Book Reviews by a Young-Adult Fiction Fan
I love free stuff as much as the next guy, but I’ve recently learned a lot about the impact of pirating on the people who actually create the entertainment media that I consume and I’ve gotta say, it’s brutal.
It’s been about five or six years since I swore off downloading illegal stuff. Before that, I downloaded pirated things all the time. I didn’t go for the movies that were clearly filmed by some guy with a camera in a movie theater, but I did get a lot of HBO shows and a lot of 80s and 90s sitcoms that I wanted to be able to watch again and again and not just when they were on TV.
Now, I feel pretty guilty about that. The reason is because I recently talked to an ebook author and found out that they make pennies for every download. I’m serious. And print books are even worse! I used to justify downloading ebooks because their prices are so high (sometimes more expensive than paperbacks!) and since there are libraries and since it’s always possible to buy a copy of a book and lend it to all of your friends, it didn’t seem much different to download. I’m just borrowing from a friend I’ve never met, right?
Downloading pirated ebooks is stealing from the poor!
Turns out that it’s not the same. Even if a writer did the nearly unheard-of accomplishment of selling a million copies of a book, that wouldn’t necessarily make that person a millionaire. There are so many costs associated with publishing, transportation, and selling, that honestly, authors are lucky if they make a dollar or two for every book. Income tax does a good job at slashing that down, of course.
A friend of mine is an author. She loves writing more than anything in the world and she’s good. Really good. But she has to keep a regular job to pay her bills because despite the fact that she has some pretty good sales numbers (because seriously, her book is good!), she doesn’t even come close to covering her living expenses with her sales revenues.
Every single book sale counts to her. The thought of illegally downloading her book for free makes my stomach turn. Because of that, I don’t think I could live with myself if I downloaded another book illegally. I feel proud of every year that goes by without an illegal download.
Want legal free stuff? Get a library card. Seriously!
Giving up illegal downloading doesn’t mean that I have to stop getting free stuff. Why? Because I just got a library card. Sounds geeky, but honestly, it’s the most awesome thing I’ve done recently. There is SO MUCH free stuff at my local library. Books, sure, but DVDs and music, too. It’s like those old school rental places, without the fees.
Why did I ever stop going to the library?
The ebooks are, by far, my favorite part. I can get pretty much any book I want for free and I don’t need to get off my butt to go to the library. Sometimes I have to go on a waiting list, but during that time, I just read something else. Like right now, I’m on the waiting list for Cinder, so I just downloaded Dorothy Must Die because it was available. Turns out, I’m really enjoying that book and I never would have read it if it wasn’t for my library card. And it’s free! (Did I mention that I like free stuff?)
So if you’re thinking of illegally downloading an ebook, consider getting a library card, first. The odds are that you can still get it for free, but you can do it legally. After all, if the ebook is worth downloading, it is worth it to give at least that much respect to the person who created it.
Have an opinion on pirated ebook downloading? Please share it in the comments, below.