It has been a very dramatic few weeks in the Book World … At LEAST two Facebook pages were hacked, and one man has made a website that is the book version of Napster. Both pages were quickly restored, but the website will probably not be going away anytime soon. Although there are an incredible amount of authors and publishers who are going to give shutting it down their best shot.
I’m not going to focus on the page hackers for this post. It happens all the time. Sometimes it can be helped. Sometimes it can’t. And it’s always the same old story. Hacker hacks page like hackers always do. Hacker deletes and bans all admins. Hacker or Facebook eventually restore the page. Usually Facebook.
I will, however, bring attention to the book pirate issue. As an aspiring author and avid reader, I feel like it is my responsibility to at least mention it. I have mentioned it to those in my writing group, but I feel like mentioning it here too.
Usually, I would stand smack in the middle of this issue. I get why he runs the site. I get that some ebooks are really stupidly expensive. I get that some books are harder to find than others. I get that people hate having to purchase different file types to go on different readers, and I get that buying the same book in e-formats twice is stupid and expensive. I get that people want to decide whether the tangible print copy is even worth spending that $10-$20+ on. I get it. I’m pretty broke, myself. My book funds are very limited. There is no shortage of authors who “sell” their own books for free or cheap, but sometimes you just want to read that SPECIFIC book. I get it.
He doesn’t stop there. He takes it a step further and publicly shames anyone and everyone who doesn’t appreciate their work being pirated. Publicly attacking authors, who didn’t give you permission to use their works in the first place, for wanting you to take their hard work down from your page is childish and uncalled for. I might understand your reasons for your site, but I will never understand your words and actions against those whose very work you’re stealing AND encouraging others to steal.
Don’t even get me started on the blatant lie about it being okay because he encourages you to go buy the ebook if you like it, and it’ll magically increase ebook sales. I’m sorry, no. It won’t. Why would someone buy an ebook when they got it for free already? It might increase PRINT book sales … I’m guilty of borrowing books or reading ebooks and loving them so much that I spend the however-much money on my own print copies. But insisting it increases ebook sales is ridiculous and inaccurate.
While I do get his overall purpose with the site, I could go on and on about the reasons I’m also against this piracy. I could rant about copyright infringement and all that typical stuff you hear in every single piracy argument EVER. But another aspiring author said it better than I EVER could. Her name is Sinead MacDughlas. Her first full-length novel comes out in August. Through the power of social networking, she was informed about this website and, in the typical coping mechanism of an author, wrote about it. Her coping piece was featured in Author Stephen L. Wilson’s blog:
One thing that REALLY stood out to me in this piece was simple and fit nice and neatly in one little sentence: “If he’d asked, knowing each of these authors as I do, they would very likely have gladly lent their books to his cause.” Why does this stand out for me? Because I know it’s true. I’ve seen it. I’ve watched countless authors donate countless copies of ebooks to countless people for great reasons, and for no reason at all.
The generosity of some of the authors I’ve met just within the last few months is incredible. If you ever want to hear a story or two about fantastic indie authors making a difference, I have plenty. I’ve watched several authors donate books, notebooks, bookmarks, t-shirts, tote bags, etc. as incentive for readers to write reviews FOR OTHER AUTHORS. I’ve watched them donate to countless blogs for giveaways and birthdays and random events just because they can. I’ve watched them hand out more freebies than they sell. I’ve even had the privilege of writing a review for an author who not only gifted me not one, but THREE books, not to mention gifting these same three books to countless other reviewers, but also donated food to her local soup kitchen for every few reviews she received! Yes, I will say that again! She GAVE AWAY free books so that she could GIVE AWAY free food!
The more I talk to these authors and the more I get to know them as authors and as PEOPLE the more privileged I feel for being given the opportunity to be a part of it all. This is why I don’t mind promoting the heck out of random authors in my spare time on my own blog and my own Facebook page. They’re amazing people who do amazing things for each other, their readers, and the random person that happens to cross their paths on any given day. It really tears me up to see someone treat these people with the disrespect that this man sees fit for them.
I really could go on and on about this, but it’s nearly 2:30 AM here, and I really should attempt that sleep thing sometime in the near future. But I hope I gave SOMEONE something to think about regarding this issue.