That's rather too gleeful a pirate illustration for what I want to
But what really disturbed me was talking to a family member last weekend and in discussing our Kindles, he said, "I have like a thousand books on mine. All pirated, of course."
My jaw dropped and I stared at him, speechless, before I got out, "That's not the kind of thing you tell an author."
To make up for it, he said, "When I buy your book, I'll buy it from you so I'm not giving money to those publishers." The last word said with deep loathing.
"Hey, I won't get free books, so they'll still be getting their share," I countered.
Then we dropped the subject, because I was upset but I also know he's a "stick it to The Man" kind of guy. And it's obvious that's how he sees this--a way to hit the publishers below the belt. With very little thought of where the author falls in that metaphor. (eww, that sounded more lewd than I meant--you get my mixed metaphor, right?)
Plus, he said it like the publishers are stealing from, or taking advantage of, authors. But guess what: those of us who choose to work with traditional publishers know how much we're going to get when we sign that contract. It's a tradeoff, a gamble that the power of the publisher's name will get our book in more places than if we self-published. We may not like it, but if we absolutely don't agree with those terms we have that option of self-publishing. Or getting an agent to negotiate better terms.
I am currently looking for an agent, so I'm obviously choosing the traditional publishing route. But, I spend a lot of time writing each week, and when I do eventually get my books published, I expect to get paid.
This family member happens to be a gold miner/prospector on the weekends, and I imagine that he would be pretty angry if someone came across his sluice and cherry-picked all the nuggets he'd just spent hours separating from the rock and sand. I'm not sure he would see writing a book and gold mining as comparable, but it's the same in that someone else is benefiting from your labors. Labors that you expected would give you a monetary return at some point.
It seems pretty obvious to me, but I've also seen writers who freely share their work and/or maintain a dialogue with pirates. It's obvious there is more than one answer. So where do you stand on book piracy?