Saturday, 20 August 2011

Book Discussion: Illegal Distribution of E-books

After buying an Amazon Kindle I started reading about Illegal Distribution of E-books, and decided to make a post about it on here.
Illegal Distribution is affected in all forms of media, this includes films, music, tv shows etc... and is NOT the same as borrowing a book from a friend. It is a form of stealing and is against the law, but this does not change anything.
Why is sending a friend an E-book, not the same as a friend borrowing a print copy?
This is because when a friend is borrowing a print copy, there is any one copy, and that one copy has been paid for. But when you are sending a friend a copy of an E-book, one copy becomes two, and only one of them is paid for.
There are pro's and con's of illegal distribution of E-books, but I would just like to start off by saying I PAY FOR ALL MY E-BOOKS, though I will admit to sending a few to my sister, which some people class as illegal distribution.

Pro's of illegal distribution:
Now I am sure many of you think this issue has no pro's, well it does, there may not be allot but they are pretty important ones.
  • Free promotion for the author and the book
Many people who read books, especially those with friends, will then recommend books and may even write reviews on site's such as Goodreads.
  • Many people if they like the book, will then by the print copy.
This does infact happen, even though some of you may be in doubt, I know a number of people who do this, I am one of them.
  • Helps people with less money read books, when they don't have access to the book at their local library.
For example not many people, especially teenager's have money of their own to pay for books. I myself do not get money off of my parents, instead I earn money via a paper round, this is not an option for some people, though without that money I would then only have the option of the books in my local library, and living in the small town, which has near to no government funding, there is not a wide selection of books (infact I've read all the YA books they have to offer). So can all of us avid reader's really deny someone else the choice of enjoying the books we love.

Con's of illegal distribution:
I can honestly only think of one.
  • The author and publishing company, etc...are loosing out on money, which does not help the current economy.
But this is a reason which will then cause serious effects. Many author's depend of the money their books make to live, and fend for their families, as well as the publishing companies. They need this money to survive, pay rent and food.
I in the past two years have spent about £1,000, which for someone who earns £15 a week and still has to put towards other things is a lot, and I do occasionally think I don't get my money's worth.
Once I start college I will have next to no money, and will be finding it very hard to buy books, all will be depending on the cheap books or begging my mum to buy me one occasionally.
I can guarantee that at least 1 author out there who moans about someone sharing a copy of their e-book, has once before watched a movie illegally online, or downloaded music illegally.
Once an author agrees to having an e-book edition, they have to expect people to illegally download it, it's inevitable and will only continue to increase. So feel free to moan about it, but don't try and prevent it. It won't work.

Feel free to share your opinions.

Update 22nd August:I would just like to add that I do not, nor will I ever condone this illegal and criminal act, though I know a number of people who will illegally download. I am just posting this discussion from different perspective of the author's and others, and then the reader's who illegally download.

In response to Kelly's comment, which you can see below, I will almost 100% completely agree with what she has to say.

1 comment:

  1. I have to disagree with what you have listed as pros for distributing eBooks illegally. As a writer, I would be extremely upset if my book(s) were distributed illegally, regardless of the format. I've been told that when it comes to music, if you do something like borrow a CD from your library and import into your iTunes, that way you essentially have a copy of the CD, then it's not illegal because you're not selling it--it's for personal use. I assume that the same would be true for borrowing an audiobook on CD from your library and importing it into your iTunes. Downloading titles, whether it's music or books, however, is a different story, especially when you then distribute it to someone else, because then you're no longer doing it for personal use. While in a way, you can consider it promotion for an author and book, and while some people who read eBooks will then purchase a print copy of the book, my guess is that most people will not, especially if they didn't have to pay for the eBook in the first place. I haven't heard of any studies done on that, though, and I think that would need to be closely examined before anyone can make the claim either way that people are likely to buy a print copy of a book after reading an eBook. At this point, it's probably not too accurate to say that distributing eBooks illegally will help promote and author and his or her book. I think there was one eBook that was distributed illegally online and it actually did help the books sales, but I can't remember the title of that book right now, and I'm sure it's rare for that to happen.

    In terms of people who can't afford to purchase books or don't have access to the book at their library: My guess is that chances are, those people, who have less money, won't receive illegally distributed eBooks because they probably won't have internet access. Buying a computer and paying monthly internet fees isn't cheap; that's why they would use the library, and the library system I worked at didn't allow people to download digital media onto the library computers.

    Finally, it's not just the publishing houses and authors who lose money when eBooks are illegally distributed. It's also the editors, cover artists/designers/photographers, marketing team, bookstores (e.g., Barnes and Noble, who will get a percentage of the profits--which means the bookstore employees can also eventually be affected), and so on.

    I do agree that if an author and publishing company decide to make a title available as an eBook, they should expect that copies will be distributed illegally. That doesn't mean they shouldn't do everything in their power to prevent it. They may never be 100 percent successful in preventing it, but they should absolutely do what they can to. If you wouldn't walk into a bookstore and steal a book, then you shouldn't illegally distribute an eBook. It's the same concept.

    That's just my two cents. Sorry about the rant, but as a writer, this is a subject I feel pretty passionately about.