They offered two options: download an EPUB version of the book FOR FREE or click on an Amazon link. So I did. I now have my very own pirated copy of my book.
How cool is that?
NOT COOL AT ALL.
Bully for him. Mr. Gaiman is a famous author with sales out the roof. He is the last one on the planet who needs a bit of name recognition or promotional help to pimp any of his titles. In short, if someone elects to give his work away, the sad truth is... he can afford that loss of income.
I make a few cents on a sale. All of my books are priced on the low end of reasonable for the simple fact that I want to have my work in the hands of readers and one way to do that is to keep my prices low enough to be attractive but not so low as to shoot myself in the foot, economically speaking.
When the largesse amounts to cents, one has to squirrel those pennies away very carefully. The process of writing is not without an investment: of time, energy and actual cash.
Books can take months-to-years to complete. Authors hire outside editors to polish the narrative to the point where either an agent or a publisher will give it a second look, or spiffy it up enough to self-publish the title with a modicum of pride in having done a decent job.
Editors ain't cheap: going rate runs anywhere from $1-2/page, double-spaced.
Then there's the cost of a book cover. You have to purchase the rights to the photographic elements and then hire a graphics design person to put it together into an eye-catching package: ka-ching. The range might run $25-300. That all out of pocket before the title sees the light of day on Amazon.
If you are lucky enough to have a publisher, some but not all of those costs will be absorbed. The fact remains: someone had to pay for those services before the product is offered for sale.
That's real money. And every time someone downloads a 'free' book off a pirate site, that's lost income: to the author, to the editor, to the book designer and the publisher.
That book is NOT FREE, let me say it again: that title you just downloaded was STOLEN. You are now in possession of STOLEN GOODS.
And we have bills to pay: rent, groceries, kids to cloth and educate, parents to support. We write because it's an avocation. But I know of no one who masturbates with a keyboard just for the sheer pleasure of self-pleasuring the frontal lobe with a clever narrative arc.
By the way, Aaron has a very well-reasoned set of blogs (which include balanced pros and cons) on this very topic:
David DiSalvo claims, on Forbes, that piracy is the "New Advertising", something that's well within everyone's budget because the losses are so miniscule as to be insignificant.
Really. No, seriously?
Obviously they are wrong. But what can I do about it?
I issued two DCMAs to the offending site and within 24 hours the title was listed as 'removed by author' with the Amazon link still active.
Mercifully there was only one title. I know of authors for whom their entire catalog was pirated, including work offered on their blogs!
Honestly, there's so many freemiums out there, titles offered via KDP Select or via websites, coupons from Smashwords or sales on OmniLit/ARe and other ebooksellers, that there's absolutely NO EXCUSE TO STEAL.
I offer serialized books, FOR FREE, as a thank you to my dedicated fans (all 6 of you! xoxo).
If you can afford a Kindle, honey, you can afford 99 cents to $4.99 for an eBook.
Be part of the solution: don't download pirated books! And if you find a pirate site, please report it, because if you don't, you may find that one day, in the not too distant future, that there's nothing new to read when the greed of a few destroy the compact between reader and writer.