First off, let me tell you how blown away I’ve been with the widgets I’ve seen and the essays I’ve read. You guys amaze me more all the time.
But I’m afraid today’s post is slightly more serious than that.
Because today’s post is about pirates.
And no, I’m not talking about how yummy Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom were when they were swashbuckling around the Caribbean. (Because they were incredibly yummy!)
Nope, sadly I’m talking about another kind of pirate–an internet pirate.
Internet piracy is a growing problem for the publishing industry (an industry that is having a really tough time of it anyway these days).
And, sadly, I’m afraid a whole lot of people are probably taking part in it without even fully realizing that it’s wrong. AND ILLEGAL!
You see, whenever a book is online to download and/or read for free, unless it’s on a website run by the publisher or author (or some other official channel) chances are that someone has uploaded it without permission–illegally. And whenever someone reads or downloads that book they are essentially stealing it.
Yep. Stealing. Because the person who put it up there didn’t have the rights to do so. And neither do the people who are downloading it or reading it without permission.
And that hurts a lot of people.
HOW IT HURTS THE AUTHOR:
I know sometimes people think that writers are wealthy. Well, for the most part, we aren’t.
The writers that I have met (both superstars and not) are all just people who are working very, very hard to turn out a product that hopefully people will enjoy.
And we get paid based on how many books we sell.
Almost every writer I know has written for free at some point. I have. And I would again if I had to. But I don’t publish for free. Publishing means meeting deadlines and making massive, sweeping revisions, and proofreading until you think your eyes are gonna bleed.
Writing I do for love.
Publishing I do for money.
If it ever reaches the point where so many people are getting my books for “free” that I can’t sell very many books, then I will probably stop publishing. I’ll keep writing–that’s who I am and it will never stop–but I’ll use the time I used to spend publishing to find some other way to pay the bills.
HOW IT HURTS THE PUBLISHER:
There are so many people who help make books happen–from the editors who help us make our books as strong as they can be to the artists who design the covers to the people at the warehouses who make sure our books make it to your local store.
When you buy a book you pay these people’s salaries. You help ensure that they have a job and that their employer stays in business–that their employer is in a position to publish MORE books.
So don’t think about it as buying the book you’ve got in your hands. Think about it as buying the book you’ve got in your hands and the chance to read more books in the future.
HOW IT HURTS YOU–THE READERS:
I think what disturbs me the most is when I see statements like “If you want to see Ally Carter write more books then you should go to this site and download LYKY and tell all of your friends to download it because we need more Gallagher Girls books!”
Let me tell you, that is the most awesome compliment ever. The problem is that my publisher doesn’t make any money off of all those “free” copies that are downloaded illegally.
I don’t make any money.
And, scarier still, my publisher doesn’t even know about all of those people who have read the book illegally online, so they can’t possibly tell that people do want more Gallagher Girl books.
And in that case my publisher might assume that people aren’t interested in the series because not that many people bought and read the book the legal way.
So my publisher doesn’t see a need to publish any more books.
Really, folks, the only way to make sure your favorite authors continue to get books published is for you and your friends read books in a legal way.
HOW IT HURTS COMMUNITIES:
I know that books are expensive and that not everyone has enough money to buy every book they could possibly want to read–I get that. I really, really do.
Now, if only there were a place that had lots of books that would let a person borrow the book long enough to read it…
Oh, what could we call such a place…
I know–we could call them libraries!
Yep. If only the world had libraries then people could read all the books they wanted FOR FREE without becoming felons!
Yay for libraries!
Libraries are wonderful places that, in my opinion, are essential to good towns and strong communities. But libraries get funded based (in part) on how frequently they’re used.
And if everyone chooses to stay home and break the law and steal from authors and cover designers and warehouse workers instead of going to the library then it’s possible that our libraries will be hurt too.
But what if your library doesn’t have the book you’re wanting to read? Well, talk to your librarian. Almost all libraries subscribe to some kind of inter-library loan program which means that your library can check the book out of another library and then loan it to you.
Really, folks, there’s no reason that I can think of to break the law and illegally download a book–any book. Especially if you want that author and publisher to make more books.
So if you’re thinking about downloading (or uploading) your favorite book by Sarah Dessen or Sara Zarr or Sarah Mlynowski or Sarah Cross or Sarah Rees Brennan… (or any authors not named Sarah), ask yourself “Would I steal her purse?”
And if the answer is no, then please don’t steal her book.
ps…please note that this doesn’t apply to excerpts that you might see on the website of an author or a publisher. And it doesn’t apply to people who buy e-books either. This is talking about the books that are available online for free from sites that are not associated with the author or publisher–those are almost always there illegally.
pps…I know you guys really want me to post the first chapter of GG3. I will eventually, but I’m afraid I can’t just yet. In the meantime, it is available in the back of the paperback copies of CROSS MY HEART AND HOPE TO SPY.