Yesterday I found that both Dance With Me and Fight For Me were available at multiple pirate sites, and Fight alone has been downloaded more than 30,000 times. Oh, I know not all those downloads would’ve been sales, but Fight is $2.99, and I haven’t sold anywhere near that many copies through the legitimate stores where it is available–Amazon, B&N, ARe, Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks– EVERYWHERE, so it’s incredibly perplexing to me.
The thing that is most bothersome is that even if 10% of those downloads had been through a legitimate store, that would’ve been about $6,000 in my account.
God, I wish I hadn’t done that math just now.
As an indie author, that’s not money coming out of a publisher’s pocket, that’s money coming out of my own pocket, money that would be used to support my family, and I know the majority of other authors on all the pirate sites aren’t millionaires either. All of us–traditionally or indie published– have bills to pay and families to feed, and aren’t lounging around on a resort somewhere thinking up our next blockbuster.
So, before I put my soapbox away, I’d like to point out that most readers wouldn’t dream of pulling a paperback off a shelf and walking out of the store with it, and ebook piracy is the exact same thing. It doesn’t seem so since it’s not a physical item, but stealing is stealing. It just is.
Also, just one more thing before I put up my soapbox and get back to writing. Books take a long time to write, and need things like editing, cover art, and other important aspects before publication. For indie authors, that’s all paid upfront by us before we make one cent from the book.
Generally we price lower than the NY market, but let’s stop to think about something for a moment:
Food for thought, yes?
Okay, rant over, soapbox put away. Time to get back to writing Live For Me. I’ll be back Wednesday with a snippet!
Piracy drives me insane and it’s just flat wrong. I’m sorry your work has been violated this way and it pisses me off that more isn’t being done to stop it!
Pat F. said:
Thanks Hayden for bringing this to our attention. I always new there was piracy in books and movies, never to the extent you explained. what an eye opener…a cup of coffee is in most cases more than a book you can have for a lifetime!
I will do my best to spread your message.
Pamela Clare said:
You’re absolutely right, Hayden. Authors who publish independently have upfront costs. Authors who publish through New York publishing houses do, too, because most houses leave authors to do all the marketing themselves. When you factor in websites, book marks, advertising, mailing lists, etc., authors easily spend hundreds of dollars per release. Those who write for New York can look forward to earning perhaps 65 cents PER COPY of each book sold.
When people steal books — that’s what downloading from free file-sharing sites is — they are taking directly from the author.
Some say they can’t afford ebooks. Well, at 99 cents or $2.99 it is cheaper than a latte. Or designer jeans. Or smart phones. Or pads. Or cellular service.
The bottom line is this: Stealing is wrong, and authors don’t grow on trees.
Support reading. Support literature. Support authors. Don’t pirate.
Hayden Braeburn said:
I completely left out the upfront costs to both indie and traditionally published authors of platform and marketing. The houses don’t offer you guys much support for either of those things, and the per copy revenue for traditional houses is much lower than those us who have gone indie.
Bottom line: Piracy isn’t stealing from some big, faceless corporation, but from authors large and small, indie and house-backed, and is infuriating, wrong, and illegal.
Until recently I had no idea this was even possible. I love my authors & try to support them every way I can. I might borrow an ebook LEGALLY but most of the time if I like that borrowed book I will go buy a lot of the authors books.
Hayden Braeburn said:
Lending is a wonderful thing.
Awful – I am sick for all my favorite authors. I wonder if there is a way to trace it – similar to how the music industry tracked illegal music downloads and then went after people?
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Heather M said:
It absolutely sucks that authors have to deal with this when they could be spending their time doing what they love….writing! I am sickened that this has happened not only to you but to all of the authors out there. I can’t believe that the big 6 haven’t gone after these people, which would in turn help you as an indie author. I have now “pirated” the image you provided and will make it my profile pic on FB and Twitter. I hope in this small way it will begin to wake some people up!
Well one of the things they say is to have DRM on your work. However I haven’t gone to that lengths yet….well since I’m still relatively new. It sucks when we work so hard to have our stuff pirated, but on the bright note, people seem to care about your work enough to steal it. Silver lining?
Hayden Braeburn said:
DRM was developed to help, but I know a lot of people who have stripped DRM from an ebook they purchased at one site in order to read it on another reader, so I’m certain it doesn’t offer much in the way of protection.
I wish I knew the answer, but it seems the problem really lies with those who don’t feel they are doing anything wrong or stealing anything when they download a book. While I’m happy so many have potentially read my books, the idea of the lost revenue that could have been if even a small percentage had purchased from a legitimate store makes me cringe.
Hayden I totally support you in this fight against piracy. I wonder if the indie writers will have to do what the musicians did a few years ago and take them to court. Hate to see that happen but the amount of money you guys are losing is insane. What really does not make sense is what sort of pleasure are the pirates getting, they certainly are not making the money. I guess the saying “You just can’t fit stupid” apply s here!