I recently read an article by Suw Charman-Anderson, Forbes Magazine, whereby she talks about the issues of ebook pirating. As Charman-Anderson states, ‘Piracy’s here. It’s staying. We can’t stop it. So we need to find inventive and attractive ways to work around it.’. I have to say, I couldn’t agree more.
Theft and/or piracy have been around for a long, long time. Since time immemorial, people have had to come up with ways of engaging the legitimate buyer and enticing them to purchase their product or service at market value, rather than through theft. Yes, there have always been those who have sought ways to steal rather than purchase, but I believe most people would rather be honest and do the right thing.
She also mentions that authors themselves have a vested interest in connecting with readers and thereby thwarting the pirates. Lovely as the vision is of sitting in my little corner and writing all day long, or at least as long as I want to, I know I need to step outside myself and connect with others if I want to sell any copies of my book. If I want to let others know of its existence, of its virtues and value, then I have to beat the drum myself. I’d love to have an agent or publicist who would take on some of that burden, but in today’s technological world, even the most famous authors are having to put a face and voice behind the books they write.
When we encourage connection with others, they in turn are less likely to want to steal our work. They are hopefully encouraged to share the word and help out by telling others to purchase our books, read our blogs, or watch our media spots. I mean, have you seen James Patterson touting his latest book on television lately. Yep, I have. Good for him. Now when I see his face, like in a cameo on the hit tv series Castle, I recognize him. I’m intrigued and am sent to my ereader, library, or bookstore to look up his titles and read them. He has personalized his writing for me.
Then came the word about Amazon’s second hand ebook market. According to Publisher’s Weekly, and a host of other sources, it seems they’ve been granted a patent that will allow them the resale of digital material, like books and music. Yikes! What does that mean for me as an author? What does it mean for publishers? Plenty, since it means we all have to again rethink what it means to sell a book on any one venue. Personally, I’d like to have my work out there on as many viable venues as possible, rather than keeping my eggs all in one basket. Maybe that’s one way around this thing, but if Amazon is successful in the second hand ebook market, others will jump on the band wagon. So, again, it’s up to authors and publishers to give readers a reason to buy new and possibly direct. We need to be as flexible as a hose if we’re going to stay in the game, and we need to let our readers know that we’re here for them, that we’re real live human beings with lives and families and financial issues, just like them. If we can do that, maybe it won’t matter what this crazy publishing business does.
There have always been pirates and knock-offs, and those who will try to undersell you, but if you stay true to your center mark and offer the best of yourself possible, growing and learning as you go, you just might weather the storms ahead. Keep your umbrellas and rubber boots handy though – it’s gonna get wet!