Life · Writing

Thinking Differently about ebook Piracy

I’m due to release my debut novel on the 27th of July and one issue that was in the back of my mind was piracy – people taking my book and putting it out there for free. The prospect hasn’t stopped me from publishing (obviously) but it worried me a little. I thought I’d lose sales, I thought of it as stealing.


I’m currently reading Secrets To Epublishing Success by Mark Coker and in one of the chapters he discusses issues that epublishing authors often worry about. One of which is piracy.

“Some best-selling authors actually encourage pirates to steal their books because they view piracy as a form of free marketing.”

If you think of it like this, people giving your book away is an opportunity to earn more readers and to reach a wider audience. Overall this could in fact, produce MORE sales in the long run. Paulo Coelho is just one author who has been known to deliberately send his books to pirate bulletin boards.

In this video Neil Gaiman talks about his views on ebook piracy as free marketing which I would urge you to watch.

Do you worry about ebook piracy? What are your views?

Coker, Mark (2012-03-27). Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (Smashwords Guides) (Kindle Location 1175). Mark Coker via Smashwords. Kindle Edition.

5 thoughts on “Thinking Differently about ebook Piracy

  1. I think that if someone takes the time to pirate my work, it’s almost a form of flattery. Neil Gaiman found a way to ride the wave, and sometimes it makes sense to ride on top of it, rather than getting dunked underneath the water, don’t you think?

  2. I’m not sure where I stand, except that if I want to publish through Smashwords, my ebook HAS to be DRM free. I seem to remember Holly saying something along the lines of: people who want to pirate aren’t your audience, because they wouldn’t buy your book anyway. I agree with Ken, I think it’s a form of flattery.

    1. Smashwords recommends DRM free as DRM restrictions treat users like criminals and limits their experience with the book. To be honest I can’t see anyone bothering to pirate my book unless it happened to be immensely popular but I’m not holding my breath! Thanks for your comment 🙂

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