Authors Without a Yacht

Today I participated in my first live radio show. The subject was book piracy, something that affects most of us, both readers and authors.

Why are readers affected? Mostly because if authors can’t make a living writing, they may have to find another line of work. That means your favorite author may stop writing. Although best selling authors are probably safe, the same cannot be said for the rest of the stable. Piracy is a real and growing problem, and solutions are not only scarce, but fall mostly on the author, forcing her into yet another distraction from writing.

The star of the radio show was Richard Curtis, literary agent and owner of ereads. He has an interesting blog at and often writes about piracy. He even has his own pirate following. One thing about pirates, they are relentless in their pursuit of self-rationalization. (Alas, these are not Johnny Depp type pirates. See the illustration at the top of the blog.)

So far, the onus is on each of us to take our own enforcement action to send take-down notices to sites which have pirated our books. If you want advice, information about known pirate sites, or just plain commiseration when you see your book offered somewhere without your authorization (and naturally, without any royalties flowing to you), you can check out this site.
It’s called Authors Without a Yacht after one pirate said he wouldn’t pay for books so some author could buy his third yacht. Far from owning three yachts, most authors can’t even afford a canoe from their royalties.

This group is made up of authors from all genres, who are tired of working hard only to see their efforts stolen almost as soon as the work is published. (Though I am proud to say it was a group of romance authors who got Twitter to take down a notorious pirate site that recently started flagrantly offering their stolen wares via Twitter.)

The AWaY site also informs readers of legitimate sites where they can buy ebooks at good prices. Readers, be careful. You may visit what you think is a legitimate site selling ebooks, but if the price is too low, beware. Pirates can sell for low prices since they don’t pay for the content. But both these too-low-to-be-real sites, and the free sites can host nasty viruses. Many pirates are multi-purpose businessmen.

You may think that book piracy is not a big deal. Yup, the music industry thought that at one time, too.

If you are a reader, please respect and support authors. Don’t let others talk you into thinking it’s okay to download and share books for free. Each of those books represents a real person’s hard work, not only the author’s, but also the work of editors, publishers and artists. If they can’t get paid, eventually they will have to stop producing.

Photo by capn madd matt


Amy DeTrempe said...

Thanks for posting this. When purchasing books it never occurred to me it could be a pirated book. And, to my knowledge, I don't think I have ever purchased a pirated book. However, it is nice to be aware of those sites out there and I hope there is more and more awareness.

Carol Ericson said...

Carly, I detest those pirate sites, even though I'm posting this from my yacht...

Nicole North said...

Wonderful info! Thanks for posting it!