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.)

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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  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.