Thursday, 23 August 2012

Stop E-Book Piracy - Blog Hop

A Message from Kate Evangelista

Pirates of the Tropics
by Kate Evangelista

As many of you might not know, I’m from the Philippines. I was born and raised in this beautiful country of smiling people and lush, sandy beaches. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that we’re islanders when you’re an hour or two away from the water. Piracy is a problem here too, like in many places around the world, but mostly, the piracy has to do with movies and music than books. The eReader revolution hasn’t made much of an impact here on our shores yet; although, it is gaining some ground. Most of the readers still go into bookstores and buy physical copies of the book. Even I just recently moved over to reading eBooks.

Before I get into my thoughts on book piracy, I want first to clarify how piracy here in the Philippines works. The reason why it mostly involves movies and music is because prices of DVDs and CDs are very high. Many can’t afford to pay $10 or more for a DVD. (I’m converting the prices in dollars for easier understanding). Here, a pirated DVD costs $1 or less. When faced with the dilemma of paying ten times less just to watch a movie, many consumers will pick the cheaper alternative. It’s wrong, of course, since the producers of the movie aren’t being paid a dime for the pirated versions of their work.

Now we can move on to books. EBook piracy, like I said, isn’t much of a problem here. Those who indulge in reading books would buy them from bookstores. As a writer, my main goal is to write the stories of the characters in my head. Once that goal is achieved, my next goal is getting that story read. This is where publishing comes in. The fact that I get paid for something I love doing is a much appreciated bonus. When a book is “shared,” or in this case pirated, the writers and publishers aren’t getting paid for their hard work. This is where much of the animosity comes from.

Everyone is trying to make a living in this fast-paced world. We need to provide basic necessities not only for ourselves but for our families too. So, to see your work uploaded on file sharing sites without making a dime can definitely be upsetting. But this is where my thinking shifts a little.

The fact that a book is uploaded in a file sharing site means someone wants to read it. Granted they’re reading it for free like they would from a library, but they are still reading it. Many authors I know are relieved when they search for their books on a file sharing site and don’t find them there. This is good, but this also means they’re book isn’t being shared to be read.

I know my thinking is wonky. It comes across as I’m enabling the piracy of books. It’s just, at the end of the day, I’m happy that someone is reading the crazy stories that were once in my head. That they are taking the time to pick up something that I wrote and reading it. Of course, I wish they paid for it first, but what are we writing for? Someone once told me: don’t get into to writing to get rich. This point is true if you measure riches in a monetary sense. I got into writing because I love telling stories and sharing them with anyone who would take a moment out of their day to read. That is my measure of riches.

Do I wish book piracy would stop? Yes, of course. But do I wish people to stop reading my stories? Definitely not. So, I find myself at an impasse. I wrote this post to give a different perspective to the piracy issue. Now, if someone was making money by selling ecopies of your books other than your publisher? That’s a whole different story entirely, and something I definitely would not condone.