Chutzpah - the quality of audacity, for good or for bad
Dianna Dilworth passed me an email the other day. She'd gotten an email pitch from a new ebookstore, and she didn't have time to write about it. I'm glad she forwarded it to me because it's deeply amusing.
I'm always in favor of giving at least a basic blurb for every ebookstore I come across, so I visited the site in order to give it a basic once over. It looks like it's using a standard e-commerce theme, and at first glance is professionally built (from a kit). The layout is good, and at first glance the prices are decent.
But then I notice that all the ebooks for sale were cheap PDF bundles, which tips me off: this is probably a pirate site. The impossibly cheap Stephanie Meyer bundle only confirmed it.
You might expect me to get pissed, but I admire this pirate's chutzpah. He actually sent a link to the press in the hopes we'd talk about his site. This is one person who has big brass balls, and I find that amusing.
He's still a filthy stinking pirate, though. But so long as I'm on the topic:
How to Tell It's a Pirate Site
There are a couple of basic ways to tell that you're dealing with pirated ebooks. Basically you'll need to become an informed consumer.
- First, does the site have content not (legally) available anywhere else? For example, search for Harry Potter series. That series is still not (legally) available anywhere, so its presence is a sure sign of piracy.
- Second, are the ebooks free? What about free after a subscription? If you find a lot of commercial ebooks for free then it's probably not legal.
- Third, can you get those commercial ebooks as cheap bundles? If the site only sells bundles then it's probably not lega.
- Fourth, Does the site say anything about DRM? Most commercial ebooks are encumbered by Digital Restrictions Management. If a given title has DRM elsewhere, but not on a suspect site, then the suspect site is probably pirate.
P.S. Let me cover 1 exception to the rule before anyone adds it in the comments. Some publishers have their own sites, and some are even DRM free. O'Reilly and Baen Books are a couple good examples.
P.P.S. If you're not sure about whether a site is legit, you can leave a comment and ask me. Or you can go ask over at MobileRead. There are any number of people who will help you with this.