image of a street book sellerIf there’s one thing in this life that is certain, it’s that there will always be someone out there ready and willing to steal your book from you.

Picture this scenario

A friend tells you about a great new service they have discovered, where you can buy best-selling books, any books in fact, on kindle, for a fraction the price you would pay from Amazon. So rather than having to pay the Amazon price of $7.99 for the latest from your favourite author, you can get your book for $2.00 instead. Now, tell me who isn’t going to take up an offer like that? Well, me for one and my wife as well and hopefully a few others when they realise this new service is actually being offered by someone who has stolen your favourite author’s book.  Let’s call it what it is, theft or rather copyright theft to give it its proper title.

If you’re a struggling indie author and you are selling your books on Amazon and suddenly find someone is selling your book lower than the retail price you set and that person is taking all the profit, wouldn’t you be more than a little annoyed? I know I was when I discovered some of my books on Amazon had been cracked and were openly on sale in several places on the internet. A few well phrased emails to these sites seems to have helped getting my books removed, but when one is closed another can and probably will open.

Digital Rights Management

But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. There are many more people, sorry, thieves, out there who work under the radar. These thieves have bought your books legitimately from Amazon, downloaded them and then used an app to crack the DRM (Digital Rights Management) on your book and converted that book file to another format, like PDF or EPUB, that virtually all eReaders recognise. Your books can now be sold by word of mouth (remember the friend who told you about that great new service?) being delivered via email after being paid for with PayPal or similar payment services.

It’s only someone making ends meet

There are two sides to any coin and you can look at this in two ways. In the days before the kindle and eReaders, you bought a book, hardback or paperback, and you would read it. Then you would either keep it or lend it to someone or maybe take it to your local second-hand book outlet at a market and swap it for another book. Some second-hand book outlets even buy books from you and in return they give you a credit and you buy other books from them. With deals like this, the author gets nothing and neither does the original retailer. But because of the physical size of a book, a second-hand book outlet has to have the ability to store a vast number of paperbacks and hardbacks, which means they have overheads and a lot of hassle transporting their books to market and back. By its very nature, second-hand book outlets are limited in numbers which means sales are limited.

You could argue that your local second-hand book outlet is the equivalent of the modern day book hacker, but you would be wrong. True, a book hacker has paid money for your book and you got something out of it, but there the similarity ends. The book hacker has a small file to store on their computer. It’s possible to store thousands upon thousands of hacked books on a computer and still have room for many more than a second-hand book outlet. The hacker can then go on to sell a book again and again and again…  that’s not something a second-hand book outlet can do. The book-hacker can sell 2, 10, 30 or even 100s of copies of a book and the author will probably never even know about it.

Technology is a wonderful thing, but it’s a two way street that can give you a nasty bite if you’re not careful.

Tom Kane © 2018

image of a book cover

Like a lot of people, I had a dream. To live in the sun and take life one small step at a time. Kick back, sit back, lie back, be an ex-pat on my back and watch the world go by. With our two trusty dogs, Harvey and Holly, the ‘H’ Team, my wife and I wanted to move from wet and cold Britain to Cyprus, land of the warm sun and a place where living would be easier.

Ohh, but it was an eye opener, moving to Cyprus.

Within minutes of landing at Larnaca airport, the staff there had lost our dogs. That was the beginning of a long night and an even longer journey of discovery… not to mention the unforeseen expenses. “Welcome to Cyprus. Please ensure your passport and wallet are open.”

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