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Madeline Sheehan Announces She’s Going Paper-Only Thanks To Piracy

Don't Be A Jackass

Piracy is not something new. I’m sure from the beginning of time, jerks have been stealing other people’s art. No different than stealing someone’s blow-up Santa straight off of their lawn, downloading books for free is a jerkoff move.

I’m not going to lie; I’ve received pirated e-books, knowing the person who gave me the e-books didn’t pay for them. It didn’t feel good to do it, nor did I feel like I was doing something right. I’m not perfect, and I doubt you are either.

But I admit that yes, I have received a few pirated e-books; however, I did what I felt was right for me, and I bought the pirated book I read. I have deleted the other e-books I was sent, and I won’t accept any more books that I don’t know for sure of their origin.

The majority of the books I read, I purchase with my own made money. The other percentage of books I read are given to me from either the author of the book or the publisher. These ARCs (advance reader copies) are provided with permission to people like me who promote and recommend books. We, the reviewers, are accepting these ARCs with the strict understanding that we do not share or sell the books we’re given.

Today, Madeline Sheehan, author of the book Undeniable and its upcoming sequels, announced that she is removing her books from digital formats. Until there are stricter restrictions put on sharing e-books, Sheehan will only sell her books in a paperback format. (For people like me who read 99% of our books on an e-reader, this is disappointing.) The following is the announcement Sheehan made on her Facebook page:

This will be my final post on book piracy.

Because I do not have a traditional publisher to help me with this increasing problem, I will no longer be offering my books as eBooks. I will soon be taking down my existing ones and only selling them as paperbacks. If you haven’t read my books and wish to do so, I suggest buying them within the next week.

My upcoming releases will also only be offered in paperback and if someone wants to take the time to type out my entire book and steal/sell/illegally upload and download, godspeed.

This is a huge move by an indie author. I would guess that most of her books are purchased in e-format, so by taking this stand against piracy, she’s effectively cutting her income.

She would rather reduce her income of her own volition rather than reduce her income at the hands of people stealing her books. Sheehan stated on Facebook that she’s found a website that has provided access to 13,000 instances of downloads of her books alone. At $2.99 apiece, that’s …doing math… $38,870 of lost potential income.

$38,870 stolen from just this one author. 

That’s basically a HOLY SHIT moment.

The next time you consider reading a pirated book, think about how you’d feel if your beloved blow-up Santa was stolen off of your front lawn.

Or hell, think of your brand new Lexus being stolen from your driveway while you’re watching it happen, yelling, “STOP JACKASS THIEF!” but your neighbors are helping the asshole get away.

UPDATE 3.28.13 from Madeline Sheehan here

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11 thoughts on “Madeline Sheehan Announces She’s Going Paper-Only Thanks To Piracy

  1. Nicole

    Disappointing indeed. I would almost dare to guess that she’ll lose much more than that by just going paperbook. While I looooove books, I have gone to full on ebook reading, I don’t purchase any paperback books, even ones that I love. While I loved Undeniable, I don’t think I will read the other books if they are not on Amazon or in ebook format. Bummer :(

    1. CHY

      I totally agree with your point Nicole. Authors and especially indie writers need to look at the big picture. I am also a Kindle owner and have been for 5 years and don’t even think about buying paperback or hardback books. I purchase every last book on my kindle. I dont like even reading anything from pirate site, because the font is off, sizing off, cut off sentences it is just a mess. I only have every been to one pirate book site and that was by accident clicking on link on legit site. If Ms Sheehan want to punish the good with the bad, Im sorry but she has lost me as a reader. Carrying one book around when I have several in my rotation is just not going to happen. I REALLY enjoyed Undeniable and was so looking forward to the entire series.

  2. monica

    truly a sad situation! I too have gone all e-book format. the only free books I have are from Amazon. Those aren’t pirated, right? I hate thievery!!!!

    1. Nicole

      @Monica- Those free books are definitely not pirated. I think there is a whole network of ways to get them including I think places like pirate bay, epub, etc.

  3. Jen

    I’m going to play devils advocate for a moment. Let it be clear I do not, and have never pirated a book.

    You can’t compare a book pirate to stealing a Lexus. Piracy is not equivalent to theft – the person is not missing a tangible item. A better comparison would be that you buy a Lexus, and someone copies your Lexus for him/herself.

    The number of copies downloaded from a site is not necessarily indicative of lost sales. Some people (like the author of this article) go on to purchase the book after it’s been read. Others likely never would have purchased the book in the first place.

    And my opinion (and let me stress, this is simply an opinion) is that removing your books from the format your readers prefer might *increase* piracy. People are rather self entitled jerks (generally speaking) that want what they want, in the format they want it.

    Let me reiterate that I’m not defending pirates, nor do I pirate books (though to be frank, I was sorely tempted before Harry Potter was made digitally available for sale). I think piracy is a pretty deep issue that isn’t easily resolved and I see pulling your content from ebook form as punishing those that do support (read: buy) your work. But I respect an authors right to do so.

  4. Philippa

    Yet someone goes to a bookshop picks up a physical copy and lends it to a friend and no one bats an eyelid… Or goes to a library and picks up a copy for two weeks to read a book before returning it so someone else to read it! I’m not saying I agree with pirating or websites that support piracy but frankly stances like this by authors are simply ridiculous. Like all medias that have entered the digital world individuals and companies need to rethink their strategies to better entice buyers. Locking formats, upping prices and making stances like this actually just punish the author so 13000 people downloaded her book that is better advertising and opportunity for her book to be read then the reality of how many will purchase the physical copy. That is an opportunity to now convince 13000 people to purchase other novels she writes if they liked the book and pay for it. I will not lie I have read pirated books – in Australia there are many books not available in ebook format that are available elsewhere yet I am unable to sit with a toddler reading a proper book, I can flick through pages on my phone. So I buy the physical copy, download a pirated ebook and read it and no I don’t feel remotely bad about it as I just see the publishing industry as being behind the times with their different regions, negotiations and distributing powers. To me this whole announcement is up there as stupid along with the shop owner in Australia who is now charging people $5 to browse in her store as she is sick
    of people looking and then going to buy the item online for less…

  5. Pamela

    I agree with Sheehan. I am a book junkie anyway. I perfer books. I have her book on kindle and paperback. Now that I know her books will be in paperback I will purchase y the entire series in book form. We all do what we must to protect what is ours. Authors spend a great deal of time writing for our enjoyment. Time cost money and she deserves to be paid for her time.

  6. Tymber Dalton

    It’ll increase her piracy, actually. JK Rowling, for years, resisted putting her books into digital format. They were pirated anyway, by people scanning (not typing) in the pages and uploading them.

    She’s just cutting off her nose to spite her face.

    Piracy has DEFINITELY hurt me as an author. But I’d be stupid to go paperback only, when that is such a tiny fraction of my sales.

    I prefer to educate my readers as to why piracy is wrong, and how it hurts me and other authors, rather than end up putting myself into bankruptcy over it.

  7. Tymber Dalton

    Philippa – Loaning a physical copy book is NOT the same as piracy. People don’t go wholesale reproducing the book and then distributing the illegal copies. The ONE particular copy is passed from hand to hand, without NEW copies of that same book being made.

    It’s the replication of the files that pose the problem. I personally have no issue with the LEGAL lending features on Kindle, Nook, etc. Because it removes the file from one person’s device before making it available to the other person’s device. That’s fine, in my book.

    But that’s not what file pirates do. They keep a copy and distribute it electronically all over the place. And some of them make copies and distribute. And so on.

    Physical books aren’t handled like that. The finite copies aren’t infinitely reproduced and distributed. That’s a big difference. If someone photocopied a book and distributed the copies, THAT would be illegal.

  8. Alyssa

    It’s a shame that she’s going paper-only. A $3 ebook vs. $15 paperback is a no-brainer. I buy the ebook first and if I really love a book I purchase the paperback of my favorite books.

  9. R.Alexander

    That really stinks since I just discovered her. I love how raw and literally kick ass her writing style is. I buy 100% of my books via Amazon for Kindle. So, if paperback is all we get I guess I won’t get to read her stuff.

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