“Don’t Pirate My Book” Day is February 6th. This year was the first celebration.

Seriously, books are free at the library, what are you doing pirating them? Maybe you can’t make it to a library? You have no access? Maybe can’t take the bus/car/get past the angry antelope who dislike education? Usually you can download books on an e-reder from the library for a month-long loan. No e-reader? Do you have friends who drop your food at your house–ask for a book in the next care package. You can even specify the author. My point is that not only are there tons of people out there with quality offerings for free (it’s great advertising for an author to have a free book out there…the first one’s free, then you’ll buy the series), but you have options for things that aren’t free. Options that include monetary reward the months of work an author puts into the book. Let’s not get started on paying for editors, perhaps cover design, advertising, ISBNs, distribution channels, etc.

Don’t pirate.

I love music and use last.fm, pandora and youtube to get my fix because buying music is expensive, and I’ve got an obsessive “collector personality” where I create stories in my head for music. Aren’t you glad I don’t collect trophies? Especially now that I’m venturing into this dark fantasy stuff. Trophies…*shiver*

Right, the point. The point is, books are available. At my library I was #122 on the list of a new book release two weeks before the book came out. That book I got in about two months, but I got to read it. Another book I was #96 on the waiting lists a couple weeks after the book came out, but then I looked at the volunteer library the next town over and it was just sitting there on a table. That’s what’s important. I followed the rules and got to read. Analogy? I don’t go to moves; they’re expensive. I can spurge and get a 24 use download from movie sights when I really want to see one.  Or go to a movie vending machine. And hey, most books are less expensive than a movie ticket and they last forever! Barring water damage, puppy teeth and loss through loan – acceptable loss, that one.

I write a lot of my down hours, just like a good number of people. If I’m not actively working on another project I’m either at the keyboard or brainstorming in a notebook. All that time is one thing. I do it because I love to write the movies I see in my head. The other side of the story? Well, I buy my ISBNS. I buy the pictures I put on covers and in advertising. I pay an editor because no matter how smart I and my critique partners think we are, there are always issues we’ve missed. Trust me. Also, because I dont’ trust “free” isbns that are owned by companies, I have to pay for distribution, even in Amazon’s paper publishing. My writing hobby got expensive, really fast. Now it’s venturing into addiction territory, you know the kind that keeps you from your friends and consumes more and more of your disposable income and time. I’d love people to pay their $0.99 or $2.99 to show they appreciate the time, effort, and expenditure that went into writing a book.

Here’s the thing, if I’m giving away some books for free, and you pirate the ones that are paying for me to produce books, then how can I write more books? I’m sure everyone has different views. I’ve seen many people from Scalzi who doesn’t want second-hand eBook sales to Albert Berg who’s been there and monye’s tight.

I’m not saying that there’s a clear line. But let me tell you this: data is money and money is actually time spent on a projects & I’m only able to give up so much of my time for free. There are charities, family, work, and writing. I’d like to keep writing and I’m not asking for much in return. I’d like legitimate sales of books I put up for sale. Read free all you can. As Levar Burton said, “But don’t take my word for it”:

Seanan McGuire         Dan O’Shea        Chuck Wendig more from Chuck Wendig

You know what’s intersting? It’s mostly indies who are in on this debate. There aren’t a lot of big big authors like the ones above who’s sites I found (although, honestly three of these were collected by another author). So tell me what you think? Is piracy worth worrying about? Does DRM create piracy? Should we be flattered by the free advertising?