Book Theft Fallout – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

For those of you who have been following the saga of Tali Spencer’s “The Prince of Winds,” I thought I’d give you a few updates.  If you missed the entire crazy story, click here for Tali’s blogpost about her firsthand experience with book theft.

First the good news…  Tali’s wonderful book is back up on all the bookseller outlets, including Amazon and AllRomanceEbooks.  Even better, readers have been very supportive of her.  Goodreads has taken down the stolen book, published in two parts by the thief.

The bad news…  After much soul-searching, I’ve decided to take down my free novella, “Stealing the Wind.”  I had wanted to publish it fully here as a free story, then rework it for eventual publication.  Given that I do want to publish it eventually, I just couldn’t risk having happen to “Stealing” what happened to Tali’s book.  For those of you who have been following the story, if you email me at by midnight on Saturday, October 6th, with your contact information, I will make sure you get a free copy of the book when it’s published.  My way of saying thank you for being understanding!

In the meantime, I’ve posted another free story here on my website.  Kiss and Makeup” was written as part of the Goodreads MM Romance Group’s “Love is Always Write” event this past summer.  I hope you’ll enjoy this sweet and sexy story about a makeup artist who has to transform an action star into an alien warlord, but wants nothing more than to transform him into his boyfriend!

Ah, yes, and now for the ugly…  Book theft happens far more than you’d imagine.  What happened to Tali is horrible.  It’s also a crime.  But it doesn’t happen as often as one other type of theft:  piracy.  No, not the pirates in “Stealing the Wind.”  Ebook pirates.  Every day, readers download thousands of illegal copies of published books from pirate websites.  The day after “The Melody Thief” was released by Dreamspinner Press, there were already illegal copies for “free” download on the web.  And we’re talking hundreds of downloads for each of my books, thousands for the older ones. 

Is it a crime to download a book off a torrent site?  Yes.  It is.  Does it violate a writer’s copyright?  You bet.  But those websites are nearly impossible to fight and they’re like wack-a-moles:  kill one, and 4 more pop up in its place.

So what can you do if you’re a reader to help support your favorite writers?  Don’t download illegal free copies of ebooks.  I know it’s tempting, but think about how much time and effort goes into each book.  Writers don’t receive a penny from these illegal downloads.  Nothing.  Nada.   And think about how many people worked to publish that book, not just the writer, but the editors and cover artists.  Dreamspinner and other publishers have regular sales on ebooks, and Amazon almost always sells their books at a discount.  Another option is to use the share feature on Amazon Kindle for legal sharing (book loans are limited to one time per book).  Or go to your public library and borrow the book (many public libraries have ebooks now).

If writers and readers don’t join forces to stop ebook piracy and theft, we all suffer.  Take a stand.  Stop the pirates.  And leave the sexy pirates to the writers’ imaginations! -Shira

PS:  Congrats to Rush, who won the ebook copy of “The Dream of a Thousand Nights” on last week’s post.  The Goodreads giveaway for a paperback copy of “The Melody Thief” is still going on, so be sure to enter if you haven’t!  Scroll down for the contest when you get to the book page.

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