Saturday, January 14, 2012

How should I react when my book is stolen?

This morning I found a website that offers a free download of my first novel, BORN A REFUGEE in Kindle format. What? Someone is pirating my book? I must admit my first reaction was one of surprise, maybe even shock. Of course I want people to read my books--why else would I write them?  I want people to understand more than they see on the news. My Refugee novels take the readers into the crowded and often violent world of the Palestinian refugee camp and show how people survive under military occupation with the support and love of the family. I wrote the novels to show Palestinians as I know them—not as the media shows them. I want the world to see the miracles of love amidst violence.

Why would someone want to steal my book and offer it for free, considering how affordable the book is online? It’s been 99 cents for months now, although that was a temporary price for the Indie Book Blowouts. Anyone can afford that, can’t they? Maybe not. I write about refugees. I know that not everyone has the ability to pay for online products. I know not everyone has a credit card or even a bank account, but may have computer access in libraries, schools, community centers, etc.

Okay, so I admit there are people who might benefit from a free book, but I don’t think that’s why it was done.  Piracy is really shoplifting. The pirates are stealing something I spent a year of my life to write. Not only are they stealing this book, but they undermine my reputation as a writer.  A writer’s reputation depends on selling books. When I approach an agent or publisher with a manuscript, the first question is “How many copies of your books have sold?” I price my books as low as possible so more people will read them. I wrote them so people would read them. If you download a pirated copy, that never gets into the statistics.

If you really can’t afford 99 cents, send me an email dixiane (at) and let me know your circumstances.  I’ll send you an ebook for free.

The English author Charles Calem Colton (1780-1832) said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Is piracy also flattery? or is it just plain theft?

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