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Over the last little while I’ve been hearing more and more about internet piracy. I’ve kept quiet because I’m new at this, but lately a couple of my favorite authors have been victimized, so I’m going to have my say.

First, a few words about the realities of the writing life. The average author makes a total of less than five thousand dollars from a book, which may have taken up to three years to write, revise, sell and get to print. That’s a bit more than $1600 a year. This means that the vast majority of authors must hold down full or part time day jobs in order to feed their families. We’re working Janes and Joes like everyone else, and when someone downloads our work from a pirate site they take a bit of our livelihood.

Second, there are acceptable ways to get free books. Borrow from friends, borrow from the library. I would be thrilled to have readers asking libraries for my book, because if enough people did that libraries might buy it. Everyone wins.

Third, pirate sites don’t exist to do a service for readers. They exist to make money through advertising, by taking advantage of authors’ hard work. It’s illegal and it’s wrong.

If you wouldn’t steal from someone’s purse in the supermarket checkout line, don’t steal from someone’s purse by downloading their book for free.