Authors Without A Yacht (AWaY) discussion

88 views
Readers' Questions > The true cost of piracy from ebook-community...pt 1

Comments Showing 1-24 of 24 (24 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Brenna (last edited Mar 11, 2010 07:37AM) (new)

Brenna Lyons (BrennaLyons) | 93 comments Mod
I wrote two replies to a particular pirate posting questions about the costs of piracy on the site. Joseph (the mod there) requested that I post them as articles here to make them more accessible to non-group member*. I humbly agreed to.

*Who pirates?

There are two types of pirates. One doesn't know it's wrong, and we try to educate them. The other knows it's wrong and doesn't care. There are also incidental sharing types, but I'll get back to those and they fall under the header of don't know it's wrong, largely, with a small portion that feel it's no different than libraries or UBS.

Incidental sharing is not a good thing. I have no problem with e-book library systems (REAL ones) or with Kindle and Nook "sharing features," which work under the same principle, as long as the book was purchased initially. I really don't have a problem with Mary letting Jo read a particularly good e-book she purchased either. But, if Jo assumes she can do the same and lends it to two friends and her two friends (who know nothing about e-books) do the same... Assuming two hands to two hands and a 25% loss on people not passing a book along, do you know how many passes it takes to get to more than 10,000 illegal copies? 13. And that's not counting the major piracy sites that share books with thousands at a shot.

A funny (if any of this could be called amusing...ironic is more like it) anecdote I can share? On one pirate forum site, they had a discussion about what they did for a living...the pirates did. You'd like to THINK they didn't have the money to get books...single mother of three...starving college student... No. Most of the ones taking part were earning above $75,000 per year and owned something like a Kindle to read on. Moreover, many of them worked in tech fields and should KNOW BETTER than to do this. That's galling. They can pay $400 for a reader but not $5 for a book? Rolling eyes.

*What do they pirate?

The more responsible ones only share material that is OOP and rare finds, to begin with. Most aren't responsible pirates, and no piracy is inherently legal or responsible. They aren't just pirating fiction work, though that's the lion's share of it, that I find daily. Many are pirating non-fiction and resource material, as well.

*What do they do with the pirated material?

Someone else already answered this. Some actually read it. Some are collectors. Some just like the thrill of breaking DRM and sharing. It's a wimp's version of an adrenaline rush.

*What are the actual changes in the number of books bought as the result of the piracy?

Cannot answer that. As someone noted, they don't give me a non-royalty report.

*I'd be interested in some statistics from surveys on some of these questions.

The only statistics I can give you is how prevalent it is, based on a recent survey done. It was reported in Publishers' Lunch, but it is no longer available online. The pertinent information was...

<<
On the hot-button topic of piracy, Verso's survey found that "over 28 percent of e-reader owners have used unregulated file-sharing services, such as RapidShare, Megaupload and Hot File to download at least one e-book within the last twelve months, and 6 percent have used such services to download ten or more titles during this interval. (Sixty-four percent did not download any ebooks from such services.)
Their survey also indicates that "questionable downloading, while affecting all age and gender brackets, is concentrated disproportionately among younger male readers. Among males aged 18-34, over 45 percent report engaging in such downloading activity within the past twelve months. Nearly 13 percent have downloaded ten or more e-books from file-sharing services, more than twice the level of the survey population as a whole." McKeown will have much more data and analysis to share in his DBW presentation.
>>

*Even anecdotal evidence would be interesting.

How about finding more than 1000 entries for my own books in less than one month? And I can't assume that they were only downloaded once each, either. How about finding a single vendor illegally reselling blocks of 37 individual titles of mine and knowing she's sold at LEAST 400 copies of that...and that was NOT included in the 1000 entries comment. Yes, it's hurting us. I can't say how much.

*Let me give you some personal experience. [snipped for his privacy:]

I'm glad I missed the original post while I was on the road. Even now, rested and ready after reading the responses of others, I want to tear into you. You don't care. That's the typical entitlement crap I deal with often. You don't care, because it doesn't hurt YOU. That's pretty pathetic and shows a lack of morals, a lack of personal responsibility, and a decided lack of empathy and respect for others...as well as a weakness in the work ethic. It's not uncommon among pirates. I should be used to it, but I'm not.

I'm also not a fan of the civil disobedience type of pirates. If you don't like the laws, change them the RIGHT way. I advocate for changes in copyright law personally. They don't always make sense for the digital environment (even Millennium), but they are currently all we have. I have a class I teach on this subject...just taught it to middle and high school students this past weekend, actually. There are 7 core types of pirates that know it's wrong and don't care. These two are simply the ones that irk me the most. Third runner up? The Robin Hood types.

*So what does this mean for publishers? Using me as an example, I would suppose the following:
If your work is not mass market, it won't be copied, and I won't be able or willing to collect it.

Are you dense? Of course it is. NO work is unable to be copied. It's just copied in different ways. And once it's in e-book format, you have no clue how it started out its life, save the fact that Harry Potter started out as either mass market or hard bound, since she's never sanctioned legal e-book versions of the books. e-Books might have been secured or unsecured. Print books might have been mass market, trade, or hard bound...POD or offset...printed singularly, small run, or large run. The authors may be with NY, indie, or S/S/V.

*If your work is mass market, it will be copied and I'll collect it, but I wouldn't have bought it anyway.

No kidding.

*I'm not in the market for any of your new printed book or EBook sales at present prices, so you're not losing any sales to me.

How about the thousands of others that are being shared with? That's a weak argument and just another excuse to boot.

Not to mention that the misinformation given about e-book pricing is astounding to me. I don't care if Baen can pre-sale an e-book at $15 or if the NY conglomerates are stupid enough to try and follow suit with things that are not pre-sale. MY books are available for $5-7 in novel length and as little as $1 for shorts. Lumping all e-book pricing together is appalling. Indies have had 15 years in the market to find a balance with their readers.

According to the polling I am currently running on what readers are willing to pay for a novel-length fiction e-book, the numbers are coming in (unsurprising to anyone in indie press) as...

Less than $5, no matter who the author/publisher is- 8%
$5-7, no matter who the author/publisher is- 37%
$7-10, no matter who the author/publisher is- 22%
more than $10, no matter who the author/publisher is- $2
less than $5 for a lesser known author/publisher and more for one familiar to the reader- 10%
$5-7 for a lesser known author/publisher and more for one familiar to the reader- 15%
$7-10 for a lesser known author/publisher and more for one familiar to the reader- 3%

Also, MY books are almost universally without DRM. The exception is Kindle, because if you want to play in their pond, you play by their rules. Kindle may be content blocking sales to some nations, but MINE are available worldwide (save a couple countries that block certain web sites...and you can reach resellers like Fictionwise even there, in most cases) from day one.

According to the polling I'm currently running on readers' feelings about DRM... And they can choose more than one, so don't think I can't do math here.

It's horrible. I won't buy books that have DRM.- 20%
I'd prefer books without it, but I buy books with it, if that's my only option.- 50%
I'd pay more for books without DRM.- 22%
It doesn't bother me. I buy DRM books all the time.- 18%

*How many people are like me?

Too many out there blithely making excuses for infringement of author's copyright and depriving an author of royalties. Just my opinion, but you've posted yours. Since piracy doesn't hurt you and does hurt me, I'm definitely going to let you know what mine is.

*Of all the copied files, how many people would have bought a legal copy?

No one can know, but here's the trick. Now they won't. Thanks for ruining people's income.

*How many get a copy and also buy one in print or EBook form?

None or so close to none as to be negligible. I've seen how many pirated copies I have to deal with in a month (just the ones I FIND...not every pirated copy) and how many sell. If I had even 10% of those in SALES...5% of that in sales...I would be out of debt. But I'm not, because of pirates. If I had 1% in sales, I could take my family on a lavish vacation every year. Just 1% of what the pirates syphon off of my sales.


message 2: by Rowena, Group Owner (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 685 comments Mod
Wow! Brenna, this is amazing stuff. Thank you for sharing it.


message 3: by Brenna (new)

Brenna Lyons (BrennaLyons) | 93 comments Mod
Another thing I can add to this that I was discussing with Patrick from Copyright Alliance last month...

Pirates tend to ignore the long-term effects of piracy. Here is the way the numbers work.

The pirate pirates book one and then goes on to pirate the rest of the books an author puts out. That means it's a reader you will never get for your work...and all that pirate's buddies that also pirate the books are as well. In the meantime, there is a natural attrition to existing readers. Readers will lose track of a series, move on to another series, move to another genre, (gods forbid!) die, or otherwise leave the pool of readers. And the pirates and everyone they supply don't JOIN the pool of readers buying the books.

All of this leads to a decreasing paying reader base. That leads to loss of new contracts and loss of an author's interest in writing new works for publication.

This is not readily noticeable in blockbuster or bestselling authors, since their existing reader base is so large to begin with. For the starting author...yes, it's very noticeable.

One newer author came to me in tears, because she'd found that more than 2000 copies of her book passed on a single pirate site, but she'd only sold 60 copies. That's what is killing the fresh voices in the industry. The ironic part is that many pirates complain about the lack of fresh voices, and they are the ones killing that market.

Brenna


message 4: by Rowena, Group Owner (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 685 comments Mod
We've reached a tipping point.

The TV news media is now openly educating readers on how to illegally infringe copyright

http://cnettv.cnet.com/share-kindle-b...

and the Chafee Amendment is being exploited to permit any unqualified individual to scan a copyrighted paperback, upload it to a site for physically or mentally disabled people, and claim immunity.

They have blind people proofreading (and editing) professionally published novels. How does that work?

Here is an example of the "work" of Pamela Bortz, who allegedly scanned my paperback, and Christina Clift who proofread it.

Remember, the words within the chevrons were written by these special Volunteers.

<<

Brief Synopsis:
Fantasy/romance
Long Synopsis:
To the victor goes the spoils of the empire...to the looser goes marriage. Prince Jetthro-Jason lost a duel and his identity. Now being forced to mary Martia-Djulia, Prince Jetthro-Jason could never have guessed that she would flee. Martia-Djulia on the other hand is in love with another man, and doesn't plan to give in t Prince Jetthro-Jason. This book is the sequel to Forced Mating and continues the story of the Tigron Empire's royal family.>>

My comment:
That is
Two spelling mistakes.
Three misspellings of the hero's name
One serious mistake as to the title of the previous book (FORCED MATE --the chess position-- not "Forced Mating")
Two misstatements of fact about the plot.


message 5: by Brenna (new)

Brenna Lyons (BrennaLyons) | 93 comments Mod
One of the reasons this happens is that blind people doing "reding work" are doing it with text to speech options. They don't always know how words are spelled. But they should have someone double checking them on that, if they are working in the field. Then again, editing standards have fallen in all fields, IMO. This is just one more example of that. Sad as it is.

B


message 6: by Brenna (new)

Brenna Lyons (BrennaLyons) | 93 comments Mod
As for the CNET thing, shame on them! There IS an official way to share books on Kindle, and they should know it. Circumventing that is wrong, and the way they are doing it is worse.

Brenna


message 7: by Rowena, Group Owner (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 685 comments Mod
Brenna wrote: "One of the reasons this happens is that blind people doing "reding work" are doing it with text to speech options. They don't always know how words are spelled. But they should have someone double ..."

Scanning and publishing, even for those with print disablities is illegal everywhere except the USA. I've suggested to Bookshare that they ought to work more closely with the Library Of Congress.

Also, since a Braille version has been translated and edited beyond the control of the publisher/author, I suggest that any Bookshare member who wishes to review the Braille version they got from Bookshare --and which is not available to the general public-- ought to be encouraged to mention that they are reviewing a Bookshare Braille version.

It makes a huge difference. (At least in the case where a review states that a print book is riddled with spelling mistakes and is totally unreadable.)


message 8: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 21, 2011 01:06AM) (new)

Hmmm...what I wonder in this is whether those thousands of downloads are actual potential readers, or if the number comes from file-hoarders and aggregate pirate websites. Though there are 35 million Kindle users, and who knows how many Sony, Kobo, Nook, IPad, etc readers, there are millions more books currently in print. My natural skepticism (not regarding the seriousness of the pirating issue) doubts 10k downloads from a pirate website equals 10k copies of one's book--or 10k readers who would have purchased the book legally.


message 9: by Rowena, Group Owner (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 685 comments Mod
Pirate sites often do not host the e-books, they provide links to file hosting sites where the e-books are stored.

So, one does not download from a pirate site.

Some pirate sites have scam sites overlaid, to distress, fool, and impress non-members. SCRUBBU and 10x Downloads are subscription sites. They claim to have everything.

If you use their Search function before joining, they even claim to have titles that were never written by authors who do not exist.

Try looking for something by Rowennna Bumfondler Cheeryarrrg If you find it, the site is a scam.

Suckers see books they want. It seems too good to be true. They give the scammers their credit card info and sign up.

Alas. The goodies are not there! Now, the scammers have your credit card.

Of course, Evangeline, not every illegal download represents a lost sale. Moreover, there are pirates who will download and then buy.

However, there are also pirates who will follow the links from a pirate site to a hosting site, snag the e-books, and SELL them on the auction sites.

Those go to people who would --do!-- pay. Those are lost sales.

For a bestselling author, the impact of ten or so people per pirate site/file sharing site (there are scores of hosting sites) downloading an illegal copy may be negligible.

However, if the same thing happens to a debut author on release day, it can be devastating.


message 10: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Matthews (celinechatillon_cynthianna) | 2 comments Evangeline wrote: "Hmmm...what I wonder in this is whether those thousands of downloads are actual potential readers, or if the number comes from file-hoarders and aggregate pirate websites. Though there are 35 milli..."

This is the sort of logic that really bugs me... How do you know if these "illegal downloaders" would have never bought my book if they were told the only way they could get it was to pay for it? Why would people steal a book if they didn't want to read/have the book to begin with?

I've had this argument with others recently, and I find it downright hurtful. They don't think I "deserve" a royalty for my book, and I do. If I were a millionaire, maybe it wouldn't hurt so much, but I don't currently have a day job and I have to put up with so much crap from others who tell me that I must "give up my hobby".

I sure wish readers who pirated our works would think of authors as HUMAN BEINGS who hurt when we're wronged and suffer from hunger and degradation.


message 11: by Rowena, Group Owner (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 685 comments Mod
Evangeline wrote: "Hmmm...what I wonder in this is whether those thousands of downloads are actual potential readers, or if the number comes from file-hoarders and aggregate pirate websites. Though there are 35 milli..."

If you are following the Kindle groups here, some Kindle readers claim to have collected hundreds of free e-books (quite possible to do legally on Amazon) and not to have read a tenth of the e-books on their Kindles.

I'm not sure what that means for the industry or about human nature or about the business model of giving books away free.


message 12: by Rowena, Group Owner (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 685 comments Mod
Candace,

A lot of people are unemployed. I suspect that they are making money sharing links.


message 13: by Larry (new)

Larry Moniz (larrymoniz) | 57 comments Brenna wrote: "I wrote two replies to a particular pirate posting questions about the costs of piracy on the site. Joseph (the mod there) requested that I post them as articles here to make them more accessible t..."

Brenna, outstanding study and commentary. That's why I'm for serious prison terms for pirates and, since the law would be unable to discriminate against who pirate one copy versus one million, I think the minimum fine should be $1,000 per copy recovered and a minimum 10 years in prison without parole. As you pointed out in your first example of how repeated copy pass-ons can account for 10,000 thefts of intellectual property in a manner of days, I'd like to point out a reason why even those thieves should be prosecuted. Assuming you make $4 commission per copy sold, then they've stolen $40,000 in royalties from you. In some jurisdictions, a bank robber would get life in prison for such a crime.

Also, may I have permission to reprint parts of your comments, with attribution? If so, please send me a private email with your full name to LarryMonizBooks@Yahoo.com.

Great job.

Many thanks


message 14: by Larry (new)

Larry Moniz (larrymoniz) | 57 comments Rowena wrote: "We've reached a tipping point.

The TV news media is now openly educating readers on how to illegally infringe copyright

http://cnettv.cnet.com/share-kindle-b......"


Rowena, PLEASE! As a print and broadcast journalist for many years, please don't confuse CNET with news media. It is entertainment media. :-)


message 15: by Larry (new)

Larry Moniz (larrymoniz) | 57 comments Unfortunately, some of the most active pirates are those right here on GoodReads that think nothing of passing out EBook copies to friends, demand purchase prices of 99-cents or less and are nasty when challenged on their behavior. As a new member I questioned the attitude of Amazon Kindle forum members about free books and was bounced from the site less than a week later. All I can say to them is, I'm a professional who writes for a living. Every pass-around is stealing.


message 16: by Larry (new)

Larry Moniz (larrymoniz) | 57 comments CNN Money currently has a rather tepid report on SOPA and how Google and criminal cohorts oppose it. I took the liberty of quoting Brenna and adding some addtional comments of my own. Urge all of you to visit and post your feelings.

http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/01/1...

Self-Promotion for Authors by Larry Moniz Murder in the Pinelands (Inside Story) by Larry Moniz The Rebellion by Larry Moniz Dead Storage by Larry Moniz


message 18: by Rowena, Group Owner (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 685 comments Mod
Kudos to Brenna Lyons for engaging in the plagiarism on Amazon discussion.

http://www.fastcompany.com/1807211/am...

In my opinion, since Amazon takes a 30% cut, it would be really interesting to see plagiarised authors demand 30% from Amazon, as "publisher".


message 19: by Larry (new)

Larry Moniz (larrymoniz) | 57 comments Rowena wrote: "Kudos to Brenna Lyons for engaging in the plagiarism on Amazon discussion.

http://www.fastcompany.com/1807211/am...

In my opinion, since Amazon takes a 30% cut,..."


Rowena,

Actually, except for those that go through Amazon's fee-based programs, Amazon is either a distributor or book retailer. There's a big difference between retailing and publishing. I have several books on Amazon, but the company is emphatically NOT my publisher, but a marginally satisfactory retailing outlet.


message 20: by Larry (new)

Larry Moniz (larrymoniz) | 57 comments Just made a very interesting discovery. The comments I posted about 12 hours ago about the SOPA copyrights bill were apparently deleted by CNN/Money as they aren't in the comments section below the story. I just posted a question about why they were deleted. Let's see how long that remains posted.

http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/01/1...


message 21: by Rowena, Group Owner (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 685 comments Mod
Larry wrote: .."
Larry, I don't know enough about the KDP arrangements to debate the point.

It seems to me that when an individual uploads a manuscript to the KDP platform, rather more occurs and more is agreed than simply what one would expect when sending a consignment of paperbacks to a distributor or book store.

I had heard that there are editing/copy editing requests made by Amazon, and that formatting and proprietary DRM is provided.

I should be fascinated to read a legal definition of KDP.


message 22: by Rowena, Group Owner (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 685 comments Mod
Larry wrote: "Just made a very interesting discovery. The comments I posted about 12 hours ago about the SOPA copyrights bill were apparently deleted by CNN/Money as they aren't in the comments section below t..."

Are you sure it wasn't bumped to a subsequent page?

Are you an EPIC member? Apparently, according to one correspondent there, the deleting of comments on a news site is not censorship.


message 23: by Larry (new)

Larry Moniz (larrymoniz) | 57 comments Rowena wrote: "Larry wrote: "Just made a very interesting discovery. The comments I posted about 12 hours ago about the SOPA copyrights bill were apparently deleted by CNN/Money as they aren't in the comments s..."

Positive, I looked for the time frame when I posted it and it was gone. Not the first time it's happened when I opposed CNN's position. Ditto MSNBC. They're rather post stupid comments than well thought out opposition comments.


message 24: by Larry (new)

Larry Moniz (larrymoniz) | 57 comments Rowena wrote: "Larry wrote: "Just made a very interesting discovery. The comments I posted about 12 hours ago about the SOPA copyrights bill were apparently deleted by CNN/Money as they aren't in the comments s..."

I am. I'm also a former member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Working Press Association, Garden State Journalists and the Society of Environmental Journalists. also a reporter editor and publisher for many years. That arguement by the EPIC member is pure hogwash.


back to top