Thursday, June 24, 2010

eBook Piracy take 2`

Hmm this week seems to be the week of repeating earlier topics. Today I want to talk about eBook Piracy - again.

So I talked about how eBook piracy effects the authors - the bottom line if they don't make money writing they stop writing. Publisher's don't make money they fold. If you want to read that entry it's here.

Now to continue that theme. Not only are you taking money from the author and the publisher. I've heard the excuses "I can't afford to buy the books I read too many." "They're making tons of money (not true) so it won't matter if I download it." (Guess what you aren't the only one downloading the book there are hundreds of you. One author did the research and one of her books had been downloaded over 1,000 times.) "I just download to try it out if I like it I'll buy it." Yeah, yeah, yeah all us writers and our publishers are living in mansions and have servants to clean and it won't hurt if we get robbed - WRONG assumption. For my case I live off social security and disability - my royalty checks are enough to go out to dinner once and that's about it. BUT there are others that feel the financial effect of each and every illegal download. Folks you probably never thought about. Who? Copy/Content Editors, Line Editors/Proofreaders and Cover Artist.

Now in the big New York houses I'm sure those folks get a salary but for the sake of this entry I'm not talking about them. I'm discussing ePublisher staff. Each group gets a tiny percentage for their hours of work and/or expenses.

1. Copy/Content Editors - for their tiny percentage these wonderful ladies and gents read each story assigned to them, mark what can be made better, correct punctuation, and to make sure the house style is maintained. They do this not once but a minimum of twice and some books take three or four or more times. That's HOURS and HOURS of work.

2. Line Editors/Proofreaders - now some publishers pay these ladies and gents a flat fee and that's great... but some don't. The Line Editors/Proofreaders are "fresh eyes" that check the story for things the Copy/Content Editors and Author missed because of having read the story too many times.

3. Cover Artist - I bet you're wondering why this is highlighted, well I'll tell you. In the ePublishing world the artist purchases the images that are used. The images range from free to $15.00 each and each cover has usually 2 or more images. Then they put together the images and make the text fit the book. Not every cover any artist does is an OMG! cover and yes, some are ick. But no matter WHERE the cover fits on the spectrum they are out that money. Then you come along and upload the book with the cover they spent hours on, covers they paid for the images out of their own pockets and the poor artist gets nothing. Not Cool!

So now you have slipped your stingy, greedy, self intitled little hand into 5 peoples wallet and stolen from them. I know, if you're a pirate you are rolling your eyes at me. But think about this... I walk into your job and take whatever I feel like and walk out without paying. How would you feel? Just remember that's exactly what each publisher, author, copy/content editor, line editor/proofreader and cover artist feels when you push that "Download file" button.


  1. Amen!! Yet I bet the pirates would be the first ones complaining if we came to their homes/jobs/bank accounts and started siphoning off money.

    I also hope people realize that when they're downloading from pirate sites, they're opening themselves up to spyware and viruses, regardless of what safeguards they take. Do they honestly think pirates run those sites out of the goodness of their hearts? No, they frequently run them as platforms to launch malware attacks to harvest credit card numbers and set up bot farms on inadequately protected computers.

    So if you're a file sharer whose had a credit card number compromised lately...karma sucks, doesn't it?

    I'm not rich, trust me, and I'm at the upper end of the bell curve of indie writers. Most writers are lucky if they make a few hundred dollars a year.

    Piracy is THEFT. Plain and simple.

  2. Ah, content editors, the oft-unsung heroes of the publishing world. Thanks for the acknowledgement. And you bring up some very valid topics. You are not so much as buying a book but thanking the author, the editors and cover artists, for their hard work and vision bringing the words to you.

  3. I am an author who will have my first book released on December 1st. This is my first time on this journey, but I have always been an advocate for the rights of the author and all connected with this process to own their own work. Authors are unsung celebrities. They do not get the kudos the movie stars and tv stars do who would not have the words that make them stars without the unsung talents of writers.

    Deliliah is my cover artist. Her mastery leaves me breathless. She takes my story and with color, shadow and ingeniuty brings enough of it to life on that cover you the potential reader has, right before his/her eyes many clues to the story you are about to have unfold before you. I cannot imagine the skill she and all other artists have to do this.

    My editor. Without her guidance and attention to nuance, the end story that finally becomes availble would not be the concise, fast past work of literary gold it becomes. They walk a very fine line between punching up the writer's word and dealing with the creative temprament of the writer who is, afetr all, giving birth to a new baby every time (s)he produces a manuscript for submission.

    Our CEO...the hours our chief puts into the many byways of today's e-publishing world should be the template ALL CEO's follow. I do not know when she sleeps. I do not know how she manages to keep all the many hats she must don straight, yet she does, and still treats all of us who are a part of this with her with respect, admiration, and encouragement. We are not tiny statistics at the bottom of her spreadsheet.

    None of us are rich. Like Deliliah I also live on Social Security after a near fatal car accident pemanently disabled me eleven days after 9/11. My adult daughter, who lives with me and is an author too, is on SSD as well because she could no longer function as a corporate auditor when her Grand Mal seizures, not controlled by medications, made it impossible for her to concentrate on the intricate demands of retail numbers.

    This e-book field is filled with competiton, and for those of you who say you do not have much cheap can you be? Our prices are peanuts compared to that daily Starbucks coffee, or pack of cigarettes.

    How would you all feel, since we are talking about robbery, if you went out to your cars each day and found that somtime during the night, someone had come along and siphoned a couple of gallons of gas from your car...every night?

    You need that car to get to and from YOUR job, so stealing the gas is stealing from your ability to support your family. That would be wrong, wouldn't it?

    That is what you are doing to all of the people who bring my book, and the author sitting next to me, and the one sitting next to him to you so you can steal.

    You are taking from all of us when you download pirated books.

    May I come to your home now and siphon your gas, just so we can be even and both be taking from the mouths of each other's families?

  4. Thank you, Delilah, for posting this because I don't really think many people understand that it's not only taking a book for 'free' but that they are taking away the monetary outcome from the people who have invested time, money, and energy to produce a quality product.

    Small publishers offer e-books at ridiculous prices, from 99cents to 5.95 in our case, prices that are affordable for all if you compare them to print books.

    Those that didn't understand the robbery they are committing might with your post, Delilah. Those that don't give two hoots about anyone but their own free gratification will continue to steal, and yes, that's the right word for it - STEALING.

  5. People wear their guilt whether they feel it or not. Thanks for this post Delilah. :)


  6. In the final analysis, it is theft. The same as if someone robbed your home, your office or anywhere else. Some people, unfortunately, will not feel any guilt and that indicates their moral compass is definitely out of line. Theft. Plain and simple.