How can you tell whether an e-book download is legit? Well, the simple answer is unless an author or publishing company offers you a free e-book direct from their website, then you most likely dealing with illegal material. Most people know that the many “free” pdf download sites are really just sites that are trying to install malware and other nasties on your device/system, but there has emerged a new, more legitimate-sounding con: the e-book “re-seller”.
It’s recently come to many Pagan authors’ attention that there are quite a few sites “re-selling” digital formats of their books. Please note that you cannot “re-sell” a digital format of a book. Every book that is sold is protected under copyright, and may only be used and read by the person who purchased the item. E-book “re-sellers” sites offer illegal pdf downloads of the works. Some of the digital “re-sellers” have websites that look very authentic, and are even using large well-known second-hand platforms that make you think that what they are doing is legal. But please, make no mistake, a “second-hand” e-book is an illegal version.
Publishers sell licensed versions for Kobo, Nook, Kindle, Googleplay and more, ensuring that with each purchase, the author is getting paid for that sale. These are protected versions of the book to be put onto your chosen device. An e-book “re-seller” selling a pdf is not the same (it is not protected in the same way as the above versions are). What’s worse, once a single pdf is out there on the internet, hundreds of sites can then use it for their own personal gains (with nothing going towards the author).
Pirating of e-books is something that is rapidly starting to undermine the publishing industry. What most people don’t realise is that when they illegally download a book, they are putting another nail in the coffin of authors everywhere who are trying to write more books. Most authors these days can’t even afford to have writing as their sole career: it’s very, very hard to make a living as an author. For instance, did you know that the standard percentage that an author gets per book sold is 10% net? That’s net, not gross. So, after the publishers, the sellers and everyone else has had their share, the author gets 10% of what’s leftover. Sometimes that’s just pennies. The percentage is sometimes higher for an e-book, but it is still very much lower than what authors used to take home ten or twenty years ago. With the illegal downloading of books, this throws the industry into a tailspin and it is the author who suffers the most.
Many, many people are feeling the strain of earning less and working more, authors included. Many, many people can’t afford to buy all the books that they want. For some, illegal downloading seems to be the answer. What people might not realise is that the more they do this, the more likely it is that an author will not be able to sustain themselves and, therefore, will stop writing all those lovely books.
So what is one to do? If you are short on cash, you can always use a legitimate e-library, and if they don’t have the books you want, you can always ask them to order them for you. My husband has used the county library’s e-book department and read hundreds of books through them. Libraries pay for the license, and so you can read the material you want legally. As well, the author gets a crust of bread with her soup.
You can also work as a book reviewer in your spare time, and dedicate online places to book reviews such as a website and blog. Then, once you have a legitimate platform established, you can ask the publisher for a review copy, and then write your review (usually sending an email back to the publishers with the link to your review). I have a couple of publishers that I work with in this respect, who send me info on new book releases a couple of times a year. I email them back with the titles that interest me, and then I after I’ve received and read the book, I write up a review. I haven’t had to pay for the book monetarily, but I’ve devoted my time and energy into helping promote the work on various personal platforms. In this way, I am engaging in a legitimate exchange of services for goods. Plus I get real books to keep and put on my bookshelf 🙂
Help keep your favourite authors going through legitimate retailers, libraries and a fair exchange of services. x