In looking through the search terms that have brought folks to the Romance Rehab site over the past few months, I have to say that I was kind of surprised. I figured the biggest draws would be our Friday “best of” list posts, or the 5-star reviews page, or even our author interviews. And while those pages have garnered a good bit of attention, (a great big thank you to all of you who visit those pages regularly! *big wave and smile*) there’s a slew of searches from people looking for free copies of books. Not books that are on sale or offering giveaways, mind you. These folks are looking for pirate book sites that offer free copies of an author’s work without that author’s permission.
Now, I knew that such things existed, of course. I’ve heard all the justifications for why people use these sites: I can’t afford to buy books, I don’t have a library that’s close to my house, authors make a ton of money so it’s not really hurting anyone, I shouldn’t have to pay for what’s in some author’s head...those are all actual arguments we’ve seen online from people who feel justified in downloading illegal copies of books. (That last one is a real head-scratcher, isn’t it?) But even after seeing this stuff online, I always assumed the number of people who actually used pirate sites were slim. Now I have to wonder...just how many readers are downloading pirated book copies?
My feelings on the matter are SUPER clear. Downloading and reading a pirated book copy is stealing, no matter how you spin your rationale. In fact, here’s my answer to all the above justifications:
“I can’t afford to buy books”
OK, so don’t buy any books. Sign up with BookBub. They’ll email you links to tons of free books daily. Or, sign up with NetGalley. They’ll also send you free books in exchange for honest reviews. There are probably about a hundred other free places to get books that we haven’t mentioned, too. The point is, you don’t have to read pirated book copies. Plenty of authors are more than willing to feed your book addiction. There’s no reason to steal from the ones who are charging for their work.
“I don’t have a library close to my house.”
See above. There are plenty of places outside of libraries to get free books.
“Authors make a ton of money so it’s not really hurting anyone.”
Well, McDonald’s makes plenty of money, too. But I can’t just go in there and steal food from them because I’m hungry. Stealing is stealing. Stealing food from McDonald’s is no different than stealing an author’s book. And besides, we have no way of knowing any author’s personal situation. We don’t know how much money any of them make. Indie authors in particular pay for their own editing, formatting, cover art, marketing, and promotion. And that’s AFTER they spent months or years of their lives writing a book that people complain about if it costs more than $3.99. Assuming ANYTHING is a bad idea, but assuming that all authors are rich is just asinine.
“I shouldn’t have to pay for what’s in some author’s head”
Yeah, we don’t even really know where to start with this one. It’s sooooooo stupid. Using this logic, we shouldn’t have to pay for music, movies, or any kind of art, right? All of that was just “in someone’s head” at some point, right?
So, as usual, our feelings about the issue are SUPER clear, but we want to hear what YOU think. Let’s discuss!