So, Shiloh Walker asked today whether people thought that they were affected by book piracy as readers. There are some interesting comments on her site (go comment, but play nice or she will shut the comments off), but I realized before I hit “submit” on my own comment that it was a topic which meant a lot to me. And as such, I should really post it on my site as well.
So here. This is what I said on Shiloh’s blog. What do you all think?
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Does piracy affect me as a reader?
Yes. End of story.
Though you probably want a longer response than that to more easily see into my thought process…
I have heard and understand the “these people wouldn’t buy the books anyway” and the “get the work out there so the author’s name gets known” attitudes, and while there is some merit to those viewpoints they are – to my mind – excuses. Not reasons, but *excuses*.
And giving an excuse as good as admits fault.
There are other ways to “test drive” an author. There are plenty of freebies on the web, and many authors that I know are not all high-and-mighty: so if readers clamoured for a snippet, the author would likely provide.
We may say that there’s not a huge loss from book piracy, and that may (BIG “if”) be true. However, even if it is true now, it will take its toll. Even if book piracy only costs the publishing houses enough to reduce their output by one book per year, that’s still one book (per house) less that readers lost. That’s still one author (per house) that will have to supplement writing income from another source.
And there’s no telling whether that one book (that *should* have been published if there was the money not being lost to piracy) is going to be The Next Great American Novel.
Yes. Piracy costs readers a LOT.