More Thoughts on Why Book Pirates Suck

Well!

That hit a nerve, didn’t it?

My dog listened to all of yesterday’s comments carefully.

If you want to read some fascinating stuff, scroll through the comments to yesterday’s original "Book Pirates Suck" post. I really appreciate everyone who took the time to comment. Your thoughts helped me clarify my position.

Several readers tried to justify book pirating. Here are their arguments (paraphrased in bold face) and my responses.

1. Publishers make too much money and charge too much for books, so it is fair to steal from them.

::busts into uncontrollable laughter::

Publishing is NOT the music industry. No, no, no, no! It is a hide-bound inefficient industry that is trying (veeery slooooowly) to reconfigure itself for the modern age. Publishing has a notoriously low profit margin – on the order of 2% is the number I’ve heard, though I don’t have any stats to back that up. Most people in publishing – including and especially authors – earn very little money. That’s why book piracy could have such devasting effects. Do you really want to read books that were only written by people from rich families?

NOTE: American publishers have been loathe to give up their hardcover sales even though authors (including me) have begged them to. Maybe this piracy will help them see the light. I would love it if all of my books were simultaneously released hardcover and paperback. Do you think that is coming?

2. I just download illegally so I can preview a book. That is different from downloading a book so I can steal it.

No, it’s not. Whenever you download a book illegally (also known as stealing) you are encouraging the person who uploaded it to keep being a pirate. You have countless legal ways to review a book. I offer free chapters on my website. Publishers offer free chapters. You can read reviews all over the Internet. You can borrow it from the library.

3. You are being silly because research has shown that when musicians offer their work for free, or say, post a couple of songs from an album, their sales go up.

A musician offering a song for free is exactly the same thing as a writer offering a chapter or two for free. And I think it is fantastic when an author puts her book on the internet for free downloads. Maureen Johnson is doing that right now. The critical difference is that the writer (and her publisher) is the one making the call. Don’t you think it is fair that an artist gets to control how her work is offered to the public? What if a person snuck into an artist’s gallery, stole copies of an image, then put them all over the net. Is that OK, too?

4. People who download a book for free will then go out and buy it if they like it.

I am sure some will. I am also sure many more won’t. And since when has our economy been constructed on a "pay if you like it" model? If you don’t like a book, you can return it. If a book is not selling in a store, the bookstore can return it to the publisher.

5. But I don’t have the money to buy the book!

I so completely sympathize with that position!!!! I have not been able to buy books for most of my life! (Including right now!) That’s why I am such a fan of libraries. If you don’t have the money to buy books, stealing them is not the answer.


WHAT I LEARNED YESTERDAY

I think the biggest problem here is that the generation that is currently 12 – 26 have grown up with free content on the Internet. They expect things to be free. Is that their fault? Well, maybe the 26-year-olds should be wise enough to have a clue. But we need to do a better job educating teens about economics and the consequences and larger ramifications of stealing. (I get a sense that we’re about to see more people charging for Internet content – do you have an opinion about that?)

IF YOU ARE THINKING OF ILLEGALLY DOWNLOADING A BOOK, THINK ABOUT PANTS

If you want to buy a pair of pants, you go to the store. Try them on. Buy them. Take them home. Return them if you don’t like them.

You do not steal the pants, wear them for a while, then throw them out them if you don’t like them. (If you are a pants-stealer, there is a court date in your future.)

AND you do not sneak into the store at night, steal 100 cartons of pants, then distribute them for free on the street the next morning. (This is what the person who uploads the book is doing.)

The same rule applies to books.

Readers have many different ways to test-drive a book: reviews, blog comments, read sample chapters posted online. Heck – go to the library and read the whole thing. If you want to read the whole book, you buy it.

LAST THOUGHTS

I hope we can develop the technology to catch book pirates. I’m not going to hold my breath.

I hope that book piracy will be a wake-up call to publishers to make paperbacks available faster.

I hope this generation will be kinder than the ones who have come before them and not treat artists like dirt.

Book pirates suck.

The Creature With Fangs wants to know what you think about all of this.

83 Replies to “More Thoughts on Why Book Pirates Suck”

  1. I said yesterday i only download to see if i like it. You changed my mind, in the future i’ll try and find chapters legally. Thanks 🙂

  2. I completely agree.

    I agree that book pirates suck. A lot. I think it’s just because ever since i was little (i’m only 22 now.) but I’ve always been buying books. My mom always tried to get me to go to the library instead but I like owning books by favoured authors and that way i can loan them to people.

    I am guilty of downloading music though, but i still purchase quite a bit of music, but I’m a student and it gets expensive.

    I hope we can win the book pirate war…downloading books is silly, get some patience wait for it to be in the library.

    1. Re: I completely agree.

      “I am guilty of downloading music though, but i still purchase quite a bit of music, but I’m a student and it gets expensive.”

      So you go out shoplifting too, do you? And then justify it by saying you’re a student? Nice.

  3. I think the biggest problem here is that the generation that is currently 12 – 26 have grown up with free content on the Internet. They expect things to be free. Is that their fault? Well, maybe the 26-year-olds should be wise enough to have a clue. But we need to do a better job educating teens about economics and the consequences and larger ramifications of stealing. (I get a sense that we’re about to see more people charging for Internet content – do you have an opinion about that?)

    This is certainly part of the problem, but I don’t think we can only put the blame on “those damn kids!”

    It’s also the fault of those who created the technology that allowed for digital art to be made available. They didn’t take the time to stop and think about the consequences, or else they would have done back then what everyone is now scrambling to try and do now – namely, create technology that prevents pirating without pissing off the consumer. To this point, they haven’t done a very good job of that.

    As I’ve said to probably hundreds of people now, including published authors, e-publishers, and editors: someone needs to develop a technology that allows digital files to be SHARED, but not COPIED.

    If I buy a book from the bookstore, it’s mine. I can do with it what I want. I can loan it to my mother, or my friend, and they can read it, and return it to me. I could, if I were crazy enough, sit and photocopy it – but that’s way more trouble than it’s worth, which is why there was never a huge problem with “pirated” photocopied of published books.

    Now, let’s look at a digital book. The issue is that it is ridiculously easy for me to make 1,000 copies – or even 1,000,000 copies – of that digital book. I can even simply place my digital book on a virtual “shelf” on the internet and anyone who wants it or who wanders by can make their own copy. This is not right. It’s stealing.

    We don’t want stealing (well, yes there are some of us who do because some people will always take something for free if they can easily get their hands on it – that’s just the way it is).

    But the current “solution” to the stealing is no solution. First of all, it doesn’t work; it’s too easy to hack (as is obvious by the large number of p2p networks with millions of files on them). Second of all, it pisses people like me right the hell off. I buy the book, and that means it should be mine. Except it isn’t. I’m told I can’t share it or do anything with it, and what’s more, if it comes with one of the really nasty forms of DRM, if I move it to other computers, I could muck up the file to the point where it’s destroyed. This is not right. I bought the book. I should be able to move it to any other computer I damn well please. I should be able to LOAN it to my mother, or my friend.

    Note I said LOAN. What’s needed in the digital art world is coding that allows files to be moved (aka loaned) from one computer to another without restriction, but which doesn’t allow COPYING. This would let folks loan out their electronic books and music, and solve the pirating issue.

    Now, how long will it take for someone to figure out this is what they need to do and then actually figure out a way to do it? I don’t know. But I do know that this is what needs to happen.

    I keep hoping that if I tell enough people and maybe some of them pass it along as well, somewhere along the way, a light bulb will go off in someone’s head to make it a reality. If I were a genius coder, I’d try and do it myself.

    1. The loan issue is actually why I haven’t bothered with ebooks. I don’t want to purchase something that can’t be given out to my friends without it breaking some law. I know about the various and sundry e-readers, but they are just too expensive. Still, all excellent points.

      1. It’s not the expense that keeps me from buying an e-reader. It’s the fact that there are file types that can only be read by certain e-readers, which means that if you buy one, there will be files you won’t be able to download and use. I despise that sort of “we’re going to force you to buy these types of files” nonsense.

        It’s the VHS vs. Beta war all over again, and until someone wins it, I’m not putting any money on the table.

    2. DRM makes me angry, too. I remember when iTunes first came out with their “99 cents a song!” thing, and I was like “great!” but then when my computer crashed and I had to transfer the songs from my iPod to another computer, it told me I didn’t have permission to play those songs on that computer. If I pay for something, I should be able to use it!

      iTunes is still successful despite the fact that you can still download music for free from torrents or p2p programs. TV and movies are still successful despite torrents and before that videocassettes, which some people thought would lead to rampant piracy back when they first showed up. But can books survive book piracy? Personally I don’t know anyone who pirates books, so it’s hard for me to imagine it’s a huge rampant problem. But I don’t have the data on it, of course. I suppose with things like the Kindle becoming more popular, there would be a natural rise in pirated ebooks.

  4. These posts have been really insightful and, for those unfamiliar with the publishing world, educational.

    You are right to stress the use of libraries. As a librarian and an author, I think its up to both groups to emphasize this idea. Something like a “Don’t steal: Borrow!” campaign. Individual authors can do more to encourage readers to use the library. So on my to do list for tonight is to add the WorldCat link for my book to my website.

    And for the lighter side of this issue, just yesterday in the library where I work I overheard two kids talking about our security gates.
    Boy 1: Who would steal a book?
    Boy 2: If I really wanted to read something, and I didn’t have any money, I might steal it.
    (Pause)
    Actually I would just check it out of the library and then bring it back when I was done.

  5. I agree with pretty much all of what you’re saying – as an author (who also happens to be in her early 20s – let’s not do too much blaming of one particular generation) – but the pants comparison doesn’t work for me. When a copy of a book is downloaded, it’s still available at the source for further downloading. (Which is, I think, a BIG part of why people often don’t see it as ‘stealing’.) It’s more like going into a bookshop and accepting the sneaky Xerox copy of the book from the creepy guy who’s there giving them out for free, and saying to someone about to pick up the real published book, “Hey, don’t PAY for that, sucker!” And then watching as the real published copies get sent back to the publisher for pulping. And laughing evilly. (Okay, maybe not that last part, but still.)

    1. I think you’ve got a point with the tangible vs. digital issue. I have yet to read any digital books, and I don’t think any of my friends have gone there yet either, but format affects how people share with their friends.

      One friend buys an album, either on CD or digitally on Amazon or iTunes or whatever. “Dude, you totally need to listen to this, it’s great!” Files are loaded onto iPods, or CDs are ripped. It becomes digital even if it didn’t start out that way. Voila, two copies now exist.

      Friend buys a paper book. “This is a totally great book! You should def read it!” Books are borrowed, read, and returned. Borrowing books from friends seems like a personally reasonable thing to do, like if you borrowed a vinyl album from someone, listened to it and gave it back. If you like it that much, you go and buy a copy of it somewhere, (though if you don’t you’ve still read the whole thing and the artist was still paid once).

      I think what I’m trying to say is, with digital art, you can’t just borrow it and give it back. You’re file sharing. Which translates to stealing. You’re automatically duplicating it, which is the nature of digital stuff, but that’s not ok. We can’t share our belongings with each other ethically anymore, because of the nature of the medium.

  6. Okay, can’t stand it anymore.. have to weigh in…

    First, Thank you Arielstarshadow! I agree totally, and if I find that certain person who can code something that will work, I’ll be sure to tell him/her it was your idea!

    Second, when my family hears a song on the radio that we like, we go to itunes and PAY to download the song. It saves us money because we are not buying the whole album for songs we might not like and, at least I hope, the artist gets something from itunes. I believe that is what the whole music industry/pirating debacle resulted in. This is to say that when we hear of a song or book that interests us, we seek it out. If we like it, we BUY it. Or in the case of a book, we can borrow it from a library or from a friend.

    Which brings me to a thought on a post from yesterday: To the person who had the challenged friend, with little money to purchase a book or to travel to get a book. Why can’t you get him/her involved with a book swap? Or pick up a bunch of books at the library on your way to visit your friend? Point: there is always another way to do something or to get something WITHOUT stealing or going without.

    Third: I compared the pirating of songs to the pirating of books on the internet. Probably the people who feel that the downloading of songs, in which the artists received no royalties, was okay, feel the same way about the downloading of books in the same manner. There was industry uproar then (as there should have been) and the problem was addressed BECAUSE IT WAS WRONG! The same holds true with book pirating. You can crunch numbers and spew intelligent sounding thoughts/beliefs based on reports (that haven’t been completed yet, because the data is NOT all in); the fact remains, no matter how you tweak it, stealing is wrong. A first-time or hardened criminal will justify his/her actions no matter the circumstances. Because he truly believes that what he has done is okay; he may not know any better. That may sound harsh, but stealing is a crime; it’s just harder to catch book/song pirates.

    Book Pirates DO suck!!! Plain and simple…

    QL

  7. On the hardcover vs. paperback issue

    As a publisher of children’s books, I can explain why we prefer to have hardcovers out first, and often for at least a season, before we introduce the paperback version. It’s all about the margins. We make more profit from the hardcover, which means we can help you earn out your advance faster and we can cover the cost for more reprintings, both hardcover and paperback, and for new front list titles. We also know that libraries want the hardcovers, and we like them to get the books upon publication rather than putting on them the cost of buying paperbacks and having them rebound as hardcovers at their expense or buying them from rebinders at much higher costs. Hope that helps! 🙂

    1. Re: On the hardcover vs. paperback issue

      I think most of the book people here understand why books usually come out in hardcover first, and why the profit margin on hardcovers is important for the publisher and author. But as a childrens bookseller, I can tell you that parents and teens often don’t understand that. Especially when you have bestsellers like Breaking Dawn or Harry Potter 7, which stayed in hardcover for going on two years, or hit series like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which Scholastic only makes available in hardcover. It’s difficult to explain to people why these books are only available in a more expensive format without making the publishers seem greedy, and it’s possible that that is exactly why some people are turning to piracy. (Which is NOT to say that it’s okay that they’re doing so, but making paperbacks available sooner might curb it some.)

    2. Re: On the hardcover vs. paperback issue

      I often wait for books to come out in paperback before I buy them and so do many of my friends and family members. Hardcover books are too expensive.

      So that’s a vicous circle: Hardcovers make sure to

      “earn out [the] advance faster and (…) cover the cost for more reprintings, both hardcover and paperback, and for new front list titles.”

      BUT as they often aren’t sold eough because many people wait for the cheaper paperback, publishers wait even longer till they realease the paperback because they need longer to reach the afore mentoined sales/profit breaking point.

      I think it would be a good idea to realease both (hardcover and paperback) at the same time, so libraries and hardcover lovers can have the book and people who can’t afford a hardcover could buy the paperback. It would probably be a financial risk for the publisher cause they have larger expenses/advances that first BUT I’m sure initial sales would be better than a “hardcover-only” release.

    3. Re: On the hardcover vs. paperback issue

      How is the profit margin better if no one buys the hard cover because it’s too expensive?

      I can understand putting out a well-established author in hard cover. The author has a built in fan base, the work is known, and people will buy the book because they are fans and they have an idea of what to expect. But debut authors? I’m 35 years old and I’m wary of shelling out $18-$20 for a book by a new author especially if the book is hovering around only 200-250 pages–and we all know that books by debut authors tend to be on the short side. I want some meat for my cash! 🙂

      Middle grade books and younger coming out in hardcover? Come on! What second grader has $18 to spend on a book? Granted, it’s more than likely the parents buying the books, but my mother would buy me stacks of those Apple paperbacks or Baby-sitters Club books. They were affordable and portable. I never had hardbacks as a kid, and I rarely buy them for my own son.

      OR why not release special hardcover editions JUST for libraries, and for consumers, release paperback? I know that Random House releases hardcover and that special library binding simultaneously. It has to be cheaper to produce paperbacks. They will probably translate into more sales, and be great all around. Although, I am just speculating from a consumer’s point of view.

      1. Re: On the hardcover vs. paperback issue

        When I was a kid I would save up my allowance to buy books, but I NEVER bought hardcovers. I bought Baby-Sitters Club or Christopher Pike or Katherine Applegate paperbacks. Between a $6 mass-market paperback and a $18 hardcover there was no contest.

  8. I laughed out loud at your number one, though I did take a bit of an exception to the thought that this is a generational thing. As a twenty-something who would love to eventually get paid for writing, I’d like there to still be an industry left when my stuff finally gets up to par. So there never has and never will be any book piracy from my corner of the woods. =)

  9. You are so right on all fronts, Laurie. Book piracy is wrong, and readers who are tempted to support the pirates need to understand the ramifications of their actions. When I teach my comp classes, we have so many discussions about plagiarism–how damaging it is and why it’s not okay–and that inevitably evolves into a talk about piracy.The students really don’t understand how it effects the economics of the industry.

    My first book was released simultaneously in hardcover and paperback, and although the hardcover had a smaller print run, the pb sales were great. Bring able to offer a paperback to readers at the outset makes a huge difference–kids could afford to buy the book, and libraries and schools could get the hardcover. Of course, book #2 is only in HC. *sigh*

    A combination of education and a change in the industry is the only way to combat this problem.

  10. (As for any of the above excuses – Um, this is why authors put *excepts* of their books up on their websites. Read a chapter. Decide if you like it. Then buy. You don’t need to pirate a whole book to decide if you want to read it.)

    Really, i don’t think using bookstores like a library is really any better – sometimes you get a book and you read it and it sucks. That doesn’t mean that you should make a habit of read/return to bookstores. Just accept it, and move on. Donate the book to a library, pass it on to someone you think will like it and move forward.

    Occasionally, book love does not happen. But really? If you read the entire book, then decide it wasn’t worth your money – well, to me that is akin to eating a meal THEN complaining to that it was horrible and wanting your money back. Don’t do it.

  11. I am at the end of that generation you mentioned– I’m 26. And until I sold my first book, I was all about free content. I loved Napster. Had a few variations of Kazaa. I downloaded a lot of audio books via torrents. And then I sold my first book and my perspective changed.

    The thing about downloading is if you don’t look, you can avoid seeing any ramifications of you stealing. It’s just you in your house– you don’t see the author thinking about getting another job, getting a royalty statement without a check attached, going over why their publisher doesn’t want to take a second book, etc. I think if people could see and understand that, they’d be less likely to steal.

    I think that’s why it’s so good for authors to talk about it– so people understand that when someone downloads a book, it’s NOT innocent and it DOES hurt someone and it’s NOT okay. Sure, you’re just one person stealing– and if it began and ended with you, I could handle the lost money I guess. But it doesn’t begin and end with you. You are part of a bigger problem and what you do DOES effect someone else.

    And also? Thanks to google alerts I know and see exactly who is asking for pdfs of my book online, and am turning every site over the my publisher’s legal department. And I’m not the only author doing that. It’s just such a shame that we have to. I want to write books, not play policeman to thieves.

  12. I agree completely that book pirates suck. I would like to add that people who steal books from libraries also suck. DON’T STEAL BOOKS, PEOPLE!

  13. I love the library.

    I visit my local library at least once a week (sometimes twice). As a poor grad student I can not afford to buy books to read for pleasure…I can barely afford to buy textbooks (a different bear of a subject)! This semester I was fortunate enough to find most of my text books through my public library and my university library. I already pay for these resources through taxes and university fees. It feels great to find what I need (I need books for pleasure!) at the libraries I use.

    I look forward to building my personal library when I am out of school and out of a one bedroom apartment!

  14. In addition to faster paperbacks, we need a non-proprietary e-book format. It’s possible some book pirates will later go out and buy a hardcopy of a book – but I think it’s more probable that if an e-book version was available, potential pirates would look there first. I saw yesterday that there were lots of people who definitely prefer the physical book over the electronic, and I’m usually one of them, but when I want to surreptitiously read the book (when I’m reading some sort of guilty-pleasure novel that I would never actually admit to reading, lol), an e-book format is preferable because nobody can tell!

    A non-proprietary format means that I wouldn’t have to have a Kindle to read Amazon-only e-book titles or a nook to read B&N only titles – it’d be the e-book format of an MP3. I actually don’t want a dedicated e-reader and prefer to read my e-books on my netbook. And like someone upthread called for, a reliable way to loan out e-books would be great as well! (I think the Nook has that feature? Or maybe it was a rumored feature)

    1. The Nook does have a lending feature, though it’s really limited right now. The loan is only for 14 days, and you can only lend each e-book once ever. Some e-books actually can’t even be loaned — some of the publishers wouldn’t agree to it.

      1. My library has limited-use digital downloads for audiobooks. I’ve never used them because they won’t play on an iPod, but you download the file and it will play for X number of days, then it just won’t open anymore. I hesitate to try them because it would mean sitting at my computer for X hours within a certain time frame, since I’m not going to lug my laptop with me everywhere I would normally listen to it, and if I didn’t finish it in time I’d be really frustrated.

  15. *applauds* If only we had someone like you speaking up for the music industry, a lot of people, including me, might still have jobs. Stealing is stealing. And it’s always wrong.

  16. It’s pretty clear that you refused to really listen to what the people who argued with your post were saying. I myself know I wasn’t arguing to justify piracy of any sort. I was arguing against the tone of your post, which precludes the possibility that some–rather, as scientific, peer-reviewed studies have shown, many–people who download ebooks do not “suck”, as you so eloquently put it. Moreover, I was arguing that these book pirates might not be having the impact on your book sales that you think they are. It may simply be that no one is buying your books.

    I have never downloaded an ebook. And still I am defending the possibility that the issue is not as black and white as “book pirates suck”. I thought that’s what your books were about…don’t assume a situation is simple when you, as you clearly don’t about this issue, don’t understand the complexities. I am very disappointed in the MANNER in which you’ve handled the topic and the people who have tried to present you with a perspective on the situation.

    I was planning on buying several copies of “Speak” out of my own pocket for my classroom (which is in one of the nation’s most impoverished regions–I was placed there as a part of Teach For America), but I won’t be now because I’m disturbed by your inability or unwillingness to admit that you might not understand something about the free market economy or your readers. So, in the end, you’ve stolen money out of your own pocket.

    1. I paid for an e-book once after reading a few chapters of it online on the e-book publishers website. I quickly devoured my purchase straight away. lol I think that’s another point to raise.

      We live in a ‘I want it now’ culture, so in a sense e-books and the ability to ‘download’ books legally from some kind of shop online would work wonders. It would save people pinching them for free. Also, we could do the ‘Spotify’ for books. You could have a catalogue of sample chapters licensed from publishers and popular authors, and people can read the chapters, and if they like them, they can then purchase them on the aforementioned site I mentioned about creating.

    2. I do not agree with most of what you’re saying–but I do agree with ‘s plea not to deprive your students of Speak. If you do indeed work in one of the most impoverished schools in America, what are the chances that they will come across this book on their own? You would rob your students of the opportunity to read such a wonderful book simply because you disagree with the attitude of its author? That, I think, is really a crying shame.

  17. I can’t be a thief

    I was taught morals growing up, and I translated those morals in the technology age to include music, books, and movies. We all know the stories from the music industry and everyone’s illegal downloads, but pirates out there need to realize that they are robbing real people:
    * my brother-in-law, who’s a camera operator in the film industry, only gets paid fractions of pennies for whatever he works on.
    * my friends who are writers, successful writers, and yet have to keep their day jobs AND teach AND edit on the side in order to make ends meet.

    The internet is a wonderful new technology that allows us access to limitless knowledge, but we have to find ways to protect our electronic shopkeepers from the pants-stealing customers.

  18. I’ve never pirated a book, and I don’t plan to. Not only is it stealing, but the librarians at my local library appreciate it when I come home from college and boost their circulation numbers. I love my local library too much to deprive them of that.

  19. Okay…

    I am 24 and a creative writing student, but I wouldn’t say I’ve grown up with ‘free content’. When I had the internet at about 10, there was none of this free content malarkey. It’s only been available in the last few years, if that.

    I agree on all your points, as a person who is about to move into the same profession as you are. I always make a habit of buying legal products and services, even though I am a lot of a bargain hunter and have to shop around for the best prices. I do think some people have a good idea in that some products sold in the entertainment industry are far too expensive, and that if their price was lowered a bit then people would be more likely to buy it, and also buy other stuff as well, thinking all the stuff they are buying will be cheaper. But because they think the products are cheaper, they will then end up buying more, thus increasing the income of artists.

    I think book pirating hasn’t really about until now, because books have been the slowest product to get onto the digital bandwagon. But now that they are going digital, with the likes of Kindle and so forth, we need to find a way to tackle this new problem and stop books being leaked onto the internet for free. I think it’s good to other a few chapters taster to see if people like a book, but not let them have the book for free. I think a lot of people don’t really understand the amount of hard work put into a large piece of writing such as a book.

    1. Re: Okay…

      When I was talking about the free content that you and your peers grew up with, I was specifically thinking about the old Napster, which made music files sharable and free illegally in 1999.

      The old Napster was sued for copyright infringement by a number of musicians, a case that made it to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which found them guilty. They were allowed to stay in business only if they could monitor their network and shut down any activity that broke copyright laws. They could not do this, went bankrupt, and shut down.

      The new Napster legally offers music for sale through their website and subscription service. They now make sure that musicians are paid for their work.

      1. Re: Okay…

        There are still Napster-like programs you can use for p2p file sharing, they just don’t have the visibility or popularity that Napster had. Not to mention programs like BitTorrent and torrent sites. And if those get sued too, another ten will crop up in their place. You can’t stop hackers. I think iTunes had the right idea with making individual songs available for a reasonable price, so that gave people an easy way to get songs for not too much money, which made the appeal of downloading illegally decrease.

        1. Re: Okay…

          The iTunes model makes sense for short stories, not for novels, which require a couple of years of work, on average.

          Should we sell the book a chapter at a time? (THAT is actually an interesting thought!)

          1. Re: Okay…

            Ha, maybe it would usher in a new era of Dickensian serialized fiction.

            I wasn’t so much saying that it’s analogous as that you can’t stop it. As much as we might like to turn back time and make it so nobody ever downloaded a book, or change everyone’s conscience so that they know that piracy equals stealing, we can’t. The world only moves forward. We have to adapt. I was just saying that iTunes did a good job of adapting. Some people still pirate music–but plenty of people buy it on iTunes.

  20. Teach for America

    I salute Teach For America for his/her service ,but I do have a comment on her upsetting reply. After checking the internet, which I pay $35. a month for access to, I see that Teach for America teachers receive a paycheck. Every two weeks? what if I deducted $1.00 from your check and then I showed someone else how to take another dollar, then what? What about how hard you’ve worked for your education? What about the student loans that you might have to pay back? What the sacrifices from possible partners or family members have made to help you? Do you have artist of any kind in your family who makes a living from their art? We’re very hard working people and we have few, and often none of the safety nets out there for the rest of the hard working people when bad things happen to us. We have a face. We have families and we have vet bills, and grocery bills. And we all hope to not die on the street in our old age, just like the rest of America. We are a part of the free market place that offers us the high-risk, but most often low-reward scenario. Concerning L.H.A. book SPEAK, it has a very powerful voice and message about the consequences for a young girl when something is ‘stolen’ from her. Personally, I would never deny a young student the book. Angels do not write books, paint pictures, build houses, or recite poetry, but artists make the world bearable when stronger forces are opposing all of us.

  21. Understanding the complexities

    “I have never downloaded an ebook. And still I am defending the possibility that the issue is not as black and white as “book pirates suck”. I thought that’s what your books were about…don’t assume a situation is simple when you, as you clearly don’t about this issue, don’t understand the complexities. I am very disappointed in the MANNER in which you’ve handled the topic and the people who have tried to present you with a perspective on the situation.”
    The “Manner” in which this individual has reacted to the overwhelming response to this thread speaks volumes. I took away from this as a kid picking up their toys and going home.
    The complexities of this entire topic boils down to a very simple concept. If it is not yours, it’s not yours to give.
    The notion that once something is downloaded into one’s computer that the individual will go out and purchase it is ludicrous. Human nature is to get to the next thing because the gratification wears off. Not to mention the fact that if you get something for free why in the world would you go out and buy it. Human nature would be to spend it on something else which is what they do and this is the whole point of this topic. People who sell something for a living can’t compete with a market that gives the goods away. Unfortunately the individuals who provide these downloads and those who utilize these sites won’t stop until there is a consequence for their actions. Of course they are the first ones to cry fowl when the internet bill goes up.

  22. Sort of on the note of book pirating, but more an off-shoot about your comment on free previews, I saw this article in the Times the other day: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/23/books/23kindle.html?scp=2&sq=amazon%20kindle&st=cse

    Apparently Kindle allows some free downloads to “encourage” people to buy more.

    While I do think the music industry has tried to rape the public for every penny, often at the cost of talented artists who never really make it, and force feed us crap CDs for 20 bucks with only one or two good songs, I do NOT believe in book pirating. The only time I’ve downloaded books was for a literature and computers class to analyze the text with different programs, and even then the books were on legitimate archive sites and were out of copyright.

    I also just hate the idea of electronic books… I need to hold it in my hand! Love it and turn its pages and make little notes and insert stickies at my favorite parts…

    Anyway, that’s my nerdy little tirade.

    1. Lemony Snicket

      Has anyone seen the Youtube of D. Handler trying to autograph a Kindle? He’s very funny on so many levels.

    2. I agree that there’s a big difference between music piracy and book piracy. I love books and indie bookstores and authors. I do everything I can to support them. But I don’t love the RIAA and their attempt to sue twelve-year-olds and grandmothers in order to make a point. I don’t love huge record labels that do things like this. I think by trying to make itself the enemy of piracy, the RIAA made itself the enemy of a lot of music fans, who didn’t want to support their attempts to sue people so they could line their pockets while still screwing the artists over.

      I think other industries could learn from the RIAA’s example. Figure out practical ways to discourage piracy. Invent new business models. Don’t waste your time attacking people who downloaded something for free. You just make enemies that way, and alienate fans.

  23. I get a sense that we’re about to see more people charging for Internet content – do you have an opinion about that?

    I think it depends on what it is, how it is offered, and how much it costs. Younger people aren’t going to pay for internet content if they don’t have their own credit card, and many don’t. So they either won’t be able to access something, or they’ll find a way to get it for free. Hackers will always, ALWAYS find a way around paying for things, and some people will take advantage of this.

    But if it’s offered in reasonable increments (i.e., most people aren’t going to want to pay for a subscription to an online newspaper or magazine just so they can read one article), easy to pay for, and worth the money, I think it could work. I’m envisioning some kind of pay system where you just put in your credit card once (ala paypal), and then while you’re browsing the web you come across something that’s like “New York Times wants to charge you 99 cents to read this article! Yes/No?” and you can decide whether to pay, without having to register for every website every time. I think that’d be very successful, but of course such a system isn’t in place right now.

    Another model I’ve seen work is websites that offer a basic version of their services for free (maybe with ads), and one with more features for money. Like… LiveJournal! I am a paid LiveJournal user and have been for years. Or Daytum, which I just signed up for, and was so addictive that I almost immediately paid the $4 for a month of upgraded use. That way younger people who can’t pay for Internet content don’t have to, and neither do people who just want to try out the service without knowing if they’ll like it enough to pay, or people who just can’t afford it or don’t think it’s worth it.

    More thoughts later, when I get home from work! This discussion is fascinating.

  24. book pirates

    I’m pretty old school and have never thought about downloading a book (free or purchased).I either buy my books from Amazon or check them out in libraries. This discussion has really given me something to ponder.Not only do writers have to be resourceful,creative, and meet deadlines;they also have to advocate for securing financial control over their work.Good luck with this! I’ve included a link you and your readers may be interested in.
    http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article3648813.ece

  25. Thank you for your expanded thoughts on your position! I agreed with you from the onset, but I think this post offers to educate and persuade even more.

    And, oh, how beneficial it would be to release hardback and paperback together from the get (or maybe one to three months after one another). I, for one, would be more willing to take a chance on an author or genre I was unfamiliar with, should I have the option of buying the cheaper format without having to wait a year. And, I would happily buy the hardback of those authors I’ve known and trusted and cherished.

    And what about second-hand book stores? They play an important role as well!

  26. I’m 100% with you on not pirating books. I’ve read some of the arguments people have given stating that you “don’t understand” or that the situation is “more complex” than you think, but I think that’s crap. If its not yours, then its not yours. If you download music illegally, you’re stealing. If you download books illegally, you’re stealing. YouTube has most music up for free listening to decide if you want a book, and many authors have free chapters on their site for sampling. How could it possibly be complex? If you want to try something for free, go to the library. I’m a poor college kid and I always, at any given time, have many books checked out of the library.

    Yes, people want things for free. But that doesn’t make it right. And scrumdidlee, if you are planning on not buying some of her books because you disagree with her argument, then that’s really immature of YOU to tell her that. If you want to point fingers and whine about how you don’t like the way she handled the situation, look at your own actions. You’re acting like a child. No one’s forcing you to buy the books, but did you really have to go out of your way to tell her that? That’s just as petty as you claim she is being.

  27. My author2author.blogspot.com post next Wed will link to these posts of yours and give my opinion from the Librarian POV. PLEASE, PEOPLE, USE YOUR PUBLIC LIBRARIES! We need you to check out books as much as publishers need you to buy them. And they then go hand in hand in helping authors!

  28. Had to laugh at the kids’ conversation in the library. People steal from us constantly, either by trying to get past the security gates or by checking out and never returning – then they are appalled when we take them to court. It’s just a book, right? And their tax dollars paid for it to begin with, right? What’s the big deal? We’ve even had city commissioners try to get friends’ fines waived – until they see the annual budget and how many tens of thousands of dollars are lost. Funny how that changes their tune.

    I like the way you broke it down in yesterday’s post to individual amounts and so forth (not to mention the personal doggie touch!) People tend to think authors get checks for thousands of dollars each week and won’t miss a buck or two!

  29. Frankly, I’m shocked that anyone would disagree with your post. You’re the one who’s earning money from book purchases! I have never illegally downloaded a book (and wouldn’t want to risk it, because of viruses anyway), and thanks to your post, I know I never will. I hope that for the sake of you and other authors that this problem starts to go away!

  30. Just a Question

    LHA
    ,
    Why aren’t publishers going after these sites? I mean, aren’t these sites getting paid advertising fees? Technically, an advertiser is aiding and abetting by helping to facilitate the crime with a payment every time someone downloads from that site. Zombies Rule!!!

  31. Age vs. Effort

    I think there is some degree of demographic shift involved, with younger people having grown up in a culture with ubiquitous free content, and that does shape their perceptions. We’re putting blinders on if we don’t at least recognize the reality of that, howevermuch we continue to insist (rightly, IMHO) that demographics don’t constitute a justification for thievery.

    That said, I think the greater difference between the pro-pirate and anti-pirate camps is effort. Anyone who has ever put in their own effort to make a piece of art, who has paid their dues in blood, sweat, and tears, quickly experiences a perspective-shift that makes them understand the rights of artists in a whole new way.

    If you’ve never written a book, you have no idea how hard it is. And not just the writing–if you’ve never written a book, you likely have no idea how hard it is to get one published, either. Even a well-written one. If you’ve never written a book, all you see is the consumer side, in which publishers seem to want to charge you an awful lot of money for what amounts to some paper with ink printed on it.

    It’s a naive and ignorant perspective, but there it is.

    Take that same person, let them write a book, let them join a writers association and start learning the reality of publishing, and I’ll bet 95% of them quickly change their tune.

    There’s an economic theory, the name of which I can’t remember, which basically posits that work–actual human effort–is the only true source of economic value. Someone who has never done artistic work, then, will naturally under-value art.

  32. I usually will not buy a book unless I have already read it or at least read other books by that author. I like to try before I buy, but that’s what the library is for. I’ve never been able to get into reading on the computer. I like the way books smell. I like being able to underline (in pencil of course) my favorite passages (so audio books are often less appealing to me also, although they are great for multi-tasking). I can hear my boyfriend saying, “physical media is a waste of space.” Maybe he is right, we have more than enough clutter. Kill fewer trees. Maybe for some people it is as much about convenience as cost. Who wants to walk to the library when they can just click a button on their computer? So publishers- make books available online for the same cost as hard copies, both in text and audio form.

    1. I love this comment. All of it.
      I like the way books smell.
      I like being able to underline.
      I can hear my husband saying, “physical media is a waste of space.”

      And yet…I will buy and read paper books until I die.
      That’s just it.

      You made me smile with this(: Thanks!

  33. The woes from libraryland

    As I sat there today trying to place a book order with a budget that had been slashed by almost 50% in one fell swoop, I can’t tell you how much I wish YA and middle grade books were released in paperback simultaneously with hardcover. I could buy 10 or 15 more books and maybe not feel like weeping at the end of the day.

    I don’t understand pirating anything including music or videos when the stuff is FREE at the library and the library is the one place that thrives on use. PLEASE use your public library before it disappears!

  34. I’m a teacher.

    I have a budget I make every year (of my own money) to buy books for my classroom so students can read them (and yes, a few of yours are on my classroom bookshelf.)

    I don’t know any 13 y/o kids who download pirated books, so I haven’t had to emphasize digital ethics. This post, however, has opened my eyes. I think it’s something that needs to be taught either in the computer classroom, the library classroom, or in the literature classroom. Maybe all classrooms.

    Digital Ethics – it simply needs taught in a Digital Age.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking posts the past two days. Rest assured your books (through scholastic and other sources) are always budgeted in for my classroom.

  35. I’m only commenting to say that (1) I really enjoy reading both your books and blog posts and (2) your German Shepherd is adorable! I’ve had three over the course of my life so far, so maybe I’m a bit biased, but they are great dogs. : )

  36. Thanks for the inspiration

    Hi Laurie,

    As someone who works for a company focused on anti-piracy and ensuring authors are fairly compensated for their work, posts like yours inspire us to work harder!

    Education on who piracy is hurting is the key to stopping book piracy from becoming mainstream.

    Thanks – you made our day!

    Rich Pearson
    Attributor (rich@attributor.com)

  37. Preach.

    I absolutely agree. Any kind of free downloading that isn’t expressly by the intent of the author/musician/person-who-owns-the-intellectual-rights-to-their-work is wrong. No way around it. And this whole “Oh, they have enough money anyway,” is utter crap, especially with movies and music. Suck it up and be a law-abiding citizen and support the things you like.

    I’m so glad you’re standing up for this.

    (Also, I think the problem is that the Internet evolved so quickly that rules and etiquette haven’t exactly been pinned down yet. It’s still changing in ways we can’t anticipate. (Twitter.) Because of that rapid growth, it’s just been totally unregulated. I’m sure that will change eventually, however, probably starting with more education about it in schools.)

  38. Kudos to you, Laurie!

    I’m a 24-year-old librarian in Iowa who loves your books and can’t congratulate you enough on your writing, both in books and on this blog. Thank you thank you thank you for always promoting libraries. We love you too, and I make sure to tell all of my teen patrons about your books. Thank you also for taking a strong stance against censorship and against piracy. I’m on the back end of the generation who doesn’t think twice about downloading things from the Internet, and it is a hard, uphill battle to spread the word against it. People today (not just teens) don’t always realize that what they are doing is, in fact, theft. I had to argue this point with my 25-year-old husband just last week. Adults and teens alike come to my library and check out stacks of CDs and DVDs, sometimes announcing that they are taking them home to rip them to their computers and then return them. Frustrating. So thanks for your help in educating all.

    Jenna

  39. >I would love it if all of my books were simultaneously released hardcover and paperback. Do you think that is coming?

    I would LOVE it if this happened, and I think it might result in more sales overall.

    Why, you may ask?

    Frequently there will be a lot of buzz about a new book. I have heard many people say, “Yes, I really want to read it, but I’m going to wait to buy it until it comes out in paperback”. I do this sometimes as well.

    But what happens? The buzz dies down, and by the time it comes out in paperback, I’ve forgotten I wanted to buy it.
    I’m sure this happens to lots of people.

    I think people who want particular books in hardcover will buy them in hardcover, whether the paperback is available or not. And if they don’t want to spend the money on hardcover, they’ll wait until the paperback comes out (if they don’t forget before then).

    Just my $.02.

    [Oh, and Laurie, I have four of your books–all hardcover. Some books I just CAN’T wait for paperback. :o)]

  40. To the person who has read all of the comments above and still believes that the fencing of electronic media is perfectly okay, think about this: The writer who spent at least a year writing that book you’re reading would’ve made more money working at McDonald’s, if you calculate their effort on a per hour basis. If you steal their work and help others steal it, they don’t get paid; therefore, they will no longer be able to write books you enjoy enough to steal because they have to take care of their families, even if it means trading “To be or not to be” for “You want fries with that?” It’s that simple, dumbass.

  41. I think you and various commenters are right: Our society has not taught younger generations (possibly any generation) the *economic ramifications* of theft.

    So maybe WE should do something about that. What if experienced authors, educators and their editors got together to write lesson plans that make the consequences palpable to teenagers and college students? I still remember watching the episode of Cosby where the oldest son was treated like a renter who had to use a budget of Monopoly money to pay for everything in his room, along with imaginary rent, utilities, and so on. It *taught* me, in one half hour, about the importance of having a job.

    So how about creating some lesson plan scenarios that teachers can use to start educating people about how the publishing industry works and what the consequences of digital theft are?

  42. 100% Agreed

    Laurie,
    I completely agree, book pirating does suck. I’m in the demographic you mention, at age 22. And, yes, I do own an ereader. The only books I download on the reader are books in the public domain — classics and such. My YAs are mostly physical, mostly purchased new. I know I would rather purchase a new-release paperback of a debut author than splurge on the hardcover. Although, there’s been many many authors I’ve splurged on for the HC, I’d rather get 2 books in paperback. Also, I hate when a series which has previously been released in paperback only has the latest books released exclusively in hardcover — Vampire Academy I’m looking at you! I guess I like my series books to all match upon the bookcase.

    Oh and your dog is beautiful! I tweeted you about how the first thing I noticed on your post was your dog. We have two shepherds where I stay now, and they are some of the most loving dogs you can ever meet, plus the way they prance with a stick is just ADORABLE!

  43. About music downloading

    I see that you often compare the music industry to the publishing industry and I just wanted to let you(and people in general) know that musicians DO suffer from the downloading of their music. Selling music isn’t much different from selling books.

    Most people feel “ripped off” when they are asked to pay for a +20$ CD, but one has to remember that it is not only the artist who needs to be paid!! There are countless sound technicians, musicians, managers, publicists and composers who spend HOURS working on the music tracks. When you buy a CD you are not long supporting your favourite artist, but also the whole team behind the production of the music.

    Also, now that iTunes has appeared, there is NO reason for downloading to continue to be free and the excuse of “buying the whole CD for 20$ sucks because only one song is good” shouldn’t be used anymore.

    I think we should stop thinking that once you buy a bad book, you LOSE your money because you paid for it. You can always sell it to a used books store. I encourage everyone to visit used books store if they don’t have enough money to buy books. In the end, the difference might be a few dollars. By selling the book helps the environment because you are reusing.

    If you don’t have enough money for your book, you can check out the library and if your library doesn’t have it, then you can put in a request for it.

    Maybe I am biased because I study in the music field and I know it takes a long of work and time to create the tracks the masses listen to. Whenever creativity is involved, it is difficult when an artist see her/his work floating around for free without her/his permission. It’s very upsetting, especially if she/he worked so hard on it. Please be respectful. When you sample music, respect the 24/48 hours sample restriction and delete the file afterward. If you liked it buy it, if you don’t like it then don’t.

  44. I will admit to considering stealing a book once- Sara Palin’s work of fiction. I thought it might good for a laugh, but there is absolutely no way I would give that lying dumbass money. Then I decided it would piss me off more than amuse me. Also I would maybe steal a book by Bill O Reilly or Ann Coulter, like if I was low on toilet paper…

  45. Just curious, but what if you get an e-reader and want to put a favorite book of yours on it, yet it is not offered in digital form. Would you download it illegally, since you already bought a copy, or just accept it and read your hard copy?

  46. Well, I still think book pirates suck. And some of the rationalizations for book pirating are ridiculous. As for your question about charging for Internet content-I would personally not be surprised if that starts to happen. There would still be plenty of people letting stuff out for free, but within the next 5 to 10 years I wouldn’t be surprised if more “pay” websites started to pop up.

  47. I resent it a little that I was clumped into an age group that was identified as people who “expect things to be free”. I don’t expect things to be free at all, in fact, I’ve had to work very hard for all the things that I do have in life. That point aside, I hope, along with you, that someday technology will be developed to catch book pirates! As a future librarian, I fully support the use of libraries as a way to preview a book “for free”. We need libraries, and they need us! As for affordability, sure, books are pricy when they first come out, but a little patience and some research could lead you to the next best thing: a used book store. Even Amazon has great prices on books that may have only been read once. The text is the same even if the book is not in a pristine new condition, and that’s what the point of reading is anyway!

    I fully support your opinion on this, if not only from a moral standpoint, but also from an economical. A reason why our economy is in as much trouble as it is partially comes from people wanting to have more without being willing/or having the resources to pay more.

  48. book pirates

    People need to get a conscience! They know it is illegal but they make up the many excuses you so kindly laid out in bold and tell themselves they are “entitled” or “justified” in doing it. Shame on you pirates, use our wonderful libraries and book stores, don’t steal, because that is what you are doing “truthfully”

  49. #3

    As to the third point- that is absolutely untrue. Album sales are abyssmal, even individual downloads aren’t very profitable. Musicians are making all their money from concerts and touring now. So, obviously, musicians that can’t get a tour booked are making nothing. For authors, that model is simply impossible. It’s like asking them to charge for attendance to readings.

  50. Pirate

    I am a pirate, but mainly because books cost so much money for paper stuff. Why should I spend $50 on some book if I only want to have it digitally? My books hardly sell either, but partly because I send everyone who wants one a pdf, hoping they’ll read it. That’ll be the new way of doing things.

    1. Re: Pirate

      You can already get the books for free at a library.

      If you keep stealing, your favorite authors will have to stop writing, because they will have to get a different job.

      Do you steal other things because they are expensive? Food? Clothes?

  51. About Book Piracy and the Things Publishers Do

    First,
    Stealing people’s work is wrong. It just is.
    That said, I am sick to death of the well-oiled, tried and allegedly true rationalizations of publishers about the necessities of lengthy periods where books are made available ONLY in Hardcover, often followed by an equally lengthy period following the “Hardcover Period” where instead of the regular paperback, we get a large “Trade paperback” only slightly less expensive than the hardcover was.

    Publishers talk about the need for lengthy Hardcover releases in airy terms. They mention the need to quickly earn out the advances for writers, and the need to not overburden our libraries.

    Where is all this consideration when it comes to MY wallet? Do the major publishing houses think the majority of us are too STUPID and/or OBLIVIOUS to notice the way regular paperbacks take longer and longer to become available, while Hardcovers and pricey Trade Paperbacks enjoy longer and longer periods of sale before the regular paperback is at long last released?

    If we’re going to talk about passing on the burden(s), let’s be clear about the most basic truths at work here.

    1) A publishing house is a business. It incurs expenses related to DOING BUSINESS, makes investments in Authors in the form of advances, and otherwise incurs costs…all as part of the process in getting from Nothing to a Finished Book that will make Profit(s) sufficient to make that process worthwhile for all participating to continue their participation.

    There’s been a lot of talk about educating people here. How about we educate Publishers to understand the fact that if they can’t shoulder 100% of the burden while engaged in the process of getting a book ready for mass-sale, there is a flaw in THEIR business practices.

    NOT a need for potential consumers, libraries, and CERTAINLY NOT AUTHORS to help shoulder that financial burden.

    A “FAIR” business practice is one that results in a REASONABLE profit for the supplying of a good or service of sufficient value to satisfy the consumers parting with the money that collectively becomes that REASONABLE PROFIT.

    2) The continual and rapid increase in the relative prices of books in recent years is evidence that somewhere along the line, someone found a way to trick the Consumer into shouldering an ever-increasing portion of the financial burdens that by rights should be shouldered by publishers.

    In other words, if last year 90% of the published books spent 11 months in Hardcover before the Regular Paperback release, it’s attempted FRAUD to try and convince the consumers that this year 90% of the books need to spend 14-15 months in Hardcover before their Paperback release so the publisher can maintain an equivalent profit margin from last year to this year.

    3) Fraud is as Evil as Theft.

    4) One Evil act quite often results in an answering Evil act somewhere else.

    5) (And last) If Authors and Musicians TRULY expect anything meaningful to be accomplished when it comes to preventing the devaluing and outright theft of their hard work, they need to behead the Primary Evil at its source. What is that Primary Evil?

    The ever-expanding GREED of Executives who think of Authors and Musicians as barely one step up from sweatshop-workers, and the Consumer Public as a bunch of Stupid Suckers that deserve to be ripped off.

    No one here can look me in the eye and tell me that Cost of Living Expenses + Inflation = The Doubling in Price of Hardcovers in the last 15yrs. The Doubling in length of the average amount of time between the Hardcover and Paperback releases, and the “Need” for the cursed Trade Paperbacks to come into existence.

    One last bit of Education. Artists need to be taught that there’s a sickness in our society where it comes to money, and that NO ONE should be able to expect 1,000x more profit for a year’s labor than the majority of their fellow citizens receive for an equally laborious year’s work.

    It’s sick and it’s offensive for ANYONE to expect a year’s work to profit them a million dollars or more for the same amount of work that 99% of their fellow citizens received 50,000$ or less (often FAR less) in payment for.

    1. Re: About Book Piracy and the Things Publishers Do

      You and I agree, but there is one point in your argument that confused me.

      You wrote “It’s sick and it’s offensive for ANYONE to expect a year’s work to profit them a million dollars or more for the same amount of work that 99% of their fellow citizens received 50,000$ or less (often FAR less) in payment for.”

      Who are you talking about here?

      I believe the most recent Author’s Guild stats show that the overwhelming majority of published authors earn less than $10,000 a year. One of the reasons I am so upset about book pirates is that if that sort of threat becomes even a little more widespread, it will destroy my shaky economic base and I’ll have to quit my 60 – 70 hour a week job as an author and find a job that has a more solid return, just to pay the bills.

      Most authors scrape by, barely.

      And I would love to see all my book published simultaneously in paperback and hardcover. I think that day is fast approaching.

      1. Re: About Book Piracy and the Things Publishers Do

        Sorry about that,
        Should’ve been more clear. The comment in question was directed/about the businesspeople that Musicians and Artists often find it necessary to work with in order to get their creation finished and out to the public.

        In other words, the people who’re ripping we the Consumer Public off, in the guise of “Working For” the Musician/Author.

        I checked and your research is correct, about the average Author’s Guild member making a little over 9800$/year.

        THIS IS THE PROOF that its the PUBLISHERS who are ripping the public off, and then turning around and starving the Goose Who Laid the Golden Egg by not even cutting the Author/Musician in for a decent share of the profits of THEIR (the Author/Musicians’) WORK.

        To kill Piracy, which means to Kill the Theft of Creative Works, REQUIRES that we first Kill the Fraud inherent in these sorts of bloodsucking, soul-eroding, author-destroying business practices.

        An Author/Musician deserves and must have Fair Return for their hard work if we wish to enjoy the benefits of that work as a Society. However, until we find a means of destroying or working around the Greed that’s rotted the entire Publishing/Music Distribution business right to its core, it’s going to continue to be effortless for THIEVES to “Justify” their Theft to the satisfaction of enough of the increasingly resentful public for Piracy to continue to steal huge amounts of money out of the wallets of our most creative citizens.

        Destroy the Greater Thieves, and perhaps we can do something about the Lesser Thieves their Greed has given rise to.

        Now, will someone please, for the love of all that’s Good and Decent, PLEASE come up with a way for us to get started on doing exactly that?!?

        It isn’t right that Authors and Musicians end up taking the heat from the understandably angry people who are tired of watching Book and Album prices rise in price 2nd only to Gas Prices every year.

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