As I said in my previous blog post I did a bit of searching on the old internet and discovered that my book War for the Sundered Crown appeared on numerous websites offering its users to download for free. In short, piracy.
Most self-published and small press authors are not wealthy by any means, so discovering that some pirate ass-hat has stolen your (already cheap to buy) books and is giving it away for free online. Whilst this is a major issue for the industry it might not be what you think. After doing some research I’ve discovered that many of those sites that claim to offer free books are in fact a front for other scams. Some go all out to make their sites look genuine, they even have customer reviews (often fake profiles) to try and add to the sense of realism.
Cheapskates being suckered in by scammers
A user (from now on I will refer to people who are willing to download books for free despite them being cheap already as cheapskates) seeking to pirate a book is lured in but the majority of the time the site in question does not have the book at all, it’s just a scam to trick people into giving away their details. Many ask for credit card information before allowing access to the ‘free’ book or ask for personal details which they can then use for fraud and other dodgy purposes further down the road.
In a strange sort of way Spammers and scammers have seized upon eBook piracy as means not to offer illegal downloads, but to fill up search engines with spam links that, at best, trick people in viewing a lot of pointless ads and, at worst, try to scam users out of their personal information.
In some ways, there is a sort of ironic justice going on here. Who’s worse? The people claiming to be giving away free books illegally or the person who is so tight that they are willing to commit a criminal act and screw a hard working author out of potential income?
The main issue for authors is that it makes it more difficult for anyone searching for their books via search engines. The mass of spam with my books titles in is quite frankly ridiculous, but we as authors are powerless to tackle this (if you know a way how to tackle this problem let me know!)
Fortunately, if you sell your titles on Amazon then there is a high chance that the first search result will be the Amazon link. For authors who prefer to sell their titles through other means such as via personal websites, this is a major issue that is probably costing them a lot of sales and cash.
For the cheapskates that actually continue to be suckered in by these spam sites, they face a number of issues. Theft of details is one, but the other is the risk of having malicious malware being downloaded onto their machines via spam ads and the book links themselves.
The only ones with the power to tackle this issue are the search engines themselves. Google has been aware of this issue for a while now but has made little headway in tackling it. Authors aren’t entirely powerless. We need to work on building up a solid collection of legitimate links to help our books climb to the top of the search engine listings. As small press or self-published authors, this may require a lot of cooperation amongst writers. At the end of the day we need to help each other to tackle the piracy and spammer menace and for those of you that use illegitimate websites to download books that an author has spent hundreds of hours of their time writing, all I have to say to you cheapskates is; ‘Shame on you!’
The epic Sundered Crown Saga is available on kindle and paperback now!
Heir to the Sundered Crown (Book 1) – http://a.co/cRiRqBL
War for the Sundered Crown (Book 2) – http://a.co/39JC6qc
Paperback editions –
Heir to the Sundered Crown http://amzn.to/1XDSxlg
War for the Sundered Crown http://amzn.to/1RiVFDs