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12 January 2011 @ 07:26 pm
a great post about pirating  

You all know by now that as a rule I’d rather give away my books in electronic format than sell them, because piracy is rampant and there’s nothing I can do to stop it except hope that if I gave away copies it might build a relationship that piracy never will. But let me point you at an excellent post about the effects of illegal downloading on authors, and let me make it clear that when I say “authors” I mean “me”. I haven’t gone to the trouble of numbers that this writer has (because, frankly, it would make me absolutely bloody insanely crazy, and I choose not to do that to myself), but basically: what she said.

(x-posted from the essential kit)
Andrea Blytheblythe025 on January 12th, 2011 07:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the link. It's a really great post. It's important to see the human connection to why illegal downloading is bad.
Cyrano: I heart bookscyranocyrano on January 12th, 2011 08:23 pm (UTC)
I think somebody must have set a fire recently, because Lilith was smoking yesterday too.
Amandatreehugginhippy on January 12th, 2011 08:35 pm (UTC)
I'm always of two minds about downloading books. I mean, I love real books. I own every Walker Papers novel -- and I've bought Urban Shaman three times because I kept lending out my copy and not getting it back :P But my husband and I are brokety-broke-broke right now AND live in a tiny apartment where the books are already taking over. I'm culling the ones I won't read again, but that's few and far between.

Frankly, I'd love to replace 90% of the books I own with digital copies. But I can't -- because the price of digital downloads is ludicrous. I own a Mercedes Lackey book that I LOVE -- $7 in paperback. $21 to download. WTH?? Why is a digital copy, which needs no brick-and-mortar storage, or salesperson, or packer-shipper, or paper, or printing, or ANYTHING, three times the price? So, I can pay hardcover prices for pixels.....or, since I already spent the $7 purchasing this book (twice, since I wore out my first copy and the cover fell off), I can download it. There are many books I love enough that I wouldn't mind paying the author twice for them... if I could afford it, and if they were reasonable. Now, Urban Shaman is going for $5.54 for Kindle, and I have a Kindle app for my iPad. I can swing that (and probably will). This is because the Mass Market paperbacks are out. For Walking Dead, they're not, and the digital version is $9 -- that's a bit steep if I'm buying both.

For now, I'd really rather just download things I already own, and I still know it's wrong. I also know that I'm largely in the minority when it comes to downloaders -- several of my friends are so into pirating that they get MAD at me for spending money at all!

I really wish there were ways to balance things for people like me -- say, buy a physical book and, for an extra few bucks, get a code to download it digitally as well. That's what they're doing for DVDs -- I got Inception for $20, and it came with a Blu-Ray disc, a regular disc, AND a code to download it from Apple. That sounds like an ideal solution, actually, and I'm looking for those types of movies as I shop now.... I'd rather buy those than get them from netflix. Same would go for books.
(Deleted comment)
Lauratavella on January 12th, 2011 09:07 pm (UTC)
Said costs are a small portion of the cost compared to printing, storage, transportation, and the big one -- wholesalers and distributors, who take 40 to 60 percent, sometimes more. I've seen a bunch of articles which attempt to fragment out the costs of editorial work to make it look more impressive. It's about $2 a book for a normal print run.
Amandatreehugginhippy on January 12th, 2011 09:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I did not know any of that. I mean, I assumed that the file had to be made correctly (and that formatting is why I definately prefer purchasing ebooks to downloading them!) but the rest of it was news. It still seems like an ebook should be at least 25% cheaper than a physical book, however. I got curious after I wrote my first comment and started pricing my favorite books in ebook format. Most of them cost exactly the same -- $7. Now comes a major question -- I want to start collecting Pratchett (I own a few, but not many). Physical books would take up tons of room and cost the same. But I have them, forever. If I buy them in Kindle format, and five years from now something better comes along, I lose that investment. Kind of like how everyone had to replace their cassettes with CDs. And VHS with DVD. It seems really wrong to have to re-purchase something.
ramurphy on January 12th, 2011 10:42 pm (UTC)
Why don't you go to the library and check out a book that you want to read, thus helping an author whose book was legitimately purchased by the library, and also helping yourself, since it costs nothing to borrow a library book, and once you've read it you and return it, thus saving shelf space. When you're in better financial condition, if a book you've read from the library is one you'd like to own, buy it in whatever format you prefer.
Amandatreehugginhippy on January 12th, 2011 10:44 pm (UTC)
That's usually what I do. Once I sort out some issues my library and I are having (they say I took out an audiobook and never returned it. I never took out an audiobook. Now I apparently owe them $100 to replace an audiobook I never took out) I'll be glad to do that again.

In the long run, it might just be cheaper to pay off the library :P
alfreda89alfreda89 on January 13th, 2011 01:22 am (UTC)
The "Library Error" thing is a PITA -- my experience was much less painful. I'd look for the book someplace like Half Price Books, buy it and take it in, and point out again that you never took it out, because you don't listen to audios -- check my other checkouts as proof -- but here's a copy for the one you cannot find? They might consider amnesty for you.

When you look for e-books, remember you can find a bunch of older good stuff for much less than what it costs a publishing house to get a new one out there. And where you buy it also may matter. I sell a DRM version of my ebooks on Amazon, since the exposure is potentially huge. But I also have a DRM-free version up over at Book View Cafe, and you are allowed to download copies in multiple versions. So if you want a .pdf, because someone will always be able to convert PDFs, you can get it. And get a mobi to play on your Kindle, too.

BVC is going with the "You're adults, and you know that downloading 20 copies is Wrong." So far no one is abusing the system. It will stand as long as no one does. And as we add versions, you can get those versions, to, as long as we exist.

So there are many legal solutions to find cheap copies.
Amandatreehugginhippy on January 13th, 2011 01:50 am (UTC)
I've never heard of Book View Cafe. I'll be sure to check them out :)
alfreda89: Hidden Fires book cover #1alfreda89 on January 13th, 2011 03:54 am (UTC)


Good stuff -- some of it free, others reasonably priced. You can get an omnibus of four Vonda N McIntyre books for something like $12.00 US!

We all keep looking for solutions to piracy. I don't Google Alert my name -- it's just too depressing to know about theft. But I've been out of the business 13 years, sick, so I'm just trying to find my sea legs again.

I don't envy new people trying to come in. If piracy takes too much of your name away, you're out the publisher's door and looking for a pseudonym....
Amandatreehugginhippy on January 13th, 2011 04:04 am (UTC)
I have to admit, I used to pirate shamelessly, when I was a broke and clueless teen. I'm still guilty of it from time to time -- mostly with things I already own that are not available digitally from ANY legit source -- like my books that are 800+ pages apiece :P but this thread has given me a LOT to think about.
alfreda89: Fires of Nuala book coveralfreda89 on January 13th, 2011 04:38 am (UTC)
I understand poor -- my life savings have gone into medical bills. But I borrow from friends or the library, and even check Inter-library loan -- and only then do I go for used books, where at least someone is providing an object and contributing to the economy with the book, although writers get nothing from used book sales.

Why not write up a brief, polite letter, a basic letter you can slot the name and book into easily, and then have a list of publishers where you add the email to the list each time you write a new publisher? If enough people write and say, "I love my 800 page copy of Kate Elliot's latest book -- why not charge $3 more and include an e-book in PDF and EPUB, or somwthing like that? I'd love that option" something might happen!

Spread the word (and the links!) And good reading to you!
martianmooncrabmartianmooncrab on January 12th, 2011 09:07 pm (UTC)
thanks for posting the link, I have put her book on my list to pick up next trip outside.
Sarah Rees Brennansarahtales on January 12th, 2011 09:25 pm (UTC)
As the writer who got tweeted at and stolen from, I love Saundra for making this post and you for linking it!
kitmizkit on January 12th, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I knew it was you. I just was kind of waiting to see if you did a post about it yourself before linking to you with regards to it all. :)

And *Jesus* what a thing to wake up to. Would you like to get some consolitory hot chocolate soon?
Sarah Rees Brennansarahtales on January 12th, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC)
Yes I would! Say when.
kitmizkit on January 12th, 2011 10:14 pm (UTC)
Friday? I shall text you to arrange details if the general idea of Friday is appealing. :)
Sarah Rees Brennansarahtales on January 13th, 2011 02:04 am (UTC)
It is if Friday eveningish is okay? After five. ;)

In re a post, I keep thinking of making one and then being just like 'OH BUT SPOONS, I NEED MORE SPOONS.'
kitmizkit on January 13th, 2011 05:36 pm (UTC)
I seem to have dropped all my spoons too.

Perhaps Friday is not the best day, as I have to be home by 7 to feed the young sir. Your turn to suggest a day! :)
Sarah Rees Brennansarahtales on January 14th, 2011 01:28 pm (UTC)
Oh well. Perhaps, a nice late lunch on Wednesday? I like mid-week treats for a Sarah. ;)
kitmizkit on January 14th, 2011 01:48 pm (UTC)
I have a 2pm thing on Wednesday. *headdesk* Thursday! How's Thursday for you? :)
Sarah Rees Brennansarahtales on January 19th, 2011 09:48 am (UTC)
I KEEP FORGETTING TO CHECK THIS. Thursday I have a Publisher Phone Call. Saturday or Monday? I can do Saturday or Monday! (TWO choices. Shiny.)
kitmizkit on January 19th, 2011 09:59 am (UTC)
Saturday. I can do Saturday! Early or late? Maybe I should text you. :)
secret_gyozasecret_gyoza on January 13th, 2011 01:31 am (UTC)
I buy all your books in hard copy, but when I get one of the e-books from you that have not been published everyone is astounded that I can get that from my favorite author. People ask if I know you personally because they can't think of another way this could have happened.

I prefer to own a paperback book to any other format. I appreciate that in this society my money is a way of voting for what I want. Whether that is by going to a store that provides me with superior service or making a donation to you on paypal on the promise that you will write that book eventually.

And you are right, you have built a relationship with your readership. At least you have with me, I value that you enable me to have access to you and your life. It makes me feel even better about the money I spend building up my C E Murphy collection.
(Deleted comment)
kitmizkit on January 15th, 2011 04:24 pm (UTC)
There is nothing civil to say.
The Elf ½elfwreck on January 21st, 2011 01:22 am (UTC)
Feel free to say something un-civil.

I'm aware that my perspective is limited, and that I very much want authors to keep being authors, and that the current situation with digital copying is unstable at best, horribly destructive to authors at worst.

I'm very unsure what was in that post that would get a "nothing civil to say" reaction. What was upsetting about it? Or was it something in the comment threads? (Honestly curious.)