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Those Pernicious Pirates

Those Pernicious Pirates

Would you go into your neighborhood supermarket and purloin a bunch of bananas? Would you head to the clothing store and swipe a pair of pants? Unless you’re like a certain fellow I once knew—okay, lived with, but when I learned his true colors I kicked him out—you’re no shoplifter. You may not like or be comfortable with parting with your money, but you recognize that the grower of a comestible or the manufacturer of a wearable, as well as the retailer who sells it to the end customer, is entitled to compensation for his or her labor.

Yet some people who would never dream of swiping a box of chocolates or a ream of paper from a store and are horrified at the thought of someone doing such a thing blithely patronize “pirate sites” online.

If you don’t know what a pirate site is, you’re probably not one of the guilty parties. (And if you DO know, you may still well be an innocent bystander.) So let me enlighten you.

Pirate sites copy books in popular genres—romance is a particularly hot item—and sell them for a hefty percent less than the retail cost of a legitimate copy of the book. Since you’re still paying something for the book in question, you may not consider it stealing. But it is.

For every pirated book, both the author and the publisher are cheated out of their justly deserved earnings. And—not that it makes it right to cheat a big publisher, either—but not every publisher is a monolith like Simon & Schuster or HarperCollins. There are plenty of small and mid-size publishers who suffer for every nickel and dime they lose. Not to mention us authors, whose royalty checks are diminished when our books are pirated and bought by people who otherwise would have bought legitimate copies. We don’t make Dime One off a pirated copy of one of our books. (How would you like it if someone dipped his or her hand freely into your paycheck?_

You wouldn’t steal a box of candy or a bunch of bananas, would you?

Then don’t buy pirated copies of books. ’Nuff said.

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