Piracy and the Authors Who Don’t Mind

29 May

As the age of technology produces even more advancements, people young and old have discovered the ways of piracy. For years Hollywood and the music industry have been bending over backwards to stop people from pirating their products. As the Internet and e-books become increasingly popular, pirated books are popping up on many P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing networks.

Just like the music and movie industry, you would assume publishing companies and ultimately the authors of the pirated novels are the ones losing money; however, authors Neil Gaiman and Paulo Coelho say differently. Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods, Coraline, The Graveyard Book, and Stardust, says he found that access to his pirated books didn’t stunt sales at all, rather it increased them.

After seeing that, Gaiman decided to experiment with this newfound revelation. He asked his publishers if he could put up American Gods – a book that was still selling very well – for free as an e-book. After some persuading, they put the e-book up for a single month for people to download on to reading devices and computers. The following month, they found that rather than the sales of the physical novel decreasing, it actually jumped 300 percent.

From his experiment, Gaiman decided piracy was actually just a free form of advertising and acted much like a book-lending group. Those people who downloaded it and loved the book, were the ones who actually went out of their way to buy the hard copy later on.

Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist, The Valkyries, and The Witch of Portobello, seems to have the same opinion as Gaiman about the piracy of his novels. He actually goes as far as telling people to “unite and pirate everything [he has] ever written.” Much to his surprise, after finding pirated Russian editions of his novel, The Alchemist, and the numbers of these files multiplying, his sales actually increased and soon soared into the millions.

Many authors have differing opinions from Gaiman and Coelho concerning piracy; however, that does not deny the result of these P2P sites, and neither does it contradict the idea that readers will buy books they love. Coelho said this was “the way we have to tell the industry that greed leads to nowhere.”

– Amanda

2 Responses to “Piracy and the Authors Who Don’t Mind”

  1. Azevedo May 29, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    Piracy as advertisement can be a great form of advertisement but only until e-books become the major source of reading. And it almost definitely won’t work for writers who lack the fame of Paulo Coelho.


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