The Fight Against eBook Piracy: Protecting Indie Authors.
For indie authors publishing and promoting their work can be a costly and time-consuming endeavor. The expenses, from the cover art and editing to formatting and marketing, add up quickly. And since indie authors do not have the resources of a large publishing house behind them, the cost comes out of their pocket.
When a new book is released and within hours is being downloaded illegally for free on hundreds of sites by thousands of readers, it is devastating to the author's sales and income. And if a book is enrolled in KDP Select and part of Kindle Unlimited, Amazon can even close the author's account if their title is found on pirate sites, as it violates the terms of service.
It may be tempting to justify piracy as a way for those in financial need to access books, but a study by Nielsen found that ebook pirates are often educated, working professionals with a household income between $60,000 and $99,000.
It's important to note that while we have seen some progress in shutting down large ebook pirate sites, many others continue to operate, and new ones launch daily, making it crucial for indie authors to take steps to protect their work. The first step is for authors to register their work with the U.S. Copyright Office. While it does require a fee, it is an essential step in helping to safeguard their work. Another option is to use a DMCA takedown service like BookDefender, which can assist in removing infringing material from the internet.
Legal options are available if you're a reader who wants access to free ebooks.
- Local libraries will often provide access to an online catalog of ebooks available for digital checkout. Is your library not one that does? Google libraries that will allow non-residents to get a card and access their online content. They're out there!
- Join a subscription service that gives you access to a large number of ebook titles for a low monthly fee. Kindle Unlimited, Kobo Plus, Scribd, and others exist.
- Follow your favorite author's newsletter and join their reader groups to learn when or if they're offering free reads or deep discounts.
- Consider joining an author's review team. Often reviewers are gifted a copy of the author's ebook in exchange for an honest review. There are sites that are dedicated to helping readers and authors connect for this reason.
- Subscribe to mailing lists such as BookBub, which will often email readers a list of free and deeply discounted ebooks.
Let's all do our part to support indie authors and say no to piracy.
Burhenn, Lara. “E-Book Piracy Costs Publishers $315 Million in Lost Sales.” Digimarc, https://www.digimarc.com/press-releases/2017/03/14/e-book-piracy-costs-publishers-315-million-lost-sales.
Office, U.S. Copyright. “Fees.” Fees | U.S. Copyright Office, https://www.copyright.gov/about/fees.html.