Discussion : Book Piracy

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Hello, everyone! I’m starting to feel like I should be starting a column where I write about International Readers/Bloggers and the bullshit they have to deal with in this community. So, to keep up with this trend, today I’m going to talk about piracy and how you should treat it as a complex issue rather than something simple and only related to privilege.

Before I start, I want to tell you that I’m not trying to attack anyone – especially not US readers/authors. I just think we should all be more careful when we’re making hasty claims and stop trying to make a complex issue seem so easy.

Update : Since many people have been commenting on this post and have misinterpreted this post quite a bit, I thought it might be necessary to offer some context. My post is related to this tweet :

I think it’s amazing whenever authors speak out against piracy because it’s their books, their works and they deserve to get paid. They rightfully speak out against this issue. Lindsay’s tweet, too, was great up until that ‘go to a library. it’s free’ comment. That just didn’t go well for me.

The thing is whenever people talk about piracy – some authors and readers (especially from US) aren’t very sensitive to what happens around the globe. Not all people do piracy because they can or because they feel entitled to some books. Sometimes it’s deeper than that. And by not trying to see anything besides this layer, you’re throwing many international readers under the bus – not because you’re calling out piracy, but because you make reading seem like such an accessible thing to do, when in their countries, it’s not as easy as it’s in US.

Firstly, I’m not saying piracy is not wrong.  I’m not here to say that I promote piracy or that we should do that. Because I don’t. Authors should definitely be supported and we should try to find other ways to get books besides doing piracy.

BUT, whenever someone discusses this topic – something rather problematic comes up every damn time. You say you don’t understand why people would do such a thing because they’ve got access to libraries, to digital libraries, that there are so many sources from where readers can access books rather than pirate them. But these are your sources, international readers have way smaller libraries (or don’t have any, at all), we don’t have digital libraries. God knows that if I went to my library and requested an ebook, the librarian would give me a ‘where-do-you-think-you-are’ look.

So, when you’re telling people to go to libraries, you’re basically shoving the many available resources you have to get books in our faces. And it’s not cute.

Another thing that I really mind is that nobody talks about poor people who still want to read and get educated. Google ‘piracy and poverty’ and you’ll see that the poorest countries have the biggest rates when it comes to piracy. It’s because they would rather pay for other things that are much more needed (like food or other basic things), but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have the right to education and recreational means. Then there is this other thing – the main audience of YA literature is made of teens – they don’t have their own money and I’m pretty sure it’s hard for them to make their parents understand why those books are important to them when those parents are struggling with their finances. Hell, my family is middle-class and I still get those questions : ‘do you really need those books?’ /// ‘they are kind of expensive’ and so on, just imagine how it must be for readers who come from poorer backgrounds.

THEN, something that is very frustrating is how whenever you’re calling out piracy, you never offer alternatives for international readers (besides the library thing, of course).

What about different prices rates for poor countries? Because sincerely, I think we really need differentiated prices. I’m browsing sometimes Book Depository or Amazon and I’m checking those prices and they probably mean nothing to some of you, but when I convert those prices to my country’s money – the price differences are huge.

Making those digital libraries you keep telling people who do piracy to use available for international readers too? I’m not sure how these work, so I won’t talk a lot about it, but I’m sure it could be done if someone actually tried.

I never saw these matters being discussed, I just saw people complain about piracy, but never seen things actively being done to reduce it.

And now for the grand end, I know what you’re going to say – we’re not talking about international readers when we’re speaking out about piracy. I’ve seen this remark a thousand of times whenever an author or another reader is being called out – the thing is you never mention. You never specify those things. And no matter how many times you’re being called out, you never become more sensitive on international readers or on readers that really don’t have the money.

You’re really hurting readers who try very hard to find other means of getting books besides piracy when you’re being hasty in your tweets or posts. When you’re making it seem like piracy is as easy as ‘you don’t want to support me and that’s why you pirate my book’ or ‘you’re a privileged scum and that’s why you do this thing’ or the ugliest ‘it’s very easy to access books, so why do you do it?’.

So, please next time you’re writing about piracy and you want to make suggestions on what could work besides doing piracy – try to be sensitive to other readers who can’t have those shiny things that you have. Make it clear that your suggestions are only addressed to US readers who do piracy. And just try to be more inclusive because  reading is an international thing, but sometimes it really doesn’t seem like that. 

 

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What is your perspective on this matter? Let’s talk about this in a critical manner and without being rude to each other.

 

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96 thoughts on “Discussion : Book Piracy

  1. Lia says:

    This is such a great discussion! You’ve brought up some great points and I think we should definitely try harder to give internationals access to the same resources as English-speaking countries!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. utopianpages says:

    Those are great points that I agree on!!! And I feel like I need to commend you for mentioning teenage readers who can’t really afford to buy books all the time. Because I am one. I’m barely 17 and mind you 16-17 year olds here are not like the others who already have all kinds of cards in regards to money transfer or money itself. In my case, whenever I order books online with the money I saved up for the sole purpose of buying that book, I’m always in the circumstance that I need to lie. Why? How? When the package arrives, my parents are usually the ones who receive because I’m barely at home ( I spend 8-9 hours at school) and they would always ask what’s in the package and where did I get the money to purchase it. I lie via telling them I won them on giveaways (which NEVER happen lmao). Some might ask why don’t you just tell the truth? They asked u know! First, I know lying is bad. Second, I’d get a whole lot of scolding because they think I SHOULD NOT SPEND MONEY ON BOOKS which will lead to them cutting my allowance short which will eventually lead to me not being able to save up for the things I’d like to buy. So yes, that is how I could go far as to have access to books. And I can never do that ALL THE TIME.

    Also, “What about different price rates for poor countries?” YES PLS. A BOOK COSTS THE SAME AS MY ONE WEEK ALLOWANCE I JUST LITERALLY CAN’T.

    Liked by 3 people

    • thecursedbooks says:

      Thank you for sharing, Ness!!! ❤
      I think these are some of the things we never take into consideration and they should be taken into consideration. Because some people, like you, put a lot of effort into buying books and comments like 'go to your library' are even more hurtful because of this.
      SAME. I literary only buy books after I saved money from birthdays and things like that because I feel bad about asking my parents for money.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. tea & tiffany says:

    This is so eye-opening! I really appreciate that you’re bringing light to a topic that a lot of US readers, myself included, may not have known about. This is so ignorant of me, but I never knew that pricing differs, especially in poor countries. That’s so not fair!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thecursedbooks says:

      Thank you so much! You have no idea how much your comment means to me because I was so worried about the reactions that I will receive after writing this post. I think the pricings affect especially countries that don’t use euro or dollars as their currency. For example, my country uses a currency where 1 leu (the romanian currency) equals 0,26 $. So, let’s say The Throne of Glass hardcover is 10 $ on Amazon – which is like 40 lei (in Romania), I’d pay like half of this price for a translated version on a romanian retailer site. But then that means I’ll limit my reading a lot because I’d only read translated books, which are only the highly popular ones in US.
      I’m sorry for the many details, I hope I didn’t bore you a lot. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • tea & tiffany says:

        No, that makes so much sense! I just wish there were more that we could do to equalize the difference. 😕 Even now, as a US reader, I find books to be kinda pricey because it’s not always in my price range as a college student, but at least I have access to libraries. It’s definitely a privilege to be recognized. I agree that if publishers and authors want to get their work out there, they need to make it more accessible.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Danielle @ The Introverted Book Nerd says:

    This is a really great discussion and one that needs to be had. I am from the US and honestly, until I joined the book community I had no idea about the issues that you guys have to deal with. I didn’t know libraries were so limited and I didn’t know there were price differences on books. So thank you for writing this. Thank you for letting all of us priveleged Americans in on what you guys have to deal with. It’s very unfair and I can see why international readers get upset when a statement like going to the library can be so offending. As an American, we need to do our research before throwing out such privileged statements as such. I just wanted to say thank you for educating those who were ignorant to this issue before.

    Liked by 3 people

    • thecursedbooks says:

      Thank you very much for taking the time to comment on this and being as kind as you were, Danielle! It was very upsetting, especially when I see people ignoring what some international readers are trying to say and categorize it as supporting piracy. It’s not about that, it’s about being more careful about the implications of our statements.
      Thanks again for being so nice! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Danielle @ The Introverted Book Nerd says:

        I totally get where you are coming from!! I’m one of the nicer Americans who try to understand rather than judge. Hopefully this post will open some of their eyes and put it into perspective for them. Things are different for those with less privilege. Unfortunately there are so many Americans who just don’t care to understand. I totally understand all international readers’ frustrations.

        Like

  5. berriesandbooksblog says:

    Thank you for writing this post! I feel like there is a whole big issue with being international reader (like wow, people read outside the US and IN ENGLISH?). And they often forget that there are a lot more countries where reading is not accessable unlike in the US or UK. I had a thread about international readers when NetGalley and GR decided to exclude us and some failed to see I wasn’t talking for myself (since I’m still priviledged) but for those international readers that don’t have any other access. I think it’s important that us, who have the voice and the platform to talk about it. And I’d be happy to finally see that those who go on with all these big talks about libraries and piracy sit down and think about what we have to say and how the world really works. So really thank you for writing this post!

    Liked by 2 people

    • thecursedbooks says:

      HA, yas! What’s up with throwing international readers under the bus constantly and ignoring their existence? I had one too + a blog post, I try to constantly write about those issues because as you said, while I consider myself affected by those issues and I would love some solutions – I’m aware that some people have it even worse than me, for example people who don’t have libraries at all or people whose countries are currently facing a serious economical crisis.
      Anytime, really! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Matilda's Library says:

    I have been on both sides of the spectrum with this. I’ve lived in a fairly well off area in England, and I’ve lived in a poorer town in France.

    In England even when I’ve been without money, I’ve always managed to find a legal way to read books. Libraries are well stocked, often with new publications. Places like NetGalley will probably approve you because you’re from England, and things like KindleUnlimited are fairly reasonable.

    I was young when I lived in France (which I know isn’t even classified as a poor country), but as I recall, anything that wasn’t food/clothing/necessities was pretty expensive. I think people forget that just because currency converters might not make it seems like a massive difference, £15 is very different to €15 depending on the country. I’m sure the exchange rates have changed drastically since I lived there, but in all honesty, even as much as we all love books, if something is drastically overpriced, are we really going to choose a book in favour of food, clothing and a roof over our heads? I know we joke that we would, but realistically, of course we wouldn’t.

    Don’t even get me started on the libraries over there! If your town was lucky enough to have one (which many were not), they were stocked full of old French novels that no one really cared about. Even French YA was a rarity. Let alone a major US/UK publication that probably hadn’t even been translated.

    As for ebooks..not everyone can afford a kindle.

    So basically, whilst I have never pirated a book, and whilst I do understand authors worrying about losing their book deals because of it, it’s not as simple as just ‘go to a library’. This is a much bigger issue that authors and publishers really need to look at. They talk ignorantly about an issue that realistically, they know nothing about.

    An excellent and thought provoking post! Thank you for taking the time to address this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thecursedbooks says:

      Thank you very much for sharing this! ❤ It's a great perspective on how reading changes depending on your location. I think we should all take in consideration these things and try to learn rather than to be selfish.
      AH, yes! I can't believe I've forgotten about Kindle. YES! Not everyone affords Kindle, mine is very old and I'm hoping it will resist the test of time because I'm not sure if I could buy another one.
      Yes, that's exactly my point. I don't support piracy, I understand that it's absolutely hurtful when you lose a book deal because of this, it hurts the sales and authors have a right to be mad. But also, the issue is not as simple as 'go to a library and stop stealing my stuff'. It's more than that. And we should work on finding better ways to reduce piracy as a community. Thank you very much, I'm glad you liked it! ❤

      Like

  7. Naty says:

    Yes, those are exactly my thoughts on the matter! I can barely get books in English (much less in my mother tongue!) in my library, so of course I’ll go there if they have the book I want, but 99,9% of the time they don’t. I’m lucky enough to be able to afford books now, but here in Germany I pay 10-20 bucks per book, whereas for example in Brazil it’s around 50 bucks. So of course you can’t afford to buy them so much in poorer countries…

    Great discussion!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thecursedbooks says:

      I still use my library, but whenever I see what books some people get from their libraries, I get totally shocked because wow, my library has 5 YA books. There’s also an awful system in Romania when it comes to libraries where you can only borrow from your town’s library and not from other towns/cities. Riiiight? I hate how we just think it’s the same for everyone.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. theliteraryelixir says:

    What a great post! Privilege and personal experiences skew the worldviews of many people, especially those in the US. And truly, this post can be pertinent to those within the US as well. Poorer neighborhoods have less tax dollars to support book resources, like libraries. And specifically for the international side of things, I wonder if these issues should/could be solved at a publisher level? Like, do some research on the international markets and see what you can come up with to limit piracy. Great post; thanks for making people think!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thecursedbooks says:

      I totally agree with you and I’m sorry I didn’t mention the poorer sides of US – I just didn’t feel qualified enough to talk about this. But I’m glad you pointed this out because you know much more about this and can point out the important matters.
      I agree, there’s so much that can be done besides always complaining and making those remarks that don’t really help.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. inkdin says:

    This is exactly what I feel about this issue!

    It’s so easy for everyone to assume that piracy is a single faceted issue, but it’s not! There are so many things that contribute to it that no one tries to take into consideration. They don’t seem to care that we don’t have libraries or that if we consider exchange rates, even ebooks can cost as much as 500 bucks, which is way more than physical books that are actually published in said country. And, even if we have resources to pay, sites like Book Depository and Wordery don’t actually ship everywhere, like people seem to believe.

    It’s so easy for them to call out people for piracy, but they never think that maybe they should try to understand the situation and be more sensitive about the issue.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marta says:

      I think what annoys me the most is that if they are called out about this – about not talking of more issues that are connected to book piracy – is that they immediately turn to ‘I wasn’t talking about my international readers, I was solely speaking out about US readers’. Like, yeah, thanks, way to be inclusive, Sharon. That just made us feel thousands times better.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Beware Of The Reader says:

    Mmm I don’t know how to feel reading your post. Even if what you say about readers in poor countries is exact what you forget is that piracy is often not one reader pirating a book for his own enjoyment but to sell it illegally or spread it illegally. I’m totally against piracy whatever the wealth or not of the reader. Don’t believe either that the people reading pirated books are all poor. That’s an illusion. So no I don’t agree with you
    BUT
    What I do agree is your rant about the lack of online libraries for international readers. I’m an international blogger and I often regret that we can’t lend our books to others like Amazon.com allow(ed?) in the US. So yes I would agree that international libraries for ebooks should exist IF the publisher has rights to sell internationally (and that’s for another debate).
    So I don’t agree with you on your main topic but I respect you opening this “can of worms” and support your remarke about less wealthy people who should also have access to books. But NEVER through piracy.
    Have a wonderful Sunday!

    Liked by 2 people

    • thecursedbooks says:

      I think you rather misunderstood me and what I meant. I don’t support piracy, at all. I’m just angry at how some people dismiss this subject with ‘you should go to the library’/ ‘why do you steal books if you can take them for free from libraries?’. I think we should be aware of the fact that some people don’t have the same opportunities as others and if we really want to do something about reducing piracy, we should offer suggestions that can actually be done and not just throw some remarks that aren’t helpful at all and seem kind of rude to people who have to struggle more to get books from a certain genre than just to go to a library.
      All I’m saying is that people should see this subject as more than just a simple problem where people do piracy because they feel entitled to those books.
      You too!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Beware Of The Reader says:

        I’m with you on offering other solutions. It would indeed help people to access books more easily.

        Like

  11. Ruby's Books says:

    Marta, te ador pentru postul asta! Si ai 10000000% dreptate!!
    I remember the first time I ever saw an English book in a bookshop. I think I was about 18, and it was a copy of Bridget Jones’ Diary. It cost…wait for it…1 million and 500.000 lei (before the currency conversion we have now), which for all of you non-Romanian folks that might read through the comments, it meant about 39 dollars. 39 dollars for a mass market paperback, mind you, not even a hardback. Now think that those same 39 dollars provides the food for a family of three for at least an entire week. Guess what you’ll choose to do with those money.. Yes, piracy is bad. No one said it isn’t. But can we all agree once and for all that not everyone has the same chances in life and that sometimes it isn’t up to them to change those circumstances?

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Angelica (TheBookCoverGirl) says:

    This is a wonderful post! I currently live in the US where I have been give the privilege to afford books and to have access to multiple physical and digital libraries, but I am originally from The Dominican Republic and things there are not at all the same. There isn’t even a public library in the town where I lived, much less a book store. The only times I’ve seen books being sold was in a large, Walmart-like super market, and they were extremely expensive. A paperback book cost 1200 Dominican pesos (around $25), and that’s just a paperback! Now you may not know this, but a very low income family might be able to feed itself for almost a week with 1200 Dominican pesos if they manage it right. Also the books sold were all adult books because they know young adults wouldn’t be able to afford them so the market is practically nonexistent for them. While I have never pirated a book, I know of a lot of people in my country who do it constantly. And while I know it’s wrong and don’t support it, I don’t say anything about it because I know that’s the only way for them to get the books that are so easily accessible to me. And you are so right! Reading is an international thing and should be made easily accessible to everyone in all parts of the globe. This is definitely something publishers should consider.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Marta says:

      Thank you very much for sharing this! ❤ I love reading about international readers' experience and I think people in the book industry should love to do it too and do it more often too. I'm in the same situation, I know piracy is bad and I don't do it, but I'm not okay with seeing all those people throwing stones and not offering any suggestions or coming up with things that are totally unrealistic in most of these countries.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Bea says:

    Hi there! Thank you very much for this post, it’s high time some people opened their eyes. I very often find myself lol’ing at all those ignorant posts about libraries… I think y’all might be interested in my perspective.
    For some background, I’m a Polish university student, fluent in English; I prefer to read English books in the original language instead of translation (as to how often translations of popular books are available in Poland, we’ll get there). I’m also a big fantasy fan. I’m also bi, so it’s probably not surprising I like diverse books.
    Ever since I could remember, Polish libraries (especially small town ones) were poorly supplied as far as fiction is concerned. Terribly. I mean, as far as sci-fi/fantasy/steampunk goes….? Harry Potter, Twilight plus a few popular ones, but anything else wasn’t really common. And, mind you, the very idea of a person going up to librarian and requesting a diverse/LGBT book, especially in a small town or in the countryside, is just hilarious. Did any of my favourite diverse books ever made it to a local library, even years after being published? Hell no.
    So no. In 99 cases out of 100, no chance of getting a recently released diverse book I’d like.
    Ok, so how about buying? Let’s say an average book is about $10 or £8 (I often see similar prices on paperbacks I own). Now, I’m not an expert on average wages, but it’s roughly, roughly about the amount someone in the US or UK could earn in an hour. $10 or £8 is about 35zl, so still quite a lot for someone who earns in PLN. Do you wanna know how much I have to spend if I want to simply enter a Polish bookstore and buy a new recently released fantasy book? Oh, about 40-50 zł. which is about $15 but then again, we DO NOT earn in USD or GBP. I dare you, imagine spending $50 everytime you buy one new f*cking book. I double dare you.
    And I often buy books published by small indie publishers, According to the prices on the cover, they’re often about $15-20. $20 is about 70zl, I used to earn that amount in about 7-8 hours of work. Now, just imagine. Spending $70 on average on one book when you want to support an indie publisher? And working 8 hours to earn the money for it? C’mon. And remember, in some cases you still need to pay for shipping if the book is out of stock and retailers such as BD don’t have it. And retailers which do not have free intl shipping often have very unreasonable rates. Like, insanely unreasonable.
    Yeah, in come cases it could be cheaper to buy the book translated to Polish instead of the English edition. If there was one, duh. I read tons of fantasy and mind you, none of my faves were ever translated to Polish. And many of them are relatively popular. Many Polish publishing houses just release one book of a series and then drop it. And then ignore emails.
    I’m twenty-f*cking-five and on a (at least) 10 year crusade to get many publishers to actually finish many a series they started translating years ago and so far it’s fruitless in every case except one.
    One more thingy. Many Polish teens who’d like to read in English, YA novels for example, don’t even have a way of ordering a book from abroad because you need Paypal or a credit card and many parents don’t allow them to have one/use theirs. A lot of parents of my teen friends and relatives don’t even know what Paypal is (and therefore assume it’s a scam/not safe/any generic excuse one can come up with). I was in this exact situation as a teen.
    Sorry for the long rant but it makes me very angry. Mind you, this all comes from someone who does not support piracy in any way.
    But let’s not generalize and assume everyone who ever pirated something did so just because they can’t get their head out of their priviledged ass and spare a small amount of money or are too lazy to go to a library.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marta says:

      Thanks so much for sharing it! Indeed, I really hate this generalization and the fact that people keep on saying that publishers/authors can’t help, that international people should do something to change those things in their own countries. Like, hmm, sorry, my country is full of injustice, people are screaming in the streets about bad governments and do you really think anyone will take me seriously if I speak out about books and how there aren’t enough resources? Nope, nobody will. Because there are rural areas in my country where people don’t even go to school, if the authorities aren’t doing anything about that, I seriously doubt they will do anything for me to get diverse books or new releases.

      Like

  14. Marie says:

    Can we have a round of applause for your fabulous post here? IT IS NEEDED. Thank you for writing this. I think it is so important to remember and to just remind everyone that international book bloggers and readers don’t have the same access and privileges as other people. I personally feel lucky knowing I can still order books online and earn my living correctly to afford books every once in a while, but it is so important to remember that not everyone and not every international blogger has that chance. Like you said above, it’s important to know that we don’t have access to libraries and the same access to books as other people. I also know here that you don’t excuse piracy and yes, it should be important to think of new issues to give more access to books to international readers. e-libraries. I don’t know haha.
    Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • thecursedbooks says:

      I think some people mistaken my post as being pro-piracy, but what I was trying to say is that when people talk about these issues, they tend to exclude people from other backgrounds that are very different from US people. And I’m with you, I live off books from Netgalley and the books I usually get for Christmas or anniversaries. I buy ebooks when there are price drops, but it’s harder for us as international readers and it doesn’t sit well with me when an author makes reading seem so accessible for everyone.
      Thank you very much for the kind words, Marie! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Karlita says:

    This is true. I agree with the different pricing range. Most of the time, a paperback that costs $10 could be a meal for 5 persons (in our currency). And here in my country, digital copies from the library are not even available.

    I know what you mean about teenagers who, instead of buying books, would keep their money for school projects or rather more important stuffs. Even they’d desperately like to buy a book, that they will sacrifice because money is scarce or resources were limited.

    This is us looking at the bigger picture, because not every country around the globe are the same but international readers like us have different struggles (like those people in Africa who really love to buy a book but don’t even have access to reading materials).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      I feel like there are so many solutions that can be done instead of throwing passive-aggressive comments around. I just wish more people would involve themselves in this issue, especially people with privilege.

      Like

  16. cagedunn says:

    The other side of the coin? I’m an author who earns 0.11% of the income that is deemed ‘poverty line’ (maybe less, but definitely not more). it costs more to write them than I earn. My ebooks are not expensive, and I’ve tried to use the ‘country by country’ prices to enable readers from other countries to have access.
    Getting access for readers is one thing, enabling people to steal my work (try writing a novel, even a short one) is another. that’s what it is. I’m not from US, UK, Europe. Not a poor country, per se, but that doesn’t mean everyone here is well off enough to ‘manage’ the issues of theft of work/infringement of copyright or intellectual property.
    How do I fix my problem?
    If I offer free ebook copies to people for review, will that help? How many of these people actually get around to writing the review? Do they know this means they don’t get another free book? Do they understand that value takes many forms, and that to receive, you have to be willing to contribute?
    Using a pirate site makes the pirates money, steals the shirt from my back. Would you let someone do that to you? Or is it only criminal when it does happen to you? Is it criminal when someone steals your house, your car, your wallet – but not if it happens to someone else, because the thief was hungry, from a bad background, etc.
    There are ways for international readers to get easier access to books (usually ebooks), and all it takes is some looking beyond the normal avenues.

    Liked by 2 people

    • thecursedbooks says:

      I’m not going to comment on anything you said about what piracy means for you as an author because it’s right and I don’t condone piracy in any way, it’s wrong – there’s no way around it to make it right.
      The thing is this issue is being handled focusing mostly on US (which mostly has the resources and still has piracy) without focusing on other countries, where there are other factors and there needs to be other solutions – more complex and more well-thought ones. What you’re describing is a good process of trying to reduce the piracy, but it’s not a norm. Most people don’t do that and ebooks still cost a lot, sometimes ebooks cost almost as much as paperbacks. So, they aren’t necessary a great replacement for international readers. If what you described here – setting prices country by country, giving the readers chances to get the ebooks for a low price from time to time happened more often and also trying to make books more accessible to other backgrounds by reaching out to international publishers, by setting up virtual libraries or so on, I think the rates of piracy would actually go down. But usually when talking about reducing piracy – we’re thinking of restricting the areas where books are distributed, which will only make the rates of piracy get bigger.

      Liked by 2 people

      • cagedunn says:

        This link shows how the book business is changing;
        http://authorkristenlamb.com/2018/01/book-business/
        I’d like it if readers everywhere in the world could find a way to make these small places, independent of the monster conglomerates, into places readers could go to look, buy, borrow, or e-loan.
        Maybe some of your readers could lead the way? Look into how it would work for them in their location? Maybe they could ask authors for donations to the ‘loan’ zone?
        There’s always a way to overcome, and I would welcome the day when readers all around the world have access.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Julia says:

    I totally agree. If it wouldn’t be for all the books i get for free from publishers, I won’t be able to afford more than one or two per month. In a country where the minimum wage is aroung 200 pounds per month, you think- do I want to buy a book that costs around 15 pounds ( BDB , Cassandra Clare books or others which at the beginning are hardcover and really expensive) or have food for a week on the table? And another thing. Giveaways. US only. Ok, i get it, you don’t want to pay for shipping but this way you are taking away a chance for that fan to maybe win your book and really enjoy it. And it makes you mad when you see this. And of course you go and look for that book on a piracy site. I did helped a few authors letting them know the book who wasn’t yet out was already on a pirate site and some of them they were really nice and awarded me with copies of their books, for free as a thank you gesture. But some they see the message and not even thank you are saying. And you think why bother? Let them have their book pirated. I don’t care. I don’t support piracy and I think authors should be more understanding towards readers, especially international readers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      Same here! I’m privileged as a book blogger to get many e-ARCs and even physical ARCs from time to time, but other readers don’t have the same opportunities, even among book bloggers, there are quite a few who don’t get ARCs for various reasons. And I don’t know, I’m just tired of seeing international readers ignored left and right. It’s highly frustrating especially since so many dedicated bloggers are international and they try a lot to promote those books in their country.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Julia says:

        Yeah, i get you. But you have to understand that the shipping it’s more than the price of the book so that’s one of the reason why they don’t send. I am lucky cause I live in uk and i get books from 4 publishers but if I wasn’t living here, I doubt they would have sent.

        Like

  18. Raven @ Dreamy Addictions says:

    Great Post! Being an international blogger, I can totally relate to this post! The physical books are getting pretty expensive these days especially YA books and sadly we can’t find many books in public library. My parent’s always gives me the “you’re wasting the money’ look whenever I buy more than two books per month because they’re freaking expensive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      Glad you related! ❤ And thanks for sharing your experience, it's especially hard when you're depending on your parents to get your books because they might not share your hobby and if that's the situation, they never understand why you need those books in the first place that hard…

      Liked by 1 person

  19. hannawsreads says:

    I have to admit that I didn’t know that you can pirate a book 🙈 but now that I think of it, of course there must be ways to that as well as there’s ways for movies, music etc..
    But as an international reader myself, it is really hard to get books in english! At our library, there’s really little books in english. And as for buying books, it’s super expensive! Of course there’s book depository with free shipping but the books are also usually more expensive there. And if I order some cheaper books from amazon, there’s really no point on doing that because the shipping costs are HUGE!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Taiwo B. says:

      Book Depository doesn’t even ship to all countries. They don’t ship to my country for example and even if they did, the books are still expensive. A $20 dollar book is MORE than my weekly allowance. I would have to starve for two weeks (if I spend only transport money) to be able to buy a SINGLE book.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Marta says:

      Yap! The shipping fees are awful with Amazon and the prices are bigger with Book Depository. Most of the time, I end up getting ebooks from Amazon whenever they have price drops and usually stick to buying physical copies of translated books from Romanian retailers. But as Taiwo mentioned, Book Depository doesn’t ship everywhere, I know Book Outlet doesn’t ship in Romania, for example. It’s just a meh situation all around and it’s frustrating how no one cares about those situations that are rarely okay.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      Lazy and insensitive towards people who don’t have those resources. I wish people would stick to saying piracy is bad, explain how it hurts their sells without making those comments that aren’t helpful to anyone. I’m sure nobody stopped doing piracy because an author/reader told them to go to a library that doesn’t exist in their country or doesn’t have those books anyway.

      Like

  20. Carrie @ Cat on the Bookshelf says:

    Thank you for this post, and thank you, everyone who commented, for the very educational comments. As a US reader and book blogger, I have only heard of this yet never really understood how libraries aren’t everywhere, though I understand access to translations of books aren’t available.

    I want to crack open why I (and maybe other Americans) am having a hard time fathoming how libraries, if nothing else, aren’t around. According to the American Library Association, there are 119,487 libraries in the U.S., specifically 9,082 public libraries. Since there are 3,141 counties in this country, according the U.S. Geological Survey, that makes about 2 or 3 public libraries per county. (This isn’t the best representation of how many public libraries actually exist in different parts of the country, but I’m trying to make sense of this.) Then we’re told in schools to use the library, and I frankly don’t remember anything being said about the availability of libraries being different in another country. When I think about libraries mentioned elsewhere in the world, it was either in a historical context (e.g. Library of Alexandria) or in the context of someone trying to preserve books (e.g. The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter) or generally low literacy rates. I think that I got used to libraries being around and fell in love with them as a child, and then I started thinking they’re everywhere. I’m not sure how I would go about accessing books if they weren’t readily available in a bookstore or library, and that’s my privilege.

    Personally, I want to make myself more aware of issues about access to books, but if we don’t talk about it, we’ll never learn. I would like to see more authors participate in these discussions too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      Thank you very much for this comment! I love seeing people participate to these discussions and being open to knowing more about other people’s experiences. I, for one, have access to a public library, but the books are pretty outdated and I only get to read very popular YA books from there or classics. But in my country, there are quite a few areas where there aren’t libraries – for example, the rural areas. Those people don’t have access to libraries, especially since in my country, you have to be a resident of that town in order to have access to the town’s library. I would really love if authors, readers and publishers would be more open to finding out those things.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. RedRocketPanda says:

    YES, THANK YOU.

    I’m really glad that you’ve posted this blog because you really got the issues bang on. I’m lucky to live in a country where we do have a lot of libraries, but here’s the thing… Access to libraries varies wildly between rich areas and poor areas. I’m from a poor area in London and our libraries are either constantly being shut down or at constant risk of being shut down. So many poor people are simply unable to access books here. When I was younger, this meant that I did pirate a lot of books. Why? Because, like most other people here, I WANTED TO READ.

    So often, poor people don’t get the same things as everyone else. We don’t get the same education, the same housing, the same medical treatment, the same access to culture… Books are part of that lack of access to culture, the same as music. So, if someone who is poor wants to pirate like I did, I have absolutely no issue with that. Now I’m older and I have a job, I can buy those books and support the authors I love. But without pirating those books when I was younger, I might never have fed my love of books and wouldn’t be here now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      I’m glad that my post made you comfortable enough to share your experience! In my opinion, it’s amazing that you have now the resources to read and support the authors, too! That’s the best part of your story and I’m so happy that you’ve reached this point! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  22. littlepandareader says:

    Great discussion! I totally agree with you reading should be accessible to all. Actually when I was a uni student I had to use some books which where not available in my country and the only way to consult them was to use pictures that people put online or scans. I was also living in China growing up and having books sent to us was a nightmare and libraries was all in Chinese, except our school’s, so some of my teachers had to give us copies of books they made. So whenever people say “everyone have access to books” I always get itchy to correct them. Also books are pricey, even now with my salary I have to choose between buying clothes or books. Thank you for putting it out in the open you’re awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      I’m so glad you resonated with this post! ❤ Same here, it's very hard to stop myself from speaking out on things about book accessibility in other countries, it especially irks me out when obviously privileged people talk about it without taking the time to listen to other people.

      Like

  23. ioana @dragonwaffles says:

    WHENEVER SOMEONE MENTIONS ANYTHING ABOUT THIS AGAIN I SHALL REFER THEM TO THIS POST AND ASK THEM TO KINDLY SHUT UP FOREVER.

    My family isn’t poor at all either and I still cannot afford to buy more then 20-30 physical books a year!! I AM GREATFUL EVEN FOR THAT!
    And the difference between a 8€ paperback and a 11€ hardback might not seem that big to others BUT TO US?! THAT’S HUGE. I can’t afgord hardbacks ever as it is and shipping it’s another monster. Plus I am underage and I don’t have a job so I have to ask my parents to buy me the books. There is just so much to take into consideration and THE IGNORANCE IS KILLING ME.

    It honestly breaks my heart when authors say that piracy is hurting them it really does. I get it I understand but please understand me too when I say that I don’t have the resources to go to the library and just request your book. (YESSS OMG THEY WOULD TOTALLY JUST STARE AT US LIKE “WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?? IN AMERICA??” 😂)

    Sigh. And that’s why the ARC problem is even more tough. Because it takes away the opportunity to get legal free copies of book. Ok I am so done.

    BUT YOU’RE DOING AN AMAZING JOB WITH THESE POSTS SERIOUSLY LOOK THIS IS PERFECT I LOVE IT.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Marta says:

        Indeed! I know some people gathered from my post that I don’t care about authors and what happens to them because of piracy, but I DO! I want to see my favourite authors (and amazing authors that I haven’t read yet) thrive, do well in sells, I want everyone to buy their books. But even if you read the comments from here, it’s easy to see that piracy is so much more than privileged people thinking they are entitled to getting free books.
        ALSO, YOU SUPPORTING ME AND MY DISCUSSION POSTS IS MY AESTHETIC. ❤

        Like

  24. tasya @ the literary huntress says:

    Thank you for writing this post! I swear I want to write about this because people thinks it’s so easy to read. “Just buy the paperback, or ebook, or go to the library, or if you don’t have library do overdrive!” Like…. I’m happy that those options available for you, but there are some of us who doesn’t have the options or maybe have no options at all! The price in book depository is not that different from bookstores in my place, but the customs tax is crazy, it’s like twice the price of the books themselves! And I’m also from the middle class family and I have to sneak around to buy books bc my parents think they are useless. They rather I use my money for food and clothes rather than books. That’s just the relaity outside the US and I wish people would include/acknowledge this condition in their discourse.

    Amazing post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thecursedbooks says:

      Yess!! Indeed, I would love if they could either stop at saying piracy is bad and hurting sales or give more thoughtful suggestions than the non-inclusive one with using the library. Thank you, I’m glad you related! ❤

      Like

  25. Gayathri Lakshminarayanan says:

    This is such an amzing post and your reasons are spot on. With the speed that we are consuming books per year I would be shocked if we have money to eat and live at all. Thankfully I used to have my father buying books when I was in India and books were comparatively affordable. But now everything has chagned and the only way I can read English books at all is whatever I buy from India. Or you know ‘borrow’ from the dark side. I guess people forget that most of us are readign so many books in a language that is not our mother tongue(English).

    Liked by 1 person

    • thecursedbooks says:

      I know what you mean, I usually read ebooks and I’m subscribed to different newsletters that tell you about price drops or get books from library. I only buy physical books once every 3 months. Yes and that’s the most frustrating thing because international bloggers really struggle with getting books and making ignorant comments like “go to a library” is very non-inclusive to them.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks says:

    Great discussion 🙂 and it’s so true. I remember I once wanted to buy Doctor Who episodes (okay, so not books) – this was several years ago. It was literally not possible online. No way to do it. Unless I bought the physical copies that took months to ship and were ridiculously expensive. And then I’d have to pay the import fee. Why is it so hard to just make it available online? Oh yes, because we haven’t bought the rights in your country. Not even allowed to sell here. And never will, because nobody cares about this little country. So you’re legally not allowed to have it, and you’re not allowed to have it illegally xD same goes for a lot of books. Reasons why I blog and want ARCs, basically 🙂 that’s also why it angers me when Americans start saying “oh you should blog for the blogging, no ARCs”.. And you, people, should take you feet out of your mouths. LOL

    Good topic, good post 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marta says:

      Thank you very much, Evelina, for presenting this amazing example! And yes, that’s exactly what I’m talking about – I want more US bloggers/authors/publishers showing their appreciation, solidarity to international bloggers/readers instead of always making them feel like they’re not included in the conversation, like they don’t matter or shouldn’t have the same rights. It’s just hurtful and it has to stop.

      Like

  27. tornpagesandroses says:

    Omg PREACH! I get it because as someone who came from those international countires (Philippines) before moving to Canada I did the same thing. I wouldn’t say I’m proud of it but I wouldn’t say I’m ashamed either because back there the resources that I had was scarce. Like, extremely scarce. We didn’t have any public libraries and my school library only had outdated reference materials that gathered dust and so IF we had extra money I can buy legit books but if not I had to get them from those sources especially with the amount of books I consumed while I was just at school because it wasn’t feasible to purchase that much. Now I definitely utilize my library and I also have the means to buy my own books but I understand how it hurts whenever people would accuse piraters of just these bad things because it’s not all strictly by choice.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Rebeccah @ The Pixie Chronicles says:

    This is really interesting. I admit I don’t know much about books and their availability to non-US countries. However, I still have to stand my ground and state even if books are difficult to come by, I don’t feel it’s an excuse for stealing. Because ultimately, books are a luxury, not a necessity. There are many things in my life I would love to have, but can’ either due to cost or it’s simply not available where I live, but that doesn’t make me entitled to steal it. I save up, find a cheaper, but legit alternative, or do without. I totally understand it SUCKS not to have books available, but instead of looking the other way and making excuses about “solving” the problem through piracy (which only breeds more problems of authors not being paid and able to afford their own livelihood) why not focus more on those digital libraries and trying to understand why they’re not available to everyone and how we can make a positive change in that direction?

    Liked by 1 person

    • ireadthatinabook says:

      I don’t think this post is meant to argue that piracy is right. But if we assume that piracy is only done by people who could buy/borrow the book but won’t the solution to the problem may look very different then if we are aware that some would-be readers have no legal access to the book. By pointing out that the problem is more complicated we are more likely to find actual legal solutions to get those without access access. Or at least honestly acknowledge that they can’t get access for whatever reason and not dismiss it with “you can just use the library” when they can’t.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      I have to disagree with you when you say books are not a necessity, they are indeed a luxury in our society, but it shouldn’t be, in my opinion. They are a necessity if we want our society to progress and evolve, we need education and books are the best way for people to educate themselves on various topics. I think we’re seeing books too much as entertainment and forget the fact that they are, indeed, a mean of gathering knowledge. When it comes to people that don’t even have libraries, how do they get to educate themselves? What about diverse books? How will the lgbtqia people feel represented or know that they are valid if they live in a country where being lgbtqia is still not accepted/seen as an abnormality and they don’t get to read books either.
      I don’t think book piracy is okay, it totally hurts the authors, but instead of authors shoving comments like ‘go to a library’ in people’s faces (that would never stop people from doing book piracy), they should try to stick to explaining why piracy is harmful and how it hurts them and possibly, if they have the means and time, giving suggestions and alternatives. Also, I added context to why I made this post, you can check the tweet that made me write this post above. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Sumedha says:

    I agree with everything you said! Every time I see someone shunning piracy online and saying “GO USE YOUR LIBRARIES” I feel like yelling “WELL I DON’T HAVE ONE”. The other day I went to FIVE bookstores with a list of TEN books I wanted and found none of them! This is the state of our bookstores then how are we going to find books we want in libraries? Honestly, I get very dejected.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      I’m so sorry!! I know what you mean, our bookstores used to be like this too, I didn’t even enter them because it was useless and I knew I would never find anything I wanted. Now they are getting a little better as they are featuring more genres and everything, but we still have a long way to go.

      Like

  30. Michelle 🌈 says:

    Thank you so much for this post! Those people just come off as so privileged to me – they don’t even think that maybe not everyone has the same options they do?? Of course it’s important to support an author, but people who can’t afford to buy books can’t financially support them anyway? And if they don’t have a library (or a good one, which is the case for many of us) then there’s just no way to support the author in anyway. Illegally downloading the book or not reading the book has the same outcome for the author (at least I think it does? I’m not that educated on the matter but either way the author doesn’t get any income so I think it doesn’t change anything) but it does change a lot for the reader! They either get to read for fun and/or educate themselves. If I ever get published of course I’ll want people to buy my books, but I’d never shame anyone for illegally downloading my books. Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta says:

      I’m glad you liked the post and your points are very interesting! I’m not sure how it works, but I got an ARC today from a smaller publishing firm and in their acknowledgement – they talk about piracy and you know what they say? That they are understanding and that they hope the people can review the books to pay forward in a way. I was so surprised about it, but in a good way because wow, what a positive way to say, I think it would even encourage the person to actually buy the book!

      Liked by 1 person

  31. opalitelife says:

    Also not all books get translated into my native language so you can’t find them in a library. For example Call Me By Your Name book hasn’t been translated yet so downloading is the only option.

    Like

  32. opalitelife says:

    Yes! They also forget that libraries are not free everywhere for example. In my country you have to pay a fee (small one but I think that there people who can’t afford it) and also long waiting lost for popular books. When Twilight came out there was like a 100 people long waiting list.

    Like

  33. nh says:

    An unemployment or scholarship allowance in Russia varies from 850 roubles (less than 15 bucks) to 4900 roubles (85 bucks). Outside of the capital and three-five largest cities there are no libraries providing books in English. Oh well, and if you want to read in French or Spanish, you’re as good as doomed.

    Like

  34. Megan @ Ginger Mom says:

    I, personally, never knew that there are places that don’t have libraries. To me, it is second nature. There is one less than a mile from my house. I do agree with you that if people are going to call others out on piracy, other options should be made available. I believe libraries and other options should be free everywhere, but unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. I think this post is very well written.

    Like

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