With the technological advancement, we are now living in a society where convenience and accessibility is the name of the game. Self-publishing books and eBooks is one of the industries that have a massive turnaround in terms of this demand.
Unlike the traditional publishing method where it takes months if not years to establish and reach your audience not to mention the whole process of self-publishing and marketing; today, it just takes a reasonable amount of time to prepare your manuscript, do the proofreading, editing and formatting, deliberately choosing the right platforms to publish your eBook and finding the best distributor who will market your work in your behalf. BUT wait…THERE’S MORE! By utilizing the right SEO marketing and metadata analytics, faster worldwide reach is very possible while you are in front of your worktable! Amazing, huh?
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Nevertheless, despite the benefits of self-publishing your eBooks compared to its traditional counterpart, this booming industry has a competitive, volatile market. It might have its ups, but don’t forget that self-publishing is not without its challenges.
One of the most dreaded stumbling blocks faced by self-publishing authors and indie writers is eBook Piracy.
What Is eBook Piracy?
eBook piracy is a dreaded internet act where a person, group of persons or even a website makes illegal copies of your book and placed it online for a free download.
eBook piracy not only hurts you as the self-publishing author since what you’ve worked hard for was being unapologetically stolen by people you don’t even know and then offered in the internet for free, hence affecting directly your sales but it is also unfair to the readers who did honest purchases of your eBook.
How to Stop eBook Piracy?
One sad reality of information being readily available in the internet is that it can be reproduced. That is inevitable! Once a copy is out, there are plenty of ways to reproduce it. It can be through manual retyping or transcriptions, scanning, or utilizing the optical character recognition (OCR) in order to produce a compact copy and distribute it online. EBooks themselves comes in digital form so there’s definitely no exemption.
eBook piracy goes unabated, that’s a fact! BUT, there are certain ways to at least secure your copy and to control the eBook thieves from continuous illegal copying and distributing your works although this isn’t really an assurance to stop them.
- Make it affordable for your readers. One great way of stopping the eBook pirates from luring the interested readers from illegally securing your book is to make it accessible for the readers to purchase a copy of your eBook and to offer them in a reasonable price. This gives you the upper hand in terms of piracy.
- Use encryptions. A lot of self-publishing eBook authors utilizes the use of Kindle encryptions. This way, it makes it difficult for eBook thieves to copy the book. When it is encrypted, the eBook can only be opened and read using the freely downloadable Kindle app on their mobile phones, tablets or computers.
- Use digital rights management (DRM). DRM comes in a standard form with many distribution platforms. DRM puts an eBook under lock and key, and you can only read it if you have the key. The great thing about it is that the app will refuse to open a copy of the book if not purchased!
- Using digital watermarks will help. This is a great way to manage eBook piracy. By having watermarks to your eBook copies, whoever has it will far less likely to reproduce and redistribute it online because it is marked with identity.
- Although we don’t tolerate piracy by all means (especially eBook piracy), you might opt to just leave them alone. The recommendation might be absurd for some but these e-pirates might not even generate much sales of your book, anyway. So investing a lot of time and effort to trace the individuals or groups for you to have your eBook removed might be useless after all. You can hire someone to trace them and sue them, but it boils it down to the reality that you can’t stop piracy!
What Are The Things You Have To Bear in Mind?
- Most of the eBook thieves who are offering free download don’t actual have it. Or they are just luring the searchers in for the hope of free download but actually once they get to the site, the copy isn’t really for “free”. They will ask for the searcher to pay for subscription fee or will even ask for credit card information which makes them suspicious in the end.
- The readers or searchers have to be aware of the schemes of eBook pirates who offer to “send the eBook” but will actually be sending a virus in the email. Hence, the readers might be skeptical in the end.
- Much as you want to trace the individual eBook pirate or group of pirates and do legal actions to their websites, the amount of time and work to remove your book from their sites is usually not worth it. We can say that the amount of sales that you may lose from the several copies wouldn’t be that much and people who are searching for free eBooks will most likely not pay for one either. So you really aren’t losing any money, which is a relief!
- Usually, the most pirated eBooks are those that are so popular today or those that were written by renowned authors. So if you are just starting to make a name in the self-publishing eBook industry then this wouldn’t be an issue.
According to Joanna Penn “Some authors have used piracy as a marketing tool. Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist, released his book in Russia on the pirate sites and his sales picked up after word spread about him. Tim Ferriss launched The Four Hour Chef with a promotion on Bit Torrent which resulted in massive sales”. So instead of seeing eBook piracy as a threat to your sales, it might even be a sales booster!
- Most searchers are not pirates. Most of the readers are good people who are just curious as to the promise of a free download, or would like to get more details of your book. In the end, they’re more likely to conscientiously support the author than the eBook pirate.
It is always possible to make an illegal copy of a book, that’s the downside of self-publishing electronic books. If you are just new to digital self-publishing and is looking for a breakthrough, the best thing to do is to intensify your marketing strategy by discouraging readers to stop patronizing eBook piracy and by working closely with the distributing platforms.
Effective marketing and sales strategies also includes utilizing SEOs and metadata to spread the word online. When you make your eBook easily available and in an affordable price, there’s no excuse for eBook piracy. You can also try several methods as mentioned to control if not stop the illegal distribution of your work and to protect your sales.