In the last two weeks my publishing company has found and identified two different pirating sites. We've all since rallied together, sent them cease and desist emails and gotten our books taken down, but after a little bit of research I find it's kind of like keeping your finger in the dam to stop the leak. I spent a little bit of time last night typing in my various book titles and seeing what popped up. It was a little distressing to find five different options (that all suspiciously lead to the same log-in screen) that offered free pdfs of my books.
I also found a message thread on a book site in which someone asked if anyone knew if there were a free pdf of Ascent of the Fallen out there since this person really wanted to read it. There were then five or six replies. None of them knew where to find the free copy and a couple of the comments were flattering my author ego. One of them stated that the poster couldn't imagine their life without this book. Another said that the book was outstanding. I admit, I preened a little at the compliments and the sentiments, but the book is only $3.00 in Kindle format. Most of us can find that in the couch. If you can't, then get it out of the library or borrow it from someone who's purchased the book. Kindle to Kindle loaning is a thing.
It seems like such a harmless thing. Borrow the book, read it, maybe leave a review somewhere (though most likely not). Admittedly, I don't make much on each book, but every cent counts. People who wouldn't ever think about walking into a store and taking a book off the shelf and walking out with it, think nothing of downloading free pdfs of books. It's the same thing. It's difficult enough trying to write the book, get the word out and get people to read and review the book. Usually I just shrug my shoulders and carry on. When I find a pirate site I send them an email and then post their information in my publishing group so everyone else knows. We all do the same. However, this time it just got to me. I have such fits with my students about copy/paste and their bootlegged movies. So many of them think nothing of either activity and they drive me up a wall. I suppose just seeing how many pirate sites there are out there just hit me as a little discouraging last night.
If you want your favorite indie authors to keep writing their stories, to not just throw their hands up in despair and quit, then you need to actually buy the books. Buy the books, read them, review them and let them know how much you loved their characters and their worlds. That's what will keep your favorite indie writers writing. Take my word for it.