Sunday, December 21, 2008


Recently, I've read the discussion that says downloading pirated e-books is no different from taking a book to a used bookstore, or checking out a book from the library.

This is faulty reasoning.

The difference between USBs and Libraries and Pirate sites is that libraries and whoever took the book to the USB bought the book. It's ONE COPY. That $7 was paid, regardless of whether it sits on the original buyer's shelf or in the hands of library or USB patrons.

When somebody pirates a book, the book can be copied ENDLESSLY on thousands and thousands of computers. It's more like making photocopies and giving them away. The authors get no money for any of those pirated copies.

You have to remember: somebody like me makes damn good money, and piracy really doesn't hurt me that much.

But when you start talking about pirating some poor author who gets paid $100 a month in royalties, she's taking it up the ass. And make no mistake: that's all most e-book authors make a month. A few make good money, but most don't, particularly new authors.

Fuck me over if you want to. But DON'T fuck over that poor little author, because she's not making any money to begin with.

And these little e-pubs are now struggling desperately in the current rotten economy. Piracy can sink these little pubs very easily.

So if you download pirated books, you are contributing to the destruction of the very thing you love -- the ability of creators to create fine fiction. Yes, anybody can write a story and put it on a website, but it's not going to get edited by a professional, it will suffer in quality, and creators will not have the chance to learn from the process of working with a professional editor. Do NOT discount the value of editors to writers. The ultimate difference professional input makes in quality is like comparing something somebody puts on You Tube to GONE WITH THE WIND.

Another thing: let's say everybody gets pirated books, and ALL the pubs go under. People like me would have to find full time jobs doing something else, and all you would get out of my ass is short stories I write at night when I'm not working at Walmart.

Currently, I give money to CARE, to various other charities, and every fricking relative I have, from my son to my paralyzed brother in law. All that goes away. The classes I teach when I go to writer's chapters go away, because I could not afford to travel.

This is not idle speculation, because piracy has done serious damage to the music industry. Record stores have gone out of business; the CD selection in stores like BEST BUY is shrinking. I make a point of buying music. I REFUSE to go to pirate sites because eventually, you can make it impossible for these companies to make any money at all. They will go under. I do buy music at iTunes, and I often buy entire albums. It's a way to make sure artists can keep producing.

So don't steal from artists, whether it's downloading pirated books, music or movies. It's stealing, and eventually you will destroy the very artists whose work you enjoy.