Hi, folks. I’m a member of Sisters in Crime, a writers’ association that helps women writers of mysteries, crime fiction, and suspense/thrillers meet each other, network, and help writers. I’m on their updates list, and they send out links that might be of interest to us.
Today, one such link is HERE. It’s called “The Rise of the Ebook Lending Library and the Death of Ebook Pirating.” Now, I’ve spoken about book piracy before. You can find that post here, if you’re interested.
Read the article and then check out the comments. Especially by the book pirate who has stolen 15,000 ebooks. And then brags about it. And then says he’ll never pay for anything again. He’s also stolen movies and games, if I remember correctly. And he’s proud of it.
Okay, so here’s where I am on this ebook lending thing. I don’t mind it. It’s like a library. I’m also really supportive of libraries, because of the idea of a public service that allows anybody and everybody to access reading material and then bring it back to that institution. These are legitimately sanctioned businesses, and taxes pay for their upkeep and book purchases. In other words, if you’re a taxpayer, you are purchasing books for libraries. Also, I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to accumulate things, so I use libraries a lot. I also use Netflix so I can still watch movies but send them back when I’m done (or stream them).
Here’s the difference between Netflix and piracy. I PAY for the service. I PAY to receive movies in the mail that I watch and then send back. I PAY to stream movies. And I don’t mind doing it because I want the people who made those movies and acted in them to receive monies via royalties for the work that they did/do. Even if I thought the movie sucked, I pay artists and entertainers for what they provide. With regard to libraries, I pay for that service with my taxes. I would really like it, too, if there were an ebook service like Netflix, where I could pay, say, $15/mo. to download books and read them and then, if I liked them, pay another buck or two to keep it. Why? Because I believe in supporting artists for the work they do. I believe, too, in supporting the industries in which they participate.
Having said that, with regard to piracy, I’m a realist. There are always going to be a**holes who want something for nothing at the expense of artists. That’s a reality. I don’t realistically think that it will ever stop because there is always a percentage of the population that has no problem stealing and/or that will justify stealing with all kinds of excuses. The only thing that will slow electronic piracy down at this point is if the apocalypse happens, the grid collapses, and there is no longer any electricity to run computers. That will put an end to ebook (and other digital) piracy, until someone figures out how to harness the sun more efficiently to generate electricity (in that scenario). And then it’ll just start all over again because humans are inherently flawed in that regard.
Anyway, I try to appeal to the “ethical” side of people. I try to point out that piracy is really shitty (unless it involves sailing ships and 18th-century sea battles) and it hurts a lot of artists, and by extension, the industries that legitimately support them. But that argument just isn’t going to resonate with thieves, especially the hardcore ones like that guy who commented on the article above.
So basically, back to the matter at hand. No, I don’t have problems with ebook lending. I’d rather somebody logged into a site and shared their books with other readers from a sanctioned industry site (even for free) with certain restrictions than downloaded gajillions from a torrent site. Will ebook lending stop piracy? No. Somebody will steal those books, too. See my comment about human nature, above. But maybe it’ll make major piracy sites less attractive, and more of a hassle than just doing something legitimate.
Here’s hoping, anyway.