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.


13 thoughts on “You Might Be On An Illegal Book Downloading Site if…

  1. 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.

    This is incorrect. Most people that share books, buy the books and remove DRM to share, so you are getting paid for that one book. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you pay your monthly fee and as long as you scroll to the end of the book before returning it, the author is paid. Perhaps some people return them but myself and all my friends remove DRM from our purchased books because we don’t want Amazon being able to take back what we paid for just like iTunes did a few years ago. None of us are not sharing on pirate sites but we still remove it because of the fear of what Amazon will do so perhaps those that are pirating are still in fact paying for the book before sharing. Nothing is that black and white.

  2. Oops guess I should proofread my own reply. LOL I mean we are NOT sharing on pirate sites. Yes keep up the good fight but also I sure hope Amazon does not pull what Itunes did.

  3. Reblogged this on WordyNerdBird and commented:
    I have written several posts recently about scammers, cheats and piracy in the Indie publishing world.

    This post by Suzan Tisdale lays out very plainly the ways in which readers can know that a book website is most likely illegal.

    It’s hard to believe this is what it has come to: that people need to be informed so directly about the ways in which authors all over the world are being ripped off.

    Yet this is one of those issues that goes much farther than most of us ever realise.

  4. My books keep turning up on illegal sites, it’s a real pain. I was using Bookblast to weed them out until I had to pay for it, and then I had to stop using it because I can’t afford it. It’s worrying to think this is going on.

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