{Blogger Babble} Illegal Book Sharing and What You’re Doing That’s Not Helping.

By: | Dec 11, 2013


So, you’ve found your favorite authors work on an illegal sharing site. Now you want to make sure that the scummy, monkey turd who put it there pays. Right? Hey, I’m right there with you, I know those feels bro.

I don’t want to see my favorite authors, my friends, your friends or any one’s work being ripped off. Dude, writing a book is HARD! I know, I have tried and tried and tried. I’ve also sat through countless phone calls with my bestie as she struggled through things for her agent so she can sell another book. I’ve heard the frustrated screams of another friend while she was on massive edits deadline with her publisher breathing down her neck trying to squeeze creativity from her like she was an orange. It’s not easy to write a book. I don’t care what you think, it’s not. And then to have it handed out for free, after a year + of brain draining, soul crippling work….can you imagine that?

Here’s the thing that you might not realize you are doing to NOT help the situation. Something you’re unintentionally doing. You the crusader. You the valiant solider fighting on behalf of the authors you love. You, the author who wants to alert your other author friends. Yes, you. You are doing something to make things worse and you don’t even know it. Want to know what it is? Let me tell you:

You’re talking about it on public forums like Twitter and Facebook and in blog posts while linking to, or naming the site so people can easily find it.

Please, don’t roll your eyes at me. (I’m a mom, I can sense these things) You have to be able to see how this isn’t helping. Come on people – Twitter alone has something like 400 patrillion people on it. When you tweet Cassie Clare to let her know her books are on {link to douche-bag-run illegal downloading site here} all your doing is telling her 271,493 followers where they can find her books for free. Then they RT maybe thinking the extra exposure will help her see it faster, but most do it  because they are interested in free books. And when they RT all those peoples followers get the link…and so on and so on. The beauty of the internet.

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone is as wonderful, caring, thoughtful and on the verge of a fists off fury throw down with whatever illegal sharing site it is you are trying to destroy this week. What you’ve just done is put a blue light special on that authors work and all others who are on that site as well. I know – you didn’t do it on purpose.

In fact, in e-mails between {this site I’m still not going to name} and authors {who also shall remain nameless} – some of which are friends of mine, they actually THANKED them for talking about them on Twitter especially. They stated that their traffic increased exponentially and the authors who were mentioned as “Hey @author @author1 @author2 your books are on this illegal site for free” were of the most popular downloads for days, sometimes weeks.

You seeing the issue here?

You’re using a public place to contact one person and in turn contacting the whole world. You are trying to do good, but in the end making things worse. No ones mad, I’m not – I’m just here to point this out and hope it might make a tiny difference.

Just do this one thing - please stop. Use e-mail, use snail mail – I don’t care but QUIT telling the world where to find books for free in an effort to stop illegal downloads. It’s counterproductive.

Every single publisher has a general e-mail you can use to contact them. You think this won’t get your voice heard fast enough – well I’m sorry but the legal battle involved in copyrighted work cases are a long, hard and expensive fight and you will never really know if your e-mail changed the world. At least doing it this way you can be happy knowing you didn’t contribute to more downloads.

And for the group of you who think that those downloads are worth you getting your voice heard and telling that author/publisher in public forum, chew on these thoughts:

  • Every time a book is downloaded for free, that’s one sale that author won’t get. When an author has poor sales, say for instance on a first book in what is set to be a trilogy, the publisher can stop the rest of the books from being written. (Read: not purchase the rest of the books)  You see, publishers do not always buy all the books in a series at once, and even if they do they can use those other already bought books for the author to write something else. Sure the author still gets to write in this case, but then you have no more in a series and that author doesn’t get to complete what they started. It’s frustrating and hard and most people don’t realize this. Illegally downloading copyrighted works is not a victimless crime. 95% of all author are not able to live off of writing alone. They are not the wealthy, worry free group you might think. They struggle and fight for every word and ever sale – we need to do all we can to help prevent any sale being taken from them. And this includes not telling the world where to find their books for free.

Take time and think about what you are doing before you share the name of places like this publically. Sure these sites are still out there and many will find them with out you sharing their links and names but I promise you it will be a fraction of what finds it when you share it all over the internet in an effort to help. Contact people privately, more importantly the publisher because the author is just going to go to them anyway.

And to all of you fighting for your favorite authors daily. THANK YOU – keep it up. Many sets of eyes are better than one and I know they appreciate it. Let’s just make sure we take these bastards down the right way, and not give them more traffic in the process.



  1. I actually recently wrote a post about piracy as well. I have a feeling we're talking about the same site. I thought about it a lot, and in the end, I also decided to refrain from specifically mentioning or linking to the site for that very reason. Great post, Amber!

    Mary @ Mary Had a Little Book Blog

  2. This is so spot on. I never understood why you talk about it so publicly. I understand that these authors are upset their books are being downloaded for free, believe me, I get that. But by discussing it on twitter (or some other social media area) with the culprit does nothing but hurt that author. Take care of the situation privately, complain about your book being on there with your friends, your agent, your publisher, etc but don't talk about it on twitter. And especially when you link that site and talk with the evil person who runs that site ON TWITTER. Blows my mind. Great post!

  3. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes to this post! This is EXACTLY what I think when I see people tweet an author those kind of links. I know that they meant well, but it just causes so many consequences like you mentioned.
    I've seen authors ranting about how their books are on illegal sharing sites and I don't mind them ranting because simply, I would too if I was in their position, but the thing is, they aren't really being "smart" about it. One author's book that was put on one of the illegal sharing websites said that the book would be released "x months from now," (the "x" being an actual number) but he/she wouldn't name the book in fear that other people would look it up. My first thought was too late, she shouldn't have said that. People probably wouldn't look up the book that was put up illegally in the first place because that author writes A LOT of books - until the author pretty much implied which book it was. I think that in itself is an issue too.

  4. This is such a good point. Even with good intentions there are still a large group of people who see the link and are going to go ooh!! Free book!

  5. Yes. This is an awesome post. I just can't believe people try to rip off authors and publishers like this. I think downloading illegal books is terrible. The only way to stop this is to buy authors books and not go to these sites that do this to the author.


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