View Full Version : E-publishing in easily-copied file form

Manuel Royal
12-04-2009, 01:14 AM
I recently purchased a download of an anthology on lulu.com. A fair price (and actually for charity). So far, so good.

So the download was in the form of a .pdf file. I was happy about this at first, because it's easy to use.

But then I started thinking: if I really like this book, and have ten friends who want the same book, I could simply send a copy of this file to each of them via e-mail; they'd each have exactly the same e-book I have, without an additional penny going to the people who put the book together and presented it for sale.

(I just sent a copy to my secondary e-mail to make sure; easy-peasy.)

I'd never do that -- but it bothers me that there's nothing in practical terms preventing me. What if I e-publish on lulu, and my book attracts a group of "fans" who like it, but don't have any intention of paying for additional copies, and instead just send each other unauthorized copies. I'd have a word-of-mouth success without getting paid for it; I'd have a fanbase consisting of thieves.

Has anybody had that happen, and is there anything that can be done about it?

12-04-2009, 01:19 AM
That is why ebooks are fairly widely pirated. At this point there is not a whole lot that can be done about it except to send take-down noticed to sharing sites that are offering one's book.

12-04-2009, 01:23 AM
The way I figure it, if a person "steals" your book, he or she wasn't even going to buy it anyway. At least this way, you may gain a fan who may purchase things in the future.

(This kind of thing happens with print books, too, you know. People scan them into pdf files and share them on torrent sites. And, in all honesty, it's not like there haven't always been libraries anyway.)

12-04-2009, 03:15 AM
E-books can be fitted with a DRM schema that prevents copying - and most folks hate it because often this restricts what e-book reader can be used to read it. Fictionwise offers both protected (DRM) and non-protected version of books.

Piracy is going to happen. The best way to stop it is to do the same thing to the pirate servers as was done to Pirate Bay - they aren't so boastful now that they are facing jail time and fines. Trouble is, who has the time and money of the movie industry?

In the end, it will be up to the reader, I guess. A determined pirate won't be stopped - just discouraged. They don't "get it" when it comes to the author standing there as victim. We're not rock bands. The business model for e-books is flawed to near hopelessness due to the nature of the business. My royalty checks are good enough to take the wife out to dinner - and in and by themselves are no incentive for the year it takes to cough up a novel.


Manuel Royal
12-04-2009, 06:07 AM
Thanks for the replies! I think I'll keep working towards being published the old-fashioned way (as long as it's still around).