Book Pirates: A/K/A Asshats

I RARELY discuss piracy. But I ran across something today that infuriated me. It’s not just the fact that someone has STOLEN my book and now offers it for free — I’m used to that. I’ve been fighting pirates since 2012. What bothered me most was the discussion taking place at the pirate site. Between those people taking advantage of this pirated book site. 

People openly discussing how easy it was to get a copy of my book for free. Openly discussing the simplicity, the ease of getting a ‘free’ copy. Bragging about it. Happy about it.

I figure if they can discuss openly about how easy and happy they were to get my books, they won’t mind if I post the screenshots of the discussion.  I took these this afternoon, directly from the pirate site: (NOTE: this is NOT a FB page. It is pulled directly from the pirate site.)

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 3.20.26 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 3.20.34 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 3.20.34 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 3.20.52 PM

If you are getting MY books from this website, please note the following: The books are stolen. Yes, STOLEN as in PIRATED. The ONLY place where you will find my books for sale legitimately are iBooks, B&N, Kobo, and Amazon, Tolino, and audio books at Audible.com.  If you ‘buy’ or get a ‘free’ copy anywhere else, know in advance that it is a stolen, pirated and illegitimate copy.

The problem is rampant. Pirate sites run without fear.

When I told my fellow author and friend Kathryn Le Veque about today’s events, she was not surprised. Just last week, her personal assistant had to send out 641 take down letters. No, that isn’t a typo. SIX HUNDRED FORTY-ONE DCMA take down letters in one week. For those of you who don’t know, that is the letter we have to send out to pirate sites letting them know they are in violation of US Copyright law, please cease and desist, stop immediately. This is almost a full time job for her assistant. 

When Kathryn released her latest book, Queen of Lost Stars, it was on 7 pirate sites within an hour of the book going live. ONE HOUR. SEVEN PIRTAE SITES.

I firmly believe that if it weren’t for people like those listed in the screen shots above, this problem would not be as big as it is. It’s kind of like the old Napster argument, but with writers: Authors make enough money as it is. What does it hurt them if I get a free, pirated book? Or, the other argument: I can’t afford to read all the books I want to read. Might I suggest a freaking library card? My books are in libraries around the world. And if your local library isn’t carrying them, ask your librarian. They’ll be more than happy to get them in for you.

If their arguments held true, I’d be able to go into a Cadillac dealership and take a free Caddy. Because we all know that the car manufacturers make gobs of money. What will it hurt them if I take one? What will it hurt if I buy a stolen Cadillac? Or what about TVs? Food? Clothes?

Most readers understand that authors work hard. It can take months, if not years, to write one book. But in addition to writing the book, we have to pay for editors, final proofers, cover artists, ARC copies, narrators, formatters… it can be expensive. My last book cost around $3,000 — cover, editor, final proofer, etc. That does not include the countless hours of actually writing the book.

Add to that the cost of either hiring someone to issue DCMA take down letters to these asshats/pirate sites — or the time and energy an author must spend doing it herself — and costs really start to add up. Some authors barely make enough to pay the bills.

So to those of you who do take advantage of all these pirate sites, I say this to you: You ARE hurting the author. You’re taking money out of their pocket. Money they could use to pay bills or help pay for their kids’ braces. Or like me, helping out my daughter financially while her daughter, a micro preemie, is spending the next three months in the NICU. We’re not all sitting back and raking in the money. We’re not lighting $300 cigars with hundred dollar bills.  Most of us are simply trying to make a living doing something we love.

Yes, I make a damned fine living. But I work hard at it. I work 18 hours a day, 7 days a week. I’ve earned what I have. No one gave it to me and I sure as hell didn’t steal it from anyone. Just because I make a damned fine living does not give someone the right to steal from me.

When you steal a book from me, it’s the same as stealing money out of my wallet. It’s the same for every author out there. You’re STEALING. Plain and simple.

DRM Encryption is meant to help keep our books from being pirated.  But we’re told to offer DRM encryption free books to make it easier for readers to buy a book at Amazon then load it to their Nook or Kobo Glo or other reader or what have you. When we do that, it makes it even easier for asshat pirates to make their own copies of our books and either offer them for free or sell them.  So we’re stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

Honestly, I don’t have an answer to pirates other than to call keep sending out these stupid DCMA Takedown letters. Which is a huge time waster because once you get a book taken down, it’s up on another site within an hour. It’s a never-ending, frustrating, mind-boggling pain in the ass.

The DCMA take down letters do next to nothing to stop piracy. A lot of the pirate sites are in Russia. Good luck getting OUR government to take this problem seriously.

I have no idea how much money I or any other author loses on a daily basis to pirates. If Kathryn Le Veque’s problem is any indication, we are talking some serious money.  I am less than hopeful that this problem will ever be solved.

So for now, we continue to send out these letters. We will continue to shake our heads in frustration. What else can we do? The government refuses to do anything. The pirate sites know that and that is another reason they keep doing what they’re doing.

Until people stop taking books from these pirate sites the problem won’t go away. Until then, the pirates and the users of these sites, know that we are watching you. And shame on you.

25 thoughts on “Book Pirates: A/K/A Asshats

  1. Kathy Bunbury says:

    This is so unfair, when you authors make so very little on the lights ate sites, to be pirated really gets my goat!

  2. Kathy Bunbury says:

    That should have been ligitimate sites! *sigh* spell check at work! Plus I was so irate I didn’t stop to proof what I wrote, and typos are my pet peeve!

  3. Michaelene Luther says:

    I am so sorry Suzan and Kathryn that this happens to you guys!!! It is so unfair and just down right upsetting!

  4. Sandra Owens says:

    I fight this every day with my books, and I could not have said this better than you did, Suzan. I’ve often wondered how those who feel it’s perfectly okay to steal from me by buying my books off a pirate site would feel if their paycheck was sent to me for six months. I doubt they’d like that. I even had one person post a pirate site link where readers could get my books free in a review she posted on Amazon. Seriously? What is wrong with people? Fortunately, I got Amazon to remove the review, but I just don’t understand. I would never ever think it was okay to buy a book from a pirate site.

    Thank you for talking about this.

  5. Cathy Phillips says:

    Very well stated, Suzan! It’s a shame that there are so many thieves in this world. It’s wrong that the Government doesn’t step in to remedy this horrible situation. People work too hard for what they have, and it shouldn’t be stolen from them. I have never been on or seen a pirate site, but they have existed for many years.

  6. Sharon Jesse says:

    Dear God what is wrong with people? Is there no one with any morals anymore? I’m sorry these people think it’s ok to steal your hard work Suzan . Keep thinking payback because eventually they will get their just desserts. Stay strong and don’t let the Asshats get you down.

  7. Heather C. Leigh says:

    I hope most of these asshats get massive computer viruses from their favorite pirate sites and see their credit card and bank info stolen right off their thieving laptops.

    Karma. It’s a thing.

  8. Heather says:

    Wow that is so wrong the only time I get a free book is if it is from Amazon or I win it. People need to have a little respect especially if they are obtaining pirated copies of their favourite Authors.

  9. Patricia Wissore says:

    I don’t understand how people are just that stupid that they think stealing is ok? I feel bad sometimes even using KU to read authors series. I try to mostly use that to find new authors!

  10. Heidi says:

    So shabby, that people are gloating and priding themselves on being successful thieves! Stealing is stealing!!

  11. Dawn says:

    Don’t understand people. I mean our authors are so generous with FB party prizes, arcs at times and then to have sale on books too. Then there netgalley where I can read to do reviews . Stealing is wrong .

  12. Angela says:

    I am sorry to hear about your daughter’s baby. We had twins at 27 weeks and they are now 7 years old. Their combined medical bills for NICU stay was over $500,000. One was there 76 days and the other 97 days.

  13. Judy Lea Ritchie says:

    So sorry to hear about this thievery. That’s what it is. I actually received a music CD from eBay that was clearly a pirated copy. I told them and the person that was the artist and no one did anything about it. It was clearly just a copy that some one made. I should have sent it back but I had already paid too much shipping and didn’t want to pay more. So I wish you good luck.

    The music industry has been fighting this problem for a long time. Never dreamed they would hit the literary industry too. This old world keeps getting more evil every day.

    Judy Lea in Ohio

  14. Catherine White says:

    I know you don’t want to advertise what website it is, but I for one, would like to know so that I steer clear of it. I only purchase my ebooks from Amazon and only take a free book when it is offered by the author themselves. I hope that is ok since I get it from the author’s website. I am sorry you have to deal with this kind of thing. You have enough worries without this adding to it.

  15. Patricia Sroka says:

    This is horrible! I love to read and don’t mind paying for my books! Your books are amazing and well worth the cost and they are offered at a fair price. You have enough on your plate these days without having to deal with these asshats! As a new author, this is extremely frustrating as well. It is hard enough to get noticed without having jerks like this take away any sales I might get. Whoever is doing this needs to be stopped.

  16. Paula Quinn says:

    Sadly, this happens to me all the time. I can’t tell you how many take down letter I’ve sent out, how many my publisher has sent out. The problem will not go away until stricter laws are implemented, and even that won’t stop it completely.

  17. Sandra Nachlinger says:

    I’ve had the same experience. It’s frustrating, maddening, and disheartening. I’ll share your post and hope more readers are made aware of the fact that they’re stealing from authors.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I wish we had some government group who would take down these people. I can dream, can’t I? Unfortunately, the only thing you can do is stop writing and your book paying fans wouldn’t like that at all. I paint a pessimistic environment because we have too many bad things happen and that causes people to not care about other people. People and animals are killed for no reason. Corporations cause environmental headaches or don’t warn you that your new expensive car might kill you. I think you now know that I am very unhappy about pirates of all kinds.

  19. lynnlawler says:

    Thank you for addressing this. I have told my readers to stay away from those sites. They sometimes are phishing sites too. I hope others follow our example and not download ebooks from these sites.

  20. bevmg says:

    body{font-family: Geneva,Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;font-size:9pt;background-color: #ffffff;color: black;}OMG, I can’t believe this!!!  I ONLY get your ebooks and my other FAVORITE authors at Amazon.com!!Bev

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