About book piracy...

As some of you may know, on Friday, it was discovered that a Canadian website was offering pirated versions of several young adult books. Lauren DeStefano in particular fought back hard, and when she confronted the owner of this webste, he "informed" her that what he's doing is 100% legal AND called her a bitch. Because, you know, mature. A lot of authors and bloggers attempted to reason with this man, only for the discussions to quickly become, ah, less productive. So I thought I'd give you my take on the situation, and give you some ideas how not to be a total douche book pirate.

Okay, so about book piracy. Let me give it to you straight. When you "pirate" a book, you are not cool like Jack Sparrow. Sorry, sorry. Captain Jack Sparrow. You don't look like this:

Adventure from The Pagemaster

No. You are a thief. A thief of books. And no, that doesn't make you cool like this either.

No. If you illegally download an ebook (illegally download referring to the fact that you did not pay money to a legitimate book retailer), you are an actual thief. To put it plainly: YOU ARE STEALING. You are doing the online-equivalent of walking into a store, glancing around to see if anyone's watching, and shoving that copy of Fifty Shades of Grey into the back of your yoga pants, and that's not a good look for anyone.

If you steal a book because you think authors are rich, YOU ARE WRONG. Most authors do not recieve the kind of money you think they do. J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Stephen King: these guys are NOT the norm. Even NYT best-sellers aren't loaded like you think. Several authors have done many blog posts on piracy so I suggest you do a little research on this particular topic. Ally Carter, one of my absolute favorites, has written several. Here's one AND it contains a link to a previous post on the same topic.

If you steal a book because you're getting back at "The Man" or some other such bull, you're just an idiot.

If you don't realize what you're doing is stealing, you need to be educated.

If you steal a book because you don't have the money to buy it, I'm happy to say I have some alternative suggestions for you, and I encourage you to learn to use a combination of these resources to receive maximum book goodness.


  1. Book retailer. Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, etc. Just buy the dang book
  2. Online Book Retailer. B&N and BAM have websites, but you can also use Amazon, Kobo, or Book Depository (INT shipping with BD!). Amazon and Ebay have decent marketplaces where you can buy used copies. Amazon also has Kindle deals where books have incredible one-day sales. Winger by Andrew Smith was a recent Kindle Book of the Day. Amazon also offers a new program called Kindle First, where you can choose a FREE Amazon-published title. No YA options yet, but if you're interested, let them know. I bet with enough requests, they'll soon give in to our demands! **ETA: see the edited section below for another good Amazon program
  3. Overstock/closeout online retailer. Book Outlet (formerly Book Close Outs) is my favorite. New copies might run up around $6 or $7, but if you don't mind scratches or dents, those are really cheap. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver? $2.49.
  4. Indie bookstore. Help your local economy and buy indie. Use Indie Bound to find one near you or use a well-known indie in another city. Indies tend to have really good author relations with their local authors, and the "bigger" indies have lots of signings. You can often buy signed copies from these guys!
  5. Used bookstore. In Tennessee, everyone knows about McKays, which is a small chain of used bookstores. It's pretty much the best. In Dallas, I like Half Price Books (large chain spanning several states) and Lucky Dog (local chain w/only 3 locations). Bonus: Half Price Books has an amazing online marketplace where you can buy & sell used books, whether or not you live near HPB. Extra bonus: If you sign up for emails from HPB, they'll send you coupons. Two weeks ago, they did 40% off for 2 days, 20% for 2, 30% for 2, and 50% for one. I stocked up!
  6. Ask for gifts. If your birthday is coming up or a holiday, use it as an opportunity to stack your shelf! Would you rather get a copy of The Fiery Heart for Christmas or that scratchy sweater you're not gonna wear even once?
  7. Trade books with a friend. Find a friend who's into the same kind of books and then trade them back and forth. A word of advice: SET RULES. Talk about time limits and the condition you expect the books to come back in. Don't let books get in between your friendship...but don't let your friendship get in between you and a good read either!
  8. Find a trade website or a Goodreads trade group. Similar to 5, but you're trusting strangers so proceed with extreme caution. YA Book Exchange is a VERY reputable site, and there are many groups on Goodreads that have good reputations. A word of advice: You're usually trading for keeps (unless you decide to trade the book again). Also, be a good trader or your rep will be ruined. You'll not only end up blocked, but word about you might spread. And don't think you can get around being blocked. Moderators keep up with IPs and all that computer science-y stuff. They'll find you out, even under a different avatar or screenname.
  9. Publisher websites. HarperCollins runs Epic Reads and Pitch Dark. Simon & Schuster has PulseIt. Macmillan does Mac Teen Books. Bonus: Epic Reads runs #TeaTime on Twitter every Wednesday at 3:45 PM EST/2:45 PM CST. Great giveaways. Super double bonus: They hold arc parties every few months to give you access to upcoming books. One more bonus: Like the publishers on Facebook and follow them on Twitter for extra giveaway opportunities.
  10. Author websites. Authors don't have a lot of copies to give away, ARCs, final copies or otherwise, but they are very willing to share what they do. Many authors hold giveaways on their websites (Marissa Meyer has already done, like, four for arcs of Cress!) or sometimes on their social media sites (Tamara Ireland Stone gave away copies of Time Between Us for a week using her Twitter and Facebook accounts). Authors also advertise when their books are on sale. It's so stupid that this guy was pirating Lauren DeStefano's books because Perfect Ruin has been on sale for $1.99 for two or three weeks! Also, if you make friends with authors, some of them might send you books directly (I said MIGHT). Don't stalk them or anything, but just...make friends. A word of advice: Don't attempt befriend an author with the sole purpose of getting free books. I'm just saying, if you let an author know you appreciate their work and you guys talk occasionally-to-frequently...it could happen (I said COULD).
  11. Blog giveaways! I don't know if you noticed, but I give away several books a month on this blog. As of today, I have FIVE going, and that's just my little blog. There are hundreds and thousands of other blogs, and a significant number host giveaways. Follow a few of your favorites for extra entries and updates on new giveaways. Or, if you're just looking for one particular book, google the title + giveaway. I found several Cress arc giveaways last month when I searched like that. A word of advice: you're not gonna win them all, but you will win some. Be cool & follow the rules.
  12. YA Scavenger Hunt. This is part #10, part #11. The #YASH is a wonderful bi-to-tri-annual event when manymanymany ya authors band together to give back to readers. They hold a HUGE three-day-long scavenger hunt that gives access to bonuses, special features, and exclusive content AND they hold a massive hunt-wide giveaway. You can enter to win grand prizes that consist of 20-30 ya books, AND most of the authors hold individual giveaways simultaneously. 
  13. Goodreads First Reads. More giveaways, and no, you won't win them all, but if you review books on GR, your chances will increase!
  14. Ebook deal websites. Bookperk is a HarperCollins-run ebook deal email subscription. YA Book Deals is another email subscription that allows you to customize your emails based on your favorite genres. They're also non-stop giveaways. I like to use dealnews for Amazon deals (usually music or movies), but they've also got some book deals. Right now, they've got a deal to get a The Hogwarts Library (the three HP companion novels) for less than $20! Bookbub is a website that showcases ebook deals from several sites & services, and you can sign up for email notifications (thanks to Saleana for the tip!).
  15. Attend events. Go to book signings, debut parties, and book launches. If you can, hit up a book conference. The former will usually not be a big source of books, but sometimes authors/publishers and/or the  host library/bookstore will do giveaways. The latter is a good source of books (free or severely discounted and a lot of arcs as well), but they do require a lot of planning and also admission fees (sometimes also membership fees depending on the conference).

 And finally, I can't stress this one enough. GO TO YOUR DANG LOCAL LIBRARY. Not all libraries are great, I get that. But most will get at least the big books. Become friends with the librarian. If you have the time, volunteer. If you have the ability, request items for purchase. My library here in Dallas allows me to make FIVE purchase requests a week, which is a lot, but Dallas has a massive library system with nearly 30 branches. My hometown library in Tennessee? Eighteen branches, and I could request one on my card and one on my mom's because that's a feature she didn't utilize for her own requests. If your library doesn't have the option for you to formally make purchase requests, get in good with the librarian, and you'll be able to make some unofficial requests. Librarians obviously love to talk books. If you prove you're a good person to chat with, they'll most likely be willing to listen to your ideas. Bonus: Library purchases are REAL purchases. Publishers can track those the same as any other kind. When sales increase, publishers are happy and when publishers are happy, they're more likely to order more books from your favorite author which means happy readers. Even when I already have a book, I like to make sure my library has a copy too because 1. I want that extra book sale, and 2. I want other readers to find it and love it just like I do. Also, libraries often order multiple copies. If you can't buy a book yourself because funds are low, but you request your library to get it and they buy FIVE copies, you've still helped that book's sales so GO YOU. A confession: I frequently check out my favorite authors' books out of the library, even if I have no intention to read those books at that time, so the library knows those books get checked out. Most libraries check out which authors and which series are not getting a lot of shelf time in a good way. If you check out copies of Heist Society and Gallagher Girls, it lets the library know that Ally Carter is awesome, and they should order copies of Embassy Row. This sounds silly, but seriously, IT WORKS.

I can tell you all that I have used EVERY single item on this list with the sole exception of using a trade website/group, and that's because I just don't have the time to participate. If you're wondering why I didn't include such resources like Netgalley, Edelweiss or ARCycling, that's because those sites and many more like them are generally only available to bloggers and are therefore not actually a good source of books for anyone who loves to read but doesn't want to make a serious career or hobby/not-a-paying-job-but-still-a-job out of it. Also because I'm primarily discussing piracy in terms of post-release, although ARC piracy is equally horrid. I tried to keep my list as open to general readers as possible.

Honestly, if you can't find one helpful item on this list for your particular situation, then I just don't know what you want other than all the books for the low low cost of $0. Trust me, we all want that. And yet, if that were a reality, publishers would not have money. If publishers did not have money, they would not be able to pay for book deals. If publishers were not able to pay for books, the writers of those books would have to find other, less-cool jobs so they could have health insurance. If writers would have to have other jobs, they wouldn't find time to write. If they didn't find time to write, we wouldn't have any books at all. If we didn't have any books at all, we would all get stupid. If we were all stupid, we'd walk in front of moving vehicles and die. So really, if all books cost $0, we would all die. It's all there. My logic is flawless. #lawyered

Seriously, though, get educated about piracy and what it actually does to the economy as well as the members of the industry in question, be it music, film, or publishing. If you ever find a website promoting piracy, the absolute best thing you can do is notify the publisher. Sure, the authors want to know and can sound the alarm, but publishers have a lot more resources (read: legal teams) than individual authors and can do more damage/damage control (whichever way you see it).

It comes down to this: If you want more books, support authors and buy books in some  legal way. They are well worth your money.

Another reason many people feel compelled to pirate books is because they feel like when they buy a copy of the book, particularly a physical copy, they are entitled to the ebook. Sadly, this just isn't the case in the industry right now. I know it's a bummer, particularly when that's an option for movies and music. I don't buy many dvds anymore so a bonus digital copy is a good incentive for me, but, like I said, that's not a option available for books–yet. HOWEVER, I just stumbled across Amazon's new program Kindle Matchbook. As it says on the websites, for qualified books (I'm sure there are exceptions), if you've bought the print copy, you have the option to snag the ebook for anywhere from $2.99 to FREE. I just did a search on my own purchase history. At this time, the only book available to me through Kindle Matchbook is Meg Cabot's Size 12 and Ready to Rock (Heather Wells #4) for $2.99, but I have a feeling as this program becomes more known to customers and publishers alike, more books will be available. So be sure to check it out!

Please feel free to share your links and ideas for other book resources. You may also share your feelings on book piracy, but I must warn you, if you just want to start an argument or you want to talk about how it's okay to steal books, I will not engage you, and I'll probably just delete your comments. Please check out my Site Policies tab at the top of the page for my full policy on comments.


  1. Amen. There are so many other ways of supporting an author or reading you book you may not financially be able to afford than going to those piracy websites! I feel like those who run them are not true book lovers so why are they even doing it? It's not exactly like they are making money off of it (maybe the adds?). Grr.

    1. Some people enjoy knowing they're doing something illegal. Others seriously do think they're helping people save money because "authors are rich." My brother is a songwriter, and he found someone who had uploaded his music to a sharing website. That person justified his actions by saying my brother made lots of money and didn't need it, when really, my brother is self-employed and doesn't roll in the dough like this guy thought. *shrugs* They're just selfish people, I guess, and also a little on the stupid side.

  2. Okay, this post is great. I just don't understand people at all. That dude (Tim?) was just obnoxious and I was not in the mood to get involved with his complete ridiculousness.
    Also, I love your love for all things Ally Carter. She is my favorite.

    1. Several times I found myself composing a tweet to him (don't remember his name, but his Twitter handle is Tuebl), but I just didn't feel like lowering myself to his level. Others before me had attempted to reason with him, but he seemed content to resort to insults and profanity. Not worth the effort, you know? Glad you felt the same. And YES, Ally is the best. She's written a number of amazing posts on piracy, as a matter of fact.

    2. Yes, she has. She is definitely one of the most, involved(?) authors I know. Whenever something is happening in the writing world I think she tries to update readers and provide them with a different perspective, the author's perspective. Which I really appreciate.

    3. I adore Ally. She really does have a way of explaining things. When things happen in the publishing world, I know I can count on her to have a fair and informative opinion about it.

  3. I signed up with bookbub. They alert you when an ebook is insanely cheap or free - and it's legal through amazon!

    1. Thanks for the tip, Seleana! I'll be sure to add it to the list!

  4. Bravo to Lauren DeStefano and other bloggers for fighting for what's right. Authors and publishers have worked hard to compose a wonderful work of art for us readers, but when it comes to piracy, it's a no no. I definitely think the government should do something about this.

    1. There are laws against piracy. The problem is that cyber piracy is just really hard to police. That's why it's so important for readers to support the authors by buying/borrowing books and reporting piracy websites.

  5. Wow! That guy was a total jacka$$ wasn't he? All the authors that I've met online have been super nice and I want to support them, not steal from them!

    1. He was. I hope they're able to get him totally shut down.