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How piracy affects authors

6 November 2017

There's great concern about pirating of books and it's just been revealed by the UK online copyright infringement tracker survey that 17% of books read online have been pirated. Bestselling American fantasy author Maggie Stiefvater reports how her publishers reduced the print run of her next book because of the drop in sales caused by pirating. All authors are threatened by piracy, as it prevents royalties being paid on legitimate sales, in effect it's stealing the author's work. If authors cannot get paid for their work how can they support themselves through writing?

Samantha Shannon, author of the Bone Season series said: ‘the thing that's really exhausting about piracy is that authors are often not allowed to be upset by theft of their work. If we ask people not to do it, no matter how courteously, we're told we should have more compassion or be grateful we even have readers. Outside the creative industry, people broadly dislike theft. Within the creative industry, it becomes a grey area where people aren't sure.'

Stephen Lotinga of the UK Publishers Association said that those who pirate are not people who cannot afford to buy books, but ‘tend to be from better-off socio-economic groups, and to be aged between 31 and 50-something. It's not the people who can't afford books. It's not teenagers in their rooms.' Guardian article on this