It has been some time since I last blogged. There's a good reason for that. I've never really believed in blogging for the sake of saying just anything. Besides, when I'm blogging I'm not writing my novels. I'm taking a break from my writing today, because I do have something I want to talk about.

Many of you have probably heard of torrent downloads. If you haven't, there are websites out there where you can find your favorite media, be it movies, music or books, and download them for free. Aside from the fact that this practice is illegal, it's also quite risky as many times you'll find you've downloaded a virus with your free media. Funny how people dedicated to creating sites for the sole purpose of giving you other peoples' work for free usually don't have qualms about hacking your system.

If you can't tell from the above paragraph, I'm profoundly against the concept. Now, you may be saying, 'yeah, it's not like you've never done it.' Actually, I haven't. I know people who have, and they know how I feel about it. For those who know me, they know that if I want to read something, or watch something, or listen to something, that isn't available through legal means such as radio or television, I buy it. If I don't want it bad enough to buy it, then I don't need it. I would never profess to be perfect, but I do make the effort not to do things I know are wrong.

Until the other day, I wasn't actually aware that these sites were so widespread and that they provided links to books. I was made aware of this and directed to a torrent download site that was carrying my book. In looking at this site, I noticed that it provided details on how many times an item had been downloaded. According to this one site, my book, In My Shoes had been illegally downloaded almost 1900 times. On this ONE site.

My intent is not to point fingers here, or make you feel guilty if you have ever done this. What I would like to do, is inform you so that maybe you reconsider before doing it next time. I'll share a couple of things with you. First, when I sell a digital book, unless I have it on sale, the retail price is $9.99. Depending on which site I am selling it through, my take on that is usually somewhere in the $6 range. That means that this one site has lost me nearly $12,000 in revenue.

Second, being a first time, independent author, I have yet to actually sell 1900 books. So, without my permission, this one site has given away substantially more of my books than I've even sold.

Third, I have given away a lot of books, both hardcover and digital, to people and causes important to me. I wrote the book. It feels to me like I should have the choice of who I give it away to.

Fourth, though over 1900 (and this is just one site) people have downloaded it for free, if you pool all of the websites with reviews of my book, I have less than 50 reviews on the book. Not that it would make it okay, but people downloading my book for free aren't even spreading the word about the book.

I've heard lots of arguments, justifications for why it's okay to illegally download other peoples' work. It's overpriced, they weren't sure if they'd like it, those people are rich and won't notice or care...

The fact is, nothing really makes it okay to do something that is wrong. Period. If you think a book is overpriced, don't buy it. Don't steal it, but don't buy it. If you're not sure you will like it, well...that's the way it goes with expressions of art, and most things in the world. If you buy it and don't like it, review it on websites so others don't make the same mistake.

As for the rich part...so few authors actually get rich from writing. And if they do, it's because their book was good and they sold a lot of books. They deserve the money. But, for the rest of us, every book sold is a big deal. I've done okay with my sales, but I'm not getting ready to break the bestseller lists.

Because I published independently, I purchased a large quantity of hardcover books up front because I got a better unit price for bulk. I haven't even reached the breakeven point yet. And that's okay. It's a risk I was willing to take. But, to afford that, I work a lot. Working more means writing less. I have several book ideas I am dying to share, but until I have the time to write more, they will be slow coming. $13,000 would go a long way toward helping free up my time to write more. As the author, do I really not deserve that money?

If you have made it this far, you are probably in one of two categories. Either you have felt like me and don't agree with downloading other peoples' work illegally, or you have done it before and maybe feel I make a valid argument. Of course, if you still think it's okay, please feel free to share your thoughts.

If you've done the torrent download thing before, I ask you to reconsider before doing it next time. If a book looks interesting, please buy it. If you like it, tell people. If you don't, tell people. Maybe just maybe, you'll make it possible for us authors to publish our next book a little faster. Please feel free to comment. I look forward to your responses.
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Published on August 08, 2012 23:13 • 352 views • Tags: adrian-stephens, books, downloads, illegal, in-my-shoes, movies, music, torrent
Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)    post a comment »
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message 1: by Kayla (new)

Kayla Eklund I agree with this completely. There is no reason to torrent a book. If you feel that you may not like it, or don't have the money to buy it, that's what libraries are for.


message 2: by Adrian (new)

Adrian Stephens Kayla wrote: "I agree with this completely. There is no reason to torrent a book. If you feel that you may not like it, or don't have the money to buy it, that's what libraries are for."

Good point, Kayla. Not to mention, some online distributors have digital lending options available. And, if the library doesn't have it, ask them to order it!


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