Sunday, August 31, 2014

E-book Piracy

Yesterday I unpublished my Taking Lance stories from Smashwords and knew to check the affiliate sites (B & N, Apple, etc.) to see when they are removed so I can switch from Kindle Direct Publishing to Kindle Select. They came off a couple of the sites (Apple, Kobo) relatively quickly considering I was told it might take weeks. This morning I got on Google to check the other sites. On the second Google page I saw "Download Taking Lance Part One by Candi Kay for FREE!"  I clicked the link and there it was - my story being offered for free on a piracy site. Then I noticed to the right of the book page there was a purchase link. Thanks to Google Translate I was able to interpret it when I clicked it. So, apparently my $1.99 (U.S. currency) story can be purchased for 200 rubles by clicking that link and putting in your credit card information. Thanks to Google currency converter (what would we do without Google?), I discovered that the 200 rubles is the equivalent of $5.40 U.S. dollars - almost 3 times what I charge for the under-16,000 word story. It took me a whopping 2 seconds to see Keeping Lance was also being offered on the site for the same amount, but yet free in other places on there if you looked hard enough. 

I looked hard enough.

I've worked with various authors and publishers over time and I have seen this happen to others. I've always been against any kind of piracy and have (along with my friends and others) fought them right along with the authors we know who have had their work stolen.

Then it happened to me. It was like a punch in the gut. The free thing was bad enough but to know that someone is trying to profit from something I myself wrote?  That I put my heart into? It doesn't matter that it didn't cost me one red cent to publish those stories and that all I put into them was my time, but it was MY time and MY words and MY property. How dare someone steal them?

The funny thing is that there is a little button you can click on each book page on the pirating site that says REPORT COPYRIGHT VIOLATION. So, I did. Twice. With each book. The first complaint was that my books were being sold by someone other than the copyright holder - me - and it was being done illegally. The second complaint was that my stories were being allowed to be downloaded for free illegally. 

So, I did more and more research on Google throughout today and found dozens - DOZENS - of threads where authors have complained about their books being placed on this site without their permission. The site (if you look hard enough on Google) states on social media that they are not a piracy site and they can prove that because they list purchase links on each book page. They do. I saw a couple of links on both of mine that took me straight to the purchase pages on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. But then there is the fact that the other purchase link - for the 200 rubles - is still at the top right of the page where people can purchase from this unknown person who will be profiting illegally from what I wrote. Oh, and of course we can't forget the free downloads being available of my stories on the same site.

Total bullshit.

I am not naming the site on here, but will gladly provide it if you contact me privately either via email or in a private message on Facebook or Twitter. The reason I'm not naming the site publicly - when they damn sure should be named publicly - is because a few months ago I saw an author (not in the erotic genre) put a status on Facebook saying they found a site that listed their and other author's books for free download and named the site. Great that they made it known so other authors could fight to have their illegally posted books removed, right? But what did I see on Goodreads not long after? People listing that site as a "great place" to get free books. Maybe it was a coincidence, maybe it wasn't, but it was a site I'd never heard of and then suddenly it was all over the place.

Then there was one person in a thread I read today. He said "What's the big deal? People who are legitimately interested in buying your books wouldn't have gone to that site anyway." Did he not get the part about the books BEING STOLEN? I found the site today because I was looking for something else. How many authors aren't aware of this one and the others that are popping up every damn day it seems like?

I'm furious, in case that hasn't been made known to this point.

At last check, Keeping Lance is still on the site but it is showing as a "sponsored" book, not one available for download on the site. Taking Lance is still right there and available for free download and for people to send their money to some stranger who is asking for 200 rubles for something that doesn't belong to them.

I knew when I put myself out there that piracy was possible and would most likely happen at some point, but that still didn't prepare me for the punched in the gut feeling I got when it happened.

Again, if you're interested in the site name, I'll gladly provide it, but I won't be naming it publicly under any circumstances.

Oh, my little stories? Downloaded several times. I know this because it tells you how many times the books have been downloaded. Whether or not those downloads were from legitimate sites like Amazon or Barnes and Noble or done illegally is beyond me.


  1. These sits are growing in numbers every day. It is disgusting that people's hard work and efforts are stolen like this. To the people downloading, how would you like your week, months' year's wages not paid to you because the boss decided he wanted free labour?

  2. I know they keep growing in numbers and it angers me. The bad thing is that a lot of the people who download these books illegally are all over social networking sites bragging about getting the free books. I wonder how they would feel if it was their work being stolen.