog with a plea to authors to speak out about piracy.

  24. #55 by MG Mason on July 25, 2018 - 5:04 pm

    This is a real bug bear of mine. People feel entitled to free books in the way they don’t feel entitled to free food, free cars, to live rent (or mortgage) free, free holidays etc.

    “I have bills to pay!” Well yes, but so do the writers whose books you want for nothing or virtually nothing.

  25. #57 by Lynne Fellows on July 25, 2018 - 5:36 pm

    Reblogged this on Just 4 My Books.

  26. #60 by dgkaye on July 25, 2018 - 11:42 pm

    Hi Roz. This cybercrime is out of control. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Blasty? It’s company that runs a site where you enter all your books and Google bots sniff out illegal sites selling them. It started in beta about 2 years ago where you could join free and 6 months ago became paid. Would you believe me if I told you I get approximately 200 notifications per week with download sites offering my books? Google takes them down and send the DMCA letters so we don’t have to. I’ve seen many of my author friend’s books since I joined. How can we even keep up with that amount of piracy?

  27. #62 by Marialena Gallagher on July 26, 2018 - 12:51 am

    I never thought about people pirating books before …

  28. #64 by prettygirlreading on July 26, 2018 - 1:35 am

    Reblogged this on Site Title and commented:
    I loved the honesty and raw truth this author gives on the topic of illegal downloads. I just had to share.

  29. #66 by Anna Dobritt on July 26, 2018 - 12:31 pm

    Reblogged this on Anna Dobritt — Author.

  30. #67 by Claremary P. Sweeney on July 26, 2018 - 2:13 pm

    I’ve been getting ready to have my mystery series formatted as e-books and really appreciate this information. I had no idea this type of piracy existed (naive newbie!) and am now forewarned.

    • #68 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on July 26, 2018 - 7:05 pm

      Let’s hope it’s not as rife as this post might lead you to believe, Claremary. And I believe there are people working on ways to fight it. Look up ‘blockchain’. Good luck with your series and thanks for stopping by.

  31. #69 by AuthorIrisChacon on July 26, 2018 - 8:29 pm

    Reblogged this on Author_Iris_Chacon and commented:
    Authors: Is piracy on the rise? Is there technology designed to eliminate thefts of intellectual property? What actions should authors take? Thanks Lynne Fellows, for sharing this article with us.

  32. #71 by Andrea Cox on July 27, 2018 - 11:26 pm

    Preach it, sister! I shared on Twitter and Facebook, because piracy must stop.


  33. #73 by jennifermzeiger on July 28, 2018 - 12:53 am

    Thank you for writing this, Roz. I’ve definitely run into people who have no idea what an author does or doesn’t make on books, or how much it helps for them to actually buy books from a shop or Amazon.

    • #74 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on July 28, 2018 - 6:49 am

      Thanks, Jennifer! I’m wondering if I should have called the post ‘Yes, it really, really helps if you buy one of our books!’

  34. #75 by Graham on July 28, 2018 - 3:09 am

    Great post! I imagine most people know someone or have copied something themselves over time. I heard an interesting excuse the other day…that they’d bought it a couple of times before in different formats and figured that a dodgy download was less wasteful. Weird logic.

    Do you know if DRM works? The Amazon KDP makes an interesting case for not enabling it and I was curious if that actually mitigates copying in any way?

    • #76 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on July 28, 2018 - 6:48 am

      Hi Graham! I know very little about the technicalities of DRM. The things I’ve heard about it are from sources I consider unreliable, so I won’t repeat them! Thanks for taking the trouble to comment!

      • #77 by Graham on July 28, 2018 - 6:53 am

        A technological minefield eh?

  35. #78 by Julie Watson on July 28, 2018 - 8:10 am

    I recently signed up to Blasty which is meant to deal with illegal sites online that are selling your book for free. So far they have blasted over seventy sites. Whether it works or not I am not sure but it makes me feel better and that I am doing something about the piracy out there.

    • #79 by Julie Watson on August 3, 2018 - 2:30 am

      Have you heard of them, Roz? I was wondering if others use their service?

      • #80 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on August 3, 2018 - 6:59 am

        I tried the beta version. I wasn’t convinced. Many of the alerts weren’t for copies of my book; they were for mentions of it on other blogs or sites. I had to go through each alert and check the source; many of them were fine. Others were dodgy looking, but they seemed to be scam sites that were asking for subscriptions or were phishing in order to instal malware. I doubt that they actually had my book files; it looked like they had been compiled by bot. I never found anything that looked truly like file sharing. The interface was difficult to use and I accidentally blasted’ sites I shouldn’t have, which then had to be undone. I fed this back to the coders and I know they made a lot of changes, so perhaps it works much better now.
        I decided not to continue. I know a few people who do use them, though.
        Whether Blasty is useful or not, I’m more concerned about challenging the behaviour behind the assumption that piracy is okay. These aren’t the people who set up sites offering shoals of books for a nominal fee (and arguably don’t even have the books anyway). They’re the people who run off a quick copy, or couple of copies or ten and share them among their friends, either real-life friends or online groups. They do it without a qualm and they pass the books on through a personal network, which creates a social pressure to accept it.
        But have others here used Blasty? Do pipe up.

        • #81 by Julie Watson on August 3, 2018 - 7:09 am

          Thanks, Roz. Great to have your opinion on it.

  36. #84 by Tom Southern (@_TomSouthern) on August 2, 2018 - 10:06 am

    Hello Roz,

    This is awful!

    Book clubs are supposed to buy the books they read (or borrow the book from a library – remember them? ). I wonder if these clubs are really book clubs.

    Also, they show an aptitude for copying that I don’t have. Copying more than say a word in order to ask Google about, includes a kind of ‘watermark’. Try it yourself (on your own book). Unless, and this is the worse bit, these ‘book clubs’ have got some sort of copying software.

    Have you included a clause in your speaking contract to disallow copying and all its shapes and forms?

    • #85 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on August 2, 2018 - 5:22 pm

      Hi Tom! Yes, it’s awful, isn’t it? I have an inkling of how it can be done, but obviously I’m not going to say!

      A clause in a contract … well, most book club appearances are casual with no contracts. I would have thought decency would do the trick. It probably does in most cases, but alas not every time.

  37. #86 by mykynla on August 9, 2018 - 10:18 pm

    Wow this is so true. I self-published on Amazon and then I logged in from my personal amazon account just to check up on things and when I went to purchase my own book I saw that someone was selling my book 2nd hand and i didnt approve this but it was coming from a second hand dealer and that is not what I approved on amazon. Its a tricky tricky situation

  38. #87 by mkittysamom on August 14, 2018 - 2:10 am

    It’s not piracy that needs to stop its the publishers that need to stop making ebooks unavailable to all by having so many different non transferable file types. If they only bought one copy was it because they didn’t all have the same tablet? I’ve never seen a book club share a copy of one book before that is a little weird. I’ve seen people share between 2 ppl.. for someone who maybe coudn’t Afford it. Did the group maybe think they were doing a review for a copy? I don’t think that it would be rude of you to ask more questions at all. I hope that if authors and readers can commmunicate better without raging at each other or at Pirates Argh YE Matey! People at gonna do what they want because that’s how we are.. well used to getting what we want but.. where is all this “info” coming from stating all pirates are wealthy? Because I’ve never met one honestly! You know it’s illegal to back up a copy of a book you bought? And that Amazon doesn’t technically sell you the book to keep.. it’s more of a Borrow since they can delete it even if you have paid for it. How do you back it up then, the book file or what if someone has a kindle and an iPad…. they both use different book types. I think the non DRM is helping immensely but until the publishers give us readers some breathing room.. I doubt that Pirates will sail away on the seven seas!

    • #88 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on August 14, 2018 - 7:19 am

      I think if writers remind the rest of the world what is piracy and what isn’t, what is fair and what isn’t, then we will all benefit. Don’t you?
      PS So books might be too expensive. But the device you read them on, which you possibly pay a monthly fee for?

      • #89 by mkittysamom on July 6, 2021 - 10:29 pm

        I only have Kindle Unlimited and as far as “fees” I have a bare minimum and not in books. But mainly I was trying to say that if you buy a physical copy (like paperback) you own the book right? So then say I buy your book from Kindle, or iBooks.. then I don’t technically own it. Both Apple and mostly Amazon are “renting” it to you because they can delete it at any time from your account. You don’t pay a fee, I’m saying if I buy a ebook, you usually pay once. Like with a paperback and sometimes they can cost the same or more, or yea for a sale. Then also is the issue of other governments meaning outside of the USA not letting people read certain books or them being available to read even from a library and then sometimes not all Ppl can get library cards. I know it sounds stupid but I have run into many Ppl in this situation. Along with myself I don’t have library card either due to fines. Yes I can pay but it’s an issue of transportation and other priorities and all the other stuff money wise we all have to balance. Btw now that I’m replying so much later lol I hate subscriptions and in app fees lol. I just wanted to present another point of view because I feel and have noticed authors get very upset about Ppl who pirate and not all pirates are bad. Some of them are making copies of books they already bought so in case they get deleted they still have a copy. Also it’s kinda like lending books to your friends but instead of physical it’s an ebook. Another side note on libraries, have you ever seen how much libraries are charged for their ebooks? It’s super high and they have to buy Multiple copies in able to borrow it out to Ppl. But their are always gonna be Ppl who steal as well for whatever reason besides they want it and don’t wanna pay, entitlement maybe. There is so much imbedded in this topic and I need to refresh and reread your article. Thanks for replying and having this conversation it’s really important in this age of fast tech!

  39. #90 by mkittysamom on August 14, 2018 - 2:12 am

    DRM doesn’t work by the way in case anyone wanted to know.

  40. #91 by mkittysamom on August 14, 2018 - 2:15 am

    Ps Now that I read the comments.. there are actually very few sites that are “sharing books”.. most of what you guys run into are these fake spammy sites that sat down The Black Book Of Nothing Free Click Here.. is nothing but a Fake Ad. There are millions and that isn’t really piracy it’s a scam. Those I agree need to GO AWAY!

    • #92 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on August 14, 2018 - 7:19 am

      Agreed that those sites often don’t have the books. But I think you can see that’s not what my post was about.

  41. #93 by mkittysamom on August 14, 2018 - 2:16 am

    *Say Download instead of sat down oops

  42. #94 by amyraines31author on September 15, 2018 - 7:52 pm

    Thank you for this post. Piracy has been a thorn in the sides of many authors for far too long.

    • #95 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on September 17, 2018 - 2:06 pm

      Thanks, Amy – so pleased you feel it’s worth the fight!

      • #96 by amyraines31author on September 17, 2018 - 3:57 pm

        Yes it is. I have always been against stealing of any kind. Piracy is the theft of someone else’s work. I am a new author myself and I personally feel that if someone wants to share something for free, that’s one thing. No one has the right to just take it, it is still a huge violation that really needs to be stopped. It takes a lot of courage to stand up to Piracy, which makes you very brave in my book, which in turn makes me a new, very avid supporter, fighting piracy with you.

        • #97 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on September 17, 2018 - 5:57 pm

          Exactly! Deciding to give away a book is the author’s choice. Having it taken without permission is another thing entirely.

  43. #98 by Lisa the Infidel on September 18, 2018 - 9:32 am

    Reblogged this on The way I see things ….

  44. #100 by lrrutherford on October 2, 2018 - 9:33 pm

    I had NO idea that this was going on! This is crazy! I agree that if you can spend $20 on coffee alone in a week, then you can afford an E-Copy of a book. Steeling right in front of someone in your own club is ridiculous. I’m sorry that happened!

    • #101 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on October 3, 2018 - 8:01 am

      Thanks! I’m not sure it was the explanation in my case, but it’s happened to others I know.

  45. #102 by Phil Cobb on October 11, 2018 - 9:11 pm

    What might slow down the book club thieves would be for digital copies of books to erase themselves as soon as they are copied (don’t ask me if this is possible; I just throw out ideas).

  46. #104 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on September 18, 2018 - 7:13 pm

    Thanks for the mention!

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