Basque Novelist Discovers She’s Being Pirated, Threatens to Quit Writing
The Guardian is reporting tonight that Lucía Etxebarria, an award winning novelist, has announced that she’s going to quit writing. She posted the following update on her Facebook page. The original was in Spanish, so this is actually a translated version: "Given that I have today discovered that more illegal copies of my book have been downloaded than I have sold, I am announcing officially that I will not publish another book for a long time."
Normally I would regret an author giving up writing, but not in this case. Etxebarria might complain about piracy, but she is also neglecting to do anything to stop it. She is a perfect example of why most pirates are frustrated customers.
Etxebarria’s latest novel, El Contenido del Silencio, was published in October but is not available as a legal ebook, even though you can find it on various illicit websites. Why? "We decided against publishing it as an ebook because that is easy to pirate. It would have been like throwing it straight to the lions," Etxebarria said. That worked well, I must say.
Actually, her refusal to release an ebook renders this situation as fairly straightforward. Since she has refused to sell the ebook, her readers have gotten it elsewhere. If piracy really bothered her that much then she would be offering a legitimate alternative.
How can anyone be angry about pirates while simultaneously not allowing customers who want to buy an ebook to pay for the content? I don’t get it.
I know that I’ve already pissed off a number of people by this point, but let me tell you where I’m coming from.
The reality is that the the faceless mob (the internet) is the one that decides whether content gets released as an ebook. Authors can claim ownership and moral rights, but they have long since lost any effective control. I’m not making a moral judgment here; this is a statement of fact.
Take JK Rowling , for example. She refused to allow ebooks for the longest time, but her novels were still released as ebooks within days (if not hours) of the official launch. It is not something one can stop, so one must learn to survive in spite of it.
My greatest issue with Etxebarria (and the reason why I don’t respect her) is that she refuses to face the reality of her situation and adapt to face it. I could name you any number of authors or publishers that have learned how to thrive in spite of piracy, but I won’t. That list would include pretty much the whole of publishing (with the exception of a few holdouts).
via The Guardian