It’s Still Stealing

I don’t rant online. I try to be positive and figure if I don’t have something nice to say, I won’t say anything at all. Not online, anyway. But sometimes a rant is truly called for and piracy calls for it.
People can justify piracy all they want, call it whatever they want, but in the end, it’s nothing but stealing. It’s stealing from the booksellers, from the publishers and from the authors. People’s livelihoods depend on book sales. Bookstores can’t stay open if they don’t sell books. Publishers can’t continue releasing new books and discovering new authors if they don’t sell books. All of their employees and their families can’t pay their bills and put food on the table if they don’t sell books.
And authors cannot pay their own bills if they don’t sell books. Which means they must work full-time in a different job, they can’t write full-time and, eventually, they burn out by trying to do both. When they have to choose between feeding their families or writing books for people to steal, guess what they’ll choose?
Publishers will stop a series in the middle of it if the books aren’t selling, putting that author out of business. Without sales, they have no money to invest in new authors. In the end, readers lose out. Book pirates steal from all of us – authors, publishers, booksellers and fellow readers.
It’s not marketing. It doesn’t lead to more sales down the road. Would you steal a pair of shoes, thinking that if you like them, you’ll buy the next pair? Or justify by saying you’ll tell your friends about them, while at the same time counterfeiting a coupon so your friends can get them free?
Even if your morals are so poor, think about going back to the store to find it closed and the shoemaker’s gone out of business because nobody actually paid for the shoes. Sure, there are other shoes and stores, but others are stealing from them, so eventually they’re shutting doors, too. How sad it would be if we no longer had a choice of cute shoes. How sad it would be if we no longer had a variety of books.
We live in a privileged time that gives us access to art through our computers – music, films and books are all just a click away. I would hate for that privilege to be removed from all of us because some people believe they’re special, believe they don’t have to be responsible like everyone else does, believe they’re entitled to take what they want without paying.
Justify it all you want, but it’s still stealing.
Rant over. 

Oh, except one other thing. Worse than file sharers? Those who resell digital copies. If you don’t have distribution rights, if you don’t pay royalties to the publisher or author, you have no right to sell. It’s illegal. It’s stealing. Karma’s a bitch.

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7 Responses to It’s Still Stealing

  1. Woot! Great post, Kristie! Thank you for sharing your rant 🙂

  2. Heather says:

    *Standing ovation* It is our livelihood, each and every sale is important to us. More than though, it devalues the writing if someone isn’t willing to pay for it. I understand that some people don’t have a lot of money and can’t afford books, but that’s why we authors run contests and do giveaways all the time. There are other ways if you can’t afford it. However, if it’s just stealing for the sake of stealing, yes, karma is a bitch.

  3. KarenG says:

    What really bugged me more than anything was when my publisher gave out free copies of my novel to women in book clubs. Many of these print copies ended up on Amazon selling for .99 or whatever. No profits to the publisher, to royalties to me– the only ones who benefited were Amazon and the backhanded people who sold what they had been given for free.

  4. Aravis says:

    I’m not an author, I’m a reader. You all bring so much pleasure into my life with your books. To not support you by stealing those books is wrong on so many levels. I’m doing my part to keep publishers happy: I’ve bought and read over 140 books since December, and have over 40 more (legally purchased, of course) on my To Be Read pile. Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely.

    Thank-you Kristie, and all of the other authors out there who invite me into the wonderful worlds born of your imagination. Publishers can’t deny us your stories… I need to know “What Happens Next!”

  5. People can get it for free in a way that doesn’t include stealing.

    It’s called a library. If they don’t have a book you want, request it. Most likely, they’ll order it.

    Problem solved.

  6. inga says:

    Great post, Kristie!
    I have received several books for reviewing from authors or from publishers and I would never even think about sharing these or even worse, selling them. That is aweful!

  7. June M. says:

    I completely agree! I do love winning from blogs or getting free ebooks from sites like Amazon, but will not download a pirated ebook. I was looking at a site (a very popular site) that do giveaways. I clicked on their ebooks link, and clicked on a book title. I thought this would enter me for a giveaway or link to a sample of the book, instead it downloaded a copy of the book. I deleted the book without reading it because I do not want to hurt authors, publishers and readers! I could not believe that this site has piracy on it and still does! As a matter of fact, ALOT of authors are one it and you can be friends with them and read reviews.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

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