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13 May 2013 @ 11:19 am
Poll on digital piracy  
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Cory Doctorow says that the problem for most writers isn't piracy, it's obscurity. I disagree. If 10,000 people read one of my books, but I only sell 2000 copies, that is work I am not getting paid for. That is $8000 out of my pocket, with no guarantee the readers will actually buy the next one. More likely they'll simply steal it too. My books fall into the "good enough to download, not good enough to buy" category, and I expect most other people's do too.

(I was told that a certain conference was about "giving back to the readers." My response was "I give back by continuing to write, even though they're stealing me blind on pirate sites.")

A confession: I have bought four ebooks in my life. I haven't bought a paperback in four years, new or used. Yet my library numbers in the hundreds. I download the free promotions from Amazon, from Harlequin, from All Romance. I get them from Project Gutenberg. I do not get them from torrent sites. Very seldom do I go back and buy another book by that author, no matter how much I enjoy the one I just read. I look at the to-read stack, and realize I will never get through it, so actually buying books is out of the question. Maybe it's me being tightfisted, but I'm sure I'm not the only one.

A friend of mine is doing a survey on e-book piracy and asked me to get the word out. This will be going out to Google News. I'm asking friends who are writers, especially on the ebook front, to fill it out.

1.  How much has digital piracy of books hurt your sales? How do you measure the loss in revenue?

2.  Do you know of any other authors who have had sales of their works hurt by digital piracy? Which authors, and do you know much they believe their sales have been hurt?

3.  Do you believe that certain genres are more likely to be pirated than others?

4.  Have your publishers been helpful in combating piracy? Is the industry taking steps to combat piracy?

5. What steps would you advice authors to take to prevent digital piracy?

6.  What legislation are you aware of that has come up to address this? Do you believe that proposed legislation goes for enough in protecting professional writers?

7.  Do you believe that free culture advocates are helpful or harmful towards professional authors?  Can you give any examples demonstrating why you hold this belief?

8. Do you think digital piracy has the impact to change the model for publishing?  Will digital piracy force authors to rely more on business models like kickstart as a way of making a living?
 
 
 
(Anonymous) on May 19th, 2013 10:54 pm (UTC)
A confession: I have bought four ebooks in my life. I haven't bought a paperback in four years, new or used. Yet my library numbers in the hundreds. I download the free promotions from Amazon, from Harlequin, from All Romance. I get them from Project Gutenberg. I do not get them from torrent sites. Very seldom do I go back and buy another book by that author, no matter how much I enjoy the one I just read. I look at the to-read stack, and realize I will never get through it, so actually buying books is out of the question. Maybe it's me being tightfisted, but I'm sure I'm not the only one.

This leads to an interesting question: do you think the legal, free promotional novels are hurting sales? I know I'm like you in that matter, I've easily accumulated hundreds of legal free books I want to read.

On the other hand, if a book that isn't free has some trait in it that particularly appeals to me, it easily flies up to the top of my list over any free books.

When ebooks are under $7, I never feel bad about buying them and waiting to read them.

I don't think piracy is a lose-lose situation. People write the publicity and spread of knowledge of a book off; but if 10 people who wouldn't buy an ebook pirate it and by gabbing about it get two people to buy it, the author still makes two sales they wouldn't have otherwise.

With a lot of indie authors, getting more sales and word-of-mouth, even at the cost of some people getting the book for free, is worth it.

Angelvalarltd on May 20th, 2013 02:18 am (UTC)
I don't think promo books hurt sales. I give away about 5 copies of every new release.

The difference is the limited amount. A few free books for word of mouth, vs the thousands downloaded and not paid for, reviewed or even read.

Even when I give away free books on Amazon, it never exceeds a couple hundred copies. One of my books. I gave away about 10 copies, sold 1300 copies. It provided 5000 pirated downloads. That's big difference.