A spot of late-night Googling this week revealed that Unscrupulous Persons are offering my book (or parts of it “for review”) as an ebook or downloadable PDF. Went to bed feeling a bit sick about it.
This probably happens to lots of authors, and some people are okay about it, saying It gets my book out there/It’s good advertising (not me). There’s also an argument that It’s not really a lost sale because the person wouldn’t buy it anyway, but the more normal or accepted book piracy becomes, the less there’s an incentive for people to pay for them, so eventually readers who buy books stop buying them. It also leads to a decline in the perceived value of a book. Piracy has repercussions on not just authors (and their publishing contracts), but publishers, distributors, retailers, everyone who has a job in those three industries, and ultimately readers.
The sites in question have an almost legitimate-looking first page. They may ask you to sign up or register and pay in order to download the PDF. Downloading may invite a virus onto your computer or unauthorized payments from your account. However, it may just be a scam and they don’t really have anything; I suspect this might be the case but I daren’t click on anything to find out.
The Dressmaker’s Companion is only available as a printed book. It hasn’t been published as an ebook for a few reasons: apart from making piracy harder, ebooks generally aren’t suited to heavily illustrated books (like mine) because you can’t tell the device it will be viewed on (the ultimate, though, would be to have an ebook with embedded videos to show sewing techniques).
Maybe you’re thinking of buying The Dressmaker’s Companion and you’d like to flip through a copy first. Don’t be tempted to download a free sample! You could see if your local library has it, and if they don’t, why not ask your librarian to purchase a copy for the library? Then you could be the first to borrow it, realize that you must own a copy, and buy one!