Sunday, September 06, 2009

Piracy and Ebooks

I don't think we can stop others from copying – it's a lost cause. Copying is actually wonderful, and I have copied my head off since I first snuck into the photocopy room at my dad's office in 1980. My problem isn't piracy, it's obscurity, and free ebooks generate more sales than they displace.
At The Guardian Science fiction writer Cory Doctorow explains why free ebooks should be apart of the plot for writers. He puts all his books online (for example, you can download Hugo nominated Little Brother here) as soon as they are released in print.

Meanwhile, The Independent has a guide to the top 10 most pirated eBooks of 2009 via BitTorrent (a free file-sharing application), self-help and sex being the most popular topics. Be warned - one or two of these titles are banned in Malaysia, including The Kama Sutera. (Ahem!)

But legitimate ebook sales are taking off too - so let's have no more cynicism about whether it will happen. revealed back in May that 35% of book sales are for the Kindle in areas where it is available.


glenda larke said...

It should be noted that Cory is CHOOSING to put his books online. He is not talking about having them pirated, with someone else raking in the profits while he, the person who created them, gets nothing. (Other authors have tried to go the way he has, and fallen financially flat on their faces.)

Yes, many pirated sites may be free to the user, but the guy who sets them up gets a nice number of hits and earns his money through the adverts, or through donations. Users donate, say, a mere 5 bucks and download 5 books. If he can generate 100s of people doing this, he gets rich and the author gets nothing.

Piracy is theft. Indulge in it, and you are a thief. Pure and simple. Why is that so hard to understand, one wonders? why do so many otherwise honest people think it is all right? Would they be happy to work a 10 hour day for nothing as they expect authors to do? We get such a tiny slice of a book's price to start with, and no perks like health insurance, EPF or a pension...

End rant.

Kathleen said...

Thanks for the heads-up Sharon!

It's good to be reminded that there are many ways to approach a difficulty.

k0k s3n w4i said...

I confess that I do read pirated ebooks some of the time, but only for books I'm mildly interested in, but aren't interested in enough to purchase. Books are just ridiculously expensive these days. They aren't substitutes for real ink-and-paper books, though. I still buy the ones I really like, even after I've already read them in pirated ebook format.