Book Piracy and Public Opinion

There has been a huge outpouring of commentary regarding Terry Goodkind’s naming and shaming a pirate of his new ebook on social media*. Reactions are all over the place judging by several related blogs as well as the dozens of comments I read. Opinion appears to be rather equally distributed between praise, outrage and uneasy ambiguity.

I’m disturbed by how many people think piracy is okay because it’s easy to do and so many are doing it. This is a disturbing bastardization of moral thinking. Pirating is illegal; it’s stealing, and immoral. The actual book might be digital or “just data” but the STORY is owned by the Author and he/she has a right to payment for their creation regardless of format.

Pick pocketing is also common and  easily done  but the victim is still violated and outraged when it happens. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that it is illegal and immoral.

Cutting-in-line is also morally wrong but a common happening; perpetrators are unlikely to be punished. But bystanders applaud when they are ejected to the back of the line!  Why is calling out book pirates different?

Robin Hood’s myth, stealing from the rich to give to the poor is a popular justification for the pick-pocket and the book pirate. Hood was still an outlaw with risk of punishment. His identity was also revealed on wanted posters nailed to trees—the pre-internet version of posting on Facebook or Twitter. Robin Hood was probably proud of his wanted posters; he believed his cause was just.

Why then is Goodkind’s pirate not thrilled to be named? If piracy is okay why are so many people outraged that the pirates name was revealed?

To those who use the logic that Goodkind is famous, rich and wouldn’t be hurt by a few pirated books I offer this.

Goodkind’s campaign against piracy aids all writers–rich or poor.

This includes the less profitable mid-listed authors and the starving unknown author who poured their heart into a novel for years and after finally self publishing is selling only a few of books a week. The missed royalty could helps pay debts for a cover artist and an editing since a profit may NEVER be realized.

I would love to own an iPhone but I can not afford one.

I don’t have the right to steal one even though Apples is rich,  is charging too much and/or the quality isn’t what it should be.  Boycotting is the moral way to protest the price or quality of an item.

I can’t afford an iPhone so I do not have one. The piracy issue is that simple.

Illustration and Laptop image by K LeRosier with partial images from wikimedia commons.
Cover scan of a Classics Comics book at commons.wikimedia.org
Buried Treasure: illustration of William “Captain” Kidd overseeing a treasure burial at commons.wikimedia.org

Related Links:

Goodkind’s opinions on piracy

Terry Goodkind Smites an eBook Pirate 

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How to Delete an Icky eBook-Permanently

Recently, I purchased an eBook that regretfully turned out to be what I would define as porn. Tastes vary but most of us have our own boundary between, love scenes and porn. We can easily tell when the line is crossed—your brain protests with an adamant internal exclamation of…

“Ick!”  AKA the Ick Factor.

So I have this “Icky” book I don’t want to read or even have on my Kindle. For the sake of discussion lets call this book  Over Xed.”

I deleted Over Xed.

To delete a book  from Kindle, underlined the title. Right click the five way controller, on the page that comes up, scroll to bottom and click Remove from Device.

Some time later, my Kindle froze up and I had to reload all my books from my Kindle archive at Amazon.

Over Xed reloaded as well.

I didn’t have the time to investigate so I simply deleted it again. Weeks later Kindle froze up again*

I got Over Xed back again.  Now I’m mad.

I don’t want Over Xed on my Kindle—it’s icky. Now I have to search for how.

So How Do You Permanently Delete an eBook from your Kindle Archive?

Use your PC to do this.  Go to Amazon Kindle Store. Click Manage Your Kindle at the upper right hand side of screen. This will bring up Your Kindle Library. Scroll down until you find the offending ebook. At the right of this e book hover over Actions. On the drop down menu click delete from library. It will ask you to confirm this action. Click Yes.  The book will stay off your Kindle and spare you further embarrassment. 🙂

Yay! Over Xed is finally gone for good. Shouldn’t there be some kind of sex rating system on Amazon for ebooks? Currently it seems to be up to the publisher. But that’s another post for another day.

*A frozen Kindle can result from an intermittent Wi-Fi connection and/or a lower battery charge while downloading—especially free book samples for some reason.

3 More Authors Bring Kindle Million Club Membership to 14

Congratulations to David Baldacci, Amanda Hocking and Stephenie Meyer.

On November 9th Amazon announced that these three authors have earned their key to the Kindle Million Club by selling 1 million Kindle eBooks, and joined Stieg Larsson, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Charlaine Harris, Lee Child, Suzanne Collins, Michael Connelly, John Locke, Kathryn Stockett, Janet Evanovich and George R.R. Martin.

26 year old Amanda Hocking took the most interesting path to her membership. She is the second Kindle member to gain the majority of her million by publishing herself, but her claim to fame is began in 2010, but  in January 2011 she exploded onto the publishing scene.

She rocked the publishing world by pricing ebooks at 99¢!

After failed attempts attempts to find a traditional publisher shocking Hocking self-published and sold her novels on online bookstores like Amazon. She sold 164,000 books in 2010, mainly ebooks.

Then in, January 2011, just one month,  she sold more than 450,000 copies of her nine titles and over 99% were e-book sales. More shocking, most were priced 99¢ and $2.99 when most traditionally published ebooks were selling at $12.99 and $7.99.
And, contrary to the claims of traditional publishers (trying to get the egg off their face), Amanda Hocking’s  books were professionally edited and well-written.  Later in the year a top traditional publisher, St. Martins Press, offered the publishing contracts she was denied for years; she accepted. Self-Publishing  is a business which took too much time from her writing.

David Baldacci‘s membership is no surprise. In the 15 years since his first novel, Absolute Power was published, 15 of the over 25 novels he’s written have become best sellers. Impressive.

Stephanie Meyers‘ claim to fame is her Twilight Series which are worshiped especially by young female readers. There is no denying her success. However, she has garnered criticism about the skill of her writing and her pedophile main character from many sources.  I read the trilogy and found her writing creative, but personally had several issues with the books.

But criticize Stephanie Meyers at your own risk!

Stephen King dissed her writing publicly and has been under attack by outraged teens ever since! They claim Stephen King is jealous of her success–proof of how utterly young and unworldly they are. (A link to King’s very amusing rebuttal is below.)

Links to Further Reading:

Stephen Kings Rebuttal Stephanie Meyers Controversy on You Tube. [This is hysterical!]

Authors catch fire with self-published e-books, Carol Memmott, US Today

Amazon 11/9/11 press announcement

David Baldacci Website

Amanda Hocking’s Blog

Stephanie Meyers Website

Left Cold by Amazon Prime’s Free ebook Loan

Amazon Prime now has a benefit for Kindle owners through the new Kindle Owner’s Lending Library. Kindle owners who sign up for Amazon Prime can borrow up to one book a month at no charge or due dates. 

 This lending library has thousands of books, over a hundred of which will be current and former NY Times Best Sellers. The library will offer a wide selection of fiction and non-fiction categories. Amazon’s press statement gave this list of book examples, “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, The Big Short and Liars’ Poker by Michael Lewis, The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen –plus award-winning books such as The Finkler Question and Guns, Germs, and Steel, memoirs such as Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, and motivational books like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Amazon Prime costs $79 a year to gain these benefits:

  • Free two-day shipping on millions of items with no minimum order size
  • Unlimited instant streaming movies and TV shows with Prime instant videos
  • One Kindle book to borrow for free each month from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library

I certainly would not sign up for an Amazon Prime membership just to borrow one Kindle book a month if you do not use any other benefits. $6.60 a month for one free book from a very limited library not a good deal. Thousands of books may sound like a lot but the Kindle Store sells over 425 Thousand books.

However, if you regularly order stuff (other than ebooks) from Amazon the free shipping benefit would pay for the membership and if would enjoy Prime Instant movies  at a time when NetFlix has doubled it’s price, then the monthly book to borrow could be a nice little bonus.

Links to Additional Information:

Press release announcing Amazon Prime Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

Amazon Prime Membership Information.

What Genres Unlock the Kindle Million Club Door?

What Genres Sell a Million eBooks for Authors?

Curious about the genres of the pioneer Kindle Million Authors, I did some research. Keep in mind that genre classification will vary with source. I used the genre the author identified when available. Some authors write in more than one genre.

7  of 11 Kindle Million Members write in
Thriller/Mystery/Crime Fiction*:

Janet Evanovich: Crime/Mystery
John Locke: Thriller (and also a Western series)

Michael Connelly: Crime/Thriller
Lee Child: Thriller
James Patterson: Thriller
Stieg Larsson: Thriller
Nora Roberts as J.D. Robb: Futuristic Crime Mystery*

Fantasy: 3

George RR Martin: Epic Fantasy
Suzanne Collins: Fantasy

Charlaine Harris: Urban Fantasy

Other Genres 3

Kathryn Stockett: General Fiction
Nora Roberts: Romance
John Locke: Western (and also a Thriller series)

*Note about JD Robb/Nora Roberts. I’m pretty sure that, although her JD Robb series are very popular, alone J.D. Robb books would not have put Nora Roberts in the Kindle Million Club this early in the game, where as the Romance books alone would have probably joined the club by now.

This post is a partial reprinted from Author #11 Joins Kindle Million Club: George R.R. Martin because the information about genres  was lost in the announcement of member #11)]

Links to Related Reading:

Meredith Greene: Indie Writer & the eBook of Fiction:

Lindsay Buroker: Which Genres Sell Best for Indie Ebook Authors?