Ebook Piracy Is Rampant And It Is Simply Impossible To Stop It

Ebook Piracy Is Impossible To Stop

Have your books or ebooks been pirated? Probably, because ebook piracy is so common now.

When I released my last book, God Has Gone Fishing; I made sure not to list my new title on Google Books. The problems of book piracy are well-known on the site.

However, it made no difference at all. The book and ebook pirates got to work very quickly without Google’s help.

Almost every book I have ever published has been pirated. They got listed on torrent websites, copied in pdf, illegally downloaded, or offered under another author’s name.

Ebook piracy is fast

Ebook pirates get to work very quickly to copy books

In an earlier post, I wrote about the problems with rampant piracy on Google Books and Google Play. Also, about 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 pirated book. It took almost no time at all for pirates to create a free torrent book download.

I did a quick Google search for my new ebook title a few weeks after publishing it.

The following pirate sites were offering my ebook on the very first search web page.

I didn’t bother looking any further.

Please note that I have not added links to these ebook piracy 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.

Ebook Piracy site

Ebook Piracy site two

More Ebook Piracy

pdf download


I don’t claim to be a popular author at all.

So I shudder to think of how many illegal copies of ebooks and books by popular authors are pirated every day of the week.


What can you do if your ebook is pirated?

How can you protect your intellectual property? Very little, I’m afraid, apart from taking it on the chin, feeling grumpy for a while, and then ignoring it.

But if you are really keen to try to stop ebook piracy of your books, you can try a few avenues.

You can use a WhoIs lookup to try to find an email address of the registered owner of the site.

You can then send an email asking to remove your book or books. But in most cases, you won’t receive a reply.

You could also try to find the name of the hosting company and then contact them with your complaint.

You can also check to see if the hosting company complies with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

If you want more details about these avenues, you might want to read this detailed article on book piracy.

But need to prepare to do a lot of work that may not end in a positive result for you.

You really need to decide if the pirated books are costing you a lot of sales.

In most cases, you are not losing sales because very few people download from these sites due to the well-known risk of viruses.


Does DRM help?

Most online retailers use DRM (Digital Rights Management) to protect their ebook businesses.

But it only takes a minute or two to strip DRM from an ebook, including Amazon Kindle ebooks. Then the pirates can make a copy in pdf, mobi or epub.

Technology makes it easy for would-be book pirates. In fact, one says, “I can get any novel I want in thirty seconds.”

In another twist to the tale, illegal downloading and piracy have reduced over the years.

Music, movies, and games have all seen declines in piracy and download rates. However, ebook piracy increased over the same period.

For these pirates, it’s all too easy to download ebooks and then steal an author’s work.

They can then read the book for free, or worse, offer it on sharing and torrent sites for ebooks.


The problem is not only ebooks

Here is an example of one of my earlier paperback titles that a pirate offered.

And by the way, it is still on Google Books, even though I lodged a takedown request with Google over three years ago.

If by some chance I succeed in getting this book taken down, it would be like playing ‘whack a mole.’

Another one would appear to take its place.

paperback book under a new author's name


Have your ebooks or physical books been pirated?

If you’re not sure, perhaps it’s time you did a check with a Google search.

But then again, what’s the point.

Because, quite honestly,  there is nothing at all you can do about counterfeit books and pirated ebooks.


But ebook piracy is not all gloom and doom

On a positive note, though.

You could describe people who use peer-to-peer sharing or BitTorrent to access free ebooks as hard-nosed addicted chasers and collectors of anything and everything free.

They are highly unlikely ever to pay for anything, and especially downloaded books. So it’s not a lost book sale.

Also, file sharing sites are often infected with viruses.

Most modern web browsers now block these sites due to this risk. There is also an issue with malware in pdf ebooks.

So yes, some will take all these risks to get a pirated copy of your ebook and download it for free.

But they will probably never read it because all they want to do is fulfill their addictive thrill of collecting free stuff.

Public libraries are full of free books to read. But for freebie hunters, there is no fun in going to a library.

It’s all rather pointless. Well, not really.

I like dark clouds with silver linings. 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.

Most readers would never use or access file-sharing sites for free books.

But they may see my name and title in a search result list on Google. Then pop over to Amazon or Apple iBooks, out of curiosity.

Any publicity is good publicity.

Article update: Forbes reports that ebook piracy costs authors and publishers $3oo million annually.

Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent writing and blogging, as well as testing and taming new technology.

Avatar for Derek Haines

20 thoughts on “Ebook Piracy Is Rampant And It Is Simply Impossible To Stop It

  • Avatar for John
    September 22, 2019 at 1:57 am

    Here’s a puzzle for you…as an author myself, I have found my book available online in supposed kindle format (or pdf) and for free download, just as you have.

    But what is different and inexplicable to me, is that I purposely NEVER made it available via pdf. In other words, you can only buy the book in paperback.

    How then is it available via pdf?

    I have two theories. I’d be interested in your thoughts on how realistic they are.

    1.) If one attempts to download the pirated copy, they will actually only download a virus infested PDF file (and I wish them nothing but agony). The sites I have found my book on are domains out of eastern europe.

    2.) If the pirated download is indeed an electronic version of a paperback only book, then my tinfoil hat goes on and I conclude that someone at the printing level (which DOES have access to an electronic version) has sold the file to a third party. I feel this second reality is far from likely because this is not a high volume book. Unless the printer basically sold his entire inventory (risky) it just seems they’d never pick this title. We’re not talking Harry Potter.

    Thoughts? (And my condolences for your own situation. Creative types get the shaft far too often). J.

    • Avatar for Anon_270az28
      February 14, 2021 at 6:07 am

      No, they just scan and then edit via software to look like actual ebooks.

  • Avatar for Dave Mullbock
    July 17, 2019 at 11:39 pm

    Just purchased an pdf book for a killer deal and got suspicious when it would only download to Google Drive and not directly to my device. Didn’t notice that it is a pdf of an eBook that retails at $184 on Amazon in a different format. All in all, pretty sure I purchased a pirated copy and have deleted if from my devices.

    Does this look suspicious to you?

  • Avatar for Elle Knowles
    June 15, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    Interesting piece of information. Makes me want to look for mine, but as you said, “what’s the point.”

  • Avatar for Colin Guest
    April 9, 2018 at 10:29 am

    For what it’s worth I have been using Blasty to get rid of sites illegally selling my books. There have been a number of reports as to if this site is a scam or not. At present time it appears ok but time will tell if it is or not.

  • Avatar for Eric Roth
    October 30, 2017 at 8:33 am

    Perhaps misery loves company. The comments on this discussion seem to combine acceptance of book piracy with some impressive tales of determination with minimum results. My pet peeve tonight is that Google makes you fill out different forms for YouTube violations and Google search engine results. Why? It just seems like one more annoying aspect of a bizarre, frustrating situation.

    BTW, if I had only received two dollars for each of these thousands of illegal downloads of my ESL conversation books, my bank account would be far healthier. Live and learn.

    • Avatar for Derek Haines
      October 30, 2017 at 8:53 am

      We share a common pursuit, Eric. I made most of my ESL materials free on my own website, hoping to at least earn a little in advertising revenue. It was a cunning plan, that didn’t work at all.

  • Avatar for P. Armanno
    May 2, 2017 at 1:12 am

    Since I discovered that two of my e-books have been pirated I kept reporting them to Google and other reporting sites and managed to have the sites removed. Of course sooner or later they reappear in the search pages, in lesser number though, or in You tube who is very good at removing them. I believe that if all authors who have their books pirated would keep reporting to Google in the end they would stop pirating because pirates are few and authors are many. As they say union makes strength.

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