What to do about pirates?
I have Google Alerts set on the titles of my books so that whenever they appear anywhere on the open internet, Google sends me an email with a link. This is a good way to track reviews, mentions, and buzz. It’s also a good way to track piracy. Lately I’ve been getting notified that ten or so pirate sites are offering a download of an audible version of my second novel, Mind Over Ship. As far as I know, no legitimate audible version of this book has ever been produced. I can’t imagine that some fan has made his or her own recording (14.5 hours unabridged) and posted it somewhere for download, but I can’t think of any other alternative. I’ve got to wonder if it’s professionally made or is doing more harm than good to my book’s reputation. And why would someone do something like this without asking or telling me?
As an added bonus, Counting Heads, the pirated download, is getting increased traffic as well.
As I said in an earlier post, I’m not a big fan of the “open culture” which says that everything digital wants to be free. But I, myself, read way more books that I check out of the public library than ones I pay $24.95 for. So I don’t know how to react to the piracy of my work. It’s not like authors can go on tour like musicians to recoup the value of our labor with paid live performances. (And please buy a CD on your way out.) To paraphrase Cory Doctorow, the enemy of a writer is not piracy; it’s obscurity. This is especially true when everybody and his cousin thinks he’s a writer and Amazon and B&N (and others) make it so easy to self-publish. So I guess I should be happy that someone felt moved enough by my novel to spend 14 hours reading it into a microphone. I can only hope they did a bang-up job.