Pirate ebooks. Have your books or ebooks been pirated?
When I released my last book, God Has Gone Fishing, I made sure not to list my new title on Google Books, due to the problems of well-known book piracy on the site.
However, it made no difference at all, as the book and ebook pirates got to work very quickly without Google’s help.
Almost every book I have ever published has been pirated, BitTorrented, copied in pdf, illegally downloaded or offered under another author’s name.
In an earlier post, I wrote about the problems with rampant piracy on Google Books and Google Play and how Google has taken very little action to stop the fraudulent abuse of copies of books, especially in the United States.
But back to more recent events, and my new book, which took almost no time at all to be pirated.
I did a quick Google search for my book title and found the following pirate sites offering my ebook on the very first search web page. I didn’t bother looking any further. This was within only a few weeks of publishing my book.
Please note that I have not added links to these sites, because I refuse to give these book pirates any traffic.
On top of that, going to these sites can risk getting a computer virus. Yes, some of them can be very nasty.
I make no claim to being a popular author, so I shudder to think of how many illegal copies of ebooks and books by popular authors are being pirated every single day.
So, what can you do if your ebook is pirated? Absolutely nothing I’m afraid, apart from taking it on the chin, feeling grumpy for a while and then ignoring it.
While most online retailers use DRM to protect their own ebook businesses, it only takes a minute or two to strip DRM from an ebook, including Amazon Kindle ebooks, and then for the pirates to be able to make a saleable copy in mobi, epub or pdf.
So for these pirates, it’s all too easy to steal an author’s work.
The problem is not restricted to ebooks either. Here is an example of one of my earlier paperback titles being offered by a pirate, which by the way, is still listed on Google Books, even though I lodged a takedown request with Google over two years ago.
So, have your ebooks or physical books been pirated? If you’re not sure, perhaps it’s time you checked by doing a Google search. But then again, what’s the point, because there is nothing at all you can do about pirate books.
Related reading: Counterfeit Books on Amazon
But ebook piracy is not all gloom and doom.
On a positive note though, it is worth understanding that people who use peer-to-peer sharing or BitTorrent to access free ebooks are hard-nosed, addicted chasers and collectors of anything and everything that is free, so they are highly unlikely ever to pay for anything. So it’s not really a lost sale.
In addition, file sharing sites are often infected with viruses and most modern web browsers now block these sites due to this risk.
So yes, there are some who will take all these risks to get a pirated copy of your ebook and download for free, but they will probably never read it because all they want to do is to fulfil their addictive thrill of collecting free stuff.
It’s all rather pointless, isn’t it? Well, not really.
I like dark clouds with silver linings, and for me in this case, it is that these pirates inadvertently give me a weird kind of book promotion. I get extra Google Search listings, name and title recognition and occasionally, perhaps even real ebook sales as a result.
As most readers would never use or access file sharing sites for free books, they may see my name and title in a search result list on Google and then pop over to Amazon or Apple iBooks, out of curiosity.
Any publicity, is good publicity, right?
Article update: Goodereader reports that ebook piracy cost authors and publishers $3oo million per year.
Further reading: Malware And Viruses – The Price You Pay For Free PDF Books?