Click-It · Politicking · Write Now

Readers and Piracy

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?

~*~   ~*~   ~*~

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.

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4 thoughts on “Readers and Piracy

  1. Well, and not even looking at the big publishing houses but at the smaller ebook-only presses and authors – one torrent can really trash their book income. At some point, why bother writing and getting published?

  2. I completely agree. Maybe what these readers who get these pirated books don’t understand that if the author doesn’t sell enough books then the publisher may not offer them another contract/ask them to write another book. Every pirated book is a book that doesn’t count to the author’s sales.

    Most authors are not multi-selling millionaires. Writing is something they do because they love it. Most have day jobs. I remember reading on Rachel Caine’s live journal when she was working an 80 hour week and writing in whatever time she got spare. My admiration for her skyrocketed – I don’t know how she managed it.

  3. Mum always buy books from the bookshop. She says it’s hard enough to write, let alone have someone else steal your work and send it all over the place left, right, center. At least, the writer deserved to be paid for the time he/she spent thinking and writing. I agree with Mum. Besides, there’s a lot effort put into making a book and people should respect that.

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