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.
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.
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 creator...so 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.
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.