I received the following message this week:
I have just been directed by a concerned reader to a site where the reader (who is also a writer) says she found her novel listed for free. So, I looked and my book was there as well. I didn’t put it there and someone must have uploaded it… not me. I can’t get it taken down! Can you help?
I’m sure you’ve seen those sites, or at least seen complaints about them. They offer thousands (or even millions) of “FREE!” ebooks. There are similar sites that claim to give away popular music and movies as well.
Here’s the reality of the situation. Somebody first has to BUY a copy of your ebook, and then they must violate the law by giving a copy to that website. If the website then allows folks to download the ebook, they are also in violation of the law. Most of these scam sites are overseas so filing lawsuits is usually a waste of time. You’re unlikely to get anywhere using legal threats and they know that.
But, do they REALLY have a copy of your book? Unlike a major motion picture, and unlike a popular rock group, if you are a new author with just a few sales under your belt, it’s not likely someone has given a free copy of your book to one of these sites. Some of these sites don’t actually have any books at all. They simply skim other sites with their databases to obtain book information (name, author, ISBN, etc.). They then publish this information to entice people to their site. Why? Because they are bad people.
The good news is, they probably don’t really have a copy of your book. They may simply be tricking people into downloading a virus. Yes, some of the “free ebook” websites aren’t really giving away ebooks. They’re giving away viruses.
And, if someone is trying to download a free copy of your copyrighted book, and they get a virus instead, I call that karma.
Unfortunately, if you try to download that copy of your own book, you may get a virus, too.
Are there sites that are really giving away illegal copies of ebooks? Sure, but there are also many other sites that claim to…but don’t. One of our authors found his book being given away for free on Scribd.com, and was able to have it removed, only to find it added yet again later. But, he is a popular author of a best-selling book so it wasn’t surprising that more than one unscrupulous person uploaded a copy of his book to that website.
Remember, most of these sites are overseas. You can try contacting the website to ask them to remove the listing but, if they’re in the virus business, they’re going to ignore you, and keep doing their illegal deeds. If they really are giving away a free copy of your book, and they’re overseas, it would be very expensive for you to hire a lawyer to pursue them. They know this as well.
I ignore these sites. Many have my books listed. It’s not worth my time or energy to pursue them. Most people are good, honest folks, and don’t go looking for free books to illegally download. And, again, if they do try to get a free copy of my book and get a virus instead, they deserve it.
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).
WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.
BookLocker.com - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."
Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.
PubPreppers.com - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!
Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.
Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)
See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.
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Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!
Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE