November 23, 2013

The Morals of a Pirate

Piracy is a recent hot topic around the blogosphere - I've seen several recent cases of it, from Susan Dennard's sarcastic letter to a book pirater, to Lauren DeStefano's recent twitter conversation with a man  who is illegally redistributing her books.

This is personally upsetting to me.

An author should have no reason to tell someone that they're illegally reading their books. There shouldn't be readers complaining that books cost too much, or that it takes too long to illegally download it. There's no reason for that. Book lovers should just love books - without illegal downloading having to be involved.

Piracy is an issue that many authors are dealing with every day. And now, lets say that you're a pirater. (pirater? pirateer? piracist?) I don't know what your reasons are. I'm not going to assume that you know what you're doing is wrong, because we all make mistakes, and obviously it doesn't make you a bad person. For all I know, you use it like a personal library - read, delete, buy it if you liked it. I don't know. I can't hold it against you. Hopefully you realize the error of your ways soon, though.

But seriously, stop this piracy - support the authors. You love their work, why not let them know by actually buying their books? Helping them pay their bills? In the words of Paula Stokes,
If 10,000 kids pirate your book, no one gets paid and maybe no one knows your book was popular. If 10,000 kids check your book out of the library, librarians notice and they order more copies, or they order your next book, or they read and nominate your book for awards, or they invite you to come speak, or they tell other librarians about your book, or they recommend your book to teens, who then maybe buy your next book or recommend it to more teens. Librarians can be incredibly powerful allies for authors, if you let them.

So, what if you illegally downloaded their book? And you really loved it. You're dying for the sequel to come out, so you can pirate it as well. But...the series gets discontinued. You never find out what happened, because the first book didn't sell enough copies. You contributed to that, however indirectly. You hurt the author. You hurt the series. And you'll never know what happens.

Think about that next time you try to get a "freebie". Remember, pirates had bad hygiene - and few friends.

Edit: I would like to state the fact that my opinion on this has changed since I've become a blogger. Before then, I really didn't think it mattered. By becoming a blogger, it's made me realize the effect that simple things like this have on people. Just thought about this, after I posted the post.


  1. Great post, Megan!
    I can't say I never read a book from sites like epub bud, I would never deny that but that way way before I actually got active again in reading and blogging and I did buy the book afterwards. I still feel bad over it but I just didn't know how much work authors put in their book. Nowadays when I hear from people dowloading books illegally I tell them it's wrong and try to explain that they should support the author by actually buying the book. And if they say they don't have enough money... well, that's just too bad. There's always libraries and e-book are usually not so expensive and also, The Book Depository has much cheaper books than other webshops (at least compared to the webshops from Belgium anyway). I just also wish book pirating would stop. You can only cheat yourself and the author with it. =/

  2. Thanks, Stephanie!
    I understand that completely - you don't have to explain yourself to me. :) I still think that you're a good person, and you obviously feel bad about it! They should support the author by buying the book - most authors are working jobs just like us, and having trouble paying the bills, etc. At least, I assume they're just like us. ;)

    I can say without a doubt that I don't always have money to buy books. But I don't go downloading them - I wait til I've got money again, and buy the books that I want the most. Libraries are totally awesome resources, I agree! And TBD is pretty good, but I usually order from Amazon. That is the only people you're cheating! Thanks for commenting Steph! :)

  3. Great post and awesome points. To me it's not even about sales anymore, it's boils down to respecting other people's work. Whether or not you liked their work, these writers spent much time writing their books and getting it out there. Especially for self published authors who doesn't have the machinations these traditionally published writer has. So again, it's about RESPECT. If you can't afford to buy a book, get a library card instead and make use of the taxes you pay to the government or ask around and borrow books via kindle/nook from your friends.

  4. You're making a very good point here. That a series may get discontinued because the first books didn't sell well. It's kind of what's happening in my country, Romania, but on a different level. It happens with books that are translated into Romanian. If a Romanian publishing house translates and publishes the first and the second volumes of a loooong series and they don't sell well, they stop translating the next. This is really, really annoying for those who buy the first two books and then wait forever for the next to be translated. Usually, that forever... well... it obviously never happens. I think one of the problems is that there are a couple of sites where one can find these translated books pirated. They become available there very quickly after they are published. So, naturally, why buy the book if you know you're going to find it on such a website in all possible formats (epub, mobi, pdf)? Even if you print it, it still ends up cheaper.

    For instance, my brother is 14 and he doesn't really like reading, but he found the first book in the Evernight series by Claudia Gray among my books, he started reading it and he loved it. Last week he asked me to buy him the second book, so I bought it for him and he finished it in 2 days. When he called me to tell me that he now wants the third book, I had to tell him that the rest of the books in the series haven't been transtaled yet. Evernight has 5 books, and I really don't think the Romanian publishing house intends to translate them anytime soon. I'm thinking that one of the reasons is that the first two just didn't sell well.

    So yeah... piracy sucks and it hurts everyone.

    Oana @All Fantasy Worlds

  5. Megan@The Book BabeNovember 26, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    Thanks, Braine! I understand that view point - it's like by stealing their work, they're telling them that they don't respect them enough to pay for it? Is that it? They've spent countless hours writing and proofreading and editing on each and every one of their books, I'm positive! Good point right there!

  6. Megan@The Book BabeNovember 26, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    Thanks, girly! That's... terrible. I'm sorry that books don't get translated if they don't sell well! O.O That does sound like a real problem - I assume that they're a lot of the reason that some books just never make it to translation? Are they really popular? That does make sense. And it would be cheaper, but it SUCKS that they aren't translating the rest because of that! :/

    I'm glad that he loved it - but I'm sorry that they're not translating the rest. :/ That really, really sucks. :( It does!

  7. Well... at least now my brother has a reason to learn English well. So he can read the rest of the series. :D Though, thinking of how lazy he is when it comes to school... I doubt that will happen very soon. I'm just going to try and find him a similar series and make sure it has all been translated. :)