Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Scott de Montevideo!

Don’t pirate books, just don’t

Recommended Posts

1 minute ago, Scott de Montevideo! said:

So you go with the “pay them with exposure” means of paying artists and musicians for their work, as opposed to actual currency?  Try that as currency the next time you go out to dinner and see how that works.

"But see, I'll give you a 5 star review on Yelp!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Switzeran said:

"But see, I'll give you a 5 star review on Yelp!"

Exactly.  If "exposure" isn't good enough for goods and services "exposure" shouldn't justify piracy of intellectual property.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's illegal and for some odd reason I find stealing books worse than other media. No idea why, I guess it feels more personal as less people are involved.

I don't think new authors are financially damaged by pirating but it has to damage sales figures which impacts the deal they can get for their next book or if they even get to publish another one. Mark Lawrence did a great breakdown on the royalties he gets and I imagine he gets a better deal than fresh authors. So for pirating to affect a new authors pockets they'd be selling a lot of books.

But it's still the choice of the author to promote themselves via free copies or samples, not those trying to justify saving money and getting the book.

I'd be fine with pirating if everyone who enjoyed/finished the book then bought a copy. But that simply isn't the case.

I think e libraries will help fend off pirating in much the same way Netflix must do. The problem with the book versions is that they are still limited eg Amazon set up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

My own hypothesis is that the authors most hurt by piracy are the mid-leaguers. The ones who are (or would be) on the brink of being able to write as a job, rather than as a hobby. Bigger authors get enough sales that this isn't so much an issue, while small authors regard royalty payments as a nice bonus (I know I do).

For small, newer, authors like myself, the short-term goal isn't actually people spending money on the book. It's people reading and reviewing the book. Reviews (positive or negative) are like gold. 

Edited by The Marquis de Leech

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Scott de Montevideo! said:

So you go with the “pay them with exposure” means of paying artists and musicians for their work, as opposed to actual currency?  Try that as currency the next time you go out to dinner and see how that works.

When one is talking a hobby, and where the amounts involved might be realistically termed beer money, exposure is not to be sniffed at. Not to say that piracy is admirable, but the severity really depends on the author's situation. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

When one is talking a hobby, and where the amounts involved might be realistically termed beer money, exposure is not to be sniffed at. Not to say that piracy is admirable, but the severity really depends on the author's situation. 

My problem is not that exposure is nothing.  My problem is the idea that exposure in lieu of cash seems to be a go to for many people and businesses.  When everyone pays in exposure the people getting "exposure" don't get paid.  And the guy in the twitter thread I link to who claims the problem isn't his piracy of her works but the capitalist system of paying people for their work needs to get his head out of his ass.  

Edited by Scott de Montevideo!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Scott de Montevideo! said:

So you go with the “pay them with exposure” means of paying artists and musicians for their work, as opposed to actual currency?  Try that as currency the next time you go out to dinner and see how that works.

No, "be grateful for the exposure" is a bullshit argument no matter where (music, conventions, journalism, even in the bloody workplace...)

But you were the one to link "they need exposure" to "(free) exposure hurts them" while implying that if they got exposure via piracy they would never become big authors that are helped by piracy (the Gaiman example). Get your stuff straight, piracy hurts their living and their potential to write more, faster, but it helps exposure.

 

I am just saying that there is an unsaid hypocrisy with the epubs: the proprties of digital copies allows for an easy distribution of new books, without needing to go through tradpubs, and even tradpubs can have their back catalogue available at zero cost. It's wanting to have one's cake and eat it to not accept that the ease of copy that allowed you, small author, to publish, has the drawback of easily allowing copies, and it's dumb to think you live in carebearland where people will give a damn about legality and from that about what you think they should do.

So how do you "fight" piracy and become that good author whose works people buy, apparently? Good question. DRM don't seem to work. On the other hand, it seems that for a media that can be comparable in the way it's consumed and the time it takes, series, the advent of ergonomic platforms like netflix curbed the piracy to unsignificant levels (because you will not get rid of it. there's always someone cheating)

Libraries are cool. Give me one that distributes worldwide, that I can plug my ereader in, choose a book (a chapter?) easily without worry, on a spotify/netflix subscription model (like a normal library, I guess) and I'm leaving Kobo behind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Switzeran said:

Business plans are for businesses. It remains absolutely the case that the creator and those they hire or collaborate with to publish their works are the ones who are responsible for the business plan. If they want to publish a book in a limited run of 10 stone tablets, that's up to them. If they want to publish a book by releasing it to the internet for free, that's also up to them. Not to you, not to me, not to anyone else.

The insistence otherwise is certainly rude at the very least. Why be rude to a creator whose work you like simply because they don't distribute a work in your preferred way? I simply do not understand it.

You misunderstand, all I'm saying is that if you publish books expecting to make money, it's a business, and that the inevitability of being pirated is inherent to the digital media, it has to be taken into account, and that complaining about it has no effect: it's like thinking that pirates don't know what they are doing, like hell they do not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Errant Bard said:

You misunderstand, all I'm saying is that if you publish books expecting to make money, it's a business, and that the inevitability of being pirated is inherent to the digital media, it has to be taken into account, and that complaining about it has no effect: it's like thinking that pirates don't know what they are doing, like hell they do not.

I understand that it is inevitable.  What is frustrating are those attempting to argue that there is no harm or actual good coming to the authors via piracy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Scott de Montevideo! said:

I understand that it is inevitable.  What is frustrating are those attempting to argue that there is no harm or actual good coming to the authors via piracy.

Yeah, even when it can help a bit in specific cases (Gaiman in Russia), it certainly hurts a bit in most cases (I'm not convinced by the argument that a lost sale is a loss though, that's megacorp bs, but at least without piracy the small authors nobody has time to read anyway would perhaps get like 100$ more every six months)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, Errant Bard said:

Yeah, even when it can help a bit in specific cases (Gaiman in Russia), it certainly hurts a bit in most cases (I'm not convinced by the argument that a lost sale is a loss though, that's megacorp bs, but at least without piracy the small authors nobody has time to read anyway would perhaps get like 100$ more every six months)

That's presumptuous. The example cited earlier, Maggie Stiefvater proving that foiling piracy led to a substantial improvement in her sales, suggests it's not that straightforward, especially for a newly-released book. To be sure, 75-80% of total earnings generally come in the first year, and chasing after pirates after that point has a diminishing return. But I am sure there are authors like Stiefvater who are hurting for more than just "$100 more every six months". Not least because there's a relationship between books sold and publisher print runs. If your audience primarily indulges in your work through piracy, your print runs grow smaller and smaller, as do your advances and royalties. There's a series of knock-on effects.

As suggested up-thread, mid-list authors are probably the ones who are likeliest to most be harmed by piracy, because they are in a precarious position in the business.

Edited by Switzeran

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no problm whatsoever paying for things I want to enjoy. I rent movies all the time. I really hardly ever illegally stream videos unless I can find it NO OTHER WAY.  Same with books. Except I don’t think I have ever pirated a book except Fifty Shades of Grey and that unfinished Twilight novel from Edwards perspective and no way was I giving money for THOSE :lol: OK I might have bought the twilight one had it been finished, just for the hell of it. Fifty shades tho? No fucking way. I needed to read it to have an informed opinion and my informed opinion is that it’s really quite bloody awful and I’m glad I never spent money on it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Switzeran said:

That's presumptuous. The example cited earlier, Maggie Stiefvater proving that foiling piracy led to a substantial improvement in her sales, suggests it's not that straightforward, especially for a newly-released book. To be sure, 75-80% of total earnings generally come in the first year, and chasing after pirates after that point has a diminishing return. But I am sure there are authors like Stiefvater who are hurting for more than just "$100 more every six months". Not least because there's a relationship between books sold and publisher print runs. If your audience primarily indulges in your work through piracy, your print runs grow smaller and smaller, as do your advances and royalties. There's a series of knock-on effects.

As suggested up-thread, mid-list authors are probably the ones who are likeliest to most be harmed by piracy, because they are in a precarious position in the business.

Sorry for the levity, I agree with you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Scott de Montevideo! said:

What is frustrating are those attempting to argue that there is no harm or actual good coming to the authors via piracy.

I'm assuming that those who defend that are defending that at an individual level. As in, if I hadn't pirated this book I would never had bought it, and therefore anyone has lost any potential income. I don't think that this is true in the case of many who claim that, though.

But in any case, people claiming this are only the ones trying to justify themselves. Most pirates don't bother with that. They are aware of the legal, moral and business implications of their decisions, and do it anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

I'm assuming that those who defend that are defending that at an individual level. As in, if I hadn't pirated this book I would never had bought it, and therefore anyone has lost any potential income. I don't think that this is true in the case of many who claim that, though.

But in any case, people claiming this are only the ones trying to justify themselves. Most pirates don't bother with that. They are aware of the legal, moral and business implications of their decisions, and do it anyway.

Nope.  If you look at the twitter thread I link there is a guy aruging that systemically this is the fault of "capitalism" not the people who pirate other's intellectual property.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Scott de Montevideo! said:

Nope.  If you look at the twitter thread I link there is a guy aruging that systemically this is the fault of "capitalism" not the people who pirate other's intellectual property.

 

He tries to deflect his individual responsibility unto the system that forces that responsibility on him, but he's aware that not giving money means the author gets no money. And of course he knows what happens if he gets caught, can't be arguing on Twitter without knowing. He's just delusional. Probably the kind of guys who would say he turned bad because his parents were drunk and tbe school wasn't good enough and he wasn't given free money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Errant Bard said:

Sorry for the levity, I agree with you.

I think we're all on the same page. I get really pissy about it, uh, obviously, cause pirating in the manga world has seriously fucked some people I know personally, but I digress.

There were a few people one or two iterations of this thread back who would actually argue in favor of piracy, which is probably why a few people are so touchy. I can;t remember who exactly, maybe Ambercrombie? but a real author(tm) came in and shot them all down. Twas very therapeutic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Errant Bard said:

Interesting, do you have a link? I would want read it. (Is this proved like Neil Gaiman "proves" the opposite here? )

 

Not proud of it, but these days, the only ebooks I get are those on sale at 0,99c. Amazing what you can get, though I doubt the authors can live with that.

Pirating sites... yeah, they are no Robin Hood. Volunteer translators for stuff that nobody cared to import in your country, on the other hand, are ok by me (looking at a lot of chinese, japanese, korean production)

Mark Lawrence had a nice response to that one.

Edited by Let's Get Kraken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Lawrence is being rather uptight. Gaiman was not always a multi-millionaire. He cites his experience with when the internet was in its early days, and by that point he was not yet making his big literary and bestseller breakthrough with American Gods. He was big in comics, to be sure, and that provided him security, but it didn't mean he was guaranteed to make it as a novelist. And one can certainly find people who have managed to make a career that started with giving something away for free (see Scalzi, again; he serialized Old Man's War on his website before PNH made an offer to publish it at TOR).

Gaiman's chief point, perhaps, is overly optimistic (i.e. that nobody who would normally buy the book is instead pirating it; in fact, a survey from 2017 suggested that a substantial portion of e-book pirates are adults with $30k+ incomes who could afford to buy whatever books they want, but simply opt not to). And, in a way, simplistic itself, since it doesn't address the fact that it should be the writer making the decision on distribution, not other people. I understand why he would avoid that part of the issue, but still, it's a real issue. But Lawrence's retort is way too harsh for something that requires some more nuance than he seems willing to give it.

I think there's no easy formula to figure out when making giving away a work or book for free is the right course. It depends on the current audience, the intended audience, etc. For example, if your fantasy trilogy is about to have its third, much-anticipated entry released, and sales on the first book have slowed to a steady but not spectacular trickle... maybe that's the time to just give it away, either for good or for a limited time, to try and hook new readers who'll pick up the rest of the series. Or maybe not. Who knows?

There's certainly little harm in releasing some of your back catalog for free if the revenue it generates is very low. There's at least one author who I think is criminally obscure among fantasy fans -- Judith Tarr -- who probably would benefit more than be harmed by releasing The Isle of Glass or The Hall of the Mountain King (each is the first entry in a series, each 30+ years old) for free. (That said, you can pick them up for $5 in DRM-free formats at Book View Café, along with her other works and that of many other fine authors). 

 

 

 

Edited by Switzeran

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×