8 April 2017

This is going to sound bitchy, and maybe it is, but...

Look, I know there are tons of places online where people can download books and music and movies for free. But seriously, don't ever brag to me about how you have all of my books, and you got them for free a X's website. I know you think it's a compliment--hey, you have everything I've published--but the truth is that it just pisses me off.

Think about it. You have a job, right? How would you feel if you went into work and your boss informed you that your work output is pretty freaking good, but since he can basically get the same thing elsewhere for free, you're not going to get paid.

When you use those sites to get my books, I don't get paid. Anything.

As it is, what I earn from most legal downloads amounts to 1 cent per page. That's it. One cent. If you get books via Kindle Unlimited, I get less than one-half cent per page read. Seriously. It usually hovers around $0.0047 per page read. That, at least, is a legal avenue, even though it sucks on my end.

I appreciate that you're reading my books, but people, it is my work. I spend anywhere from six months to a year on a single title; I work more than 40 hours a week. It's my job, as much as the place you go to every day and work is yours.

No, it's not like borrowing a book from the library. Libraries purchase books at set prices and writers get paid based on those distribution agreements.

No, it's not like borrowing a book from a friend. That friend might lend the book to 2 or 3 people; file sharing disburses it to potentially millions. Every time you take a file that is not specifically offered by its creator, without paying for it from a legitimate sales source, you're denying its creator fair wages.

There may come a time when I offer specific titles for free, but that would be by my own choice. I have not, nor will I ever, authorize someone else to distribute my books for free. In fact, if you're getting them in digital form from any place other than Amazon, you're getting a pirated copy.

Don't be that douche who feels entitled to other peoples' work just because some other douche ripped it off and put it online.

And if you are that douche? Don't brag about it to me. My book or someone else's, it doesn't matter. I won't be amused. I won't think you're clever for getting it for free. I won't be impressed.

And truthfully, it's not just about the money. It's about respect. If you're downloading pirated material, you don't really have any respect for its why would you then tell me about it, and expect me to be all right with it?

This isn't anything new. When my first book was published, it wound up being download 25,000 times before the file was taken down by the publisher. Theoretically, those downloads represent $100,000 in lost income, based on my contract I had at the time. This was before e-readers were really a thing; people accessed the print file and shared it as a PDF. It's considerably easier to do now, as the digital file is easily converted to a variety of formats, and I don't allow DRM on my books.

Why not?

Because those who do buy the books should have the right to move them between their own devices. They should be able to share it with a few friends.

But holy hell. Don't ever brag to me that you downloaded it from a pirating website. I will never look at you the same way after that.


Spitty-the-Kitty said...

I could not agree with you more. I am not a writer or filmmaker or any other kind of artist, but I would never steal someone's work, even if it were someone making hundreds of millions from his or her writing (e.g. JK Rowling or Stephen King). Nor would I download movies from bit torrent sites or more recent equivalents.
I lost some respect for lifelong friends (very well-off financially) whose son illegally downloads movies and TV shows for them all the time. I had an argument with them once about it, and she just didn't see anything wrong with it. I asked her if it was okay to walk into a bookstore (this conversation took place some years ago when bookstores were still a thing) and steal a book and she said, "Of course not!" and when I asked her to explain the difference she just scoffed and said it was completely different because digital work wasn't 'real' so it couldn't be stolen really. I got nowhere with her.
I think people really are proud of themselves when they can figure out how to get (steal) stuff for free and it makes me wonder about the future of ethics. As in, will people have any anymore?

Angel, Kirby and Max said...

You are absolutely right to be pissed!

Cheysuli and gemini said...

Ya know, if you're going to steal something from me, don't brag about it... Really folks. Just a nicety in this day and age.

Just Ducky said...

Amen Sister! Mum bought the books she has from you. Kindle or paperback, but she paid for them and is happy to have kept Max and Buddah in treats!

Mark's Mews (Ayla, Iza, and Marley) said...

I understand. I dont download books, music or movies. In fact I don't download much of anything. The bad news is that I just don't buy books at all anymore, I have all the CDs I will ever want, and after stocking my shelves with DVDs 5 years ago I buy only a couple per year.

Kitty said...

I have bought YOUR books. I love purchasing books from self-published authors. I believe they deserve the funds.

The issue I have is with the publishing companies. They remind me too much of the music industry where I worked for a number of years. I remember that the cost for a CD in total was $4.50. That included how much the artist got, the designer fees for the artwork, the physical components to the CD, etc. The sad part? The artist was lucky if they got $0.60 out of that $4.50. The money above that $4.50 was pure profit. This was back in the day when we got charged $17 for a CD.

While I do not know the cost breakdown for books, it enrages me when I see a Kindle ebook for $12.99. How is that possible to accept? If I was buying a physical book that was one thing but I highly doubt the author is receiving more than $1 per copy or that the layout costs for ebook format is more than $2. I am not justifying piracy but I understand the motivation behind it.

Sleepypete said...

Well said !!!!

The thing the pirates never understand is that as they don't pay for the content they consume, the people who created that content have to go somewhere else to fund their lives. And if they do that, they aren't creating any more content for people to enjoy.