Book Pirating – Immoral, Illegal, & Confounding

Chris Madden illustration of a burglar stealing a book on ethics

As I am not an author (or a pirate.. despite my frequent use of “aye matey!”), I admit that piracy is not something I think about much. The other day, however, I was perusing Goodreads, trying to find a series to get me out of my reading slump, when I came across something that shocked me. Under the “questions and answers” section of one of the books, a person had actually blatantly asked…….

“Does anyone know a site where I can download this book for free? I’ve been looking on several sites and haven’t been able to find it.”

I could not believe it! Of course, I know that people pirate books, but I just didn’t expect to see if posted on a book lover’s site so baldly and blatantly. It seemed like such an insult to author. And since I know that a lot of authors are pretty active and present on goodreads, I started to think about how upsetting these types of comments must be for an author. And that started to make me  really upset since I love my authors!

It’s one thing when an author or publisher offers a book for free or at a discount. And its one thing to get an ARC. But to actually download pirated copies is so shocking to me because, if you are that eager to read a book you must be a book lover. And if you’re a book lover, you must enjoy the fact that books get published. So you surely must understand that if author’s don’t get paid for their work, they eventually won’t be able to afford to write and publish these books that we love. So even if you don’t have a problem with the immorality or illegality of stealing these books (which is a bit concerning in and of itself), how could you not care that you are actually hurting the industry and the author whose work you so enjoy? How can our society drop hundreds of dollars on cable tv subscriptions and sports tickets without a thought and yet think they deserve an author’s work for free?

And of course all I could think was……why yes there IS in fact a place you can get books for free. Wait just a minute while I try to recall the name of that magical place…. oh its right on the tip of my tongue…..oh what is that place called...The LIBRARY!


I don’t understand why more people don’t use the library if money is tight. They even have a lot of ebooks you can download right to your device. I just read the first 5 books of the Chicagoland vampires by Chloe Neill completely free thanks to my library….right on my kindle! Didn’t even need to leave my house!

Anyone else want to weigh in here? Maybe there are some perspectives I have not considered?




2 thoughts on “Book Pirating – Immoral, Illegal, & Confounding

  1. I used to have a friend who would pirate books and it’s something I’ve never been able to get my head around. For a lot of authors, writing is their their full time career. They’re producing creative content. It’s a service, just as food is in a restaurant, and they deserve to be paid for it. Like you say, there are libraries for people to visit if they lack the funding and this is a far better alternative.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree! And most authors I’m familiar with fully support the service libraries provide. And the library does purchase the book. I understand that people steal things but I just can’t understand how a book lover could regularly do that to an author whose work they enjoy. Mind boggling!


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