I read a post the other day by someone who was angry that his book had appeared on a torrent site. He lamented all of the money he was losing because people could download his book for free.
He said it was theft.
First off, he was wrong. Theft is a different crime. Whatever you think of piracy, theft is not the same crime as copyright violation. In the case of theft an object is taken, in the case of copyright violation a copy is made, so the original is never taken – I don’t lose something that I already have, I merely don’t make any money that I might have made. The might is also important.
For the most part people who pirate something would not have bought it if they hadn’t been able to download it.
So, that brings me to my second point – the more popular something is, the more it’s downloaded and the more it sells. The most commonly torrented things also sell the most, this rule is pretty close to ironclad. The more people watch a show on TV, the more people download it. The more people buy an album, the more people download it. The more people buy a book the more people download it.
To date I haven’t found my book A Long Walk on torrent sites. Once I see it on torrent sites I’m probably not going to be unhappy about it. It means that most likely I am selling copies, something that isn’t really happening right now. I sell a few copies here and there, but it hasn’t really caught on (that is what I expected by the way, I was shocked that I sold some copies).
Releasing it on torrent sites myself doesn’t seem helpful. Nobody is going to be searching for it, so it will stay unnoticed. That’s okay, but yeah, it would be cool if people were download and buying it left right and centre…