Monday, April 20, 2009

Think before you download

I usually don’t talk about e-book piracy; it’s something I’m realistic enough to realize will happen. As an author of e-books, I know eventually my book or books will be pirated. But, I wanted to put the reality of what it does to authors before you, so maybe you’d think twice before clicking that link.

My book sells for $2.99 of that I make just over a dollar on every sale. So if say 50 people download the book those 50 people have reached into my wallet and removed a $50. What if it was a hundred? A thousand? Now, ask yourself would I reach in a stranger’s pocket and take a fifty? Of course you wouldn’t. Recently a fellow author found his book on a pirate site – there were 150 downloads. That’s 150 books or in his case $300.00 that was stolen from him.

Unlike the print houses that give the authors advances, an e-book author’s total income is from sales of the book. E-book authors don’t have massive Public Relations departments behind them, they have to pay all marketing cost themselves. Unlike print houses, e-books don’t sit on shelves of bookstores across the country – well some do the lucky ones that went to print.

Before you click that download link at a torrent site or megaupload or sendspace ask yourself one question. If I was in a bookstore, would I just drop this book in my purse and walk out of the store? Because that is exactly what you are doing when you download a book without buying it.

I know of one e-book author that is disabled and on social security disability, her book sales are how she makes ends meet. Every time I hear of one of her books being pirated it saddens me, because I know that the folks downloading it don’t realize the ramifications to her life.

Do I think you are evil if you pirate a book? Of course not. I think you are unaware of the consequences to your favorite author. If they can’t make what they need writing, they’ll stop writing. So I ask again, before you click that download button – consider the money you are pulling out of the author’s wallet.


  1. Well said, Delilah. Hopefully you've given lots of readers something to think about today.

  2. Nicely put! Often times we don't understand the impact our actions and how they may hurt others until they are put to us, as you just did, in such concise terms.

  3. Glad you talked about this. It bears repeating!

  4. Thanks for writing such a thought provoking blog

  5. Your blog reinforces a theme I've been stressing on my own website, and I've blogged about it. It's featured today on

    I'm glad to see the matter stated so simply and forthrightly.

    Richard Curtis

  6. Exactly right! Mind you, if some-one stole a dollar from your purse, the police would (might) get involved. I can't why they are sitting on their hands over ebook theft. They have the resources to quickly issue warnings to both pirates and downloaders.

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  8. ank you for covering this subject so thoughtfully, your analogies were spot on. Awareness is like sunshine on a cloudless day, everything is spotlighted.