Sunday, May 24, 2009

It's not Cheating! Also: I hate Pirates

Not really.

Not when you take time to think about it.

I mean, what's really the most damaging about a huge TBR pile? Okaaaay, it's big and takes up a lot of space. I can see the problem with that. Really, I can.

So I made a vow not to buy any books until the RWA Conference.

But - but just think about it. My vow really shouldn't count when it come to authors who I already know are good, because right after the RWA Conference and in the years to come their books are going to end up on my pile anyway. And besides - who knows when their books will go out of print! Then I'd never find them!

Really, my vow should only count towards books by authors I don't know - those are the ones that are totally killer to the TBR pile, because 1) I might end up hating them, or worse - 2) I might end up loving them only to discover they have a MASSIVE BACKLIST.

I mean, I shouldn't have to wait until July to pick up:

I mean, giving my severe Baloghaholism and my raving reviews of all these other authors, it's only inevitable they would end up the TBR anyway, right?

Right? I mean, and since these authors all have backlists, and all of the other TOTALLY ACCEPTABLE TIMES FOR BUYING LOADS OF BOOKS I've done over the last year, it's really just good planning to go out and buy an iRewards membership, right? RIGHT??

So yeah, just reiterating that my no-book-buying vow only concerns books by authors I haven't tried yet.

So Kate Noble, Jennifer Ashley, etc. will just have to wait until RWA Nationals. Doesn't that make the most sense?

ALSO, I felt I should bring this up, given the recent posts giving by Happily Forever After and Ramblings on Romance regarding the DESPICABLE, INEXCUSABLE, DOWNRIGHT SCUMMY book pirating (the unsexy, scurvy-ridden, rape-happy kind of pirating, not the virtuous, smooth-chested sexy Johnny Depp pirating) of romances, that










WHY? Because I truly adore these authors' writing and I know that most authors make diddly and I know that they deserve every penny because they work hard over months and years to make a book I thoroughly enjoy for a week.

If you download books illegally, don't bullshit yourself by thinking you're sticking it to the Fat Cats because most authors MAKING FUCKING BEANS.

If you pirate romance novels, don't bullshit society by saying "books should be free for everybody (oh, and Hugs and Kisses End Wars)" - how would you fucking feel if your employers just stopped paying you because they felt the service you provide in YOUR job isn't worth any money?

If you rip off novels from filesharing sites, don't bullshit me by saying you're strapped for cash. There's a little thing called a USED BOOK STORE, or a LIBRARY BOOK SALE, or, for fuck's sake, there are magical things called LIBRARIES WHERE YOU CAN GET YOUR BOOKS FOR FREE WHILE THE AUTHOR GETS PAID SO EVERYONE WINS.

If you take books from the internet WITHOUT PAYING FOR THEM, you're not only a THIEF, you are a LAZY, CHEAPSKATE THIEF who thinks $12 a YEAR for a library card is TOO DAMN MUCH.

There endeth the rant.


  1. Anonymous6:29 PM

    Where I live, library cards are free.

    Plus, I think reading/holding a real book is better than reading an ebook. My own personal preference, of course.

  2. Anonymous7:45 PM

    Great post. I just don't get it. What does a book cost? I mean, really? These author's don't make much as it is and to steal from them...*shakes head*

    BTW, I hear you, AnimeJune. My TBR is out of control. I've been seriously holding myself back from book shopping since I will also be attending the RWA Conference. Easier said than done, however.

    Ah...I see you've posted your review on Anna Campbell's book. I'm off to read it...

  3. Anonymous1:57 AM

    It's all nice and clear cut when you're talking about English-speaking countries where you can buy new/buy used/thumb through before buying/borrow a book anytime you want. If you can do that and yet you steal, you're a scum, I agree. That's why I've never downloaded a book in my primary language.

    Buy when you're importing books that never made its way to your country halfway across the globe, the costs triple at best (and that's the absolute value. also count echange rates and different purchasing power). When one book amounts to 1/35th of your salary, believe you me you're not going to buy at random just to experiment with new authors.

    Look at it this way. I admit the first romance novels I've read were obtained not so legally. But guess what, I have since imported legal copies of most of them, and bought more. I would have never bought any of those books had I not had the chance to "try them out" at the start.

  4. Here Here!!! It can't be emphasized enough that every file downloaded on a pirate site is one less sale for an author who depends on all sales, who works hard to bring us the books we love so much!!

    And - lol - justification - thy name is a book addict! Although I have to point out that some you can pick up at RWA - though I'm on board for the first two you have there. As they are older, I can't imagine they would be available.

  5. Barbara --> Yeah. I reaaaally want to buy Kate Noble's and Jennifer Ashley's new books, but since I'm not familiar with their books I'm going to wait (and Noble's going to be at the RWA Booksigning so I'll see if I can get both "Revealed" and "Compromised" there!).

    Anonymous --> I do see it that way - I'm an anime fan and while I personally rent or buy the anime I watch (or see it dubbed on Canadian TV or at cons), many other fans download episodes from the internet that are "fansubbed" (given English subtitles by volunteers). The justification is similar to the downloading romance situation - these are shows that are not available in North America yet, and when they are, the DVD prices are often exorbitantly expensive (up to 50$ for a DVD containing only 4 episodes!).

    And often times the result is the same - people who check out a few episodes on the internet and like it end up buying the DVDs when they do eventually come to North America - and many shows are actually licensed (purchased by North American distributors) based on the high numbers of downloads. It's also a widely-known fact that anime's popularity in North America is thanks to initial pirated episodes that increased awareness.

    BUT - writers still aren't getting paid for it. And while I appreciate that some people download to see if a book is good and then legitimately purchase and import the rest of an author's work - many just don't even bother. When I was part of my university's Anime club, I knew people who downloaded hundreds of episodes of shows that were already available, and figured "why bother paying for them, I already have them?"

    Writers do not make a lot of money, and whether or not they get published again depends on their numbers of legitimate, tallied sales. Publishers don't care if 300 copies of an author's book have been downloaded online if only 50 copies have been bought in real life - because the publishers don't get money from those 300 books and they only publish writers who are financial viable.

    That means the authors you love to read might not be picked up again by publishers because they're not making enough sales - and that means no more great novels from those authors.

    Ultimately, a high price and low availability when it comes to romance sucks for overseas romance fans, but it can't be an excuse when you consider the bigger picture. Taking something without paying for it because it costs too much - how different is it, theoretically, from someone who steals a costly diamond necklace because he can't afford the $10 000 price tag?

    People have to try to find another solution to these problems - people could try contacting local publishers to request picking up certain romance novels - or even try writing a letter to European and North American publishers to get them to distribute foreign rights.

    I really do sympathize with the situation where it's either pay nothing or pay through the nose for a romance novel, but when you mention that a romance novel can be 1/35 of someone's salary - for many authors, romance novels ARE their salary (or a sizable chunk of it). For every romance novel someone downloads to save money to pay their bills, there's one author who suddenly receives less money to pay their own bills.

    Kristie J --> Book addict? Moi?? Whatever do you mean??? *blink blink*

  6. Anonymous9:34 AM

    But you're committing the same fallacy as RIAA and MPAA do. You're assuming that, if the book hadn't been available for illegal download, those 300 downloaders would have bought it instead, and that is simply not true. Perhaps some of them would, but most would not even know it's there. I would argue that many more, like me, downloaded and THEN bought.

  7. Anonymous - I see your point. If those filesharing sites had never existed, those who would have downloaded won't suddenly start buying books.

    But books wouldn't be stolen anymore, either. You could look at it either way. From my own writer's perspective, I don't know what to think - mostly, I think I'd prefer to know I wasn't getting any money just because people weren't reading my books than knowing I wasn't getting any money because people were stealing my books.

    Either way, I'm broke - but in one case I'm broke and less angry, so who knows?

  8. Anonymous7:51 PM

    i never even knew people could illegally download books :/
    the internet and those ipod things are so confusing!

  9. Hi animejune *JS waving*
    Love your post. The situation is getting intolerable for writers. There's no question about the fact that it IS theft. This is just the latest in a string of incidents.

    Just last week an M/M writer, Kirby Crow, posted in Live Journal that two LiveJournal users posted her novels and made them available for free downloads to an entire LJ community. You can only imagine how much this woman lost!

    After all the work they put into the books we enjoy, it's so unfair.

  10. Anonymous6:54 PM

    AnimeJune You really rock girl!

    "WOW this makes me angry! Up to HUNDREDS of books given away without a single royalty? WHAT THE HELL?"

    Well said!! Just like the ?????? that are swapped and reswapped in book clubs, sold and resold in garage sales, sold and resold in second-hand book stores, BORROWED & BORROWED & BORROWED & BORROWED FROM A PUBLIC LIBRARY, lent to friends, family members and coworkers.

    YES my dears - Given away without a SINGLE ROYALTY? WHAT THE HELL?

    So what's really your point? I guess you guys are simply just comfortable with legalized 'stealing' then? As long as the law says its OK to enjoy creative content without having to pay for it, then 'I'm an honest person if I used those means appears to be your and yes Pamela Clare's mentality' - swaps, library, second-hand book, and God don't try to stop me from sharing a book with my friend. Right!!

    The next time any of you return anything to the store that wasn't damaged or spoiled - eg the dress that you wore only that one time; the shoe that just doesn't go right with that suit but you only figured that out after you had wore it; the meal that you didn't like; the book that you read the first few pages of or just skimmed through and decided it was not for you and I can go on - I guess you weren't stealing eh - you just used it for a time for free. Right. HELLO!

    Yeah put a block on the blog!

    Have a great day y'all.

  11. Anonymous6:55 PM

    AnimeJune you really rock girl!


    Ahem - just let's ask the authors. Do you collect royalties every time someone borrows your book from that FREE place called the public library?

    Does anyone at all ever collect royalties whenever a media item is borrowed from the library - music CD, DVD etc?

    Educate yourselves and admit that all you library users are taking bread out of your favorite authors mouth. And how generous of them to allow you to do it as long as you agree with them that those other people who use those internet libraries are dishonest SOBs.

    Does anyone have a brain to even acknowledge the contradiction here?

  12. Anonymous6:56 PM

    Get a clue ladies.

    Do you ever pay to borrow books from your public library? Who then pays the royalties for the books that are borrowed?

    If you really are as honest as you claim, why don't you ask your librarian who pays the royalties for all the items borrowed if you don't.

    Report back your findings, I'm sure we'd all be interested to know.

  13. Anonymous7:21 PM

    I'm quoting you again AnimeJune

    'Writers do not make a lot of money, and whether or not they get published again depends on their numbers of legitimate, tallied sales. Publishers don't care if 300 copies of an author's book have been downloaded online if only 50 copies have been bought in real life - because the publishers don't get money from those 300 books and they only publish writers who are financial viable.

    That means the authors you love to read might not be picked up again by publishers because they're not making enough sales - and that means no more great novels from those authors.'

    Shouldn't the authors be leveraging to have greater control with the publishing houses then? As you say the publishers don't care.

    Turns out that the author actually only gets about 1/5th of the sale price of the book - all the rest goes to the publisher, advertising, media etc. And darling these starving authors are quite content with that!

    So for argument sake. Let's say a book sells for $5.00. 1/5 means the author gets $1in their pocket whereas the consumer puts out 5 times that much!!!!!

    Authors need to start viewing their readers as their bread and butter and not their copyrighted content as such.

    If I am to empathize with the plight of the poor authors, then maybe I would be less inclined to download a book from the internet if I could really believe that a much greater percentage of what goes out of my pocket goes directly to them.

    I seriously object to paying 4/5th the price of a book to people (publishers and associated support industry) who themselves don't respect the creative process or the amount of work you and these authors say they put into writing a book. As you and the authors say - the publishers only care about the amount of $$ they collected, very little consideration is given to the merit of the work.

    When authors start to really respect their creative content and demand better conditions, start marketing their books themselves etc., then maybe I'd be inclined to do the bleeding heart deal for them.

  14. Anonymous7:24 PM

    Really, I'm paying $5 and they are getting $1.


  15. Anonymous8:13 AM


    Yes, libraries! Libraries are evil, evil places. One single copy of a book, movie or music album is borrowed and abused by tens, if not hundreds of self-centred, ignorant pirates. Hell, they even have copiers in most libraries allowing pirates to copy every book on the shelves.

    The nerdy book worm with no money, he shouldn’t be able to read (and copy) every book in existence for free right? But he can! “Mommy, I want to go to to the library,” he asks his mother innocently. “Of course son,” she replies, secretly happy that her son can get smart(er) for just the cost of transport.

    But seriously.. what if...

    Imagine if publishers and authors suddenly decide to shut down libraries because they don’t want people to have free access to the works they publish. Wouldn’t that be a shame?'