To Rant or Redirect: dealing with e-pirates (Arrrgh!)

Peter’s post on ARCs for sale is thought provoking, and one that I’ll be thinking about for a while. I have yet to receive my first ARC of PARCHED in the mail, but I’m told first page passes are coming soon. In fact, this is a big day for my book: the cover is being released for the very first time today! (Have a look here.)

I’m not sure how I’d feel if people were selling ARCs of PARCHED on ebay, or worse, downloading illegal electronic copies. I mean, how do I not take that personally? They want to read the product of all my hard work and study and creativity, but they don’t want to pay for it. They’re all right with the whole starving artist thing. Hmph.

If such a person were standing in front of me, it would probably take all my willpower not to go off in a rant like the one Hugh Bonneville delivered to an interviewer who admitted watching a pirated episode of Downton Abbey. “I wish you hadn’t told me you had watched it illegally,” he said, “that’s really pissing me off. Shame on you. Be ashamed.”

Do you think that would work?—telling those selling ARCs and pirating books to BE  ASHAMED?

Yeah, probably not. But I’ll bet it feels good to say.

What if, instead of the rants, we put our energies into redirecting readers to the free and legal way to get books? Libraries can sure use our support right now, and they provide ever-increasing access to electronic books. That way, people still get their ebooks for free, valuable institutions in our communities receive public support and patronage, and our work is no longer being devalued.

But, you say, the author only gets paid in royalties for one or two books that library purchases and then passes back and forth between hundreds of readers. That’s not profitable either!

Well, here is one idea: something like 28 countries have Public Lending Right Programs through which authors receive compensation for the use of their books in public libraries. Last year, Canadian authors received anywhere from $25 to $3300 in compensation through the PLR program.

Sounds like a good starting place to me…



Filed under ARCs, cover art, Updates on our Books!

10 responses to “To Rant or Redirect: dealing with e-pirates (Arrrgh!)

  1. Amen, Sister! Great post, but I didn’t know where to look after I followed the link for your cover. Tell us more.


  2. I got so redirected over to the other site with your beautiful cover that I forgot to comment here! 🙂

    Compensation for use of books in libraries would be amazing. I’m not sure how that would work in the US, where it seems like libraries are always having their budgets cut, rather than expanded…but as a heavy library user myself, I’m definitely all for it.


    • It’s so true, Tara. The connection between literacy rates and poverty is staggering–and access to books in the home is one of the key players (hmmmm, another post for another day?) If we only look at that ONE reason, libraries are THE LAST thing that should ever be up for cuts in a budget.


  3. Natalie Dias Lorenzi

    I, too, am curious about ebooks in the library and how that whole thing works. I just saw that my book is now available in ebook format at my public library, but I’m not sure how the library goes about acquiring books in electronic formats.

    I do love your idea of putting our energies into supporting libraries rather than ranting about something that is out of our control.


    • I think this is something authors and publishers are still figuring out (and will be for a while now). It’s good to know what we can do to protect our intellectual property, but I also think it’s important for us to focus our time and energy on something positive!


  4. Beautiful cover, Melanie. Timeless.

    First off, I love Hugh Bonneville for saying that! I was lecturing people about this on the BlueBoard last winter because as writers we should know how wrong this is. Unfortunately, I’ve been dealing with the piracy issue a lot lately. I send links to my publisher when I come across them but what really bothered me was when I started seeing links to illegal copies of my self-published book. At first I sent out my own DMCA takedown notices but not all of the sites complied and new copies were being posted as quickly as I could get them taken down. I just didn’t have the time to continue to chase whoever was posting them 😦 and one of them was on a Canadian piracy site where they post your takedown notice (meaning your address and contact details would be visible to everyone) . It’s really disheartening.

    On a happier notice, the Canadian PLR program is indeed a great thing. I’ve been lucky to come into a bit of unexpected money this way so Canadians, be sure to check the program out. The next registration period is February 15 – May 1.


  5. What an interesting post, Melanie. (Beautiful cover and book concept BTW – can’t wait to read it). Like Tara, I too rely on libraries quite a bit because I can only afford to buy just so many books (and my husband can only tolerate so many piles around the house). 🙂 I love the idea of an author’s being compensated for library purchases – and wouldn’t it be great if you got a royalty every time a copy was checked out? Let’s make it happen!!


  6. Thanks for the comment! I also use my public library all the time. It was absolutely invaluable to me while I was working toward my MFA.


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