You Might Be On An Illegal Book Downloading Site if…

“How do I know if I’m on a legitimate book site?”

You’d be surprised the number of times I get asked that question. As in at least five times a day. I get asked lots of questions every day as it pertains to books and audiobooks. So, I decided to put together this handy guide for those individuals who are ‘uncertain’ if they’re on a legitimate book site or not.

Q: How can I tell if I’m on a book pirating site?

A: You might be on an illegal ebook downloading site (AKA book pirating site) if all the books are free. That is your first give away. No legitimate book vendor has 100% free books. The only exception is your local library’s website. Other than that, if every book is FREE then you’re not in the right place. You’re in the wrong place. As in ‘you’re on an illegal book downloading site’. As in please report to your local author.

Q. I belong to a private FB group where they share ‘free books’. Is this legit?

A. The answer to this one can be tricky. If none of the people are sharing links to legitimate book sites, ie: Amazon, Kobo, Nook, AppleBooks, or GooglePlay, or the author’s own website, then no, this is not legitimate. Legitimate book clubs will share links to BOOK STORES where you can grab a free copy. Again, to places like Amazon, Kobo, Nook, AppleBooks, or GooglePlay, or the author’s own website.

NON-Legitimate groups will have all the book files located somewhere outside of the group, using file sharing sites such as Drop Box or One Drive.

If there are no authors in the group who are sharing LEGITIMATE store links, then you’re probably in an illegal file sharing group. Run far, run fast.

NON-Legitimate groups will have all the book files located somewhere outside of the group, using file sharing sites such as Drop Box or One Drive.

If the administrators of that group are asking for ‘monetary donations to help offset the cost of Drop Box or One Drive’ then you are in an illegal book downloading/book piracy group. This is NOT LEGITIMATE. This is ILLEGAL on so many levels. And yes, YOU can be held criminally liable for participating in these kinds of groups.

Q. My sister and I share books with each other all the time. Is that wrong?

A. No! That is perfectly acceptable because you purchased the books first. The piracy sites never purchase the books (they’ll purchase, make a copy, then return. The author is never paid.) I used to share ebooks and paperbacks with my mom all the time. Perfectly legit.

Q. I just want to support my favorite authors. What can I do?

A. You can purchase books from legitimate sites, such as Amazon, Nook, Kobo, AppleBooks, and GooglePlay. A lot of authors these days also allow purchasing directly from their websites. Try following your favorite authors on Facebook or BookBub. Most authors I know have monthly newsletters with information on upcoming releases, pre-orders, sales, etc. They will almost always have links in those newsletters to the vendor of your choice.

Q. What about audiobooks?

The rules are the same regardless of format. Yes, audiobook piracy is a thing and yes, we’re working on trying to solve the issue. Yes, I’m aware that all of my audiobooks have been stolen.

My tips for readers are as follows: “Follow” your favorite author at Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, or even Instagram. Sign up for your favorite author’s newsletters.

My tips for readers are as follows: “Follow” your favorite author at Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, or even Instagram. Sign up for your favorite author’s newsletters. Stick to those places you KNOW are legitimate book purchasing sites. Avoid everything else.

Ignore any ‘invitations’ or links you might see on social media that say things like: ‘Thousands of FREE ebooks from Thousands of authors!’ or ‘Download All The Free eBooks You want!’ Chances are those are scams, phishing sites filled with malware, and/or book piracy sites.

When in doubt, DON’T! If you’re still not sure the site you’re on is a piracy site or not, reach out and ask. Most authors love hearing from readers and are happy to answer any questions you might have.


Book Thieves Suck

I just can’t call them pirates. Pirate, in my mind, conjures up an image of a tall, handsome devil with long hair and a swashbuckling personality sailing the seven seas.

We’re talking about thieves. Individuals or groups of individuals who openly steal copies of books and upload them to websites where anyone who is a member can read it. They like to claim they’re offering a service to the public. They like to claim what they’re doing is no more different than a public library.

You’re NOT a Library. You are a thief.

There are a few succinct differences between libraries and book thieves. Libraries, you see, actually pay for books. Most libraries have a limited number of members. Yes, some libraries are bigger than others, but that isn’t the point here. The books were first purchased before they were loaned out to anyone.

The pirates will argue that someone originally did buy the book and they’re simply sharing it with the rest of their friends. Again, no, no you’re not. First of all, nobody has that many friends. Secondly, these thieves might actually buy the book, only to return it an hour or two later after they’ve stripped out everything they need to upload to these disgusting sites.

Some of these sites like to say they’re doing us a favor. One guy likes to argue that it is no different than offering a free sample. If the reader likes that book, they’ll go on to buy the others.

Again, that is a bunch of BS. Why would anyone who has access to literally hundreds of thousands of stolen books actually buy one?

That old argument of you should feel honored we stole from you; think of it as free publicity is also a bunch of BS. If I called a plumber, had him fix my leaky faucet or install a completely new bathroom, and then told him “I’m not going to pay you, but I’ll tell everyone what a wonderful job you did” I’d probably end up with a black eye and a law suit.

DMCA’S? WHY BOTHER?

Every day, hundreds if not thousands of authors spend countless hours sending out DMCA’s or ‘take down notices.’ Some of us either have to hire a personal assistant to do that or use programs like Blasty. It isn’t cheap keeping up with these idiots.

Where the hell is my book?!? If you find that the book you’ve been assured is there, in fact isn’t, chances are it’s been DMCA’d into oblivion. Simply request the book again. These things happen, heck, that’s life.

from a book pirating website.

So why even bother with DMCA’s? These sites will take the book down for maybe an hour or two. But as soon as they believe the coast is clear, they upload that book again.

This is a never ending game of whack-a-mole. Even if we manage to get a site taken down, they reopen under a new name in just a few short hours. And the entire process starts up all over again.

Additionally, a lot of authors use the KU program at Amazon. This requires their books be exclusive to Amazon. Amazon does check to make certain these books are not available anywhere else. When a book that is in the KU program comes up as available at these pirate sites, the authors get into trouble. They’re accused of violating the rules and are often threatened with losing their accounts altogether. Imagine losing your livelihood because of these idiots.

But the thieves simply don’t care. There are plenty of books to choose from.

George RR Martin, Nora Roberts, Stephen King, JK Rowling, and Courtney Milan, even Michelle Obama are all victims of book piracy.

It isn’t just indie authors they steal from. At most of these sites, they have stolen from the likes of George RR Martin, Nora Roberts, Stephen King, JK Rowling, and Courtney Milan. Hell, they’ve even stolen from Michelle Obama. No book, it seems, is left ‘un-stolen’. No author is out of bounds. Nothing is off limits.

Want a new release? Go to one of these sites and request it. You can have your copy within an hour of it going live.

If DMCA’s are time consuming and expensive, why bother sending them? The answer is simple: it’s the principal of the thing.

Imagine you have worked hard all week long. Pay day rolls around and your boss says, “Sorry, Bernice. I think you’ve already made too much money this month, so I’m not going to pay you.”

Or imagine you own a bakery. Someone comes in and demands free bear claws. Because it’s just a bear claw and you bakers are all filthy rich and live in mansions. They don’t care that you work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. They don’t care that you have a mortgage, a kid that needs braces, car payments, student loans, utility bills, or anything else. Damn it, you have earned enough money. Or, you make enough money off those people who did buy your donuts and cupcakes.

Their arguments are idiotic at best. We work really hard to bring our readers good, quality books. We have editors, cover artists, final proofers, and other business expenses. It isn’t up to these thieves to decide if we’ve earned ‘too much money’ or not. It isn’t up to them to decide if we will offer a sale on one of our books, or even make it free for a few days. It is our decision to make. It is our book, not theirs.

It is our book, not theirs.

If these asshats want to write books and give them away for free, let them have at it. But I shouldn’t have to be forced to fight these idiots because no one either has the financial wherewithal or the political clout to tackle this issue.

I’m getting a little tired of having to explain to the ‘readers’ who use these sites and argue ‘there is nothing wrong with what they’re doing’ that is in fact against the law. They are violating numerous copyright laws.

Enough is enough already. I do believe it is time we take action as a collective to combat these low life, scum sucking, arrogant thieves and put a stop to this nonsense.

Just think about the Napster lawsuit and you’ll see where I’m going with this.

Book Thieves Suck.

An Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg:

While we can appreciate your need to ‘protect’ the public from ne’er-do-wells, political deception, covert Russian spies, things that could potentially be found ‘obscene or offensive’, round-earthers, and aliens from planet Zenon, I do believe you’ve gone a bit too far with some of the inane rules you’ve set forth on Facebook. (I’m beginning to believe that the same people who handle Amazon’s customer complaints are the same people who run Facebook’s customer complaint department. Because nothing either company does makes a damned bit of sense.) 

I know what I am about to say will sound a bit ‘cliche’, but here goes: This is America. And in America, people are considered innocent until proven guilty. But that message apparently has not yet reached you or those individuals working for you.

I’m not even certain you are aware of some of the things that happen on Facebook. I’ll give you a run down on one item in particular: reporting profiles.

  1. It takes absolutely ZERO evidence to ‘report’ an individual on Facebook for ‘impersonation, violent behavior, objectionable content, etc.’ All I need to is report it using your ‘community guidelines’. 
  2. But once an account has been reported it can be frozen and suspended without any form of due process. When that happens, your requirements to get a profile reinstated are, to say the least, ridiculous. 

This business of ‘reporting’ someone is getting way out of hand. All that need happen is for someone on FB to ‘offend’ me, and with one click of my mouse, I can ‘report’ them to the FB police. That is all I need to do. One. Little. Click. But this scenario ONLY works for individuals on FB, not the thousands and thousands of ‘group pages’. ONLY the individual profiles.

Currently, there is an individual on Facebook who has numerous profiles. He’s pretty smart and knows how to manipulate his IP address. Apparently, this person, let’s call him Dylan C, has got a bee in his bonnet and is very upset over something that happened three years ago. He can’t seem to let go of this innocuous comment made on some post that no one can even find now. So, he has targeted the individual who made that innocuous comment. Let’s call her Samantha. Samantha is an author.

In the past six months, Dylan C has ‘reported’ Samantha’s profile no less than six times. Twice now, he has been successful in getting her profile suspended for ‘impersonating’ herself. Each time, Samantha has had to provide as much information as she’d need if she were trying to get a job with the FBI. Such as documentation from: the IRS, US Copyright office, the RWA and NINC – both internationally recognized organizations. She must also provide her birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, banking information, and a photo of herself HOLDING that information, and anything else that proves she is who she says she is. At this point, the only thing that hasn’t been requested from her is a urine sample and DNA swab.

The images Samantha sent to the Facebook police per their request were rejected because they couldn’t “read the information” that was clearly visible on the documents. Then, after being told three times to take an even clearer picture, which was virtually impossible, Samantha voiced her frustration and asked specifically what they couldn’t read in the image. At that point, FB stopped ALL communication with her.   

Now here is where is gets reallycrazy: DylanC has begun to report other authors who have similar names as the original Samantha. He’s also begun to report profile pages of some individuals who have commented on the original Samantha’s FB posts. 

Enter Samantha B., an author. Samantha B. has no idea who DylanC is. She’s never heard of him and as far as she knows, she’s never had any kind of interaction with this person on Facebook. But DylanC, in his kindergarten-esque tirade, has reported Samantha B. for impersonating the original Samantha.

Now, Samantha B. has to provide all the same information as original Samantha just to prove she is who she says she is.

Samantha and Samantha B., are authors. They have author profiles as well as their personal profiles, a practice quite common amongst authors. Both women are, to say the least, quite upset, as is the rest of the author community.

In America, the burden of proof lies with the state. The state (the accuser) must prove the defendant’s (the accused’s) guilt. The defendant does not have to prove his or her innocence. 

Yet, in the world of Facebook, it is the exact opposite. I do not have to ‘prove’ anything in order to report someone. All I need do is make the claim. This is very reminiscent of Nazi Germany back in the day. (Yes, I said it.) But the person I’m ‘reporting’ has to jump through more hoops than a circus lion in order to prove their innocence. It can take days, if not weeks, to get it all sorted out.

There is something inherently wrong with this picture and your rules.

Perhaps the next time you’re getting a seaweed-wrap and massage while you sip a non-fat soy, two-pump, caramel mocha latte with sugar free whip, you could take a moment to read the Constitution and perhaps a few letters from authors who are quite angry with all the nonsense we have to put up with at Facebook and idiots like Dylan C.

I’ll save my thoughts on the dozens of “Download Free PDF’s and ebooks” groups on Facebook who share thousands upon thousands of stolen/pirated ebooks with each other or the hoops we authors have to go through to get an ad approved, for another time.

Offendedly yours,

Suzan Tisdale – Author

Book Thieves SUCK

I just can’t call them pirates. Pirate, in my mind, conjures up an image of a tall, handsome devil with long hair and a swashbuckling personality sailing the seven seas.

We’re talking about thieves. Individuals or groups of individuals who openly steal copies of books and upload them to websites where anyone who is a member can read it. They like to claim they’re offering a service to the public. They like to claim what they’re doing is no more different than a public library.

You’re NOT a Library. You are a thief.

There are a few succinct differences between libraries and book thieves. Libraries, you see, actually pay for books. Most libraries have a limited number of members. Yes, some libraries are bigger than others, but that isn’t the point here. The books were first purchased before they were loaned out to anyone.

The pirates will argue that someone originally did buy the book and they’re simply sharing it with the rest of their friends. Again, no, no you’re not. First of all, nobody has that many friends. Secondly, these thieves might actually buy the book, only to return it an hour or two later after they’ve stripped out everything they need to upload to these disgusting sites.

Some of these sites like to say they’re doing us a favor. One guy likes to argue that it is no different than offering a free sample. If the reader likes that book, they’ll go on to buy the others.

Again, that is a bunch of BS. Why would anyone who has access to literally hundreds of thousands of stolen books actually buy one?

That old argument of you should feel honored we stole from you; think of it as free publicity is also a bunch of BS. If I called a plumber, had him fix my leaky faucet or install a completely new bathroom, and then told him “I’m not going to pay you, but I’ll tell everyone what a wonderful job you did” I’d probably end up with a black eye and a law suit.

DMCA’S? WHY BOTHER?

Every day, hundreds if not thousands of authors spend countless hours sending out DMCA’s or ‘take down notices.’ Some of us either have to hire a personal assistant to do that or use programs like Blasty. It isn’t cheap keeping up with these idiots.

Where the hell is my book?!? If you find that the book you’ve been assured is there, in fact isn’t, chances are it’s been DMCA’d into oblivion. Simply request the book again. These things happen, heck, that’s life.

from a book pirating website.

So why even bother with DMCA’s? These sites will take the book down for maybe an hour or two. But as soon as they believe the coast is clear, they upload that book again.

This is a never ending game of whack-a-mole. Even if we manage to get a site taken down, they reopen under a new name in just a few short hours. And the entire process starts up all over again.

Additionally, a lot of authors use the KU program at Amazon. This requires their books be exclusive to Amazon. Amazon does check to make certain these books are not available anywhere else. When a book that is in the KU program comes up as available at these pirate sites, the authors get into trouble. They’re accused of violating the rules and are often threatened with losing their accounts altogether. Imagine losing your livelihood because of these idiots.

But the thieves simply don’t care. There are plenty of books to choose from.

George RR Martin, Nora Roberts, Stephen King, JK Rowling, and Courtney Milan, even Michelle Obama are all victims of book piracy.

It isn’t just indie authors they steal from. At most of these sites, they have stolen from the likes of George RR Martin, Nora Roberts, Stephen King, JK Rowling, and Courtney Milan. Hell, they’ve even stolen from Michelle Obama. No book, it seems, is left ‘un-stolen’. No author is out of bounds. Nothing is off limits.

Want a new release? Go to one of these sites and request it. You can have your copy within an hour of it going live.

If DMCA’s are time consuming and expensive, why bother sending them? The answer is simple: it’s the principal of the thing.

Imagine you have worked hard all week long. Pay day rolls around and your boss says, “Sorry, Bernice. I think you’ve already made too much money this month, so I’m not going to pay you.”

Or imagine you own a bakery. Someone comes in and demands free bear claws. Because it’s just a bear claw and you bakers are all filthy rich and live in mansions. They don’t care that you work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. They don’t care that you have a mortgage, a kid that needs braces, car payments, student loans, utility bills, or anything else. Damn it, you have earned enough money. Or, you make enough money off those people who did buy your donuts and cupcakes.

Their arguments are idiotic at best. We work really hard to bring our readers good, quality books. We have editors, cover artists, final proofers, and other business expenses. It isn’t up to these thieves to decide if we’ve earned ‘too much money’ or not. It isn’t up to them to decide if we will offer a sale on one of our books, or even make it free for a few days. It is our decision to make. It is our book, not theirs.

It is our book, not theirs.

If these asshats want to write books and give them away for free, let them have at it. But I shouldn’t have to be forced to fight these idiots because no one either has the financial wherewithal or the political clout to tackle this issue.

I’m getting a little tired of having to explain to the ‘readers’ who use these sites and argue ‘there is nothing wrong with what they’re doing’ that is in fact against the law. They are violating numerous copyright laws.

Enough is enough already. I do believe it is time we take action as a collective to combat these low life, scum sucking, arrogant thieves and put a stop to this nonsense.

Just think about the Napster lawsuit and you’ll see where I’m going with this.