I haven't posted about this topic in years, literally. Part of that is because I just gave up, and part is because some e-book piracy web sites have been taken down and I've even heard cases where e-book pirates have been prosecuted. I don't have links to any of that so I can't confirm it, but as far as I know those who still pirate e-books are breaking the law, they are taking a huge chance at getting caught, and a lot of authors are following them secretly so they can expose them.
With a simple search the most recent piece I found on the topic of e-book piracy was from The Digital Reader. Most people familiar with e-publishing are familiar with this site. I follow him on twitter and I've always found his pieces short, simple and factual.
This time he's talking about piracy and google.
Piracy is endemic to almost every retail site which sells digital content. Some sites such as Amazon routinely (and sometimes aggressively) police their catalog for pirated content, while others have a more laissez-faire attitude.
Google definitely falls into the latter category. The ad network is allowing large-scale commercial ebook piracy to infest Google Play Books.
Update: I have published a second installment. And Google has responded.
I HIGHLY urge you to read this article, here. The thing I found most fascinating was that some book pirates aren't just sharing anymore. They are SELLING e-books they've stolen, and at much lower prices. And they're attacking indie authors, too. I don't even want to begin to think about the e-books I've written that have been pirated. I used to be willing to turn a blind eye on the culprits who just shared. I understood, at the time, e-books are not a tangible item. But when I find out they are making money on indie authors and on publishers I find myself thinking a lot differently.
Who Are the E-book Pirates?
Now I'm linking to another web site that talked about e-book piracy in April. And I'm finding out a lot of new things I didn't even know...or realize. I had absolutely no idea this WTF-ery was going on.
Pirate sites pose as legitimate on-line booksellers and sometimes as a kind of Netflix for readers. They charge a monthly fee to members, giving them the right to download multiple books, all of which were pirated in the first place. Yield for the author: Many new readers perhaps, but no money.
And mystery novelists may be more vulnerable than writers in other categories. An independent bookseller recently told me that her customers are more likely to read mysteries on an e-reader because they are not the sort of books—like nonfiction, for instance—that people want to keep and reread. If, as mystery writers, we are more likely to sell e-books, we are more all the more vulnerable to Captain Hook.
You can read all of this, here. It also tells you who is trying to stop it and how authors can fight back.
Exposing a Book Pirating Web Site
And this next article comes from a web site that's caused a lot of controversy over the last two or three years because it focuses on bully practices in publishing. I've linked to them before, but had no idea they were also exposing book pirate sites, too. I found this, again, through a simple search.
We received an email today about this book pirating website. Several authors told us they were able to remove their books successfully without anything affecting their computers. Others, who tried to download free books to test the site told us that this is a phishing website. Therefore we have removed the link. We want everyone to be aware that there are many sites like these on the internet and to be extremely careful when you find one.
You can read the rest of that here.
As I said, I do know authors who have been following some of these secretive book pirates around for a while...and also following the readers who get their e-books from pirate sites. While I can't go into detail, I can say that I have a feeling we'll be seeing some readers being charged criminally in the future, and finding themselves facing steep legal fees they never saw coming. Some will be sued. It's not a chance I would want to take.