Few things affect authors more than piracy. It’s something they’ve had to deal with more and more as ebooks have become more popular. Let me let you in on a little secret: they don’t get mad about it over pure vanity. They have a whole host of reasons to be concerned about piracy, let me tell you.
How many of you actually know how an author’s profit works? I’m going to bet that it’s not what you think. Not every author makes the kind of money as JK Rowling or Stephen King, they are the exception to the rule. Many even have day jobs because the money they get from writing books is neither consistent nor enough for them to really live on. For an author, they get an advance from the publisher before the book is published. In many cases once that advance is paid, the author won’t get any royalties from their book until that advance is recouped by the publisher. This means that not paying for a book is not just taking a little out of a rich person’a pocket, it’s affecting an author’s livelihood.
Authors don’t make a huge amount on each copy sold in the first place. Much of a book’s price goes to the bookseller, and the rest will cover the costs of printing, cover designers, editors, marketing, and anything else that goes into publishing a book. Then the author gets their cut. Piracy takes that tiny piece they get away. Do you really think that’s fair?
Now imagine you were a painter or a sculptor, and you’ve been working on a piece of art for a very long time. Or you’re a photographer, waiting for the perfect lighting and for nature to give you one beautiful moment. You wait for the the exact right instant to grab on film and suddenly you capture it in all of its glory. You’ve put your heart and soul into it, you’ve sweat and bled for it. Then someone else comes along and copies your gorgeous photo or your beautiful piece of art, putting in no effort at all and just giving it away. Now, how would you feel?
Well, Jodi Meadows can tell you how it feels!
Piracy is illegal. That should be enough. But people are unlikely to get caught. Some think they’re entitled to free books, or that they’re the only ones doing it, while others believe they’re actually doing the author a favor by giving them “exposure.” Ultimately, they don’t think it affects them whether or not the author gets paid for their work.Yes it does.Piracy is harmful in all sorts of ways — devaluing art, preventing authors from paying bills, and it just really hurts our feelings — but it is also bad for readers . . . including those who pirate.Publishing is a business. If an author isn’t making the publisher money, the publisher will stop publishing the author’s books.When people download books for free, well, obviously they’re not paying for it; they downloaded it for free. The book didn’t make money, so the publisher thinks that no one liked it and they shouldn’t bother buying another from the author. It doesn’t matter how many people read and loved the book if the majority downloaded the book illegally. There won’t be more.Piracy is not helpful exposure: it’s actively destroying the possibility of more books; it devalues art; and it is illegal.
This is what piracy feels like.
Do you want to make a person, another human being, particularly an author you love feel like that? Do you want them to spend all day sending out legal notices to get their books taken off free sites? It makes them feel so disrespected, so down. Why would people who say they love author treat them like that?
There are plenty of legal ways to get free books that won’t hurt the author.
- Enter a giveaway! You can find them through the publisher, from the author themselves, on goodreads, and plenty of other places. This way, someone is paying for the book. Just not you.
- Go to a library. Yeah, the building with thousands of books just waiting to be read for free. You just need a library card. These books are purchased by the library, so people still get paid. No one has stolen anything to give you this service. Many libraries even lend ebooks now!
- Borrow from a friend. Again, you’re reading a book that someone has bought.
And once you read the book and you want a copy of your own, just buy it! Trust me, it’s a cheaper habit than, say, collecting hundred dollar shoes. There are plenty of places to get books on sale, but that’s another post.
Authors do this for a living, it may not always be their only job but it IS their job. It’s really important that we remember this. They cannot afford to just give us their hard work for free. I guarantee you that most would do so happily if they could. But they really can’t. Now think of all the extra things they do for us that they don’t get paid for. They feature on blogs (just like Jodi Meadows did here for me), they give us amazing extras and deleted goodies, they spend time chatting with us on twitter when they should probably be doing something else.
Having internet does not give people the right to just take something, be it a TV show, a book, music, or a movie. It’s not yours just because you want it, because you can, or because it’s there. Respect the creators, pay for the things you love. It’s the right thing to do, you’re supporting a group of lovely people with every dollar and that is worth every penny in the end.
So let’s talk piracy. Comment below and let’s open some discussion!
Many thanks to Jodi Meadows for giving us her thoughts on this topic. We love you Jodi!
From my shelf to yours,