Piracy has been around ever since the invention of the Internet, and yet many people opt to encourage it, especially when it comes to the written word.
I strenuously believe in the validity of giving stuff away for free. Short stories, novels, the first title in a series, anything as a way of enticing readers. You give enough copies away, and you’ve built yourself a fan base. The only factor that you can’t control is how many copies you’ll be able to give away.
When a book gets pirated, thousands of copies of that book get read by people who, most probably, wouldn’t have bought the book in the first place. Exactly as a free promotion on Amazon, it reaches an audience it would have never reached were it not for the “free” version circulating the web.
Of course, there’s a monetary loss, if you want to call it that. Neither the author nor the publishing house actually receive money from this operation, but they do gain something in return: exposure. The more people read a book, the more likely it is that those same people will tell others about it.
Somewhere along the lines, some folks opt to buy the real thing, maybe because they feel it’s the right thing to do, maybe because they only like reading paperbacks…
So piracy is also a marketing thing, more or less. And, after all, you can’t stop it, no matter how much you try.
Piracy is stealing. It’s enjoying a product without paying for it. It’s morally and legally wrong, but it might be worth pondering whether or not is entirely bad.