Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Piracy Is Bad

From the comments on the thread regarding the copyrights of readers, it appears that some authors believe that they aren’t getting a sufficient forum on Dear Author to air their frustrations and concerns about piracy. The pressing need to talk about piracy whenever the subject of ebooks comes up appears to overwhelm any other thoughts about digital books and readers. This post is a forum for those authors.

Before we get to the comments, though, I want to state two things.

First, Dear Author is not a blog devoted to authors or author causes or author issues. We are a reader blog and our focus is for the readers, from the reviews, to the giveaways, to the opinion pieces. We are not author advocates and yes, often our reader interest is at odds with the authors. We do not exist to advance any author position nor any particular author. If it appears that we do, it is because we have an interest in an author topic or a particular author, not because we exist to do service on behalf of authors and their self interests. To state it more bluntly, we at Dear Author owe you, the author, nothing.

Second, we do not condone piracy at Dear Author. We understand that piracy causes us pain in terms of enabling author and publisher hysteria, increasing the costs of ebooks, and contributing to stupid publishing tricks such as super premium pricing, delaying of the books, and DRM. But we also understand that fighting piracy is not the best use of our time. The best use of our time and space here at Dear Author is to discuss the book, spread the love of the book, and seed interest in the book.

Yes, publishing is tough these days. Publishers are turning away books they may have bought in the past. Booksellers are cutting back on their orders and contracts are being canceled. This is not the result of piracy, but you can certainly try to sell me on the idea that it is. I am convinced that the best thing for authors and publishers to do is to make sure that the pirate has the least attractive option. This is a phenomenal article on the futility of fighting piracy. Piracy, like the poor as Matthew says, will always be with us. Nothing the RIAA or MPAA has done in terms of anti pirate measures has worked. The pirates will always make material available for free. The goal then must be to make the legitimate purchase equal to or better than the pirating experience.

“Well, maybe we were focused on trying to disrupt the networks and we should have focused on a technological solution to mass notification.” Well be on to the next thing. Well spend some number of months–I’m just essentially recounting the music industry’s journey–filing vast numbers of infringement notifications, letting everybody and their granny know you’re infringing our content. They’ll take the temperature and they’ll do surveys and collect data and they’ll try to convince themselves that this is having a real effect in reversing the tide and then after some period it will just not have been convincingly demonstrated to have worked. And they’ll realize that by any number of measures the piracy problem has only grown worse. But they will have to exhaust all of those things and more. They will have to chase legal remedies, legislative agendas, all the way to what they view as being the end of the line before they say “OK, so this really is the landscape we’re stuck with. As much as we didn’t want it, this appears to be it. Now we have to just dive in and make businesses that work here.”

Having said that, some authors clearly believe that we, as readers, need to hear them on this issue. So authors, here is your space. You can tell us why we shouldn’t pirate even if most of us have already said we don’t. You can tell us in what ways piracy has hurt your career (empirical evidence and studies not funded by the RIAA or MPAA are helpful). You can tell us why you think it is the reader’s obligation to pursue piracy and enumerate the ways in which you think readers should act to help you prevent piracy.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

315 Comments

  1. Nora Roberts
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 19:23:15

    And sorry, Mary, it is NOT my responsibility to learn about DRM because you say so.

    If it were, I believe my agent and or publisher would have urged me to do so by now as they are intimately involved in my career–oh, and probably, just maybe, know a bit more about publishing than you.

    And I am not ignorant.

    Your opinion is your opinion, but you do not express this as opinion.

    And it is just this sort of attitude that again, and again, and again, turns me off the entire e-industry–which is very, very unfair, but–I think–human.

    I am so freaking tired of being slapped over this issue. Why do you suppose I would engage my interest or sympathies when you call me ignorant and tell me what I should do, how I should run my career, how I should spend my time?

    All it does is put my back up.

    And now I’m stepping away from the keyboard (don’t really know how that works either) because it’s obvious my grip on courtesy is slipping.

  2. liz m
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 19:36:48

    @Nora Roberts:

    how I should run my career

    Just think, you could be successful. One day. If you keep…. writing? Wait, no! If you start doing what your publishers are paid to do, which is market your writing! Yes! Stop writing now!

    Woman, what are you thinking?

    All of that said, yes, I do wish more people who discuss this topic understood this topic more fully, but thats the internets folks, and there is plenty of Oh I Didn’t Know That to go around without slinging the hash at the higher profile conversees. (Is conversees a word or just something I wore waaaay past high school?)

  3. Moriah Jovan
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 19:40:25

    @Isla

    The biggest expenses of producing a book have to do with acquiring and editing the work, hiring a graphic artist–and those are sunk costs whether you put it in print or not. Add in the cost for e-book formatting (if you want to not sell crap formatting that’s hard to read), web server space, the cost of building a shopping cart and/or factoring in the punitive cuts places like Amazon, Fictionwise, and Books on Board take, and it adds up fast.

  4. AQ
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 19:41:00

    Mary. Do you understand how many different version of DRM are out there? How it differs from publisher to publisher? Reseller to reseller? It would take a lot longer than an hour to learn the ins and out of DRM. Just like it would take a lot longer once you start considering all the different devices such as Kindle vs. Sony vs. an ebook reader vs. a laptop vs. an iphone and so on.

    After an author learns about e-book drm should they then look into the drm found on audio books? What about the difficulties readers have had using netbooks and the overdrive lending systems used by libraries? Should they become knowledgeable in that area as well?

    Where in the world are you going to draw the line on what authors should know and then once they know those ins and outs what exactly are they supposed to do: refuse to fulfill a contract until the publisher caves into their demands? What if it’s not the publisher but the distributor who’s putting the DRM in place? Or the proprietary device owner/reseller like Amazon’s Kindle? Should the author then try to tell the publisher that they can’t sell the book through that reseller/distributor?

    What about the authors who aren’t really engaged with the Internet. Yes, there are still authors like that out there. Google some of the heated discussion for the science fiction / fantasy writers guild and you’ll have some understanding of the split between the computer savvy authors and those basically using a computer as a typewriter. Should these same authors also be responsible for learning about DRM?

    And let’s say that an author did decide to carry this banner for readers: How might carrying this banner affect an author? Would a publisher / reseller /distributor give into Nora’s demands just because of who she is? Did I hear a yes from you? Really, truly. Without ANY ramifications to her career?

    That’s asking a lot when this issue really is a reader issue. Readers vote with their pocketbooks. Readers can band together and start a physical letters to the publishers and resellers. If readers feel this strongly about then start a movement and once that movement is large enough and loud enough so that publishers have to pay attention then you can ask authors to add their voices. Otherwise you’re asking authors to assume the risk and go up about the publishing establishment on your behalf and quite frankly that’s not fair because if the author does that and is knocked down it won’t affect you because you’ll just read stories from a different author. The impact to you is putting minor and when you consider how tiny the current digital market is to bestselling author’s bottomline at the moment. I just don’t see how the assumption of risk by Nora or any other author of her caliber is worth it.

    If you seriously want authors to buck the publishing model and would personally put yourself at similar risk in your chosen career then do something that justifies authors taking that kind of stand. Right now you’re asking for the moon and giving nothing in return.

    Edited to add: Ah frak, I noticed a bunch of mistakes, started to correct them but frak it all because they are there to stay.

  5. Bonnie
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 19:41:41

    Just think, you could be successful. One day.

    Nah… never happen. Flash in the pan.

  6. Isla
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 19:50:25

    @Moriah Jovan: Thank you. I guess I’d never thought about the cost of producing ebooks in those terms, and I’m guessing a lot of other ebook purchasers haven’t either.

  7. Moriah Jovan
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 19:53:12

    @Isla:

    You’re welcome. Always happy to clarify things. :)

  8. Jane
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 19:54:18

    @Nora Roberts This is where I was last week after a day long drubbing by authors that ebook readers were thieves and readers weren’t doing enough to stop piracy and that I was anti author and bla bla bla bla. The e industry is no more one person or a few people who are accusatory and unreasonable just as the authors are not accusatory and unreasonable as a whole.

  9. Robin
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 20:05:11

    I promised myself I wasn’t going to comment on this thread, but you know what they say about good intentions…

    re. the new King book, the publisher set the price, but King supported the delayed release of the digital version. If anyone’s greedy here in setting the ebook price at $35 (with retailers offering deep discounts), it’s the publishers, IMO (another reason I think the ABA is COMPLETELY wrong-headed in targeting large retailers). Although obviously powerhouse authors do have influence, and King has unabashedly said he supports the delay because he thinks it will be good for bookstores. To which I can only say that IMO once again some folks are misunderstanding the nature of the ebook market and clinging to an illusion of format cannibalization.

    As for authors’ alleged greed, I actually think everyone would benefit if authors were, as a whole, *more* knowledgeably engaged in all of the nuances of how their income on various rights is earned, how the sales of those rights affects the availability of their work, and what their various options are relative to contracting with publishers (i.e. what’s really negotiable and what isn’t). I am always befuddled when I see authors indicate that they don’t need to understand the ins and outs of their royalty structures. Maybe I’m wrong here, but it seems as if it’d be more important for an author to know how her earnings are calculated and distributed than how many of her books are downloaded on pirate sites. Only one of those things is at least partially controllable by the author, if not in her current contract, hopefully in future ones.

    In any case, authors are contracting parties, just as publishers are, and why shouldn’t they try to get as much as possible for their work? Of course, how *valuable* an author’s work is deemed by the publisher and the market will vary, but I don’t begrudge authors looking out for their financial interests or being pissed about those things that impede maximum benefit to them. That doesn’t mean I’ll see that work as possessing the same value, but that’s the great thing about the free market — I can choose not to read an author’s work, or I can buy a book used or get it at the library if I find its price to be too high for me.

    I do, though, think it’s futile to pour more attention into those things that are and will probably always be largely uncontrollable than into those things that are within the author or publisher’s control. And I think this is where a lot of us take issue with some of the piracy comments (well, that, and the accuracy and suspicion issues). Still, when I see Patricia Briggs explain her concerns and then someone who pirates books basically blaming her because she doesn’t respect pirates, it’s extremely frustrating, even for someone like me who believes that the key is to disincentivize piracy, not to fear digital books and further impair readers’ rights.

    Also, here’s a summary of the case law for the point Jane referenced above re. how SCOTUS distinguishes the language of stealing from copyright infringement. There are so many terms that get hyperbolized and conflated in these discussions, including breach of contract (i.e. one party breaks the terms of a contract made with another party), infringement, and illegality (i.e. stealing). Just because someone breaches a contract does not make their actions illegal. For example, readers purchasing Kindles and Kindle books have a contract with Amazon, and as long as they abide by that contract (aka the Terms of Service), they are doing what they’re supposed to be doing relative to that contract i.e. Amazon, which has contracted with publishers, has given them permission to share books in a specific, limited way). I think it would help if we could reduce the inflammation around copyright discussions, which is why I think the Supreme Court’s logic in differentiating theft from infringement is worth understanding, even if you don’t like it.

    Although I agree with those who have said that readers and authors should be natural allies, on this issue I’m not sure that’s the case. Authors want to get the most they can for their work, and readers will value that work relative to their own priorities and reading tastes. That doesn’t mean we need to be enemies, but we may have to accept that there’s a more inherently competitive relationship between us on this particular issue.

  10. CD
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 20:06:06

    A book is a wee bit more than paper, ink, glue, storage, and shipping.

    I agree with that entirely. But how exactly is the production of an ebook as expensive (or even more) than the production of a physical book? You don’t have bookstores, physical materials, storage, shipping, or even cover art for the most part. As as consumer, when you see that ebooks are being priced the same or more than a physical book, it’s pretty difficult not to feel that you’re being ripped off. And that’s not even addressing the fact that DRM restrictions make ebooks into an inferior product.

    I must admit I'm having issues with the “greedy” authors business. Even if they *did* set the price (which they don't), people will pay them. That doesn't make them greedy. It makes them knowledgeable about what they're worth in the marketplace.

    I don’t think anyone is calling authors greedy – there may be exceptions but I’ve never thought that authors themselves have any real control over the price of their products. Or the formats. Or the geo restrictions. I think being an author is probably one of THE most unlucrative professions I can think of so do admire anyone willing to do it because that takes drive and commitment. It also takes a lot more courage than I would have!

    Going back to the argument, I do agree with your comment but in my eyes, extensive piracy is actually a pretty clear indication that many consumers do not agree with the prices set in the market.

    As I mentioned previously, I feel that the publishing industry as a whole is basically asking consumers to act more morally (or less “rationally” in economic terms) than themselves – there seems to be a double standard at work here. The industry can charge demonstrably unjustifiably high prices, can lock consumers to a format and (if Kindle) a vendor in perpetuity, can even reserve the right to take back the products that have been legally sold or otherwise refuse to grant access to those products anytime they wish. However, the consumer is then expected to ignore their own economic interest and purchase these products when alternatives are easily available with negligible consequences and COMPLETELY FREE.

    Quite apart from anything else, this is not sustainable. I think it says a lot about the inherent honesty and ethics of most readers that we do still do this despite knowing that we’re getting what you Americans would call a “bum deal”.

    As Jane and others have mentioned, the industry needs to rethink its business model if it’s serious about combatting piracy. Ranting and calling pirates names is not really going to help the situation – what needs to be done is to lower the incentives to pirate. As it is, my feeling is that the industry is actually begging us to pirate.

  11. Nora Roberts
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 20:10:26

    ~The e industry is no more one person or a few people who are accusatory and unreasonable just as the authors are not accusatory and unreasonable as a whole. ~

    Jane, I know you’re absolutely right. But for me, I can’t enter into one of these discussions–where I am interested in learning, and am concerned with readers’ opinions and expectations–without having one or more readers make it personal about me. I can’t express my own opinions or state my own case without having someone slap back at me.

    I’m greedy, I’m not doing enough–now add ignorant. I’m biased against e–even when I say again and again how glad I am readers have these choices–because I choose paper for my own reading entertainment. And so on.

    As unfair as it is for readers to be lumped in a ball, or authors to be considered The Borg, it’s also difficult to be continually signalled out by some with unreasonable demands, discourtesy, accusations whenever I try to participate in a discourse on e-books.

    I didn’t follow the drubbing last week you’re citing, but I bet by the end of it you were pretty pissed off.

  12. Jane
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 20:11:40

    @Nora Roberts Let’s just say I know exactly how you are feeling right now. I know that I need to learn to be more temperate in my reaction but lord it is hard. I wish I had pie. and ice cream.

  13. Moriah Jovan
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 20:17:01

    @CD:

    But how exactly is the production of an ebook as expensive (or even more) than the production of a physical book? You don't have bookstores, physical materials, storage, shipping, or even cover art for the most part. As as consumer, when you see that ebooks are being priced the same or more than a physical book, it's pretty difficult not to feel that you're being ripped off. And that's not even addressing the fact that DRM restrictions make ebooks into an inferior product.

    I answered most of this upthread, but geez, the thread’s getting exhausting, isn’t it?

    The biggest expenses of producing a book have to do with acquiring and editing the work, hiring a graphic artist-and those are sunk costs whether you put it in print or not. Add in the cost for e-book formatting (if you want to not sell crap formatting that's hard to read), web server space, the cost of building a shopping cart and/or factoring in the punitive cuts places like Amazon, Fictionwise, and Books on Board take, and it adds up fast.

    This is what I didn’t say upthread because it doesn’t apply to me and my situation: The traditional publishers who dip their toes in the waters of digital say it’s expensive because of DRM. Well, but the consumers don’t want it, so why are you putting it on there? Brings us back to square one of “e-book readers are thieves in embryo.”

    I don't think anyone is calling authors greedy

    Yeah, somebody upthread called authors greedy.

    Just like some readers are pirates, some authors ARE greedy and selfish. Look at Stephen King who charges 3.5 times the amount for an ebook compared to a hardcover.

    So, you know. I have to assume they said what they meant and meant what they said.

    However, the consumer is then expected to ignore their own economic interest and purchase these products when alternatives are easily available with negligible consequences and COMPLETELY FREE.

    The most rational answer for the consumer at that point is to either borrow from the library (which purchases at wholesale) or refuse to purchase. But we readers have this addiction to feed. ;)

  14. Bonnie
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 20:20:02

    Key-lime pie! Yes!

  15. CD
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 20:37:36

    @Moriah Jovan: It is getting exhausting!! I wrote the comment before I read your comment up-thread. My computer is pretty bad at refreshing I’m afraid.

    It clarifies the situation more but I still don’t think that it’s justifiable to charge the same amount for an ebook than you would for a physical book. However, I’m glad that we agree on DRM at least!

    Regarding rational choices, I’m sorry but I believe that the cold rational choice would be to pirate in that situation. The ethical choice would be to go to the library or go without. What I trying to get at in my post is that if consumer don’t feel that the publishing industry is acting ethically, even if it is actually legally, than that reduces our incentives to act ethically in return.

    That's asking a lot when this issue really is a reader issue. Readers vote with their pocketbooks.

    Or vote by piracy.

    Although I agree with those who have said that readers and authors should be natural allies, on this issue I'm not sure that's the case. Authors want to get the most they can for their work, and readers will value that work relative to their own priorities and reading tastes. That doesn't mean we need to be enemies, but we may have to accept that there's a more inherently competitive relationship between us on this particular issue.

    That is a good point. However, I think we both want a flourishing publishing industry but the devil’s obviously in the details. That’s why I think it would be useful to do a whole lot more research into this – seeing if the success of Baen and Samheim can be translated into more mainstream publications.

    And I want some pie too!!

  16. hapax
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 20:42:05

    @CD But how exactly is the production of an ebook as expensive (or even more) than the production of a physical book?

    Um. Are you aware that most publishers actually LOSE money on the vast majority of physical books — especially hardbacks? That they are subsidized in the most part by a few bestselling authors — the Kings, the Roberts, the Rowlings — and pbk sales?

    I’m not defending the marketing strategies of the publishers; I think it is an industry in desperate need of an overhaul, although I fear the repercussions if it comes by means of total collapse of the gatekeeping function the publishers have traditionally served.

    But honestly, it’s not exactly like most publishers are slurping caviar in the back of their Cadillacs whilst laughing at the travails of e-readers, either.

  17. Moriah Jovan
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 20:44:54

    @CD:

    Regarding rational choices, I'm sorry but I believe that the cold rational choice would be to pirate in that situation.

    Are rational and ethical mutually exclusive? Is it rational to take what one has not earned/bought, with the implication that he is entitled to that object? While I understand your distinction, I would have to disagree with that definition of “rational.”

  18. Tisienne
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 20:53:11

    Okay, I’ve been peeking in on this discussion all day and I wasn’t going to say anything. I truly wasn’t. And yet…

    Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not an author who tars all readers with the same brush. I firmly believe, much as the other authors who’ve commented here do (though they’re all far better known than I’ll ever likely be), that there is a HUGE difference between readers who buy my books and those who… acquire them through other means. (I’m also not opposed to my readers sharing a book between friends, but as someone else already said, there’s a big difference between sharing with 2 or 3 people and “sharing” with 200 or 300. It’s a question of DEGREE.)

    I honestly want to thank the majority of readers, of my and other peoples’ books, for being honorable and respectful of the work involved in producing even one book. That appreciation of the weird little worlds I create is amazing to me. It is.

    That being said, though… maybe I’m naive. Maybe I simply want to believe the best of people and that those who DO acquire and distribute my books through less than legitimate channels don’t really understand the effect their actions have on me, personally, on my life and my family.

    See, I’m one of those authors who spends time sending out take-down requests when I find my books being offered up to all comers like Halloween candy. I am. And yes, part of it is because I find it less than flattering that people like my work, but not enough to pay for it.

    Contrary to the seemingly pervasive opinion held by those who acquire and distribute my work in less than legitimate ways, I’m not rich. I don’t summer in the Hamptons between jetting about between my many homes. Most authors aren’t, and those that ARE have earned that, through hard work and honing their craft and being lucky, on top of it.

    So, at the risk of sounding “greedy,” I actually posted something about this a few days ago, here: http://tcblue.wordpress.com/blog/

    As I said above, this “Open Letter to Pirates” isn’t directed at the majority of readers, but toward those who may not realize exactly what an author puts into a book.

    I’m well aware of the fact that this may make me more of a target to those who are inclined toward having something for nothing. I’m aware that my words in that post might be less than kind and may be taken the wrong way by people the post isn’t aimed toward. I was rather angry when I wrote it, and I don’t apologize for that.

    Yes, the e-publishing industry isn’t perfect. Yes, some traditional publishing houses may be taking advantage of electronic media (and readers of e-books) by pricing in what seem odd ways even to me. But I’m not with a big publisher.

    I’m one author. Just one.

    Do I think pirating books is wrong? Of course I do. And not just because my work has wound up on so many unofficial and non-royalty-paying sites. For me, it’s more that it’s something I wouldn’t do and so I have difficulty with understanding how anyone else would feel otherwise. That some people do is obvious; however…

    I feel the way I feel about this issue. I don’t say everyone should or can agree with me. There is no “one true way.” I just wonder whether those who do acquire books through less than legitimate methods really understand the effect it has on the people who wrote those books… or how much time and effort goes into creating what they so gleefully acquire.

    And that’s pretty much all I have to say. Thanks for listening.

    ~Tis

  19. CD
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 20:54:49

    @Moriah Jovan: I think this is just an issue of semantics. When I say rational, I mean the definition of rationality in economic terms. That precludes ideas of entitlement or otherwise which are value judgements.

    But no, rational and ethical motives are not always mutually exclusives. The trick is to get the incentives in place so that it becomes rational to act ethically. Such as making sure that a product that you purchase legally is more desirable than a pirated copy.

  20. Moriah Jovan
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 20:58:54

    @CD:

    The trick is to get the incentives in place so that it becomes rational to act ethically.

    I’m going to have to think about that for a while.

  21. CD
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 20:59:35

    Um. Are you aware that most publishers actually LOSE money on the vast majority of physical books -’ especially hardbacks? That they are subsidized in the most part by a few bestselling authors -’ the Kings, the Roberts, the Rowlings -’ and pbk sales?

    Well, if they are in that dire straits, then the industry obviously needs to shape up pretty quickly. If ebooks are the market of the future, then it becomes even more of an issue. Personally, I know a number of people who have been attracted by ebooks but then put off by the problems associated with them.

    Speaking personally, I’ve been spending almost twice as much on ebooks since I discovered how to strip DRM off the books that I purchased. And I haunt sites like Baen obsessively trying to find any excuse whatsoever to buy from them. And I don’t think I’m so unusual.

  22. AQ
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 21:00:29

    Or vote by piracy.

    @CD: Sure but one might argue that those individuals are already predisposed to piracy regardless of DRM or any other acquisition issues. If so, why should an author put themselves on the line for those same individuals as was being asked of Nora Roberts in the original string that I was responding to?

    A lot is being asked of the creator of the work, if the creator puts themselves on the line for their readers, even those readers who acquire those works through piracy, what can she/he expect from those readers in return?

  23. CD
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 21:16:33

    @AQ: Apologies, I believe you misunderstood me due to the way I quoted you. Pure laziness on my part for not making it clearer.

    I don’t think authors should put themselves on the line – I know very little about the publishing industry but I’m pretty sure that authors have very little say in those decisions. All I meant was that readers were already in a sense “voting” by pirating. Not to most effective way of conveying a message to the industry to be sure, but it is there to be heard.

  24. Blue Tyson
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 21:28:14

    167

    Jane,

    That’s a pretty blind assumptive leap, given I have said I can be, so you are wrong, there.

    Not sure how asking for evidence equates with being defensive. I have nothing to defend. Unless you are suggesting that to look at what you are told critically and analytically is defensive. If what you mean is always being anti-DRM and georestrictions is defensive, then fair cop, I’ll wear that one, no problem. If conditions stay as they are then I’ll be buying very few books from publishers like Penguin, because I can’t. The existence or non-existence of publishers that are now of no personal interest only matters in a general sense. I have particular favorite authors like anyone else (and like other people, some chunk of mine are dead). Exactly none of them are the outlier Patterson/Rowling class etc. I might read the occasional book of this lot, but if they all disappeared I pretty much wouldn’t notice (yes, that unlikely event would have industry effects). I like King, but only short stories – haven’t read a novel of his for many years, and you can always get him at a library, anyway if I do decide to read the Dark Tower books that are novels and not collections.

    I actually hadn’t thought about it before, but if what is happening economically funnels money to the authorial class who include my favorite writers, then that is what I should be defending – which would be the status quo? I think we both agree though that no DRM or restrictions will increase sales for everyone, which is a good thing everybody. From Roberts through Briggs and tomorrow’s first book author.

    The study you mentioned earlier is some evidence – evidence that overall it is a good thing for authors, generally speaking.

    Certain circumstances are always going to be detrimental to some authors, of course. Whether that is advertising, economic conditions, type of book they write, format it is produced in or whatever.

    Geographical restrictions definitely has to lower sales at any given point in time (and increased downloading of free). If some bigger selling authors are noticing worse results now that could be the problem, for example. This is a fairly significant recent development. As opposed to what was happening a year ago when things were different and it was easier to buy books. This is conflated with more people being interested in all the new tech, of course.

    I also said, more than once, that given what I know I am inclined to believe it can affect the right tail end detrimentally. Which is also the opposite of ‘can never be convinced’.

    Tim O’Reilly also said quite a while ago ‘piracy is progressive taxation’ as I recall – a suggestion of the same thing. Redistributing sales back down the curve. They’ve done more work on it, so more reason to believe them. They aren’t fiction publishers though – it is possible that the effects are not as bad (or even worse). i.e. finding technical information is important and can be worth money – and the books are more expensive. There’s no significant financial return or knowledge gain going forward on finding the latest novel for download.

    To be completely convinced of something requires more evidence than ‘because we say it is’ from a definitely biased source. From lots of discussions it appears that this is a case – lots of people require convincing, not just those of us with an analytical background. If a large chunk of people don’t believe you, then probably it is a good idea to do something a little different than just keep repeating for years and years ‘this is bad because we say it is’, don’t you think?

    A larger number of authors contributing to a document with anecdotes like Roberts’ likewise is also perhaps a good idea? Some may be willing to give concrete examples. Occasionally I’ve seen authors mention numbers in the past.

    Although people on this level, as she suggested are always going to have the problem of ‘Mr. Patterson, you only made 58.6 million this year rather than 60? Talk to the people who care.’ Philanthropy or advocacy is an oft-used tactic to combat this. Although this could be anti-philanthropic as advocating something that is possibly detrimental to the majority.

    Or, a publisher could write that the top sellers are losing X%. They are a large part of sales at Y%. X * Y is greater than gains of the A% of the rest gaining B% of sales. This spins as ‘so we have to delete a higher number of the underperforming authors that you like from our lists.’ If you are trying to relate it back to people that can be generally empathised with by those with lower interest levels.

    They of course can’t do this if they don’t have the data, or it is not actually the case.

    That convincing the large percentage of people may take some time, as they haven’t done the work in the past to compare things to.

    A multipublisher study with a significant number of titles and different formats looking at various market condition changes where possible can easily be convincing to me.

    O’Leary himself said he didn’t have enough data yet as far as this goes.

  25. Blue Tyson
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 21:40:20

    164

    Nora,

    Thanks for the answer on where you got your info.

    Both agent and publisher reporting that they think this is the case is certainly of more interest. So actually that answer does make more difference to me. On top of your own statement, something along those lines that both your agent (who works for you) and publisher, who does not, have come to similar conclusions is certainly a stronger statement.

    If you don’t believe that books are media, or publishers are media companies, fair enough. That’s a definitional disagreement.

    Again, I’ll apologise for any discourtesy.

  26. Suze
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 21:53:54

    we enter the “itunes” phase of the industry and eliminate DRM/geo restrictions

    itunes still has geo restrictions. It ain’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination.

  27. Kerry D.
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 22:03:54

    @Suze: You’re right. Living in New Zealand, there’s heaps and heaps of stuff I can’t buy on iTunes. It’s barely better.

  28. AQ
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 22:26:23

    @CD:

    Gotcha.

    My follow-up question then would be: how can a publisher determine whether the vote for piracy is because of DRM/regional restriction practices vs. I just don’t want to pay for it because I can download an illegal copy for free?

    Voting via piracy isn’t really a vote in my book unless the individual wrote to the publisher and said hey, I downloaded an illegal copy of this because of I hate your DRM practices or because you won’t sell me a copy in my part of the world or I’m broke and you won’t allow my library to lend my preferred digital format. Remove DRM, sell worldwide and/or grant libraries the right to lend my preferred format and I’ll no longer download it illegally.

    It would be really great if people who were honestly voting through piracy did that. But tell me what percentage of people who are downloading an illegal copy would actually follow-through on that promise? Or are even voting to begin with and how would we be able to tell unless there was an immediate drop in illegal downloads after such policies were implemented?

    Here’s a general question to all:
    What impact, if any, has Book Depository (US & UK sites) made on the piracy issue as it pertains to geographical restrictions of paper products? I’m asking because I was under the impression that Book Depository had competitive pricing with Amazon and that they offered free shipping on all books worldwide. No, I haven’t looked through BD online inventory to know if they have additional restrictions on individual titles. I’m just going by what I heard so I’m hoping that someone outside the US can confirm or parse my statement above.

    Finally, I’ve seen “imported” American versions of certain novels on the German, French and Japanese Amazon sites? Can we tell if those imports have any impact on piracy? For that matter did any of the reports listed (sorry, haven’t had a chance to parse through them) indicate what percentage of the illegal downloads were being done by the US consumer vs. consumers from other countries with access to the product vs. those countries where the product isn’t available? And are we seeing similar piracy rates on books originally published outside of the US? not published in the US at all?

    These are just some of the questions I’d like to see piracy studies address.

    TIA and I apologize if anyone else has already asked these questions. I fear I missed a few posts along the way that I need to catch up on. Tomorrow.

  29. Kerry D.
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 22:53:30

    @AQ: I don’t know if this is relevant, but IT hubby tells me there are figures that suggest something like 80% of current TV shows downloaded on torrent sites are from people outside the US who either have to wait months (sometimes over a year) to see it locally, or it never screens locally at all.

    I realise ebooks are a totally different kettle of fish and you probably can’t extrapolate from one to the other, but thought I’d toss the information out.

  30. Evangeline
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 22:53:56

    One thing I’m always curious about is to whom these posts about internet piracy are directed. If you spend a good amount of time around the interwebs you’ll bump up against a large segment of people who pirate books and could care less about the illegality of it and the impact it has on the industry. To them they have the right to a book–print or ebook–when it’s released, and if they can’t afford it at the time or it’s not available in their country or it is overpriced in their opinion, they have the right to acquire it for free through any means.

    Now, I’m against pirating and have called people out on it (but they either flip me the cyber bird or give a litany of excuses), but as an unpublished author, I see the whole piracy debate as a lose-lose situation for the writer. Namely, the author is responsible for take down letters to torrent sites, the author is the one who suffers when big box stores elbow their own prices for books, the author is the one who suffers when publishers institute boilerplate clauses in contracts to cover the losses piracy will make for them, the author is the one who suffers when their contract is dropped due to low sales caused by more pirated downloads than legitimate sales, etc etc. Seeing this I don’t know why more people aren’t mad as hell. And also, why articles on piracy are not being written by published authors or at least circulated on their websites, and why there is more uproar over someone slagging off on the romance genre than an issue so important as this.

  31. Shiloh Walker
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 22:57:02

    Full disclosure: I’m not reading thru all the comments, nor will I. I’m sorry, but piracy depresses me to the point to where I often question :why: I bother. I remind myself, often, that those who buy my books, or check them out, or borrow :legally: are that reason. That’s why I keep doing this.

    But I’m not going to read thru the comments. I just can’t anymore. If I want to keep doing what I’m doing I have to disconnect at some point. Nor do I plan on coming back to read thru any more… doesn’t mean I won’t, but I don’t want to. Again, piracy depresses me-I don’t write well when I’m depressed.

    However, I do want to say: What Nora Said. It should be a button, or bumper sticker.

    When I say this, I often get responses such as-well, you make plenty of other sales, so big deal. Excuse me, but it is a big deal, and trying to shrug it off is simply another way to justify doing something both wrong and illegal.

    Plain and simple… wrong is wrong. Libraries are NOT illegal-they don’t take from me. They are legal copies and I adore libraries.

    Used bookstores aren’t wrong. They are NOT illegal and they don’t take from me-they often introduce me to new readers. I have no issue with used bookstores.

    But piracy is a different beast altogether.

    Here is a scenario, and it’s a true one: one of my ebooks has sold less than 2000 copies. They might sound like a lot to some, but it’s not. 2000 copies.

    It’s been downloaded to the tune of 9800 in various places. Nearly five fricking times how many it sold.

    If people can’t understand how disheartening, how depressing that is, then frankly, that depresses me even more.

    Writers work damn hard. It’s not that much to expect that people respect their rights-their rights as authors, their rights to earn a living. Is there anybody here who would sit quietly if somebody was trampling all over their rights?

    Piracy tramples all over the rights of an author. Those works wouldn’t exist if writers didn’t create them. Writers write because it’s our job-jobs should come with monetary compensation. We invest our money, our health, our time, our lives into our writing.

    However, I realize that many readers feel that doesn’t affect them. I do see that. I can understand where they come from.

    But the bottom line? Even if piracy doesn’t affect readers the way it affects writers?

    It does HURT hurt readers.

    When a new author doesn’t sell through, anybody and everybody who illegally read that book contributed. If one pirated instead of buying, they contributed, and if that author doesn’t get a renewed contract, they did have a part to play in it, because with new authors in these tough times? Every sale counts.

    When an established author doesn’t get a new contract offer because of flat sales? The same as above…anybody and everybody who illegally read that contributed.

    Those who bought legally are still impacted, because they lose out on future books. Is it fair to those readers? Hell, no. It’s not. But it’s also not fair to the authors that have their livelihood threatened.

    If new authors aren’t offered new contracts? Those are books readers may never see. If established authors don’t get contracts renewed? Those are books readers may never see, and if you’re a reader who’s ever been left hanging and wondering WHEN IS THE NEXT ONE COMING???? What if there is no next one…and what if there could have been?

    Piracy DOES hurt readers.

    It really, really does.

  32. AQ
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 23:28:00

    @Shiloh Walker:

    Very powerful post.

    And for the record since I know you write for NY as well as a few of the smaller publishers such as Samhain and Ellora’s Cave: was this a NY story with DRM and regional restrictions or one sold by an e-publisher with no DRM and worldwide rights?

    I ask for further clarification only because DRM and regional restrictions have popped up throughout this thread.

    Thanks!

  33. Tisienne
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 23:29:34

    Add to Shiloh Walker’s post that I’ve seen questions on numerous pirate sites, asking when the next in my One and One series and the next in my Conventions series are coming out.

    They’re already requesting books of mine that aren’t even published yet.

    They’re telling each other not to buy it because ONE of them will and then thet’ll make it available to everyone else.

    The particular site I’m thinking of right now has almost 2,000 members who read within my genre.

    How does that not cause me harm?

    ~Tis *truly shutting up now*

  34. Tisienne
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 23:36:27

    For the record, I have received emails from people in countries where they couldn’t purchase my books for whatever reason. They’ve asked whether they could send me payment via paypal.

    I’ve had to say no, simply because my books are under contract, and maybe that means I’ve pushed some readers to the pirating side of life.

    If so, I apologize to them. I should have accepted their payments and bought copies of my own books.

    Maybe that’s a way around the geological restictions. Set something up where people outside those areas can pay via paypal or some similar agency, then have some automatic thing that sends the purchase out while paying the publisher its percentage? *ponders*

    Not sure it’s feasible, but… worth looking into.

    Not that it’ll stop those who want free stuff, but it couldn’t hurt, right?

  35. Nadia Lee
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 00:35:38

    @AQ:

    And for the record since I know you write for NY as well as a few of the smaller publishers such as Samhain and Ellora's Cave: was this a NY story with DRM and regional restrictions or one sold by an e-publisher with no DRM and worldwide rights?

    I’m not Shi, but I’m not sure if she’s ever going to return to answer your question. So if you want to know more, you can read this post from her blog:

    http://shilohwalker.wordpress.com/readers-piracy/

    But… I have ended a series. The deciding factor were money and piracy. The Mythe series is pretty much dead. I have no plans at this point to continue it. If you want more detail, follow the link. But the series is pretty much over and will remain unfinished.

    I came to the decision that I should place my work where it's going to be the biggest benefit to my career. I decided the best place for the Hunters books was Berkley, one of my mainstream publishers. Issues with piracy was one of the deciding factors and because of those issues, I switched the Hunter books to my mainstream publisher.

    (bolded sentence mine)

    The Hunters series was with EC, and I do not believe EC books have geo restrictions or DRM. I’ve been able to buy EC books no matter where I lived, and you can print books you buy from EC, etc.

    Samhain publishes ebooks without DRM or geo restrictions. If you buy directly from Samhain you can re-download your ebooks in any format you want as many times as you want. Samhain website offers like 5-7 different formats IIRC.

    But even Samhain ebooks get pirated. (I also do not believe Samhain books are outrageously priced.)

    So I don’t think not having DRM or geo restriction will make a difference in combating piracy. Else nobody would’ve pirated Samhain books.

  36. Nonny
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 01:13:30

    Nadia said: “So I don’t think not having DRM or geo restriction will make a difference in combating piracy.”

    I think that lack of DRM and geographical restrictions will help with the minority of pirates; that is, people who really would rather buy the book legally. However, for every person who speaks up saying they have a “reason” (and truthfully, I sympathize with readers on these particular issues as I have had similar difficulties with music) there are at the very least dozens of people who simply don’t give a shit and will pirate regardless.

    Personally, I see piracy as an unfortunate reality of doing business in the Internet era. I really don’t see it changing when you have the pervasive attitudes of the DRM hackers who are doing it because they can, people who believe they are “sticking it to The Man”, and people who are trying to save money. The music industry has been dealing with it for about a decade.

    Education in the forms of posts like the ones here at DA or author blogs/websites help with the people who honestly do not realize there is a difference between a library loan and an illegal download, but they aren’t going to help with the above-mentioned attitudes.

    As frustrating as the situation is, I think it’s a losing battle until there is federal level punishment of illegal downloaders and not just lawsuits. France will be revoking internet access of illegal downloaders entirely if they continue after a warning (link). I’m not sure if this would work in the US, but it’s an interesting concept!

  37. AQ
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 01:50:22

    Nadia, thanks for the info. I suspected as much but I didn’t want to assume.

    So a few facts:

    If this was the Hunter’s series then it’s was a very popular series with a solid following. The fact that New York is picking up the series attests to that.

    EC and Samhain books have NO DRM, no geographical restrictions and the prices of the Hunters series ranged from $6 down to $2.99 depending on length of story.

    Even if one makes that argument that says only 25% of the individuals who illegally downloaded the digital copy would have purchased a copy of the book, that’s more than actually purchased the book. And given that the Author has over 60 digital books available from these small publishers, she has a pretty good idea of what/how the digital version should be selling. Also I believe she had a print release or two from NY publishers by then so her audience exposure should’ve increased prior to the release of this digital version. May not be a factor but one wouldn’t expect dramatic decreases on a popular series after increased exposure. Still it could happen.

    What else do we know?
    Individuals illegally downloading copies of this book did NOT go out and purchase a paper copy because neither Ellora’s Cave or Samhain release the trade version at the same time as the digital version. It used to be at least a 6 month delay for the print release but I believe that time frame is longer now. And if cost is an issue, it’s certainly cheaper to buy the $6 e-book rather than the $12 trade.

    So…

    Edited to add: Nadia’s post must have gotten stuck in the spam filter or deleted so I thought I’d add her point about Samhain:

    If you buy directly from Samhain you can re-download your ebooks in any format you want as many times as you want. Samhain website offers like 5-7 different formats IIRC.

  38. Nadia Lee
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 03:41:07

    My comment is stuck in the moderation pile. Argh. I think DA’s anti-spam thingie hates me.

  39. BC
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 05:15:18

    @Nadia Lee:

    Don’t worry I think mine is there too because I tried to submit but it hasn’t shown up.

  40. BC
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 05:27:19

    Part 1

    I agree. It is insane that they really believe that we as consumers should pay those prices. I have been contemplating the switch over from print to digital for some time but what stops me is the prices. At first the pricing for Kindle books was great; some were much less than $5 but I had decided to wait until their second version of the model came out because of issues I had read about it. However, by then the pricing had jumped up in the books to that of print prices so I shelved the idea. It is absurd. E books don’t require trees. I love trees and really do hate to see them cut down especially for those wastes of space garbage collections that publishers print and try to cram down our throats as fillers for in between release dates of book done by people with real talent. They’re the in-betweener books; the relationship rebounds of the literary world. Of course, we need not name names because we all know which ones those are on the store shelves.

    Let’s use the brains God gave us, shall we? In California the minimum wage, in certain areas, is $8.00/ hr and one paper back book is $7.99, that is one book for an hour’s worth of work. Actually, that’s not true because you have to factor in tax which would make it about $8.70 so about $9.00, which means that not even an hour at work would buy you a book. That is sad, especially for those that only work part time jobs because the impact on them financially would be nearly twice that amount. Really, puts things into perspective from the consumers point of view.Might as well be illiterate at those prices or join the rest of the country that just simply pretends to be, what with their tired excuses of “not enough time” or “I won’t be able to fall asleep”.

    Also, in truth new authors would not be without an option if big publishing companies stopped looking because there is always self-publishing or smaller publishing companies. After all, the bigger companies started from nothing, too. Besides, if fanfiction writers are intelligent enough to see more out of a story line than what was published and at times even improve on it–yes, I do mean improve because lets face it there’s always at least one book in a series that is just horrible no matter who the writer is it happens– then it would seem likely they could come up with their own stories to publish. Plus, I have found that there are some really talented fanfiction writers on the net that should try to publish their own works. An example of a cross over is Cassandra Clare and depending on the reader that may not be the best of examples but she is still an example. Besides, English teachers in high school like to say there are no original ideas just better ways of telling them and that even Shakespeare filched his stuff from others.

    Note: I am NOT a fanfiction writer; I have a life. Granted, not much more than them because after all I’m loser enough to read their stuff but only sometimes. The only things I might have online are term papers for college classes that had me use sites like turnitin.com or some other such web page.

    Raising the pricing is pretty much a bad buisness practice. The consumer pool for books is small. Most author websites will say they have some 140 million copies of a book in print world wide, well guess what, there’s more than twice than many people living in the United States alone. You wouldn’t buy a coffee that was the color of lightly steeped tea for $8.00 so why would you want to pay for an ebook marked at $9.00 when the paperback is cheaper? When a company betrays its consumers, product loyalty drops. It’s similar to when authors kill off beloved characters just to get a rise out of readers, people stop reading them. Trust is lost; betrayal and disappointment in the general region of the-I-have-a-cheating-spouse is felt. The companies experimenting with prices are more like teenagers testing boundry lines. They want to know how far they can push us before we say no more. As a person that once paid $40 to have a non-U.S. edition of a book shipped from the UK, I’m saying enough is enough.

    It’s simple; lower the prices or lose out because frankly as consumers we have options: libraries, book exchanges, second hand stores, and the ever present best friend loan system. On Amazon, you can find Harlequin books for a penny then pay a shipping and handling of 3.99; nearly the same price as what you could get at Walmart. My public library sells them for five cents and that includes hardback books by authors like John Grisham, J.D. Robb, and Christine Feehan. Plus, that money is actually going to help fund the library, a good cause. Granted, the cover is usually missing but the book itself is intact. Online market places usually try to get rid of older or over stocked books by cutting prices by a lot. I’ve even found signed copies of first edition books in excellent condition at the Goodwill store and the Salvation Army.

    Now authors and publishers may cry foul and say “Wait, that’s not a solution” but in truth fellow readers, it’s simply not a solution FOR them because it’s not one they gain from. How does it hurt us, I ask? What? Will prices rise? Oops, too late. Will they raise them again? And again, and again, and again…and so forth and so on, until finally we tell them what they can do with their prices. In reality the rise in cost will just mean that even less people will buy hard backs and that more people will either borrow from libraries or wait till stores mark down the prices for an inventory sale. Essentially, less people will be willing to buy and fewer books will be sold because it’s all based on supply and demand. These aren’t textbooks; it isn’t college where you’re required to buy the books. They are luxuries and not necessities. Their foolishness translates into a constricting of their consumer base; which is something they can’t really afford what with so few avid readers and a struggling economy.

  41. BC
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 05:38:35

    Part II

    Libraries are public institutions based on the circulation of information but you won’t find an author calling a librarian a duchebage like Megan Hart called pirators in one of her blogs. After all, how many people do you know actually borrow a book from a library then after reading it, run out and buy the book? If they want to reread it, they simply check it out again. Come on now, seriously, this isn’t la-la land. Even libraries are getting into the ebook trend. The state university I tend lets you download digital copies for FREE from their library database. I’m talking books with real substance based in fact not simply fiction. Books that would normally cost $40, $65, or even $100+ and yet no one is calling them pirators. This is not as clear cut as movie or music piracy. You go to Hollywood video or Blockbuster and you have to pay to rent but books can be loaned out for free. You can even rent textbooks now for a far cheaper price than that set by the publisher. See the difference; the problem that clearly exists. If no cost is demanded, then how different is it from the CSU library or public library that allows for free downloads. Is it that one is an institution and the other a mere individual? If neither is seeking profit, then what constitutes acceptance of one over the other?

    Publishers and authors don’t see a profit or royalty from library loans except for the initial cost of the book, notice the singularity here, but where is their complaining then. I’ve seen those library request lists hit 250 people easily on an initial release of a book and that’s 250 people that will most likely not buy a copy for their very own. By the way, those requests lists cover entire regions within a state so depending on the book, it could range anywhere from 1 to 15 or more libraries that have a copy of the book. Now looking at the numbers, 250 times $8.00 is a $20,000 loss, well minus the original $8.00 gain, which would make a $19,992 loss. (Wow, no wonder they’re trying to screw us.) Plus, if a library doesn’t have a copy of a book, then they will either buy a copy or more likely they’ll request it from another library within that area of the state for small fee of about fifty cents. (There goes more money they won’t see and more screwing of the rest of us.) Hmmm, fifty cents vs $8.00; I don’t know it’s just SO close, which to choose. For $8.00, I could request that book sixteen times. I haven’t even reread any of my all time favorites that many times and some of those I’ve had for nearly ten years. Plus, I tend to read from 4 to whatever amount I can fit in just in a month.

  42. BC
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 05:44:47

    Part III

    What are they going to do, ban libraries? Prevent libraries from buying and selling their books? Outlaw online marketplaces? Illegalize best friend book loans or the online book exchanges? Stop individuals from selling their used books? Oh, wait. Yes, I suppose that’s exactly it. After all, what is an ebook but an electronic version of a printed book? Is an ebook not considered used once it has been read by the purchaser? So they wish to make a small recomp on their purchase by selling it to another individual, again note the singularity, would it then be fine if after the sell, they deleted their own copy of it? (Yeah, I know only the most honest of us would do that.) A video game is pre-owned, a movie pre-viewed, and a music cd is pre-listened to; don’t believe me on that last one just look it up on Amazon, you’ll find it’s sadly true. Would it be okay if the digital copies were on reader disks like regular dvds but could only be read with the disk because of an encrypted code, or if they had a limit, similar to some mp3 songs, on how many devices or times it could be transfered before the license was no longer valid or communicable, would that then make it okay? We do understand, you want to stop the flow of information by limiting the quantity made available and thereby boosting demand as well as sales.

    Now none of this is to say that I condone stealing because I don’t; however, I don’t approve of greed either. Avarice is a deadly sin for a reason and God can do as He will with those people in the end. As far as I’m concerned if they really want to can keep their prices, then they can because it’s about as productive as shooting themselves in foot. I’ll just find some other LEGAL, CHEAPER way of getting what I want; just as I have been. It’s just funny how most new breakout authors like to say in interviews, I write because I love it not simply to make a profit. Yet, it’s interesting how quickly the tune changes when they’re faced with smaller checks. Philosophers like Marx were right about those with money usually being the most greedy because they fear losing their wealth and will therefore do what they must not only to keep it but to build on to it.

    As if hard print publishers wouldn’t have reduced their number of employees anyway what with the natural rise in demand for ebooks and epublishers, that would have been proceeding much more quickly had someone not goofed and raised the prices. No, its far better for them to stick to their arcane form of environmental polluting than move forward with technology. After all, mp3s are cheaper than cds, if bought in bundles. Ebooks would have done to literary print what dvds did to vhs or cds to cassette players and what music videos did to the radio stars. No one needs to say the word ‘obsolete’; we’ll just call it a literary revolution that has been in the making since mass print was achieved and literacy rose.

  43. BC
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 05:46:26

    suggestions for other search engines that compare prices is dealoz and booksprice both are .coms

  44. Nadia Lee
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 06:28:22

    @BC:

    Now looking at the numbers, 250 times $8.00 is a $20,000 loss, well minus the original $8.00 gain, which would make a $19,992 loss.

    This is entirely flawed.

    You’re assuming that one MMPB can withstand handling by 250 people.

    It’ll fall apart after about 6-10 people, max, and the libraries will replace (or maybe repair/rebind if possible) it if there’s still a big demand for the book.

    Also…

    Let's use the brains God gave us, shall we? In California the minimum wage, in certain areas, is $8.00/ hr and one paper back book is $7.99, that is one book for an hour's worth of work. Actually, that's not true because you have to factor in tax which would make it about $8.70 so about $9.00, which means that not even an hour at work would buy you a book. That is sad, especially for those that only work part time jobs because the impact on them financially would be nearly twice that amount. Really, puts things into perspective from the consumers point of view.Might as well be illiterate at those prices or join the rest of the country that just simply pretends to be, what with their tired excuses of “not enough time” or “I won't be able to fall asleep”.

    You’re claiming that books cost more than CA minimum wage. Most writers don’t make minimum wage from their writing. What is your point?

    They are luxuries and not necessities. Their foolishness translates into a constricting of their consumer base; which is something they can't really afford what with so few avid readers and a struggling economy.

    If books are truly luxury items, as you claim, why do you think it should be priced so that everyone can buy a copy?

    Furthermore, there are lots of things that are truly necessities that cost more than your hourly wage — food, gas, etc. What is your point? Stuff people want to buy should be priced a penny each?

    Avarice is a deadly sin for a reason and God can do as He will with those people in the end. As far as I'm concerned if they really want to can keep their prices, then they can because it's about as productive as shooting themselves in foot. I'll just find some other LEGAL, CHEAPER way of getting what I want; just as I have been. It's just funny how most new breakout authors like to say in interviews, I write because I love it not simply to make a profit. Yet, it's interesting how quickly the tune changes when they're faced with smaller checks. Philosophers like Marx were right about those with money usually being the most greedy because they fear losing their wealth and will therefore do what they must not only to keep it but to build on to it.

    (bolded part mine)

    You’ve gone too far. Obviously a polite and productive conversation is out of question.

    I’m out of here.

    P.S. Interesting you quote Marx, since he also said, “Religion is the opiate of the masses.”

  45. BC
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 06:37:40

    It was actually suppose to be 2,000 not 20,000.

  46. ND
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 06:39:44

    I love ebooks, however, I sometimes feel cheated when buying ebooks compared to print books because due to the nature of ebook shopping you are very limited in the sample that you can read online. With a few exceptions such as Avon which often has the first few chapters available on their website, what’s publicly available to sample is minimal. As a result, I have bought many ebooks that I’ve not read past the first few chapters because I’ve found the book to be poorly written, boring, offensive, bland or TSTL. If it was a print book I would have been able to skim through the book, “test drive” it and then decide whether to buy or not. And I would have been able to return it and get my money back if I disliked it.

    Of course not all ebooks are bad and I hope my post doesn’t sound like that. I am a big fan of the diversity of plots, the quantity of books out and that I can download and begin reading a book in the middle of the night!

    So while I’ve never downloaded books through torrents I can understand the frustration that drives people to feel like ebooks are just not comparable goods to print books.

    Maybe a solution would be to change how ebooks are sold. Perhaps people could skim through the whole book for an allotted time period. Or books could be displayed like google books, which omits pages, so that potential readers can look past the first chapter.

  47. BC
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 07:10:47

    You're assuming that one MMPB can withstand handling by 250 people.

    It'll fall apart after about 6-10 people, max, and the libraries will replace (or maybe fix if possible) it if there's still a big demand for the book.

    Actually, that is not true. If you pay close attention to what I wrote it was that the request list shows a region, key word there region, which would be as in the Valley (i.e. Fresno, Madera, Bakersville, Kerman,etc). All the libraries in that area is set up on a connected system which shows availability of a book in other libraries that allow people to see the interlibrary loan system at work. It’s like using UPS to track were the book is at in processing. These inividual libraries usually only order one copy of a book so people request a hold for that book. The holds usually add up to 250 people for that region. Also, that number by the way usually only accounts for the first few weeks before and after the book is recieved. It doesn’t not account for any subsequent holds that are placed. In fact if someone were to track the actual number of holds for a region, they would find that it’s more than 250. For example, when Janet Evanovich’s Finger Lickin Fifteen was released there was maybe ten libraries that had order a copy of the book and so the request list for the Valley area was over 200 even before each library had received its copy for processing. The number continued to rise even after the each book was checked out because after all certain libraries loan books for more than two weeks. However, when you search the San Joaquin Valley Library System, you’ll find that over 100 library locations have a copy of the book and yet the request list is still at 132. By the way, some cities and counties have more than one library, which is way the number of library locations is high.

  48. BC
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 07:31:23

    You're claiming that books cost more than CA minimum wage. Most writers don't make minimum wage from their writing. What is your point?

    So, you’re saying you make less than minimum wage in a month. Even less than a part time person at minimum wage? Less than a person that gets $8.00/ hr for a 40 hr work week of five days, which is about $1,280 (before taxes)? Or as in the part timers, $640 (once again before taxes)? Sure you do? Next you’ll be saying you make even less than the seasonal workers in the fields. They cents by the pound or by the number of grape trays they lay in a day. (The trays are set for raisins.)

  49. BC
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 08:17:07

    If books are truly luxury items, as you claim, why do you think it should be priced so that everyone can buy a copy?

    Furthermore, there are lots of things that are truly necessities that cost more than your hourly wage -’ food, gas, etc. What is your point? Stuff people want to buy should be priced a penny each?

    (the bolding and italics are also Mine)

    First, are you serious? That’s right! That’s what we should convey to the younger generation. Why should every one be afforded the opportunity to own a book. This isn’t a nation of equals. One person is better than another. Sorry, people of the ghetto. sorry, elderly folk that love your Agatha Christie’s but if you can’t afford them oh well. No wonder illiteracy continues still exists even here in the states. The point is that items shouldn’t be overly priced.

    Second, because that wasn’t a greedy b**** attitude and the moon is made out of cheese.

    Third gasoline for cars is only considered a necessity to those that are unwilling to find alternatives to it. We walked before we ever drove, its environmentally sound and healthy. Also, many places have what are known as buses. For those places that don’t, it’s because they are small enough that people can walk the entire length of it in less than twenty minutes.

    And last, to add on to your poor little writers sentiment of making less than minimum wage is…Gee, I think plenty of people would be glad to be able to blow 2,ooo dollars on a violin they let sit for four years. Yeah, we feel your pain.

  50. Donna Alward
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 08:17:17

    So, you're saying you make less than minimum wage in a month. Even less than a part time person at minimum wage? Less than a person that gets $8.00/ hr for a 40 hr work week of five days, which is about $1,280 (before taxes)?

    Yes, I’m saying exactly that. Not only that, but as a home based business, I also have to shell out of those proceeds for promo, office equipment, postage for contests, any travel I do for conferences….

    It doesn’t leave much to live on. I didn’t include your part time worker, because I don’t work part time. I am a full time writer. As well, I don’t get a paycheck every month. Wish I did.

    I’ve been published since 2006, and my ninth book is out in November. When you take into account the royalty schedule and reserves against returns, and the fact that it can take 18 months to 2 years to see any real return on a book AFTER it’s release date – and remember it was “bought” probably 9-12 months before it’s released – it takes a while to build up a head of steam.

    That is why many authors say they aren’t in it for the money. If we were, we’d pick something else that was a lot more lucrative and a lot faster. Believe me, my husband and I have had the conversation about how it might be easier for me to take a job at the local grocery store – except for the fact that we both know I’d hate it if I weren’t writing. And the fact that a huge number of authors ARE earning below the poverty line is why we feel we need to fight so damned hard for every dollar.

    Sigh. I didn’t want this to become about money but that comment just rubbed me the wrong way.

  51. BC
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 08:31:22

    @Nadia Lee:

    By the way, if what you say is true and I hope for the future of publishing companies sake that isn’t, that an MMPB can’t with stand ten people reading it just once through, then it means that the books quality of construction isn’t even worth the $8.oo that is being asked for it. Furthermore, your statement while clearly fallacious, would mean an even bigger reason for people not to buy them but to switch to ebooks. Also, I used to work at a school library and can say that a good portion of those books are paperback and they have withheld the use of more than ten teenagers. Yet, if what you claim is true, then that would mean that every 6-10 uses would be cause for a book to be replaced and thereby would mean that you are making plenty of money. Thus, you are not at risk of starving, losing your home or car, or whatever any time soon.

  52. Donna Alward
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 08:39:17

    As a ps – fwiw the point should never be if an author is earning “Enough” to eat or make their mortgage. The whole point is, this is our job. Our wage is the percentage we earn for being the author of that work. I don’t think it was ever intended for authors to cry little old me, nor do I think the authors here have done that. As Nora said – our job is to write stories for our readers to enjoy. That’s our promise to you, the reader. How much we make is irrelevant.

  53. AQ
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 08:44:13

    BC,

    In California the minimum wage, in certain areas, is $8.00/ hr and one paper back book is $7.99, that is one book for an hour's worth of work.

    Flawed because you haven’t included federal and state income taxes into the equation. Also wages in this country have been stagnate for about 30 years. This is not new. Piracy based on what Shiloh describe what to one of her books is relatively new in comparison. It’s interesting that it’s the product in this case the paperback and the digital that is too expensive, not that wages are too low. Interesting because you quoted Marx elsewhere in your posts.

    Also, in truth new authors would not be without an option if big publishing companies stopped looking because there is always self-publishing or smaller publishing companies.

    So by the logic in this paragraph, I’m guessing you believe that authors shouldn’t be paid and that readers should read fan faction instead. Because if you’re suggesting self-publishing as a replacement publisher model, I’d have to ask: have you ever purchased a self-published novel? If you had, you’d realize that hardcover pricing is cheap in comparison given the length of the story. There’s no volume here so prices are pretty high also reading the reviews on some of these POD book, I’ve been lead to also believe that story quality on average is less than the current publishing model. So as a reader, I’d be paying a lot more for a product that is more likely to be inferior to the products available from the current publisher marketplace. Not to mention that the author is paying out of pocket to publish that book so the likelihood decreases that they will see significant profit from said book.

    Most author websites will say they have some 140 million copies of a book in print world wide

    No, they do not.

    As a person that once paid $40 to have a non-U.S. edition of a book shipped from the UK, I'm saying enough is enough.

    Now there’s an example of a luxury purchase based on your other comments.

    Now authors and publishers may cry foul and say “Wait, that's not a solution” but in truth fellow readers, it's simply not a solution FOR them because it's not one they gain from. How does it hurt us, I ask?…

    It can hurt readers, because unlike the implication in this paragraph, authors are not rich. MOST authors cannot afford to write full-time, they have a second or “day” job to cover their expenses. So if you, as a reader, love a particular author’s storytelling ability but the reader marketplace isn’t buying enough of the product be it paper or digital then either the publisher will decide the author’s not profitable enough or the author will decide that she can be paid more doing another job.

    Of course, as you say, there are many options out there so you, as the reader, will be able to read other stories with little impact to yourself unless it’s a series that you were personally invested in. Oh, and hardbacks are specialty niche. Generally, not always, the hardback will eventually be released as a trade or a mass market. So if one isn’t willing to pay the hardback price, one can wait for the paperback version, wait for the library version to become available or I suppose one could illegally download a copy or just say forget it and move on to a different story.

    Libraries are public institutions based on the circulation of information but you won't find an author calling a librarian a duchebage like Megan Hart called pirators in one of her blogs.

    Not even close to a valid comparison. Libraries pay for the copies of the books in their collections. Pirates pay nothing and given that typical author “salaries which are considerably less than minimum wage” that fact can make or break whether or not an author continues creating stories. Yes, there are also many factors involved here but I think that it’s reasonable for an author to call someone who’s illegally downloading the final product a douchebag when those illegal downloads might have an impact on whether or not an author can continue to create stories.

    Is it that one is an institution and the other a mere individual? If neither is seeking profit, then what constitutes acceptance of one over the other?

    The institution has paid for book. The individual has stolen the book. If those same individuals had used the library to read those same books using Shiloh’s example of one book (9,800 illegal downloads), then the library would’ve purchased more copies of that book to support patron demand and the author would’ve gotten paid. Yes, you’re right the library wouldn’t have purchase 9,800 copies but that number would not have been 0.

    Publishers and authors don't see a profit or royalty from library loans except for the initial cost of the book, notice the singularity here, but where is their complaining then.

    And how many libraries are in there in the US? Something like 16,000? I’m sure that not every library purchases every book but library purchases do have a significant impact on an author’s bottomline. First because of the purchase and secondly because of the exposure. Many readers buy books by authors they originally discovered via the library. Also, how many libraries purchase more than one copy or version to satisfy the needs of their patrons? How many libraries replace books once they become worn out? Library numbers are not insignificant so why would any author complain about direct sales and indirect sales that libraries provide?

    however, I don't approve of greed either.

    Then I assume that you are completely anti-piracy because stealing something is greed and authors have no control of prices so I’m sure you’re not accusing them of greed. Perhaps it’s publishers who are greedy? Maybe, maybe not. But you’ve talked about supply and demand so if prices are what they are and publishers haven’t crashed and burned then the market is currently willing to accept those prices. Not sure I see greed, even if I don’t agree with some of the pricing models publishers use. Could the industry survive if publishers set prices that you don’t think are greedy? BTW: How much are you willing to pay for the product? Does that number change if the book’s by a certain author? in a certain format? of a certain length? Could publishers cover costs if they used your pricing model? I’m asking because lately it seems like people I know have succumb to the Wal-Mart pricing model where sellers keep pushing the prices and wages down so that consumers can have more stuff even though consumers pay for those price cuts though the backdoor with indirect costs instead of paying the real price for the product.

    It's just funny how most new breakout authors like to say in interviews, I write because I love it not simply to make a profit. Yet, it's interesting how quickly the tune changes when they're faced with smaller checks.

    Most new authors don’t understand how how little they get paid. Seriously, BC, do the research. Writing is not a very profitable endeavor and it’s getting less profitable because writers are being asked to shoulder more of the marketing burden, publishers are lowering the advances and there’s a hell of a lot of competition from other authors and other forms of entertainment out there.

    Advances aren’t paid in one lump sum, they are paid in 3 or 4 payments typically over 2 years. Out of that advance, an author would pay their agent 15%, then they must pay self-employment taxes out of the rest. Plus the publisher will hold part of the advance in reserve against bookseller returns.

    I read a blog post by an author who had hit the NY Times bestseller list for the first time this year. Trust me her financial numbers were not that big. Very few authors hit the NY Times bestselling list so most authors are making less money than she did for that one book and yes, that can easily end up being less than minimum wage, especially if the author isn’t a fast writer and can’t crank out multiple novels in a year. I will look through my records and post the link if I can find it.

    As if hard print publishers wouldn't have reduced their number of employees anyway what with the natural rise in demand for ebooks and epublishers, that would have been proceeding much more quickly had someone not goofed and raised the prices.

    Logic is very flawed in this paragraph. Publishers have reduced employees. E-publishers are feeling the effects of piracy directly even though they sell their digital products at half the cost of their print costs. Take a look at Shiloh’s post for one example of her experience with piracy and how that affects her reading audience.

    ….

    So I have to ask what exactly do you see as the literary revolution and what is its manifesto? How does that apply to the original post which was about piracy and why it’s upsetting to authors and why readers should be concerned?

  54. Moriah Jovan
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 08:56:04

    Erm, so now that Marx has been brought into the conversation, shall I now bring Rand into it?

    No, I’ll spare you. You’re welcome.

    At this point in the Age of Piracy, I have to agree with Nonny’s comment:

    @Nonny

    Personally, I see piracy as an unfortunate reality of doing business in the Internet era.

  55. Likari
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 10:14:23

    I like the idea of shutting down people’s broadband access if they illegally download.

    From the article about France, it looks like in exchange for this (shutting down the Internet access of illegal downloaders) the publishers are removing DRM from the content.

    Solution?

  56. Anne Douglas
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 10:18:04

    @BC: BC last year, according to the income I recorded on my tax return and before any expenses were taken out, I made a whopping big $4.50 over a 40 hr week. Post expenses, about $2/hr. And last year was a great year for releases for me. No, I’m not fudging numbers. And I think last year wasn’t too bad for an eBook only author in the most part. (edited to add: I’m not complaining about how much I earned FYI, I was quite proud to almost break into 6 *snort* figures last year. This year, well…it helps to actually write books to publish, huh) )

    @AQ:

    My follow-up question then would be: how can a publisher determine whether the vote for piracy is because of DRM/regional restriction practices vs. I just don't want to pay for it because I can download an illegal copy for free?

    Neither of my publishers (Loose Id and EC) have DRM or Georestrictions (and are priced, fairly reasonably (i.e. no $10+ ebooks)), yet you can easily find somewhere between 5-10 links currently that has one, some or all of my books available for free download and a number of requests at others. Interesting huh… So yeah, the whole ‘but DRM, but georestriction, but…but…but’ doesn’t play out for me. It’s also why I’ve not bothered to comment particularly on this thread.

    As for numbers – I’m not quite in Shiloh’s league, 1000-1500 copies sold in a year is great for me, but like her I’ve had just as many of my most popular books ‘illegally distributed’ (is that the phrase we’re supposed to be using now?) to at least equal the amount sold and in some cases far surpassing that. So yeah, lots of people just want something for free.

  57. Roxie
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 10:32:46

    @BC:

    After all, how many people do you know actually borrow a book from a library then after reading it, run out and buy the book? If they want to reread it, they simply check it out again. Come on now, seriously, this isn't la-la land.

    I have. Ann McCaffrey’s Rowan Series, Pegasus Series, and Crystal Singer Series. I read them at the library, and when I had the money, I bought my own copies. I read Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash in high school, and bought it several years later. I read the first two of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, and proceeded to buy the rest of the series. Oh, I did the same thing with Christine Feehan’s Carpathians. Come to think of it, I may have done the same thing with Linda Howard. Add Nora Roberts to that list. I need to stop proofing my post, before I end up with 50 authors that I read at the library and then bought their books. ;)

    I’ve done the same thing with several non-fic hard to find genealogy books. I wanted to check them out and make sure they had the info in them that I thought they did, before I spent $30-$60 on them. My husband has done the same.

    I’m certain I can’t be the only one out there that does this. Yes, I’m a voracious, even obsessive reader, but I saw someone post that she spends $200 a month on books, and that’s about the same as me. Apparently I’m not that weird after all.

  58. anon #47
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 10:39:21

    Getting on the author’s case to justify (or influence) price, format, availability, delivery, terms, and security for an ebook is kinda like stiffing the waiter because the cook’s no good. It’s not the waiter’s fault, of course, but withholding that tip is sometimes the only recourse a dissatisfied customer has.

  59. Sharron M
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 11:31:15

    @anon #47:
    Or…you could talk to management about the cook i.e send the publisher a letter about what peeves you. Better to put the “blame” on the person who deserves it than simply stiff the waitress and call it all good (said as someone who’s first job was waiting tables at a Dennys :))

  60. coribo
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 11:38:07

    How many of those here who download pirated books would ever consider taking the print version from a bookstore without paying for it?

    And if not, why not? The answer ‘ because I only read ebooks’ doesn’t count.

    Not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but some of the pirate sites charge a membership fee before people can access links to pirated books thus making a profit from the work of others. Fair? Anyone here paying a third party to make these books available to them?

  61. library addict
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 13:02:35

    After all, how many people do you know actually borrow a book from a library then after reading it, run out and buy the book? If they want to reread it, they simply check it out again. Come on now, seriously, this isn't la-la land.

    I guess I live in la-la-land then because I try new authors via the library all the time and if I like the books, I do go out and buy them.

  62. becca
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 13:27:54

    so – we all agree that illegal downloading is the problem. DRM doesn’t seem to work, and only serves to annoy honest users. I don’t know that even more draconian DRM will do anything other than present more of a challenge to dedicated pirates.

    what, if anything, is the solution? I don’t think education is the answer: pirates *know* what they’re doing is illegal, and I suspect that may be part of the charm of the activity.

  63. BC
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 13:49:11

    Yes, Marx’s said that religion is the opiate of the masses and Nietzsche pointed out that God was dead because man killed him. However, for it to have any true significance it must be taken within the context of what he was saying, which was that mand should not waste his life seeking a reward that is not promised until after this life but should instead look for the paradise that is already here on earth. It is why communism had no place for religion just as true communism was not meant to sustain a govermental lifestyle but a eutopian commune that could only be found after two revolutions; the gentry’s against the king and then the proletarait workers against bourgeoise, the former gentry made powerful. Then in one great rise of chaos everything was to melt down and reach the socialist eutopia in that not even the laborers would rule but for a short period of time after bourgeoise fell. It was the complete disappearnce of a class system as well as private ownership. Basically, no capitalism and no competition that would pit man against man as either a supplier or a consumer. Everything would be owned by all. That is the context of his saying tha God is opiate because religion blinds and misleads from true paradise. Thus, everyone works to provide for everyone. It’s a scenario where you do the work but you don’t own it because it is meant for everyone. Goodbye prices.

  64. anon #47
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 14:19:18

    @Sharron M:

    Or…you could talk to management about the cook i.e send the publisher a letter about what peeves you.

    That would be the ideal, yes. Speaking as someone who’s worked the front and the back of the house, I also know that’s not how it usually works.

    After all, how many people do you know actually borrow a book from a library then after reading it, run out and buy the book? If they want to reread it, they simply check it out again. Come on now, seriously, this isn't la-la land.

    Depends. I can think of only a handful of authors where I’ve done that, but I can think of ten where I read one book from the library, and when I was next at a bookstore and saw the author had a new title out, I purchased it. Often even with only a cursory inspection, on the grounds that I’d liked their writing before, so I’d continue to like it.

    But that’s also the way it works when I read a friend’s copy, too.

    Incidentally, the only purchased books that were library first-reads was when I was still moving frequently thanks to military family. When you know for certain you won’t be using that library again in six months, and you don’t know what’ll be available wherever you end up next, you learn to get yourself a copy when you can.

    The ironic thing about that is that in the instances where I’ve already purchased a DRM’d copy because it was my only damn option, when I’ve seen someone giving away a cracked version of the same story, I’ll download it immediately. Then I replace my DRM’d copy with the non-DRM pirated version, because I have no certainty that in a year I’ll be able to read the DRM’d copy.

    I have five ebooks burned on CD that I can’t reread at all, thanks to DRM madness, and I’ve learned my lesson on that count.

  65. Sharron M
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 15:14:06

    Re: DRM– I am curious if readers contact publishers to complain. As authors, we can talk/complain to our publishers, but I think the power lies with the readers in this regard because there are so many more of you and you can make your point with your pocketbook.

    I am not saying it’s your duty or anything to take this on but just wondering since it does seem to be a huge frustration to readers…and well…to almost everyone.

  66. BC
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 16:17:37

    @becca:

    Thank you. That’s exactly it. Pirators will continue find new ways around whatever system is set up. Once a book has been pirated simply disconnecting a server will not stop the book from circulating; it’s called cd W/RWs, Flash drivers, and anything else like the newest phones that can carry .pdf, .doc, docx, etc. It won’t stop them from selling it or just simply giving it away. How long has the governmetn been trying to stop hackers? Yet, they still persist. Once the information is out there the risk of it being stolen exists. I am a college student! Every paper we write and submit online has the chance of poping up some where else on a website that sells term paper because some other jerk off put it there to make a profit on something they didn’t do. Heck, even papers we turn in as hard copies have the chance of showing up some where else being presented as some one else’s work. It’s called plagarism. However, we don’t get the credit for it.

    Yes, it is understandable that they would know what they are doing isn’t right and that the wrongfulness of their actions is a part of the allure. Wanting to make a quick buck off the hardwork of others. Unfortunately, was has been pointed out is that author’s take is an irrelevance except that it is still one part of the whole in which us readers are asked to pay and therefore is relevant to us. Is it simply acceptable that we fork out whatever number without wanting to know the whys in the change in price or how each of those pennies is being distributed so that if a cut in some area is possible, it can be made? Or if not possible, then we can at least justify to our selves that it is not simply being turned over because the publishing companies merely want a large take. Our questioning of the break is not different from when tax payers demand to know where their dollars are going within the government. Isn’t it the joke of who pays $200 for a toaster or what kind of paper clip costs $60. No one likes being scamed out of their hard earned money. You’re not the only ones that work double jobs. Firemen are now being certified as EMTS so they can supplement their income. They put their lives on the line and shouldn’t have to supplement but do.

    The issue is that we, the honest people, are going to be made to suffer for the actions of others. We’re being told that this is how it is and will continue to be unless we what, start a petition or boycott those publishers that want more. They want to add a tax on ebooks, which would be on top of the already higher price so they get you both coming with the initial price and going with the tax added on to the total price.

    As someone else mentioned above is that if we want to purchase an ebook, we just need to use a search engine that compares online prices so that we can find the cheapest one on the net. They even started a such a search engine to help us other readers find a cheaper price. The ebook is actually much better than print in that we don’t have to worry about the company running out of stock. Also, I don’t have to go from store to store to find a book I want nor do I have to pay S&H and wait an entire week for USPS or FedEx to get into gear. I’ll pay for that convience with no problem but I don’t want to pay because of some experimental price tampering or because someone else was too stupid to get it legally. That’s like us being punished because shop lifters are stealing merchandise, which is happening, it’s their fault for why items are being higher priced because the stores have to make up the difference. It’s clear that this punish the consumer system doesn’t work. People go to TJMax or Burlington’s to get the same higher priced stuff cheaper. We’re going to look for the cheapest prices; it’s just how we are as consumers. We shouldn’t be faulted or criticized for it. What we’re willing to pay doesn’t fit to what the publishers are asking. The full asking price won’t be met when Walmart, Target, Amazon, and others are willing to cut us a deal. I’ve bought hardbacks by Janet Evanovich and JD Robb at Walmart for $10.00. They were great deals especially since the publishing price was normally over $20.00. So what does raising the prices really accomplish? After all, Wal-mart’s regularly advertises its rolling back prices.

  67. BC
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 16:58:49

    @anon #47:

    The library books I check out usually are authors that I’m not sure on or have no interest purchasing but like to read. It isn’t that the books aren’t good but they aren’t really for the keeper shelf; actually, it’s more like shelves. But, when going in, I already know that I’m going to purchase certain books; it’s just that the paper back releases seem too far away and I can’t wait to read them knowing that they are out in circulation. I even reread the excerpts that are released because they ease the need to have it now while still building the anticipation of actually getting the book. Unfortunately, since the economy has gone down hill, I have started to cut back on my book purchases–it’s like being half suffocated but no matter what I know I am going to buy those books. However, my comment had to deal with the fact that not everyone reads and not everyone that does read are as avid a reader to do such a thing.

    For example, I currently know only three people that read for fun; two, would prefer to either borrow it from me or lend it from the library rather than purchase it themselves and the last only buys some times like once every four months if that. However the first two, I believe that it wouldn’t matter what the price is, it could be a dollar, and they wouldn’t buy because the purchase of books isn’t high on their to do lists. For one, its $40+ jeans and the other is junk food. She has a major sweet, salty, and fatty foods tooth. They’ll read them but they’re not interested in buying them. I, on the hand will search for books done by authors twenty years ago. The words no longer in print doesn’t mean hopeless just second hand and possibly a higher price than when it was newly released or importing it from somewhere else.

    That brings up a question, would the circulation of ebooks actually fix the issue of out print books? Would authors then be able to rerelease older books? I know Diana Palmer has reissued some of her Long, Tall Texans series but not all of them. I have nearly all of the new ones but the older ones are hard to come by and while I would prefer them in print form I would accept them in digital. Does anyone know how the reissue is being addressed or if its going to be at all?

  68. BC
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 17:36:57

    @anon #47:

    They specify which ones are DRM, right? Or is that publisher based? Also, where would the replacing of DRMs for non ones fall into the piracy issue? Maybe, they could do like the etextbooks where the information is set on a card that gives you a passcode. I think you have to log in to the books server and then enter the code kind of like an email address where the book is stored. Isn’t many of the ebook readers wi-fi or internet based? I’m on the fence about them because of consumer complaints about them. I know the Kendle tacks purchases and if your devices stolen or broken or the file messes up you can redownload the file from an existing account that doesn’t require repurchase. What about creating a personal file space where ebook stores could send the files to like email but instead of being able to download to a device the person could simply login and view from any device. They just wouldn’t be able share the file but they wouldn’t have to worry about memory space on a device or having to carry around SD cards or flash drives or burning them to a cd. Of course, the issue would be when the server messes up so people can’t login. However, the ebook store tansfer to the host server would act as an electronic footprint and if a file were to be corrupted the person simply have the bookstore resend it.

    Oh, the DRM burn you mentioned. What kind of cd did you use? I’ve heard that DVD R+ are good for data storage and not just simply home movies. I haven’t tried it yet but I’ve read from the Microsoft windows help menu that you can use DVDs for copying an operating system in case yours messes up and that they can be used for the recommended back up disks in case your hard drive kills over. The cd burn might have just made a copy of the file but didn’t transfer the decoder/encryption that allows for viewing. Kind of like when you transfer a power point that has hyperlinked movies in it. If you don’t transfer the movies inside a folder with the power point then the link is lost and the animation button that starts the movie won’t work when trying to view it on another computer. The movies are only linked not embeded so they don’t transfer with the power point. That could be it. You could try it if you still have the viewable ones; its not a guarantee. Or you could try Microsoft’s wizard. Use it to create a Microsoft Back Up disk by selecting the CD/DVD drive as the destination then select the folder that the files are in and burn it that way. The MS wizard gives the options of which folders you want backed up (i.e. music, movies, documents, etc.). I don’t think it would be illegal to back them up because you did purchase them through legal means. Those are just two options. I’ve had a computer crash on me because of a failed operating system boot so I’ve learned my lesson about backing up my files that I don’t want to lose.

  69. BC
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 18:15:45

    @Roxie:

    I think that the whole avid reader can be applied to a good portion of us on this blog given that the discussion on ebook taxes and who in the world be most concerned with such a thing than people that love to read. People that are willing to spend $200+ on a device that translates ebooks. However, just because we and yes I do mean we, make up the majority on this blog does not make us the majority outside of it. I don’t know any one that has actually ever posted to one of these things let alone on this subject matter or in the general sense of book blogs. Most of the people I know would be laughing and calling us geeks. They don’t do much reading. Actually, I can count on one hand with fingers to spare how many do read. It’s sad but not for a lack of trying on my part to help them see what they are missing. It’s a losing battle against television. I have converted one but the rest are just a no go and that one is still iffy. She reads but not obsessively. Okay, she only reads JD Robb and only because she borrows from me. It’s a partial victory.

  70. A
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 19:54:31

    I despise piracy as I despise any criminal behavior. My antipathy has nothing to with my being a reader and a writer. It’s the principle of the thing. I do not care to hear excuses or justifications for crime.

  71. Jen
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 22:14:36

    I saw this link on the Huffington Post today and thought of this discussion. I don’t know whether statistics about the music industry are relevant to a discussion of the publishing industry, but it adds an interesting dimension nonetheless.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/illegal-downloaders-spend-the-most-on-music-says-poll-1812776.html

  72. Angelia Sparrow
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 22:25:32

    No, the average writer does NOT make minimum. Or anything resembling it.

    I don’t have all my third-quarter results in, and won’t until mid-November, but this has been a very good year for me, writing-wise. I’ve made $2020.67.

    2000 and change. Which is actually about the average writer’s pay for a year.

    I earned that princely sum because of three novels debuting and several stories in anthologies. (we don’t have figures on the other two and the last novel isn’t out until Dec)

    Last year, I made $1750. The year before about $400.

    FWIW, my day job’s takehome is about $1800 a month.

  73. Courtney Milan
    Oct 31, 2009 @ 23:24:16

    @Mary:

    Sorry AQ, but it is the author's responsibility to understand DRM. Any belief otherwise is ignorant.

    No it’s not.

    I’m an author.

    I do happen to understand DRM (and I don’t like it, as I’ve stated here publicly before). I’ve downloaded DRMed ebooks (and failed to download others–grr Adobe), and I’ve cracked the DRM on a downloaded ebook (to see how long it would take: answer, once you know how to do it, seconds). (Which is a crime. I just admitted I committed a book-related crime.) I did delete the cracked file, and no, I didn’t send it on to anyone.

    I didn’t do any of that because I was an author; I happen to have an interest in gadgetry and the law independent of my author hat.

    But I have to say, having done all that, it is overwhelmingly unfair to call an author “ignorant” because she hasn’t taken the time to understand DRM.

    There are innumerable parts of the book business that I haven’t taken the time to understand. I don’t understand how print covers are printed, or how they get the shiny metallic looking bits on the paper or whether they use offset or digital printing or what the difference is between those methods. I don’t know how books are bound, or what glue my publisher will use to hold my books together, even though these things materially effect my book itself–after all, cheap processes result in books that can be read fewer times, and fall apart faster. I don’t know what ink my publisher uses and whether it will rub off on your hands, and if so, if the degree to which it rubs off depends upon how sweaty and/or oily your hands are. Maybe the paper is acid-free. Maybe the font is Helvetica. Who knows? Who will find out?

    Not I. I have absolutely zero interest in any of these things. I suppose I could ask and find out, but that stuff is deadly boring to me.

    I have a publisher. I signed with a publisher, instead of cutting down the trees and setting the type in the press myself, because I wanted to write books and let them take care of the fiddly boring stuff I don’t want to pay attention to. That’s not ignorance. That’s division of labor.

    And the truth of the matter is, all the stuff I learned about DRM? Not gonna make any difference, any more than if I found out how my books were bound. If I told my publisher, “Hey, I heard that the woowoo method of binding works better!” they would smile and nod and say, “Thanks, Courtney,” and continue to do precisely what they would have done without my advice.

    Same with DRM.

    It’s not ignorance to not find out things that bore you and you can’t do a darned thing about.

  74. anon #47
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 03:11:14

    @BC:

    As someone else mentioned above is that if we want to purchase an ebook, we just need to use a search engine that compares online prices so that we can find the cheapest one on the net.

    With the exceptions of sales, that’s not being done anymore. What the publisher sells for is what the distributor sells for, because distributors (like Fictionwise) were tired of being undercut by their wholesalers (the publishers). Now, the price the publisher lists must be what the distributor lists, as part of their distribution agreement.

    Also, where would the replacing of DRMs for non ones fall into the piracy issue? Maybe, they could do like the etextbooks where the information is set on a card that gives you a passcode.

    I would presume that re-downloading a cracked copy of a text you already purchased would technically be stealing. A really bizarre instance, since you already own the book, but all the same.

    The rest of your suggestions… I’m not sure what you mean, but I can tell you that every e-publisher I’ve purchased from (that is, except print-publishers like Penguin and Dell) continues to hold copies of purchased ebooks associated with my account. When my hard-drive died and I hadn’t been able to burn ebooks off in time, I simply went back to each publisher, logged in, and was able to re-download. (I do not have a dedicated ereader. I read books in PDF files on my computer screen, which apparently is a rarity among readers but it works for me.)

    The issue with burning files onto a DVD or CD… the files require name and password. Name, I’ve got. Password is c’card number. That’s changed in the interim. Mac keychain doesn’t save epub pws, either. The Adobe throws an error because my IP address now doesn’t match my original acct creation, because I’ve moved. After much wrangling, I get Adobe to agree I’m really me, and Adobe kindly emails me some URL to get everything updated, but I don’t even bloody well have the same email address anymore. That’s about a day and a half of frustration only to end up not being able to re-read at all, and the books were all purchased back when Amazon still sold non-Kindle ebooks, so I can’t even re-download! Yes, very grrrr-inducing.

    The library books I check out usually are authors that I'm not sure on or have no interest purchasing but like to read.

    This has been my point all along. What’s under that is that, I suspect, the ebook situation has artificially inflated sales numbers, and as file-sharing increases, the numbers are being compressed back to something closer to accurate.

    Before anyone starts hollering, let me explain.

    Go back to the days of yore (that is, pre-e-book so we can set aside piracy cries) and consider the three legal ways you could get your mitts on a book. You could buy it, you could borrow it from the library, or you could borrow it from a friend.

    Next, let’s take this blog’s own reviews as an example of a decent range of reactions to a wide range of books, pretending all reviews are by one hive-mind, err, one person. I put the intermediary values together, and chunked F scores with DNF, since for most of us those would boil down to the same “hated it” reaction.

    A == 68
    A/B == 362
    B == 454
    B/C == 466
    C == 183
    C/D == 234
    DNF == 57

    When we look at buying a book, as noted in my and now your comments, there are three basic levels for how we value a book:

    1. I would totally spend $N on this book.
    2. I’d read this book, but it’s not good enough for me to want to spend money on it.
    3. I wouldn’t pay for this book and I wouldn’t even read it, either.

    Obviously the readers of this world have different standards, since I’d cheerfully put dreck like Twilight in #3, but a million other readers think it belongs in #1. But on average, the bell curve you see in the ratings is probably a pretty good example of how most of us react to books. If the top-A gets reaction #1, and the A/Bs get a variation like “I’d spend half $N, or only buy it on sale”, then the Bs and B/C might be the ones we’d read but not feel inclined to purchase. The C/D might be the same if the reader is really forgiving, or might be lumped in with the DNF/F group to get a #3 reaction.

    Roughly speaking, that means for every 26 books reads, only one book will hit the sweet spot for a reader that equates to a purchase. A reader only has so many $N to go around, and the less $N, the more the reader will hold onto it and only spend for the very top-most ranked books. In those instances, the books that get a #2 reaction — worthwhile to read, but not worth spending money on — become the books that get borrowed from library or friends.

    Outside the world of ebooks, these options exist. You don’t see this on your balance sheet, because in making their choice that your work is in the largest middle-group, they’re withholding their money. You may still receive their support and adulation, if you’re in the bracket of “good enough to purchase, if only my $N stretched that far” but you won’t be getting money from them. (Not until they have more $N, at least.)

    Now, compare this to the world of ebooks, where you can’t check out a title from the library and you can’t borrow it from a friend. Your only (legal) choice is to purchase the book. If the book doesn’t fall in the #1 group, that is when your book shows up on fire-sharing sites and gets traded like crazy.

    My point is that we’ve had free books to read, in the US, for over a century of public libraries, and it never killed the publishing industry. People still purchased books, even ones available at the local library. That’s the point of the #1 group with the A/A+s rankings. You just have to keep in mind that the actual category is very, very small compared to the quantity of books that are good but not good enough.

    Until ebooks started getting the napster treatment, ebook sales had effectively no competition. Refusing library access and restricting borrowing have allowed publishers a market wherein they can avoid the two biggest drains on their potential sales. No borrowing means any desired reading, by definition, is automatically in the top-most bracket. In other words: file-sharing is acting like a big honking international library, and it’s popping the artificial inflation of limited reading-venue like a big fat balloon.

    You can call it illegal and holler about ethics all you like, but the bottom line is that it’s highly likely that you’ve not lost anything. If publishers start playing nice with libraries, or expand e-book rights to include loaning, this might reduce the bulk of the file-sharing, but I doubt author sales would rebound. What piracy has done, in an economic sense, is normalized the market back to where readers have access to #2 again: what’s good enough to read but not good enough to spend $N on. Allowing legalized borrowing would simply shift the #2 reactions from illegal to legal. Or publishers can continue to refuse to allow those options, and continue to fight a losing battle.

    The problem is that accepting this position requires authors recognize that they just might not be in the top 1-out-of-26 percent, and even if library-popular they’ll still never break the bestseller list.The rates of borrowing from libraries and friends were invisible costs for an author, nebulous and mostly un-checkable, but when an author can track down via google every instance of file-sharing, it’s a major reality check that one’s work is not in the #1, A-ranked, purchasing position.

    Reality checks are never fun, but sometimes I wonder if some of the anger at file-sharing isn’t also mixed in with bitter disappointment at realizing that a whole lot of readers out there don’t think you’re all that and a bag of $N.

  75. A
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 04:43:48

    @anon #47:

    You can call it illegal and holler about ethics all you like, but the bottom line is that it's highly likely that you've not lost anything.

    So…if I break into your home and steal a vase you, a pottery enthusiast, constructed…the bottom line is you’ve not lost anything? After all, it’s just a vase you made. No one’s going to buy it. Should I then be exempt from criminal prosecution and should you suck it up and accept your moral indignation has more to do with your craft’s worthlessness than with your rights being violated?

    I call piracy illegal and unethical because piracy is a crime and stealing (taking things you do not own) does indeed indicate lack of ethics.

    Reality checks are never fun

    Reality check: piracy is a crime. Reality check: anyone enabling and endorsing pirated intellectual property is a criminal. If it’s no fun for criminals to recognize they are criminals, too bad.

    I wonder if some of the anger at file-sharing isn't also mixed in with bitter disappointment

    Authors experiencing disappointment related to poor sales and/or lost opportunities has nothing to do with the reality that their intellectual property is being exploited and stolen from them by criminals.

    a whole lot of readers out there don't think you're all that and a bag of $N.

    Then don’t steal my books. LOL…It’s actually sort of comical. A book’s not worth buying, but it’s worth stealing?

  76. A
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 05:47:51

    @Lane:

    I actually think the illegal copy/distribution of e-books is closer to Counterfeit than outright theft.

    Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

    Call it “counterfeit,” “theft,” “file sharing,” or any other name. It is still a crime.

  77. RLT
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 06:03:56

    @library addict: I’m with you, I borrow from the library and if I like someone, I buy a copy to add to my own home library. I work in public libraries, so I see things from the library industry POV.

    As a reader I have my auto-buy authors, like many readers have. But for new to me authors, I borrow from my own library first. If I like them, as I have with several new to me authors this year, I have gone out and bought not only the one book I liked, but have ordered entire backlists. I read print by personal preference, so am not necessarily addressing the piracy/ebook debate here. Sorry.

    As for library hold requests. Our district have standing orders for most bestsellers and will purchase multiple copies. With long waiting lists, we receive just as many requests to cancel a patron’s reservation (hold) because they’ve gone out and bought the book instead of waiting for their turn in the hold queue. A reader who wants to read won’t always wait for the cheaper option, but will in fact go out and buy the book to be able to read it, in the time they want to read it. At least this is true for our library patrons, most of whom would have no idea about ebooks, therefore no inclination to obtain an ebook copy, legally or otherwise.

  78. A
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 06:11:20

    Having said that, some authors clearly believe that we, as readers, need to hear them on this issue. So authors, here is your space. You can tell us why we shouldn't pirate even if most of us have already said we don't. You can tell us in what ways piracy has hurt your career (empirical evidence and studies not funded by the RIAA or MPAA are helpful). You can tell us why you think it is the reader's obligation to pursue piracy and enumerate the ways in which you think readers should act to help you prevent piracy.

    As a writer, I am uninterested in telling readers why readers should not pirate. Readers do not pirate. I am a reader and have never pirated an ebook.

    Criminals pirate.

    As far as explaining to criminals why they should not commit crimes, why bother? If criminals had self-control, emotional maturity, and moral integrity, they would comprehend why laws exist and why they ought not violate the law. I am not wasting time/energy explaining to socially maladjusted, amoral personalities the difference between “right” and “wrong.”

  79. A
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 08:00:04

    @CD:

    I DO understand the viewpoint of authors as the creators of their products, but I think that branding everyone that pirates a thief and basically lower than scum, and everything they say to explain their actions as just self-deluding justifications – I don't think that's particularly constructive. If the industry as a whole refuses to understand the motives of those who pirate, then it will implode sooner or later.

    I do understand the motives of piracy, to take something the pirate does not own in violation of another’s legal rights.

    Apologists may sugar-coat, but that’s the bare bones of the matter.

    I, for one, will not refrain from calling criminals criminals. If the criminals dislike it, it falls to the criminals to modify their behavior.

  80. mia madwyn
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 08:16:19

    @CD:

    The argument that I see here is that that consumers should in a sense behave MORE morally than companies by paying above the odds for an inferior product that they could so easily get COMPLETELY FREE elsewhere with very little negative consequences. You're asking consumers to behave contrary to their market objectives, in economic terms basically irrationally, when not requiring the industry to do the same thing.

    The argument that you give is that, if you don’t like the way the corporate entity is pricing, you don’t only have a choice to buy or not buy. You believe you have a right to STEAL. It’s completely free only because you have a way to tuck that book in your pocket and walk out of the store without getting caught.

    You call that “free” and I call it “stealing.”

    You call it acting irrationally if you don’t steal.

    I call it acting illegally and immorally if you do.

  81. mia madwyn
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 08:38:42

    @Blue Tyson:

    That convincing the large percentage of people may take some time, as they haven't done the work in the past to compare things to.

    Newsflash. The large percentage of people don’t need to be convinced that piracy and stealing is wrong. The vast majority of readers don’t steal. The vast majority of people who buy electronic books don’t steal.

    The vast, vast majority of people who live and breathe don’t steal, and thus, don’t need to be convinced that stealing is actually hurting someone else. They know it’s wrong and they don’t do it. End of subject.

    Or, now that I consider it, are you saying that book pirates in general are of substandard intelligence and lacking moral fiber and thus, extra efforts need to be made to teach them? Slow learners, perhaps?

    “Stealing=wrong” is, in itself, too difficult a concept without excessive study and evidence?

  82. Blue Tyson
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 09:11:22

    281

    Try reading more carefully. I never said anything about right and wrong.

    A significant percentage of people download tv, movies, music – probably not so many for books, as far fewer people are interested. These are the people that admit to it in studies. Statisticans involved with such (and analysts) point out that this can easily be underreported i.e. people may be less likely to admit to such than those who actually do. (The latter number is likely to increase, given there are few to no other options depending on where you live – unlike other media.)

    So obviously they would need convincing to change.

    This has nothing to do whether they believe it is right or wrong, just the economic effects.

    To quote CD in 137 “paying above the odds for an inferior product that they could so easily get COMPLETELY FREE elsewhere with very little negative consequences. You're asking consumers to behave contrary to their market objectives, in economic terms basically irrationally, when not requiring the industry to do the same thing.”

    If you can’t (or refuse) to convince people that there is general financial damage from such, then you have no chance of convincing them to stop by telling them it is wrong and they are stupid. In fact, insulting them as you did just then will in fact be more likely to have the reverse effect. Speaking of vast majorities, I’d guess most people that do it know it is a copyright violation, so playing Captain Obvious isn’t going to have any effect, either.

  83. A
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 09:25:46

    @Blue Tyson:

    This has nothing to do whether they believe it is right or wrong…

    Actually it does. Pirates recognize their behavior is illegal (wrong) and pirates choose to break the law and dehumanize the very authors they claim to admire.

    That’s what criminals do. Whether it’s more “white collar crime” or violent saddistic crime, the criminal mentality rationalizes that the criminal’s own gratification takes precedence over the rights of others.

  84. mia madwyn
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 09:34:12

    @Blue Tyson:

    Try reading more carefully. I never said anything about right and wrong.

    We’ll come back to that one.

    In fact, insulting them as you did just then will in fact be more likely to have the reverse effect. Speaking of vast majorities, I'd guess most people that do it know it is a copyright violation, so playing Captain Obvious isn't going to have any effect, either.

    Perhaps you need to read more carefully. I asked you a question:

    Or, now that I consider it, are you saying that book pirates in general are of substandard intelligence and lacking moral fiber and thus, extra efforts need to be made to teach them? Slow learners, perhaps?

    I didn’t say that they were stupid. I asked if you think they are stupid, that you think they need to be convinced that what they are doing hurts someone in order to get them to stop. Pirates have already convinced themselves that they have a right to steal something because it’s easy, it’s available, and there is no current indication that they will be caught.

    And I realize you didn’t bring up the issue of right and wrong. I did.

    I don’t think many pirates will actually address that issue, because very few of them would be so stupid to not understand that by downloading books they didn’t pay for, they’re breaking the law, they’re behaving in an illegal fashion. Most would even recognize it’s wrong to do so, but they don’t care.

    So no, I don’t blame you for not addressing the issue of right and wrong in the issue of book piracy.

    What’s more, you don’t have to address it.

    I stand by my original statement. Most people don’t have to be convinced of anything. Most people don’t download illegal books or music or software. Most people wouldn’t dream of it.

  85. Blue Tyson
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 09:34:57

    255

    Likari – if you remove people’s internet access permanently, then they will never buy your product. Do it to an 18 year old, then that is currently 60+ years of lost sales. Apart from not being able to, would you ever want to give anyone that did that to you your money?

    Do that to enough people and publishing and other industries reliant on the internet collapse, or have to re-engineer their business processes back to paper and in person services. You know, places like banks.

    If you drive to a friend’s place to pick up a copyright infringing DVD and you got busted, should they ban you from driving forever (or travelling, even)? Same sort of thing. Or cut off your phone forever, because you called them to ask them to do it?

    This is one of the most poorly thought out ideas I have ever seen. Not to mention a basic abrogation of people’s legal rights. Allowing large corporations to change laws and avoid the courts like that to preserve their business models – that’s a seriously bad precedent. Also pointless in the long run. e.g. trying to keep cars to walking speed – or you could have allowed banning of taking photographs with digital cameras to protect companies that make film, or whatever. It’s ridiculous.

    Companies make false claims about owning copyright all the time, or accuse people who have done nothing incorrectly. It’s happened to me, when idiot lawyers send pro-forma letters because something comes up in a search, for example. Should we cut off their internet access too? That would be fair, it would seem, if this was to be instituted. Author’s agent sends out three invalid claims – disconnect author (and lawyer) from the internet, too? It is guaranteed this possibility will be raised legally if this sort of craziness goes ahead.

  86. A Reader
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 09:39:27

    @Blue Tyson:

    In fact, insulting them as you did just then will in fact be more likely to have the reverse effect.

    You are so right about that.

    You can be sure that I won’t be spending a single dollar more on books. And I hope your self righteousness and a day job puts food on your tables because it’s surely not going to be my money–you can chalk that up to this thread and not piracy.

  87. Blue Tyson
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 09:54:19

    283

    “I stand by my original statement. Most people don't have to be convinced of anything. Most people don't download illegal books or music or software. Most people wouldn't dream of it.”

    I see you’ve changed from vast majority to most. :) A more reasonable statement. Maybe you are 79 years old or something, but a big percentage of people I know have, from the retired woman next door, to the students the next block over, the guy across the road or whoever. A significantly broader cross section of people that it used to be, because it is easier and there is more bandwidth available. Now, if you are a yank, then as a whole your population may be slightly less interested in such activity because your media can be cheaper, and you have more legal options available.

    There’s no correlation of intelligence with dowloading or not downloading that I can see. Finegrained enough, half of people have below average intelligence, and half above.

    You do have to have enough to be able to actually operate a computer and appropriate software, so that would actually eliminate a small proportion of the intelligence left tail perhaps. So that would actually make downloaders ever so slightly more intelligent on average than the overall population.

    Again, I think you fail to understand the argument based on financial terms.

    X people download. They know it is a copyright violation, pretty much.
    X people have never seen any proof whatsoever that it is damaging to anyone.

    In fact, the media keeps bringing up examples of big hit movies like Wolverine, or music albums, or even the Dan Brown book – that then point out the huge numbers of sales of such directly afterwards.

    They’ll also seen ludicrous numbers bandied around about how every download is a lost sale, etc., and various other discredited bought and paid for research.

    If you can convince X people that it is financially damaging then some are more likely to stop, that absolutely will not just because you say it is ‘wrong’.

    So then you have X – N downloading.

    If you still do not understand this, I am not sure how to put it more simply.

  88. A
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 09:55:23

    @A Reader:

    You can be sure that I won't be spending a single dollar more on books. And I hope your self righteousness and a day job puts food on your tables because it's surely not going to be my money-you can chalk that up to this thread and not piracy.

    It’s a consumer’s own choice to purchase or not purchase goods. It’s a criminal’s choice to infringe on copyright.

  89. A
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 10:08:02

    @Blue Tyson:

    X people download. They know it is a copyright violation, pretty much.
    X people have never seen any proof whatsoever that it is damaging to anyone.

    I emphatically disagree with this.

    It does not take genius intelligence to comprehend that, if one is stealing an item, financial loss occurs.

    If I recognize a book costs $5, and I choose to procure a pirated copy for free because I do not have $5 or I do not wish to pay $5 or I cannot procure the product in my own country, or *insert other excuse*…I am effectively stealing. We can argue semantics over why this is not “real” stealing, but the fact remains that I had no legal right to illegally download the material.

    Again, criminal mentality: “My (criminal’s) self-gratification is more important.”

    I don’t care if thousands of otherwise law-abiding “good” people are pirating ebooks. Crime is crime.

    It’s not my job to convince pirates that their behavior is illegal, immoral, and wrong. I’m not their parent/caretaker.

    How about I adopt this code: “I dislike having my copyright violated. I think I’ll shoot pirates to discourage their piracy.”

    Is that okay? Do the pirates have a responsibility to convince me my philosophy is wrong?

    (disclaimer: my analogy is intended solely to enhance discussion; I do not at any time advocate violence or other illegal behavior.)

  90. Blue Tyson
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 10:17:48

    285

    Something I could have added – in the music industry case there are multiple studies that say people that download stuff for free buy more music on average. e.g. some of them find stuff they like, then go buy the better copy.

    I don’t know if that is true for books, not having seen studies. However, you have to have some interest in them to start with, to do it. So it is certainly possible there are some of the same effects – and would be a good study to do.

    So in the music industry’s case, cutting those people off loses them their more valuable customers. Not a good plan.

    Publishing’s best customers, or least who they think are, from what they are signalling, are those who pay the double or triple or whatever prices for hardback books. So cutting people’s access may not be as problematic as the in the music case. However, some people who buy hardbacks will download. So you will lose those sales, and likely customers, permanently. If it turns out ebook downloaders are among your best customers – cutting them off is a bad idea, of course.

    Also, if you cut people off from the internet – this will have a direct effect pretty quickly on everyone here that lives somewhere that does it. Internet prices will go up in some way as the companies deal with the hassle – and also end up with less revenue – both of which have to effect prices – increased labour costs and reduced size of market.

    So advocating internet termination doesn’t really have any upside as far as I can see. In fact, it will cost people who don’t do it a fair amount of cash – as if it continues and bigger and bigger percentages are cut off, your internet prices will keep climbing. Which of course leaves less money to buy actual media. :)

  91. Likari
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 10:39:02

    @Blue Tyson:

    Are you deliberately mischaracterizing people’s comments?

  92. A
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 10:39:17

    @Blue Tyson:

    Something I could have added – in the music industry case there are multiple studies that say people that download stuff for free buy more music on average. e.g. some of them find stuff they like, then go buy the better copy.

    I don't know if that is true for books, not having seen studies. However, you have to have some interest in them to start with, to do it. So it is certainly possible there are some of the same effects – and would be a good study to do.

    A notable difference: if a pirate downloads music, and likes it, s/he may opt to purchase albums to procure better quality sound.

    No such incentive exists in the epublishing industry. The copyrighted ebook reads no differently than the pirated copy.

    Furthermore, many authors and epubs offer free stories for download. Readers have the opportunity to download the freebies and effectively “sample” an author’s quality before opting to purchase the author’s additional works.

    We can tap-dance about this issue for days, the fact remains piracy is unacceptable, criminal behavior.

  93. Blue Tyson
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 10:40:38

    289

    “If I recognize a book costs $5, and I choose to procure a pirated copy for free because I do not have $5 or I do not wish to pay $5 or I cannot procure the product in my own country, or *insert other excuse*…I am effectively stealing. We can argue semantics over why this is not “real” stealing, but the fact remains that I had no legal right to illegally download the material.”

    – You have a serious problem with logic. Not to mention completely failing to understand my point in the above.

    If someone does not have the money to buy it, there is zero financial loss, because it would never ever be bought in the first place. Exactly the same thing applies if there is no legal way to buy it. Then there are the people who download that would never buy it. Semantics have nothing to with it. By definition stealing and theft require loss to have taken place.

    If you want to get absolutely silly with the gun talk (and pirates in other countries would probably be quite happy for you to take potshots at people nowhere near them and hence end up in the slammer, I’d imagine), here’s something else that is rather over the top, but not as ludicrous as to equate assault with a deadly weapon with copyright infringement. Again, a book that is only available in the USA, so maximum people that could purchase, say 300 million. We’ll ignore some of them being babies, insane, in jail or whatever, and some of the non-USA people using fake ids and addresses and credit card info to get around georestrictions. (Yes, some people do fraudulent?? (maybe) things to buy books, crazy fools).

    That leaves six billion other people, give or take the odd hundred million. If the book is 5 dollars, and every single one of those people downloads a copy, then your argument says there’s been 30 billion dollars worth of stealing. Most authors would be bankrupt after that. :) Who think their bank accounts would say -29.something billion in this event? Who thinks their sales would go up and hence their bank accounts, too? Who thinks there would be no difference?

  94. Blue Tyson
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 10:47:19

    291

    Nope. How could it be?

    You said you like the idea of shutting down people’s internet access.

    My reply describes why I think this is stupid.

  95. Blue Tyson
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 11:02:07

    A notable difference: if a pirate downloads music, and likes it, s/he may opt to purchase albums to procure better quality sound.

    – Sometimes. But if they want mp3s, they may already have as good a quality as it will get in the download, or better quality than is being sold.

    No such incentive exists in the epublishing industry. The copyrighted ebook reads no differently than the pirated copy.

    – Sometimes it will, in the case of a dodgy scan. However, in a lot of cases the ebook may be good quality and have no DRM so is actually a far superior product. That is why I said above it may not be the same. It also has nothing to do with the possibility that heavy downloaders may be your best customers. Of course, some publishers have seen fit to cut off people in many countries from being customers at all, so less likely to apply.

    Furthermore, many authors and epubs offer free stories for download. Readers have the opportunity to download the freebies and effectively “sample” an author's quality before opting to purchase the author's additional works.

    – Some do. I’ve seen huge numbers that don’t. Some large publishers are too hopeless to do this. Very crazy. Putting book extracts on the web is child’s play. Sometimes non-related samples aren’t of interest to certain groups of people. e.g. if you have a fantasy story to download about unicorns, that doesn’t give much of an indication of what your crime novels are like. Some may have no interest in the author’s particular style, themes, talent, or whatever in a broad sense, just whether they will like book Z or not.

    There was a recent study I forget the name of that showed excerpts increase book sales (likely to have been associated with new ebook readers I think). Shocker, eh?

    Providing this service may also reduce the number of people downloading to see if they like it or not. I haven’t seen any good reasons as to why this doesn’t happen.

    I’ve seen stupidity associated with this, though. Michael Stackpole quoted one publishing person as saying ‘we can’t, we ran out of pages to do a bigger excerpt.’

    Shortcovers blocks me from seeing excerpts on a lot of books because I don’t like in the USA/Canada or wherever. Some serious publishing marketing fail there. Even for books that are sold here and have been for years.

    I’ve seen excerpts that are copyright pages. I’ve seen excerpts that are 180 words long. For novels.

    Publishing certainly isn’t making it easy for people.

  96. A
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 11:13:35

    @Blue Tyson:

    You have a serious problem with logic.

    I have a serious problem with criminals.

    If someone does not have the money to buy it, there is zero financial loss, because it would never ever be bought in the first place.

    So…if an impoverished shoplifter steals lipstick from Sephora’s, Sephora’s did not lose anything? After all, the shoplifter was never going to purchase the lipstick.

    I find it hard to believe the average pirate can’t afford the book/s they pirate. More plausible: they prefer to steal the books and use their disposable income on other items that either hold greater priority or are more difficult to steal. They want the books, they just prefer not to pay for the books.

    Exactly the same thing applies if there is no legal way to buy it.

    Readers in this scenario should look into options to lawfully procure the desired item/s. Not steal them.

    Then there are the people who download that would never buy it.

    I would never buy cabbage. I dislike cabbage. Does that mean I may steal cabbage from the supermarket?

    No logic problem here.

  97. A
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 11:36:59

    @Blue Tyson:

    It also has nothing to do with the possibility that heavy downloaders may be your best customers.

    How do I make this clear to you. Let’s see.

    1. I do not care if a pirate likes me or not; I care that s/he is infringing upon my copyright and giving away my work.

    2. I do not care if pirate/s are or are not my best customers. I care that pirates are infringing upon my copyright and giving away my work.

    3. I do not care if pirate/s read or don’t read my work; I don’t care if pirate/s like or dislike my work. I care that pirates infringe upon my copyright and give away my work.

    4. I don’t care if pirate/s never heard of me or my work and would never drop a penny on my books, whatever the reason. I care pirates infringe upon my copyright and give away my work.

    Do you see where I’m going with this?

  98. Blue Tyson
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 12:02:10

    296

    “So…if an impoverished shoplifter steals lipstick from Sephora's, Sephora's did not lose anything? After all, the shoplifter was never going to purchase the lipstick. ”

    I am sure other people have said this, but this is even more egregious illogic. Sephora’s then has one less lipstick. If Sephora has an ebook and makes a copy of it and gives it to someone, Sephora still has the original. The number of books has then gone UP not DOWN. If you don’t know the difference between UP and DOWN and GREATER and LESSER…

    “Readers in this scenario should look into options to lawfully procure the desired item/s. Not steal them.”

    They have. There aren’t any, because publishers and authors won’t provide them. I personally deleted 20 books off a wishlist the other day that I can’t buy, that I could have a few months back.

  99. M
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 12:08:32

    @A:

    Sorry A, but you really need to do your research better for your analogies. As Jane state above, “copyright infringement is not stealing and I wish we would stop using those terms. The Supreme Court clearly stated that it is not a theft because it doesn't deprive the copyright owner of the ability to exercise her intellectual property. IP is not the same as real property and therefore terms like “theft” and “stealing” associated with copyright infringement is simply erroneous and hyperbolic.”

    So get off your high horse and stick to the facts. Sure it’s illegal and immoral, but it’s NOT STEALING OR THEFT.

  100. A
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 12:18:33

    @Blue Tyson:

    If Sephora has an ebook and makes a copy of it and gives it to someone, Sephora still has the original. The number of books has then gone UP not DOWN. If you don't know the difference between UP and DOWN and GREATER and LESSER…

    You yourself stated several posts ago that the bootleg copies can be inferior in quality. I do not benefit by having inferior copies of my copyrighted work available for free download on the internet.

    Once again, I do not care that additional, potentially inferior copies of my books are available on the internet. I care that pirates infring upon my copyright and give away my work.

    They have. There aren't any, because publishers and authors won't provide them. I personally deleted 20 books off a wishlist the other day that I can't buy, that I could have a few months back.

    This falls under the realm of “not my problem.” Too bad. Tough luck. Doesn’t give you the right to engage in piracy. I have no obligation to provide you with something in order to encourage you not to exploit my intellectual property. If you possessed a shred of moral consciousness, you would know that.

  101. A
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 12:34:49

    @M:

    Sorry A, but you really need to do your research better for your analogies. As Jane state above, “copyright infringement is not stealing and I wish we would stop using those terms. The Supreme Court clearly stated that it is not a theft because it doesn't deprive the copyright owner of the ability to exercise her intellectual property. IP is not the same as real property and therefore terms like “theft” and “stealing” associated with copyright infringement is simply erroneous and hyperbolic.”

    So get off your high horse and stick to the facts. Sure it's illegal and immoral, but it's NOT STEALING OR THEFT.

    1. I do not care what Jane says and how the U.S.S.C. ruled. I care that criminals are exploiting my work and infringing upon my copyright via piracy.

    2. I don’t care if IP and RP aren’t the same thing. I care that morally unconscious criminals exploit my work and infringe upon my copyright via piracy.

    3. I’m not on a “high horse.” Morally unconscious criminals A.K.A. pirates are simply so LOW I appear to be on a “high horse.” I cannot stoop to that level. I abhor dark, slimy, stinky underground places and could never go down where these criminals are. Every time they open the manhole and try crawling into the sunshine, they start to shrivel – they need to go back down. They’re kings in their dinky free download sites while in daylight and fresh air, they’re repulsive slime balls.

    Here’s FACT:

    “The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.”

    http://www.fbi.gov/ipr/

  102. A
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 12:52:20

    LOL…I must say, this thread reads like a dark comedy. The entitlement mindset of the piracy camp is mind-boggling.

    Let me make it clear. I realize pirates have always been around, always will be around, etc. I realize pirates think their piracy is justified or are simply so amoral they do not care about authors’ rights.

    I realize — and am quite disturbed — that some DA posters think authors are in the wrong to criticize piracy or are somehow obligated to provide pirates with benefits to “convince” them not to exploit the author’s work.

    I understand that, despite the illegality, it’s unlikely I can prevent piracy.

    Pro-piracy camp, you need to understand this. I am not going to hide my disgust and contempt of you behind diplomacy and PR smiles. I am going to call your behavior what it is: CRIMINAL and IMMORAL.

    If you have a problem with that, GOOD. Heed your conscience, and do what is right.

  103. ardeatine
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 13:11:41

    A few bookpiratefails I’ve seen recently…

    Posting on the publisher reader forum asking where their books may be obtained for free.

    Posting on the publisher reader forum asking where other publisher’s books may be obtained for free.

    Asking the publisher to sell you a single copy of each book with “resale rights” so you can open your own bookstore in a subcontinental country.

    Claiming your ex/jealous lesbian lover pirated the book to “get back at you.”

    When confronted by enraged author, crying that you love their books and would never do anything to hurt them.

    Using the same email address on the pirate link as you do to send gushing reviews to the author.

  104. Suze
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 14:00:04

    This has been an interesting and painful conversation to read. I have a lot of sympathy for writers, for whom piracy can only be frustrating and hurtful. I have a lot of sympathy for readers who want desperately to read a particular book that is just not available to them. Clearly, the publishing industry has to change its ways, and stop making it so difficult for honest customers to give them money.

    I must say, though, A: you’re really off-putting. I’ve lost all my sympathy toward you. You apparently live in a world of no moral ambiguity whatsoever, and there’s nothing in the world that you want or need that’s not easily and legally available to you. You’ve clearly never had to face hard choices. And everybody else in the world who has to chose between committing a misdemeanor or doing without can rot in jail, can they?

    You are on a high horse. I hope it doesn’t hurt you too badly when you fall off.

  105. anonymouse
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 14:27:55

    @A – you need a real attitude check. Your comments, attacks, and ignorant black and white beliefs about the world are loosing any support you are trying to garner. I think the best thing you did was keep yourself anonymous, since most readers here who are honest would likely boycott your works based on your actions. It’s clear to me that authors like yourself are going to continue to loose money unfortunately. Why you might ask? Because you are unable to clearly analyze all the things that are wrong about the current situation and how those things affect piracy rates. Piracy will always occur regardless of its morality or legality. Authors and publishers need to minimize the attractiveness of copying works for free. It’s not the readers’ jobs to do so. This is not advocating copying works, simply keeping the damage to your finances as low as possible. Remember, copying literature and not paying for it has been an issue for longer than you have been alive and it will be around long after you pass away. It makes me wonder what Shakespeare thought of this issue, but then, he copied works from others as well, so he probably just shook his shoulders and said, it’s just part of life.

  106. A
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 14:35:51

    @Suze:

    I must say, though, A: you're really off-putting. I've lost all my sympathy toward you.

    I don’t want your sympathy.

    I have a lot of sympathy for readers who want desperately to read a particular book that is just not available to them. Clearly, the publishing industry has to change its ways, and stop making it so difficult for honest customers to give them money.

    I agree it would be wonderful if the world was a perfect place and everyone could get whatever s/he wanted whenever s/he wanted it. Real life does not pan out this way, unfortunate but hardly justification for criminal behavior.

    You apparently live in a world of no moral ambiguity whatsoever, and there's nothing in the world that you want or need that's not easily and legally available to you.

    I live in the same world you do. Desiring something not easily or legally available to me does not justify criminal behavior. No one “needs” an ebook. It is a recreational item. We aren’t talking about people lacking life’s essentials (i.e., food and water, shelter, clothing, medical care) and resorting to criminal behavior to acquire those essentials. We are talking about people pirating copyrighted material for personal entertainment, empowerment, and the illicit thrill attached to “one-upping the man.”

    You've clearly never had to face hard choices.

    I’ve faced several hard choices without pirating copyrighted material belonging to others.

    And everybody else in the world who has to chose between committing a misdemeanor or doing without can rot in jail, can they?

    They probably won’t rot in jail, but they should.

    I and my family have invested substantially (time, money, travel, education, and research) in my writing. I love, value, and respect my work. I will not condone piracy of my or anyone else’s copyrighted work. Period.

    You’re commenting to the effect I don’t have a clue about real life and deprivation. I don’t think you have a clue about the extreme expense in terms of time and money in the writing profession. If you had an inkling of the effort, financial expense, and emotional costs involved in the creative process, piracy would appall you.

    Thank you for suggesting authors deserve to be made putains of people who really want to read something.

  107. Sonita
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 14:56:26

    @A: “Pro-piracy camp, you need to understand this. I am not going to hide my disgust and contempt of you behind diplomacy and PR smiles.”

    *She says while using just a letter as her moniker to quite obviously hide her identity.*

    I have much more respect for the authors who used their full names and even linked to their websites, and spoke out publicly.

  108. A
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 14:57:55

    @anonymouse:

    @A – you need a real attitude check.

    No. Criminals and supporters of criminal behavior need the real attitude check.

    Your comments, attacks, and ignorant black and white beliefs about the world are loosing any support you are trying to garner.

    I don’t want support. I want my rights respected. Please explain to me why that desire is an unreasonable one.

    I’m attacking no one by proclaiming a crime is a crime and proclaiming I resent that crime. That is not an attack; that is truth. I’m sorry if truth offends you, but really, it’s authors whose rights are abused by pirates, not the other way around.

    I think the best thing you did was keep yourself anonymous, since most readers here who are honest would likely boycott your works based on your actions.

    What actions do you mean? What actions on my part merit this alleged “boycott?” Because I don’t smile and express compassion for piracy?

    Boycott pirates and pirate sites. That’s the proper thing to do, don’t get peeved with me because I state plainly that piracy is wrong and I don’t condone it.

    Because you are unable to clearly analyze all the things that are wrong about the current situation and how those things affect piracy rates. Piracy will always occur regardless of its morality or legality. Authors and publishers need to minimize the attractiveness of copying works for free. It's not the readers' jobs to do so. This is not advocating copying works, simply keeping the damage to your finances as low as possible.

    Regardless of my “weak analysis” piracy is a crime and I don’t condone it.

    Regardless of how commonplace it is, piracy’s a crime and I don’t condone it.

    Regardless of what authors and publishers do/don’t do to placate pirates, piracy’s a crime and morally conscious people don’t condone it.

    It’s the equivalent of saying someone deservesd to rape or mug a victim because the victim “didn’t take better measures to protect himself.” Piracy is not a violent crime; it is an intellectual crime. I am not going to justify criminal behavior, particularly when that behavior exploits me.

    I’m sorry you think I should be happy to be exploited and should take some kind of responsibility for my own exploitation, but that’s just too bad. I will not accept responsibility for criminal behavior in others.

  109. A
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 15:03:38

    @Sonita:

    *She says while using just a letter as her moniker to quite obviously hide her identity.*

    I have much more respect for the authors who used their full names and even linked to their websites, and spoke out publicly.

    I don’t care if you respect me, just respect my copyright.

    P.S. — Last I checked, anonymous posting isn’t a crime, unlike copyright violation.

    If you’re more offended by my use of my initial than the criminal exploitation of professional authors, I’d call your priorities a tad skewed.

  110. Mike Briggs
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 15:53:55

    Wow. The pirates are here, with their full cargo of faulty logic and flexible morals. Avast, have at you honest tradesmen, we’ll have your work and never pay a single farthing. And when and author, like A, tries to call a spade a spade, she’s lampooned (or is that harpooned in pirate-speak?) for her efforts.

    Personally, I’ve given up talking to pirates. Most of them flunked economics, shunned philosophy of morals, and have little respect for the law. They spout the same tired, flawed, adolescent rhetoric. A little magic, a little psuedo-utopian socialist agenda, and whole bunch of entitlement.

    Here’s a little food for thought. Publishing runs on very thin margins, typically ten or twelve percent. Books are also an unusual product — almost all of the costs are front-loaded. The author’s advance, editing costs, contracts, art, typesetting, formatting etc. all need to be done before the first book (e or paper) is printed. The publisher hopes to recover those costs by selling copies — which naturally is where the pirates come in, grab the (very expensive) finished work and distribute it for free.

    When you pirate, you make the honest customer feel like a chump. You’re eating his lunch, and mocking him while you do it. Maybe he/she will pirate instead of purchase next time. Congratulations, you’re bringing ‘em over to the dark side. Remember that ten percent profit margin? When sales drop below that mark, the pubisher can no longer produce books. Poof. No more publisher. I think we’re going to see a lot of that in the next few years.

    The pirates claim that there will always be an endless supply of authors willing to put in countless hours, master the craft, and produce finely-polished books for free, MAYBE with a PayPal donation button on their web-site. The pirates are smoking crack. Sure, books will be created, but not in the numbers, or in the quality currently seen. Those early-career or starving midlist authors who are struggling along at sub-minimum wages are mostly doing it because they hope, despite the odds, that they’ll someday manage to make a decent living. Kill publishing, and that dream dies.

    My wife is currently making a living writing. I supported her for twelve or thirteen years where her annual income bought us a couple of Burger-King dinners. She was always hopeful that the next book might just catch on. Without that dream, there’s no way she’d have kept writing. Kill the dream, and your pool of hopeful authors is going to evaporate.

    Many authors are already talking about hanging up the keyboard. Shilo Walker, a very talented author, has given up on at least one series of popular books due to piracy. Those are books the world will never see, books I’ll never be able to read. I support her decision, but I’m pretty angry at the selfish pirates who drove her to it. She’s far from the only one.

    Piracy is immoral and illegal, but the law is toothless and morals disturbingly flexible. I’m afraid that, barring a miracle I can’t even imagine, the only writing being done in fifteen or twenty years will be little more than fanfic. Welcome to the future.

  111. B
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 16:01:36

    “A” is for apple, a bad apple that is.

  112. A
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 16:17:35

    @B:

    “A” is for apple, a bad apple that is.

    LOL…Sorry, I know it’s rough being told like it is.

    REgardless how much a “bad apple” I am IYUO, piracy is a crime and violates author’s copyright. I don’t appreciate it, and I will not pretend otherwise.

  113. Jane
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 16:23:47

    @A Did you read the Copyright link that was upthread in which the Supreme Court of the United States said that copyright infringement is not theft?

    In any event, I am closing the thread. It’s devolved into nothing more than useless namecalling.

  114. Suze
    Nov 01, 2009 @ 16:23:58

    It's the equivalent of saying someone deservesd to rape or mug a victim because the victim “didn't take better measures to protect himself.”

    It’s not the equivalent, and that’s what’s offending me. Your viewpoint lacks perspective.

  115. Stumbling Over Chaos :: Mayhem’s Lap Ennui, plus links! And books! And exclamation points!!
    Nov 04, 2009 @ 02:04:09

    [...] on ebook piracy from Dear Author and from author Carolyn Jewel. And something else to think about – music pirates actually buy [...]

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