Dear 168 Book Pirates

Dear 168 Book Pirates,

Perhaps you feel an extra bit of joy as you read my book, knowing you outsmarted the system and took it for free.  You might think that I’ll never know, or that it’s a compliment when you want a book enough to steal it, or that I don’t need the $2.49 I would have earned if you’d paid to buy Prized on Kindle.  You might think there’s nothing wrong with downloading pirated books for free since so many others do it, too.

Share Term Papers, December 12, 2011

The truth is, I do need that money.  Within two weeks, from one site alone, 168 book pirates stole more than $400 from me, and three times that much from my publisher.

Here’s what bothers me most.  I worked on Prized for over a year.  Do you know what it’s like to devote yourself to one project for such a long time?  My livelihood, and that of my editor and a team of hard-working people at Roaring Brook, depends on the sale of our books to honest readers who pay a fair price for them.  You’ve cheated me, and you’ve treated my work like it’s worthless.

You make a difference.  Every choice you make to be honest or dishonest adds or subtracts something to our world.  Get my book from the library if you have no money.  Borrow it from a friend.  But quit stealing.  Become a better person.


Caragh M. O’Brien

14 Responses to Dear 168 Book Pirates

  • Wow! So this person not only pirates your book, but brags about it and encourages people to do the same? And would this person break into your house and steal from you? Because it’s the same thing.

    I agree, if you can’t afford to purchase a book, go to your library and borrow it. If you like and respect an author, understand that to pirate his/her work is the worst possible insult.

  • I’m sorry you’ve lost so many copies due to pirating. These people probably think since we’re authors, we’re making loads of money, which of course we know, we’re not.

    Stealing our work is disrespectful, unethical, and illegal to boot, even worse if you’re a fan.

    Great post.

  • I see that people get to my blog by using search terms that clearly point to the fact that they are looking for illegal downloads of books. If i was more computer savvy, I would track their IP address and turn them in myself. It makes me so angry.

  • Wow. That’s awful. This is one of the many reasons I’m not a huge fan of e-books. If feels awful being stolen from.

  • It is amazing to me how people think that if they take things that are digital or electronic, that isn’t stealing. People, it is still intellectual property! By the way, I couldn’t help but noticing that the site you pulled from is called “Share Term Papers” … gives you a sense of the ethics of the people with whom you are battling – thieves and plagiarists.

  • Gina, Megan, Kate, Kelly, and Sunny,
    Thanks for the empathy and for adding your voices. I wish there were a way to persuade people how disrespectful the piracy is. I think they’re just caught up by how it easy it is, and don’t really think about how what they’re doing undermines the writers and publishers who create the books they enjoy.
    All best,

  • You make some great points in this article. Another thought is that electronic ‘books’ aren’t books. They are frail, pallid imitations that convey none of the immediacy of the real thing. I have a copy of Prized from a local library right in front of me, and I think that reading it using a computer would be far less enjoyable experience than reading it from the book.

    I will confess that I disagree with the word ‘steal’. Illicit copying does not deprive the rights-holder of the material itself; rather, it deprives him of revenue. Rather, I think the term ‘exploitation’ or some such would be more appropriate. But still, that is merely an issue of semantics. I am with you in spirit, if not in words.

    Good luck with your writing, and many thanks for the enjoyment you have given me.

    Yet another insufferable teenage romantic

  • OH noes the dirty pirates have taken $400 from you that they NEVER would have given to you any way, but wait your publisher loses 3x that amount. Really who is stealing from you? Sounds more like your publisher is exploiting your energy and skills.

  • Caragh-I’m so sorry that happened to you! I love your books and payed full price for them in Amazon – for my Kindle. I am a big believer in people getting what they deserve, however. I know that God is just and in the end you will be blessed for being honest and they will not. Thanks so much for writing! I finished “Birthmarked” and can’t decide whether to read Prized or Tortured first. I have them both waiting on my Kindle. Any suggestions?

  • @me:
    How do you know that they wouldn’t have bought the book if they hadn’t stolen it? Even if they had gotten it from the library, it still would have helped Caragh, since the more a book is checked out, the more a library is encouraged to buy that author’s future books, or even to invite that author for a reading or discussion. Blaming the publisher does no good, and doesn’t change the fact that a thief is a thief. You clearly don’t have any knowledge of the publishing world.

    I’m so sorry that those awful people have stolen so much from you. I love your work, so please don’t be discouraged! You are an amazing author!

  • I love love love real books. I live in a small town and my library isnt very good at getting books when they are new. I’m the kind of person that has a listen of the dates when books I want are coming out. Whats sad is that now that borders is gone there is no book store closer then an hour away except for mom and pop places that arent open on the hours that I can make it to them. I own 400 plus books in paper back. I also own 2 different readers and tons of e-books. I know how easy it is for people to steal books. I think its rude and wrong for people to do it. I think about it like this. If I want to keep reading books by my favorite authors then I best keep buying them or they are going to have to do another job and not have time to write anymore. I’d be lost without e-books at this point. I HATE waiting for things to come in the mail. Im the kind of person that can read a 400 page book in a day and most the time have done it the day I got the book. I guess thats why borders made me a gold member lol.

    I just bought your book and Im super excited to read it!!! I happened to have just gotten done reading Birth marked for the 4th time. I think you’re an amazing writer and to top it off we are in the same state 😀

  • Malachai’s Beard, me, Cheryl, Madison, and Lynsey,
    Thanks for adding your perspectives. A book is definitely a team effort, so I am absolutely okay with receiving a smaller percentage than my publisher for our books, considering my publisher pays for editing, copyediting, proofreading, cover design, production costs, printing costs, marketing, and distribution. Incidentally, I actually earn a larger percentage on e-books than traditional ones because there are no paper costs involved, and e-books are a vital option for the visually impaired. It’s unfortunate that the e-book technology also lends itself to theft. We writers and our publishers deserve to be paid fairly, so I appreciate your empathy and your support in denouncing the book pirates.
    All best,

  • I downloaded your books. I found this post looking for a Torrent of Vault of Dreamers, which I own an ARC of. I’m not sorry for it. You will NOT guilt me over downloading books especially since you’re points are contradictory. You complain about the money you’re losing but then try to make it about being a better person. Which is it? It could be both but you’ve made it very clear that for you its about the money. You did work hard on your novels and you do deserve to be paid for it but I don’t have the money to spare you and I can promise you that you have far more than I do and my “$2” is not making or breaking you. Attempting to guilt those of us who downloaded your book because we legitimately could not afford it and would never have read it any other way is shameless. Borrowing the book from a friend and downloading the book leave you with exactly the same thing, nothing. So how can you suggest one but condemn the other? You’re entitlement and absolute ignorance to the financal restrictions of those of us without book deals and monitary advances is staggering. I was a huge fan. I had your books on my Christmas wish lists because downloading your books initially does not mean I never would have bought them one way or another. It simply means that I do not have the cash to waste buying books that I may or may not care for. When I download a book that I come to love as I have all of your novels, I do eventually purchase it one way or another. But I assure you now I will never purchase anything from you. I would assume that this is meaningless to you as I’m only one person but you’ve made it clear that each and every $2 is important enough to blog about. For that reason, I truly pity you.

  • Oh and you’re “do you know what it’s like to devote yourself to one project for that long?” remark is the most arrogant thing I have ever heard!!! You apparently believe you’re the ONLY person who has ever been commited to something for a year? ONE year? Ha! You’ve got to be kidding me. Who do you think you? I cannot believe I was such a huge fan all this time. I’m ashamed to say I was. This statement alone is truly disturbing.

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