Meanwhile, on a book blog elsewhere on the internet, a furious blogger shared her feelings about piracy. "It's just like shoplifting!" she insisted, encouraging people to share the anti-piracy buttons she created on their own websites.
Who are these pirates? Who is so cruel as to STEAL books from hard-working authors?
- Cheapskates. Some people won't pay for anything they don't have to.
- Lazy. They don't want to put in the effort of going out and buying something.
- Moral. A few do not want to support certain industries, but still want to enjoy the fruits of it.
- Wary. They've spent too much money on things they ended up hating in the past.
- Ignorant. Piracy has become very easy, and some people don't realize it's wrong.
- Poor. Many pirates (particularly teenagers) don't have any money to buy a product legally.
Pirates Are Not:
- Potential customers. Most pirates will never legally buy your book, whether it's because they're too cheap, too lazy, or have a personal issue with the publishing industry. They are not taking business away from you.
- Dark, shadowy demons lurking in alleys. They're normal folks. A lot of them are kids who don't have credit cards for online purchases, or that mom down the street that doesn't realize BOOK WAREZ isn't a legitimate site. (No, that's not a real place, as far as I know. Don't look it up.)
- Shoplifters. There's a huge difference between stealing a physical product, in which the book is removed from the shelf after the publisher has paid to manufacture it and thereby preventing someone else from buying it, and downloading. Nobody gets paid, but nothing is lost, per se.
Let's face it: Piracy is wrong. If you can't or don't want to pay for something, you are not entitled to having it anyway. Sorry, but it's true.
However, there can be benefits to people illegally downloading your books. They will read your work and discuss it, encouraging others to buy your work. Some may leave reviews on Amazon or other websites, and positive reviews are a bigger boon to the author than the dollar or two they would receive in royalties. Others may obtain your book illegally and then buy the sequels because they liked it so much. Good books will make money regardless of piracy.
I don't like DRM (digital rights management). DRM doesn't hinder most pirates, after all. Anybody who wants to download something will do it. DRM does, however, inconvenience customers who may want to copy or share the book they have legally purchased for legitimate reasons. They shouldn't be limited in the number of times they can download it, or limited in how many devices upon which they can read their e-book. Likewise, readers should feel free to share their books with other readers in some limited fashion.
As long as it's within my control, I will never put DRM on my e-books.
What do you think? Is piracy really like shoplifting? Are pirates evil? And would pirates or ninjas win in a fight?