Thursday, June 4, 2009

I met a thief...

Or two or three... actually, I met 40,000 thieves. When you're a relatively new author, you are thrilled to death when you make your first sale and if you're smart you don't have major expectations. But after a while... well when your sales start dropping like rocks, then you start to feel like you must be doing something wrong.

I've been aware that thieves who steal my books on line were having a major impact on my sales. And like many other authors, I've spent time fighting them with the few weapons at my disposal. But tonight I ran through several pirating sites and added up the numbers for one book.

On one site, the downloads for Kama Sutra Lovers totaled over 30, 000. On another smaller one, there were over 1500. And yet another one had 7000. So, 38,500 downloads of one title on just three sites. Let's suppose that my cut for each sale is usually two dollars. That rounds out to $77,000. Not exactly chump change.

And there's another factor at work. Publishers base their decision to offer contracts on sales of previous books. When sales are low, they assume that readers are not interested in reading that author's books. And that's exactly what will happen in my future if thieves keep stealing my books.

It doesn't matter what rationalization the thieves come up with. Really. It's a simple matter of law. If you didn't pay for it, then you stole it.

For those fans of mine who request copies of my books on various pirating sites--don't. Just don't. You're not only stealing a book, but my future.

For those fans who part with their hard-earned money so they can read one of my books, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You can't imagine how wonderful it makes me feel.

I can't tell you the total number of books stolen from me. But simple arithmetic puts it up there around 300,000. I'm not a well-known author like Nora Roberts or one of the other biggies. So if that many books are stolen from me--a relative unknown--imagine the number stolen from the others.



  1. Anny, it is a horrendous loss to those of us who spend thousands of hours writing for folks...only to have so many pirates take away any hope of an income! To think that folks don't seem to thinks it's theft because it's "only a book". To us, it's our livelihood.

  2. I went to the same site and pulled up five different titles and each one was downloaded 25K times (thereabouts). I was just too pissed off to check the other books but I'm sure there were more.

  3. Book pirates are the scum of the earth. I think that sums it up

  4. I don't know if it will make you feel better or worse, but my hunch is that the vast majority of those people downloading pirated versions of books would never pay for them, even if the pirate sites didn't exist.

    I believe it's the publisher's responsibility to sell copy-protected files. As long as they allow downloads of simple PDFs and html files, books will be pirated.

    That doesn't make the pirating right or any less of a theft. Just sayin'.

  5. That total just left me speechless...

  6. I think Elissa has a valid point--the publishers should be trying harder to make this difficult for the thieves. As for myself? One of my best-reviewed books has been downloaded 30,000 times from that one site. And as for sold copies? 300 or so altogether, in print and e book format. So yeah, folks, it's a huge difference. It basically means we're not making a living off these books at all.

  7. If no other books were added to the list and downloads continue at the current rate of only three sites, I will have lost 140k minimum by the end of the year.