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How Ebook Piracy Eats Into Your Sales And What You Can Do About It

 Sir Philip Pullman, President of The Society for Authors, states how online piracy of books is a significant offence against moral justice and the very opposite of the freedom of speech. He opines that while copyright law is a prominent bastion of civilized living, the acid rain of online piracy is slowly disintegrating creativity that authors considered were set in stone. Hence, he believes it is the fundamental duty of governments across the world to support the rights of authors, publishers, writers and every skilled worker involved in the content supply chain.

And without a doubt, in recent times, online piracy is not a trivial issue that can be disregarded altogether. Unless of course, as a writer or an author, you choose not to publish your work. But if writing is your passion and career, chances are high that you want your work posted to be read. 

As an author, if your book is pirated, you are not asked for permission about using your work that appears on pirated sites, nor do you receive any royalties. Even if your ebook is sold on various other legal channels, free and unauthorized downloads can seriously hamper your authorized sales and result in lost revenue. A dip in sales could hit your income and cause grave impacts on your long-term career prospects, creating a false impression that your readers do not desire your work. In that regard, your publisher could terminate your contract and not commission your next novel if the previous one has had poor sales.

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A study conducted by the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society [ALCS] revealed that the average income of an author based in the UK from writing was only £10,500 per year. If online piracy continues unabated, as an author and writer, you will no longer be able to earn a living from your creative output, and the writing industry as a whole would die a swift and painful death. Hence, online book piracy (ebook piracy) must be taken seriously by every author, writer, publisher, bookseller and reader.

Digitization of your book provides you with multiple benefits such as enabling access to readers across the globe and not just in a localized region, and cutting down on production (printing) and distribution costs.

However, an equal challenge is to protect your intellectual property rights since digital content can be easily replicated. So how can you prevent illegal and unauthorized users from stealing and copying your creative works and illegally sharing your work across the Internet?

Some authors opt for the following methods to reduce ebook piracy:

  • Register for copyright protection.

  • Set up alerts across search engines to receive a notification on their content appearing on pirated websites.

  • Make their ebook available in a digital format that can be protected.

While these steps can help curb book piracy, they do not offer a sure-short guarantee on preventing it altogether. Instead, they are reactive measures that you can put in place only after an infringement has taken place. This is why you need a proven ebook DRM solution to prevent your ebooks from showing up on pirated websites and that can help you maintain complete control over your work. If you are genuinely concerned about your ebooks from being stolen, it can help to have a preventive ebook security solution rather than take multiple steps that may or may not address ebook piracy.

To avoid unauthorized exploitation of your ebook, opt for ebook DRM or digital rights management. Ebook DRM prevents your creative works from being duplicated and shared on illegal websites without your knowledge. 

With ebook DRM you receive:

  • Total control of your content – who can access it and what they can do with it

  • Complete control of expiry dates to access your content

  • Curtail the distribution and replication of your ebooks

  • Enable various sales models – e..g. provide a low-cost version or a discounted product to enable readers in trying out your ebook for a limited amount of time before they decide to purchase it.

  • Receive enhanced understanding about your ebook consumption patterns and reader trends

  • Ensure compliance across industry standards

The right DRM solution can work as an effective ebook security system by offering you an encrypted mechanism to lock your content and limit its distribution only to authorized users or readers. A robust, proactive and cost-effective ebook DRM software solution can allow you to prevent readers from printing, sharing, copying and screen grabbing your digital content. Besides, you can be assured that access to your content is available only for a designated period. You can also restrict the number of devices from which your ebook or content can be accessed thus providing you with a trusted solution to protect your revenue that you rightfully have a claim to.