I recently read a novel where the author included a note to anyone who was considering posting her work to any illegal file-sharing sites. It contained a brilliant and rather humorous threat to any of the d-bags who wanted to do so. It was spot on and brought up an important issue, so I made a note on my calender to blog about the e-piracy of books this week.
Later on, I came across this article from the Huffington Post on the "The High Cost of Stolen Books."
Then last night, a Google alert directed me to a site called ShareTermPapers.com where someone had asked for a copy of Grounding Quinn to be uploaded so that they could all share it . And then it became personal. If you aren't familiar with ShareTermPapers or similar websites, they operate under the guise that they are a library, or a place for college kids to connect and help each other with research. But really, they are all about illegal file-sharing. The users of the site can upload any e-book and share it with the entire site community. For free. I think if you take a minute to look around at their lists of available novels, you'll be shocked (and disgusted) by not what you find, but what you won't find. Their "library" is extensive- full of new and old releases of both books by blockbuster authors, mid-lists and indie's.
After perusing their site I discovered a thread where the administrators actually started a debate between authors and the users of the site to try to come to some sort of "compromise" and to prove their point as to why they should still be able to illegally post and share authors work WITHOUT THE AUTHORS PERMISSION. Their reasons were laughable, and still sickening and ranged from:
1) The site actually BENEFITS authors because they are making them more money by bringing in new readers. Wait, they are bringing in new readers to their site that are looking to download my work, ILLEGALLY, FOR FREE, and I should thank them? And somehow, that's more profitable for myself and other authors? They can't *actually* believe that, can they? Give me a break.
2) Some of the readers claim that it is their right to "share" the ebooks because they OWN them, and it is just like a library allowing people to borrow them. Two things, these readers that state this are incorrect. They don't OWN my work. They may have purchased a copy of it, but the difference in them uploading unlimited free copies for other readers and a library lending a book repeatedly is that the library is not making a COPY of the book. That's where it becomes illegal.
In addition, if you borrow a book from the library and don't return it, you are charged for it. In this situation, a duplicate is being made and distributed of something that is copyright protected and that my friend, is illegal. There is no fee charged, no borrowing and then returning. You get the point.
I have to say these arguments are both weak and infuriating. We ALL know that it is illegal to burn and distribute a copy of a dvd. We ALL know it's illegal to download free music from those virus laden sites. So why is it that the users of these e-book pirate sites seem to think that they are ENTITLED to your work for free?
The only thing that gets under my skin more than people that feel like they are entitled to things that they don't work for, are people that steal. And that's exactly what you are doing when you upload a book to one of those sharing sites. You are allowing people to steal from me and countless other authors.
I've used the word "work" a lot throughout this blog post. Because that's exactly what my novel was. It was WORK. It was hours spent by myself in my office away from my kids, it was missing out on bbq's to edit, it was choosing writing over much needed sleep when my son was a newborn. And I ended up with a novel that I love and that am proud of. A novel that I would LOVE to share with you. The price of my Grounding Quinn is very inexpensive. It is $2.99 in ebook format. That isn't exactly steep for several hours of entertainment.
Finally, I am very generous with giving out both free ebook and print copies of Grounding Quinn to legitimate reviewers or interested parties WHEN THEY ASK ME. Don't be a jackhole and go on one of these sites and upload it for the masses.
That's just wrong. It's stealing plain and simple. And you know it.