Warning: ranting ahead for 50 paces.
My netbook has this odd quirk of occasionally skipping from the webpage I'm reading to any random page I've recently browsed. Quite amusingly, it recently skipped from this article about tough measures for digital pirates, to this digital pirate site.
Or maybe not that amusingly. The download stats on some of my older titles on these pirate sites are way, way higher than the royalty stats on my monthly statements. Put simply, more people are downloading my ebooks illegally than actually buying them.
It's not as if my ebooks are horribly expensive. Most of them are less than five dollars. And it's not as if they're really hard to find legitimately--you can buy them directly from the publisher, or from direct links on my website. There's no stupid DRM to make it difficult for you to transfer books legitimately from one device to another. Put simply, legal downloads are easy and cheap.
Illegal downloads, on the other hand, are stupid and wrong. The 'wrong' part is fairly easy to understand. The 'stupid' part shouldn't be difficult, either. Why?
Publishers aren't charities. They don't go to all the hard work and expense of producing a book to give it away for free (and it is hard work, and it is expensive). They need to make money. They have bills to pay. They have authors to pay. Authors who also have bills to pay. Is that easy enough to understand? Would you work for free?
And in case you think I'm being selfish and that piracy doesn't affect the consumer, here's one very simple thing to think about: If you download a book for free, then the publisher and the author make nothing from it. And authors who make no money for their publisher get dropped. There will be no more books forthcoming from an author who makes no money. If you download books illegally, there will be no more books.
Which makes the request on an underground forum I saw the other day even more moronic. "I've just read Cat Marsters' Mad, Bad & Dangerous and really loved it. Does anyone have any free downloads of her other books?"
Sure. I've just seen your bank account details and really loved them...