On to the topic at hand: e-piracy. If you're wondering what that is, I'll gladly tell you...
Basically, if you've ever gone to a website that offers you a chance to download a book for free, you've stolen. Yep. That's right, stolen. As in, if you or those people responsible for that 'site ever got caught, you'd receive a big, hefty fine for doing it.
Let me tell you that not only is it wrong, but it is detrimental to the book industry. The very establishment responsible for your day-to-day enjoyment (that is if you're a reader). Think about it. Really try and grasp what I'm saying here.
Let's pretend we're at a book store, shall we. Imagine walking into let's say Barnes & Noble, for instance, and you see a copy of Boo! Pirates by Asher Knight sitting on the shelves (which, you've heard from all your super cool, bookworm friends that it's the hottest thing since Twilight: The Movie). You see the cover, and it is just awesome. There's like a pirate dangling by his bootstraps on some weird mechanism meant for hanging things, and below him there's a bright blue-green sea filled with faces of angry authors, book bloggers/readers, cover artists, publishers, and librarians. (Yes, you're nasty habit costs all these people.) The sea looks all shiny and brilliant. The title is in this pretty, flowy script font. Oh, yes, you want this book. And because you want it so very badly, you pick it up off the shelf and walk right out of the store without a backwards glance.
Now, if you download illegally often, you probably think it's different from that scenario. Because "it FEELS different...But it isn't. You are doing that, but worse" (Ally Carter). And according to Ally Carter, who wrote a magnificent, informative blog post on just this, you could actually be responsible for the distribution of thousands of books ILLEGALLY. How? By uploading said book so "that scanned copy of your favorite novel [is shared] with everyone and their brother..." (The Story Siren). I bet you're starting to feel pretty *crappy* right about now. I know the feeling, but I'll get to that in a minute.
Back to my lovely scenario, with my book Boo! Pirates, remember that sea of angry faces I said was on the cover? Yeah, well those people have the right to be angry. When you take a look at a book, you probably don't think too much of it. It's just a few printed pages, with some nice words and a pretty little cover to boot (unless you're a book blogger and avid reader like me). But, to people involved in the actual process of developing that book, it's so much more. It's there sweat and blood that they've put into those books.
Not all writers can be like freakin' J.K. Rowling, who, I believe (don't quote me), is rollin' in dinero. Do not assume that because a book is out there, it's published, that the writer is rich, that the writer can afford to lose out on potential profit. Because that isn't always the case. Then, there's the publishers. If they suffer from the results of expanding e-piracy in terms of money making, then you know who else suffers? Not just the writer, but people like you and me. Average folk. Avid readers who want to continue to reading books by their favorite authors. And the consequences of e-piracy aren't just limited to just publishers, writers, and readers, but to all the people who helped produce that book. You can learn more about who those people are, in one of Ally Carter's e-piracy posts.
Didn't know downloading books was wrong? I believe you.
I do. Because I was in your shoes at one point. See, just like downloading music for free, you hear from your friends or people on the internet, that in a word, it's okay, cool even. And then once you conform, you stop thinking about what it is you're doing. I never gave much thought to downloading illegally. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew it was wrong, I mean, it had to be. You just don't get things for free. But, I never wondered about the consequences. Then, one day, I read this blog post on the subject by an author I liked at that time. After that, I cleaned out my computer memory of any ebooks that I downloaded for free, and I stopped downloading. To top it off, I've been gradually adding those books to my own personal library by buying them. Kind of as a tribute as much as that I love them.
Now, I go to other sources to get my books. Particularly my local library. So, my point is, it's never too late to take a step back and say to yourself, "Whoa. I've really messed up. It's time I stopped," and do just that.
Stop. No, really, stop!
It's never too late to change. Who better than I would know? And ya know what, I like getting books this way now. It feels clean and I know that I'm helping authors get what they deserve. And you should know that you can to. It's never too late.
I'm an anti e-pirate. Join the club (that wasn't meant to be literal; I don't actually have a club xD)!
Sources: As you know I got some quotes and information from Ally Carter's blog and The Story Siren. Umm...oh, yeah! The pictures. I just found them off of google. It's hard to say who they actually belong to. If owners have a problem with my using them, please contact me accordingly.