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thanks to one of my fave (if not my absolute fave) bloggers Leila at Bookshelves of Doom, an issue which i thought seemed pretty laughable - only because of it's ridiculousness - has been brought to the forefront of my attention.

apparently there are readers out there who are downloading illegal copies of e-books at an alarming rate. (how they are doing this is beyond me...i'm such a noob when it comes to illegal things. seriously, i would have ZERO idea of how to buy drugs or engage in any sort of illegal activity EVER...like do you  just ask someone? do i just do a Google search of  'i want ebooks for free'? idk)

an author has recently shed some light on just how serious this problem is and how intense the impact of illegal downloading is for her work.  Saundra Mitchell, author of Shadowed Summer and The Vespertine (both of which i want to read...legally), shared this on her blog:

"[Shadowed Summer]’s going out of print in hardcover because demand for it has dwindled to 10 or so copies a month. This means I will never get a royalty check for this book. By all appearances, nobody wants it anymore.

But those appearances are deceiving. According to one download site’s stats, people are downloading SHADOWED SUMMER at a rate of 800 copies a week. When the book first came out, it topped out at 3000+ downloads a week.

If even HALF of those people who downloaded my book that week had bought it, I would have hit the New York Times Bestseller list.

If the 800+ downloads a week of my book were only HALF converted into sales, I would earn out in one more month. But I’m never going to earn out. And my book is never going to be available in your region, not for lack of trying. My foreign rights agent is a genius at what she does, and has actively tried to sell it everywhere- UK, AU, China, France, you name it, she tried to sell it there.
SHADOWED SUMMER will only be coming out in Italy, because that’s the only place there’s a market for it.

And let me tell you guys… the sales figures on SHADOWED SUMMER had a seriously detrimental effect on my career. It took me almost two years to sell another book. I very nearly had to change my name and start over. And my second advance? Was exactly the same as the first because sales figures didn’t justify anything more. I don’t blame my publisher. There’s weak demand for my books, according to my sales figures.

Meanwhile, 800 copies of my book (worth about $1200 toward my advance, if everyone paid for a copy,) are being downloaded a week."

so you might wonder, as i did, why don't people just buy the book?  here are some responses Mitchell has heard...

They don’t sell your book in my $location, so I downloaded it.

I also hear, I will buy it later, and I don’t have any money, but I want to read it. Authors should make publishers print in $region! and I hate DRM. I download it, but then I recommend it to other people to buy!

okay seriously. let's do a little research here. according to amazon.com, the paperback version of Shadowed Summer is $7.99. the hardcover is $12.47 and the ebook is $6.15. used copies are about $3.  and okay fine, maybe you don't want to straight up buy it...but there are libraries out there, no?

okay but for argument sake, let's say you have NO money (which let's be real, if you have internet access you have $3 to spend on a book) and that there are NO libraries near you (i live in a town of 1200 and i use ILL all the time...) and that the book isn't available in your region. this is what Mitchell suggests: 

"If you really love books, find a way to pay for them. The WORLD wide web is, in fact, world-wide. I bet you know someone in the region that sells the book you want. I bet even if you don’t, you can connect with a fellow book-lover in that region on Twitter.

If you REALLY can’t afford books, ask your library to order them. I love libraries. I love them so much- they buy lots and LOTS of copies, and will rebuy them if they’re very popular. Many are even starting to buy digital copies, so you can read them on your e-reader. When you check my book out from the library, you’re paying for it, just indirectly.

If you really, REALLY can’t afford books, and live in a mushroom village that has no library, then write to my publisher’s publicity department. Ask them for a review copy. And by god, if you get a free review copy- review it! Send that review to my publisher so they can use it! Post it on bookseller websites! Give the review copy away to other readers when you’re done. Pay for it with sweat equity- spreading the word is buying my books.

Because that’s what it boils down to is convenience. People who illegally download books are more interested in their convenience than in supporting the authors they want to read. It’s not hard to go to the library, it just takes time. It’s not hard to buy a physical copy and convert it to a personal digital copy if you’re willing to make the time and effort. It’s not hard to buy a legal digital copy and convert it to the format you want. Dear Author has tutorials. It’s not hard to ask someone in the $region to post you a copy.

You simply have to want to. So if you were inclined to illegally download anyone’s book, if you’re one of the people trying to find an illegal download of my brand new book that’s not even in stores yet: please buy it. Or check it out. Or ask for a review copy.
Or please read another book that’s instantly, and legally, available to you so that books continue to be instantly, and legally, available to you."

that's right. if you're not going to go through the 'trouble' to obtain the book legally, don't bother. seriously. it screws up the numbers for the author - potentially giving them an unnecessary complex - and oh yes STEALING is not okay and illegal etc.

if you want to peep Saundra Mitchell's post, check it out here.
if you want to peep Leila's post, check it out here. there's some decent convo going on in the comments.

this has really put a bee in my bonnet today. if you download ebooks illegally, you're the biggest turd in the world.

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Well said Lisa.

    PS. Im a criminal solicitor, so if you ever need some tips on illegal activity - I have seen it all :-)


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