Why piracy matters

A few days ago I posted about GoodEreader.com, a pirate ebook website. Since then I've had a couple of comments and emails from people who wonder why I bothered to single out this one site when so much of that content could be found on torrents (all you need is Google).

This is true, but this site is a different case from the torrent sites, and I can give you a couple reasons why. The first is that GoodEreader.com appeared to be a legitimate blog. No one thinks the torrent sites are legit, and until I outed this site they were using that air of legitimacy to draw in the unsuspecting.

My second reason is more important, IMO. GoodEreader.com are charging money for access to the pirated ebooks, and that's is a bigger deal than you might realize.

Not everyone pirates ebooks becuase they want something for nothing. (That type won't pay anyway, so they're irrelevant to this discussion.) A lot of people pirate for, well, you may not call them good reasons, but they're reasons you can live with. This is the type of pirate that still goes out and buys content. They might download a pirated ebook as a sample, or becuase they already own a paper copy, or for any number of reasons.

The important detail about this group of pirates is that they will spend money. If they join GoodEreader.com, they might think it's legit. They'll be spending money at that site that won't get back to the creators. I have an issue with this, and that's why I wrote the post.

P.S. I include myself in this group of pirates. I try to always pay for content, but sometimes I'm simply not allowed to. Tor-Forge Books, for example, don't want to bother with making ebooks.

About Nate Hoffelder (11371 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

10 Comments on Why piracy matters

  1. If Tor-Forge does not want to make e-books (which I will assume you are correct) that still does not entitle you the right to download pirated copies of their books. You still deny money to the publisher and authors of the book any money that are due them. You can still just buy a book from them if you like. Having an ereader does not automatically give you the right to have anything you want available on it.

    As far as pirated sites go, I agree about Good E Reader site. I look at them and follow their video reviews and comparisons. So someone on that site is not pirating everything. The videos are theirs.

    I never paid for any subscription services because frankly I never figured out what they were doing. At first I thought it might be like Audible which has a subscription price where you can get audio books. But something nagged at me and I never tried it.

    Glad I did not.

    • I don’t buy paper anymore, so that’s not an option. But even if I did, buying paper and downloading the ebook would still be piracy.

    • It doesn’t have anything to do with a “right to” do anything. If I want content in a certain form I “will” go and get it. If that publisher hasn’t made that available legally, then I won’t feel bad for shorting them profits. That being said, I do buy paper(if available) and pirate ebooks. If they were more reasonably priced I would buy them too.

      • What price is reasonably priced? Everyone wants things cheaper but does that mean they have the right to steal things because they feel that things are overpriced. Do you go to the gas station and fill your car up with gas and then drive off because the price is too high?

        E-Books are generally cheaper than their paper counterparts so they are already cheaper. Just because you want something does not automatically give you the right to have it.

        You can always use the library and read books for free.

  2. Sort of a confusing post since you condemn pirating in one circumstance but condone it another. As for wanting a sample, those are typically provided on Amazon.com even for books that are not available in electronic format.

    I guess if you purchase a hard copy because an eBook is not available, and then download a pirated copy to read on to your device, you technically are not depriving the author or publisher of any compensation. However, you most likely are still contributing to the business of piracy since sites like PirateBay earns money through advertising. Furthermore, if you are downloading a pirated ebook, you most likely are helping to spread the distribution by uploading it to other people’s computers.

    While I am no expert on copyright law, I assume if you were to buy a book (new or used) and then scan it yourself in order to create your own ebook for private use, that would be legal. I have done that myself.

    • Actually, you have no right to duplicate a book. Only passages in books (not sure the actual length) may be duplicated. But this is not the thing that publishers probably care about. It’s the people that distribute scanned material.

      • You may be right although some people on blogs have debated the issue. Some think that we are entitled to make a backup copy of our paper books for safe-keeping (like you can with DVDs) although that right may not extend to transferring it to the reading device.

        In my case the paper book is in the trash after I am done scanning it since I complete pull them apart during the process.

  3. Ebook sales are up tremendously from the same quarter last year. I am extremely skeptical that piracy is hurting this business.

  4. Actually it seems like you are singling them out, because good e-reader is providing a better news service then you are 🙂

    actually if you read the faqs on good e-reader, they employ a tracking a system on each download, and you are paying to rent the ebook, not to own the ebook. once you are not a member anymore, the ebook is gone.

    • A tracking service would require some kind of DRM, and there’s no way it could be implemented across multiple formats. That is a lie. There’s nothing to stop you from keeping the ebook past the end of your membership.

      And as for them doing the news better, that is a matter of opinion. But the fact I’m getting more traffic would tend to prove you wrong.

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