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What Can I Do About Book Pirates?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the see-how-you-feel-after-writing-a-book dept.

Books 987

peterwayner writes "Six of the top ten links on a Google search for one of my books point to a pirate site when I type in 'wayner data compression textbook.' Others search strings actually locate pages that are selling legit copies including digital editions for the Kindle. I've started looking around for suggestions. Any thoughts from the Slashdot crowd? The free copies aren't boosting sales for my books. Do I (1) get another job, (2) sue people, or (3) invent some magic spell? Is society going to be able to support people who synthesize knowledge or will we need to rely on the Wikipedia for everything? I'm open to suggestions."

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987 comments

Offer the Ebook for free. (4, Insightful)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957087)

Ask for money for a printout.

Re:Offer the Ebook for free. (4, Insightful)

princessproton (1362559) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957157)

(I'm not trying to be inflammatory, just honestly asking, but) How is this different from what's occurring now? The ebook is being obtained for free, while printed copies require a purchase. The author states that the free copies are not helping with his sales, so how would him being the source of those free copies change that?

Re:Offer the Ebook for free. (5, Insightful)

middlemen (765373) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957173)

Actually, maybe offer the e-book for say 2$ and see how many buys you get. 50$ for a book might make people think twice before they buy, but 2$ for the book might actually generate more volume of sales for you. Those who pirate only do so either because they are not interested in buying the book at all, or they cannot afford it. But by making an authentic e-book version affordable you can increase volume sales because it becomes really cheap to buy. Replication of an e-book copy really costs no money unlike its dead tree counterpart, so instead of asking the question about how to control piracy, why don't you ask the question about why should e-books cost so much as the dead tree versions ?

Re:Offer the Ebook for free. (5, Interesting)

Sad Loser (625938) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957453)

I have recently written a textbook, and I have written it for a series that I know will get widely pirated, because the pages are A4 sized and photocopy really well and it will appear as a torrent quite quickly.

I will not make a lot of money from the book - probably $5k per edition, but writing it will enable me to share my vision with a lot of people, and I regard that as a privilege. The more it is pirated, the more it will help my career.

Re:Offer the Ebook for free. (3, Interesting)

peterwayner (266189) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957549)

Best of luck to you! It's quite a good reason to write a text book, but it looks like it may soon be the only reason to do it.

Re:Offer the Ebook for free. (4, Insightful)

peterwayner (266189) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957495)

The publisher is handling the Kindle pricing for this title. They've set the price at Amazon [amazon.com] at $51 for the print on demand and $41 for the Kindle.

That's actually a fair representation of the costs. The printing probably costs about $5 and the shipping/handling about $5.

The real cost is in the time it takes to prepare the book. It's not fair to compare the cost of a data compression book with, say, a romance title. The size of the markets is vastly different. I would be happy to sell my data compression book at the price of a romance novel if I could sell as many copies.

Synthesizing information isn't cheap. It took me a long time to write that book. If society doesn't reward people for their time, they're going to stop doing it. I realize that the Wikipedia is very cool and much better than my books in many ways, but I don't think we're ready for it to be the only source of information.

Re:Offer the Ebook for free. (1)

Nasajin (967925) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957181)

In this case, I would've tried the magic spell option. I roll natural 20s, see.

Re:Offer the Ebook for free. (5, Informative)

peterwayner (266189) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957197)

I do this with my book Free for All [wayner.org]. It's a great success if you measure success by the number of people who read my work. But it's contributed zero to my income since I released it in electronic form. No one asks if they can buy printed versions.

There is a slight way to measure the effect. Used versions trade on Amazon and they've stayed at roughly the same price.

BTW, I've read the electronic version on a Palm and it's very easy to read. This may have been a viable strategy during the TRS-80 years, but not during the iPhone years. I wouldn't be surprised if the iPhone has better resolution than some of the sketchy laser printers I've seen.

Re:Offer the Ebook for free. (4, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957483)

Firstly, your site says your paperback edition of "Free for All" is out of stock. Doing a google search shows Barnes & Noble carry it. I think the average human is more likely to take a trip to the book store to also browse other books than to go through the trouble of contacting someone for a copy who advertises they don't have anymore.

Also, "Free for All" is a story. Apparently story readers are happy reading such things not on paper. However, me and just about every other colleague I've ever dealt with wouldn't stand for a reference book coming from anything but paper. I need to be able to scribble on the pages, highlight things, doodle in it, place sticky notes of varying colors everywhere. Very likely, the people "pirating" this compression book are not actually using it and would have never bought it.

Re:Offer the Ebook for free. (5, Insightful)

jrbrtsn (103896) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957531)

Hey Peter, You don't suppose no one is buying the printed version because your website lists it as "out of stock"?

Have You Noticed Any Personal Income Loss? (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957105)

Any thoughts from the Slashdot crowd? The free copies aren't boosting sales for my books. Do I (1) get another job, (2) sue people, or (3) invent some magic spell? Is society going to be able to support people who synthesize knowledge or will we need to rely on the Wikipedia for everything?

Here's a thought: Have you noticed a recent substantial decrease in sales or income that isn't characteristic across other publishers (maybe based on the recession)?

You seem to already have the negative caged-animal attitude that suing the shit out of everyone is your only option. It's not. Just acknowledging that there are some individuals out there with no respect for your IP is also an option if you're not being sent to the poor house when normally you'd be raking in dough.

My advice would be to try to not sue anyone unless you're absolutely sure no one is buying your book and the social norm is to screw Peter Wayner by pirating it. You have every right to litigate just like I have every right to try to sue my parents for not giving me a better education when they sent me to Catholic school. It's up to you whether or not you sue book pirates.

Why are you taking up the cross and not your publisher, O'Reilly Publishers. Isn't it their job to deal with this and your job to write books? Let them be the big bad evil here.

If you are unsatisfied with the Google hits, maybe you should blog about your books and provide links to them? Or ask your publisher to get an Search Engine Optimizer (SEO) ... not sure if those actually work though.

Re:Have You Noticed Any Personal Income Loss? (-1, Flamebait)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957205)

Gee whiz, my book is so popular its being copied rampantly by pirates, damn them.

In other news, the twenty dollar bill is also popular, protected by the secret service, and also being counterfeit on a regular basis.

Get over yourself.

Re:Have You Noticed Any Personal Income Loss? (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957327)

Funny but when people violate the GPL then people on Slashdot are gung ho about legal action.
I suggest a take down notice and then contact your publisher and let their legal department go after them. How to fight pirates? And your asking here?

Re:Have You Noticed Any Personal Income Loss? (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957429)

Funny but when people violate the GPL then people on Slashdot are gung ho about legal action. I suggest a take down notice and then contact your publisher and let their legal department go after them. How to fight pirates? And your asking here?

What a terrible terrible analogy. The companies that violate the GPL that get sued are making money and are solid entities with legal statuses. The book pirates are making nothing and they are part of the vaporous cloud of the internet. You would be more effective suing ghosts. They are sharing books that they derive entertainment or information from--not money! I will encourage the EFF to prosecute violators of the GPL. I will encourage O'Reilly to sue these people if they see a loss.

The GPL is a license, violating a license is not the same as violating copyright. You aren't suing over money, you are suing to have the source code released. There are so many differences between your analogy and what's going on here I don't know where to start.

Re:Have You Noticed Any Personal Income Loss? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27957333)

If you got sent to Catholic school you automatically got a better education than you would have in public screwal.

I don't think your lawsuit would go anywhere.

Re:Have You Noticed Any Personal Income Loss? (2, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957567)

If you got sent to Catholic school you automatically got a better education than you would have in public screwal.

I don't think your lawsuit would go anywhere.

I didn't know what "holocaust" meant until I was a Freshmen in a public high school. I had never heard of the Spanish conquistadors in the new world from the point of view of a Native American. I didn't know what Hindu or Buddhist meant and the worst part was I didn't wanna. The list goes on.

Oh yeah, my math was top notch ... aside from that I was a righteous asshole with the moral high ground in everything. It took me several years to unlearn a lot of things and to learn a whole lot more after kindergarten through eighth grade. Take it from someone who's been on both sides: acceptance, tolerance and culture are goddamn important.

Re:Have You Noticed Any Personal Income Loss? (4, Insightful)

dargaud (518470) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957341)

Here's a thought: Have you noticed a recent substantial decrease in sales or income that isn't characteristic across other publishers (maybe based on the recession)?

I concur. I sell images off my website. In arbitrary units, in the last 10 years I've been selling between 3 and 10 a month. Since last summer I've sold only two. Maybe the rise of flickr is for something in the wild availability of quality images, but I'd bet on the crisis and everybody holding out for better times...

Specialized tech books don't get bought by individuals who may also be cheap asses and willing to pirate them. They get bought by _employees_ who need them in their works. And an employee doesn't care how much they cost and they are certainly not willing to get fired for a torrent download in order to save the company 50$ !

Also remember that tech books have a short shelf life. If I want a python book and I see it 3 years out of date, I'm pretty sure there's something more recent.

Re:Have You Noticed Any Personal Income Loss? (4, Interesting)

peterwayner (266189) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957381)

First, O'Reilly isn't really my publisher, although I did contribute a chapter to the book Beautiful Security.

Second, I don't think that people are out to screw me personally. At least most people that is. But I do believe that humans take the path of least resistance.

Third, I think that students are already under a great deal of financial stress. The temptation to save a few dollars by grabbing a free copy of the textbook is very understandable to me. I just wish people would look at text book authors as the good guys because I think we provide much more information per dollar than the universities. Alas, I don't think I'm going to change people's ideas on that very soon.

Fourth, at some point the search engines and the web sites need to take some responsibility for what they display. I do blog about my book and I do use clean URLs to help the search engines do the right thing.

I think there's just something plain broken about the search engine results.

 

Re:Have You Noticed Any Personal Income Loss? (5, Insightful)

Nihixul (1430251) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957401)

You bring up some good points, but I didn't agree with this:

You seem to already have the negative caged-animal attitude that suing the shit out of everyone is your only option.

Considering this quote in the summary,

I'm open to suggestions.

I don't really think that's a very fair characterization.

Re:Have You Noticed Any Personal Income Loss? (2, Interesting)

foobarrett (899287) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957451)

You seem to already have the negative caged-animal attitude that suing the shit out of everyone is your only option.

From the OP:

Do I (1) get another job, (2) sue people, or (3) invent some magic spell? Is society going to be able to support people who synthesize knowledge or will we need to rely on the Wikipedia for everything? I'm open to suggestions.

As you can see, the OP mentioned other options other than "suing the shit out of everyone", and made it clear that he is looking for other suggestions.

You seem to have shitty reading comprehension (1)

GuloGulo2 (972355) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957553)

You said

"You seem to already have the negative caged-animal attitude that suing the shit out of everyone is your only option."

OP said

"Any thoughts from the Slashdot crowd?The free copies aren't boosting sales for my books. Do I (1) get another job, (2) sue people, or (3) invent some magic spell?"

So, the question is, are you just a REALLY bad reader, or are you that guy who has to lie because intelligent discourse is beyond his intellectual capability?

Slashdot, where outright lies are modded up because stupid fuckers don't bother to read.

QQ (-1, Troll)

TheRealJobe (1125771) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957139)

Wambulance :) but no seriously... that sucks... stop investing your time in trade goods and become a pirate yourself. You will certainly have the upperhand on ninjas.

"These free copies aren't boosting sales" (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27957153)

Are you sure about that? What have you got in the way of data backing up that statement? I'm not saying you're wrong - but I think it would help to know how you know that is the case.

Already answered, sort of... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27957163)

Just look through the comments for any story relating to MPAA or RIAA, substitute movies/albums for books. There you go.

People pirate your books because they are not good enough to pay for, because they aren't available in high quality open digital formats without DRM, you charge to much, you need to release the book as open source for free, and then make money on lectures and going on tours, and you can have a web page with a link which allows people to donate money directly to you without middlemen, and you can make money on advertisement.

There you go.

Re:Already answered, sort of... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957459)

and you can have a web page with a link which allows people to donate money directly to you without middlemen, and you can make money on advertisement.

Use the present situation for promotion. You are on slashdot already, which is not a bad start.
As the Parent Poster said - create a donation page. And to screw with the pirated copy - open source it.

Give the book away for free, attach a link for donation at the bottom of every page, sell printable copies from the same site for a $1.00 or so, sell high(er) quality printed books from the same site.
Six or 12 months later have an update to the book and sell it only in printed form at first, then add a printable copy, then a free one - and then make a new update.
It's the digital age. Use the advantages of on-demand-printing and of quick and easy money and file transfers.

Oh.. and most importantly - make sure the product you deliver is worth reading, using, buying, stealing...
People will sometimes download free stuff just because it's free, but if it is no good...

Re:Already answered, sort of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27957461)

you charge to much

I think this here is the key point. Most people will much for free.

Information wants to be free? (0, Offtopic)

mi (197448) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957175)

Let's see the "I don't believe in imaginary property" crowd come out with their memes — and see them getting a new one ripped out by people, who finally realize, that Intellectual Property is not just about stealing other people's MP3-recordings.

It is about everything, that's easy to replicate, but hard to design... Be it a book, a song, a shoe-design, or software program...

Re:Information wants to be free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27957405)

I would assert that all property is imaginary. But it doesn't prevent me from believing. Hallelujah!

Re:Information wants to be free? (0)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957433)

Good luck getting people to figure that out. Piaget himself would have been baffled at the difficulty people have in progressing to that stage.

A Very Special Public Service Announcement (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957179)

What Can I Do About Book Pirates?

Book pirates claim the partial income of several thousand authors yearly. Once book pirates get underneath the floor boards of your house, nothing gets rid of them. If you have book pirates, you'll notice tiny white dust particles near crevices and creases in your books and book shelves which are actually book pirate eggs. They will hatch and form book pirate larvae that can go weeks without books and still survive which makes extermination difficult. Once infected, a typical book enthusiast has nine to ten days before cells throughout the body are infected with the book pirate virus. You cannot cure book pirates but you can control them. There are means of prevention--a vaccine has been developed for book pirates type one and type two but there are several strains too rare and foreign to address. Book pirate build up occurs around the search engines and torrents of the internet and with them come social stigmas. Regular flossing and lawsuits will also help prevent book pirate and book related decay. If you or someone you know has book pirates or shows book pirate symptoms, get help, get tested and abstain from group readings.

Re:A Very Special Public Service Announcement (0)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957485)

a vaccine has been developed for book pirates type one and type two

Does that mean that they are like Herpes Type I and type II? Can you become a book pirate via unprotected sex?

number 4 (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957187)

educate yourself.

How many people ahve downloaded the book? bear in mind it's the distribution that's the crime here, not downloading.

If it is a physical site, send them a violation letter.
There are a lot of people that have the same issue you do yet still make money.

Maybe the real problem is your book isn't very popular? or that your ego feels it should be entitled to wads of money for simple writing a book?

If you find out lots of books, meaning substantially more then are sold, are being distributed offer advertising in the book.

Maybe the value of your book to most people isn't above free?

Re:number 4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27957351)

Maybe the value of your book to most people isn't above free?

Then why are they willing to break the law to get it?

Get another job (1, Troll)

bzzfzz (1542813) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957193)

Nobody makes a living writing textbooks. Few textbooks ever pay out royalties beyond the initial advance. Piracy has not changed this.

Re:Get another job (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957519)

While glib, bombastic, cynical, and implicitly tolerant of IP theft, there is nevertheless a lot of truth to this.

Do you really expect help from Slashdot??? (5, Insightful)

Farmer Pete (1350093) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957195)

You must be new here. Many of the worse case offenders live here. It sounds like you are pretty much damned if you do, damned if you don't. If you really think you can take on the pirates, good luck. If you figure out how, please don't tell the RIAA.

Re:Do you really expect help from Slashdot??? (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957507)

But at the same time, he sneaked in an irrelevant jab at Wikipedia ... so that'll make him popular here what with all the "but you couldn't possibly trust Wikipedia in the slightest" hate here ;)

Heaven forbid, how will we survive without people like him to synthesise knowledge.

(Wikipedia is a tertiary source that references other sources, and explicitly disallows original research, so it complements rather than replaces other sources, anyway.)

Educational materials especially should be Free (0)

Mprx (82435) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957213)

Ignorance is the biggest negative externality. By restricting people's education you're making everyone else suffer, because ignorance ruins everything.

Re:Educational materials especially should be Free (0, Troll)

Farmer Pete (1350093) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957259)

Cars especially should be free. Limitation of mobility is the biggest negative externality. By restricting people's mobility, GM is making everyone else suffer, because lack of mobility ruins everything.

Re:Educational materials especially should be Free (0, Offtopic)

Mprx (82435) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957555)

Lack of mobility mostly harms the immobile. It does reduce market efficiency somewhat, but it is nowhere near as harmful as ignorance. Ignorance acts as a multiplier to every other bad thing there is. Ignorance is the single biggest factor reducing market efficiency. If every human could access education without limits the world would be a much better place.

Re:Educational materials especially should be Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27957319)

QED

Re:Educational materials especially should be Free (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957399)

Then you should spend your time writing some. Really stop playing video games, watching TV, going to the movies, spending time with your friends and start making and giving away educational materials. NOW DO IT NOW.

So do you like being told what to do with your time, knowledge, and effort?

Re:Educational materials especially should be Free (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957513)

If there's no financial motivation to write an educational book, who is going to do it? Are the best and brightest minds going to take time off from their paid jobs to write a book that isn't going to produce any income? People still need to feed themselves and their families. If good books don't make decent money for their authors, then what's going to happen is that the only people writing books are going to be the people who don't have other employment and need whatever money they can get, which obviously aren't going to be the best and brightest minds.

Run your own web site (3, Interesting)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957215)

That should create enough links (from Wikipedia for example) over time so that you show up first. On that website, provide links to Amazon etc, and offer a download of the latest version. Mention that folks who bought the dead tree version are entitled to a free download and that other folks should send $X via whatever your preferred payment method is.
Somebody who is interested in encryption knows about P2P so there's no way you can put the bits back in the bottle.

live shows (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27957235)

you'll have to go on tour and hope to make money with a percentage of the gate and through book, cd and t-shirt sales at your shows. INFORMATION WANTS TO BE FREE!

sorry, just trolling.

only one alternative... (3, Funny)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957241)

Write your next book using incredibly abstract language and concepts, so as to be useless to non-academicians. Then charge over $100 in order to milk this very limited market, who will hopefully never get organized enough to pirate the book.

It's what other people seem to do. Seriously, any book with a title like "... for practical people", or "... for real programmers" will get pirated. Surprise! That's the "practical" way to get technical books!

Take heart also that many of the pirates would probably not buy the book if that were the only option.

it's a trap (5, Insightful)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957243)

You're falling into the trap of noticing these two things:

A) Book sales are flat or downward
B) I found links to pirate copies

and correlating them in your mind without any evidence or proof that B is actually related A. Piracy is item #374273 in a list of 1,000,000 possible reasons why sales might be flat or falling. If you can't prove any real loss from B, then what's the point of wasting time/money pursuing it?

Increased penetration (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957245)

Free versions of things help to bring you to your audience. It's more likely to increase sales rather than hinder them - more people will be exposed to your book than would otherwise have been the case. If they don't buy this one at least they know you're there and what you're on about, and that makes them more likely to purchase your next one. It's advertising that you don't have to pay for.

If this wasn't the case then why do software companies, and game companies in particular, routinely release free "demos" of their products before the final "pay for this" release?

Re:Increased penetration (1)

TheTeaWeevil (1233124) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957473)

I've heard many people make this argument, but I've never actually seen any real evidence of it. Is there any documented evidence that people downloading books/music/movies/games for free actually increases sales? Again, I'm not saying that this isn't true, but I would like to see some proof of it. Also, there's a sizable difference between a demo and a free version. The whole point of a demo is to say "Here's a taste of what you can get once you pay us for the full version of it." That's very different from "Here's a full uncut version of the game; now pay us for it. Please?" The former gives people a motivation to support the company, since they want to get more of the content that they like; the latter pretty much depends on the goodwill of the person who already has a full copy of what they wanted. Maybe I'm just being cynical, but I don't see the latter happening all that much.

Re:Increased penetration (1)

yhetti (57297) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957541)

The problem with making a completely free version available is that there's no point in buying it later. Very few people will buy it later out of guilt.

"provide my entire book for free" is very different from "here's a demo of our first level."

The rule of thumb is, though, don't provide anything electronically unless you want it to get looted, stolen, and otherwise abused.

Share it! (1)

indre1 (1422435) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957251)

If it's pirated, do the following:
  1. Make the books available for free
  2. Put some annoying ads on the site
  3. Use the ad revenue to sue other pirates
  4. Write more books

Good Start (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27957257)

Look on the bright side. /. is #4 on the Google search now, knocking out at least one of the pirate sites :)

SEO and DMCA (1)

basementman (1475159) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957261)

Do some SEO and send DMCA takedown notices to the sites linking to/hosting the content. If the sites do not comply with your takedown notices file a complaint with google to remove the offending content from their search results.

Doubt it's pirates (1)

gameshints (629632) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957267)

I doubt it's pirates. Your decline in sales is most likely due to students re-selling your used textbooks. Change a word (or two) and release a new edition to put a damper on used textbook sales. Students will love that. Probably so much that they would actually start to pirate your book...

Re:Doubt it's pirates (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957543)

Your decline in sales is most likely due to students re-selling your used textbooks.

That implies that people only started reselling the books recently and haven't been doing it all along. That sounds unlikely.

Ignore the Slashdotards and (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957269)

Work with Google to rid search results of links to the pirated version.

Re:Ignore the Slashdotards and (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957493)

This might actually work if ThePirateBay didn't have a decent built-in search engine.

Your clue is in the Amazon reviews (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27957273)

... which are not very good.

Given the price you are asking, the alternatives available, and the quality and error rate cited in the reviews of your book, it's a miracle anybody would even want to steal it.

Also, given the reviews, I'd certainly want a free look before I put a nickle toward the purchase of this book.

Poison the pirate downloads - figuratively (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27957277)

Go to the site and rate the download as terrible. Comment that the download is likely a trojan, and suggest people go to a non pirating site.

Here's what you can do! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27957289)

Stab your self in the dickhole with a shrimp fork.

Now, your penis is mutilated. You've got more important things to worry about. Congradulation!

Welcome to 2009 and the internet age (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957297)

I am afraid there isn't much you can do about this. Ask the RIAA about their success in prosecuting [music] pirates. It's not worth the efforts, unless you have ten times the amount of dough at the RIAA's disposal.

My advice: Find another job. A university would be a good start for you.

Use book as ultimate reference (1)

Dominican (67865) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957299)

A few thoughts.
I once talked to someone who has written a few computer books and the input I got was that she was not getting much from the books. She mentioned that what the books did help with was stablishing yourself as a subject matter expert so you could get paid more when doing consulting/work in the field you wrote.

To that regard one possibility may be to do nothing about the pirated copies and/or let your publisher deal with it.

I also recall reading recently comments from a couple of publishers (including the owner from stardock) who basically said you loose more trying to fight pirates than by worrying only about paying customers. There will always be people willing to download some material for free that they would never be willing to pay for.

Sell Support (1)

Ynot_82 (1023749) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957317)

The print version needs to weigh a ton
In an online store, offer a low cost trolley to wheel the book around in

The digital edition needs to be 100Gb in size
In an online store, offer a low cost memory stick to house the book

perhaps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27957325)

perhaps the 65EUR for just 239 pages have something to do with it. I don't care for your book as I'm not real enough for it.

bad search string (1)

Jenos (1255810) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957335)

to get better results i suggest searching for your title "Compression Algorithms for Real Programmers", rather than searching for a combination of words not found in it. obviously searching for random keywords is going to bring up books other than yours since they are more popular.

What about me? (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957343)

My ancestors invented the corndog. Everywhere I look, people are eating corndogs and not giving me money. Do I need a magic spell?

Yes, I am a carnie.

Change your business model (1)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957349)

What model would that be?

That's YOUR job to figure out, not mine. I got my own business model to figure out.

But I can tell you the future for publishing in any form - music, movies, TV - is one where free copies of everything are everywhere. And there's nothing you or anyone else can do about that except adapt.

Get another job, broski (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27957367)

Look at it this way: You're charging money for something that, by rule of economics, should be free.

The only real cost involved is in the time you spent on that book. After that - distribution, production, it may as well be free, as anyone with a computer can do both those for far less than a penny's worth of electricity. It's simple supply and demand - You've got infinite supply, so the demand don't matter, and whatever you are selling has a real world economic value of $0.

If you don't like that, then I recommend you find another line of work where your paycheck does not depend on an outdated business model. Alternatively, you could charge, up front, the full price of your books' costs on the first sale. So if you feel that book was worth $20,000 to you, then sell it for that much from the get go. Maybe have a paypal account that people can chip a dollar into whenever they want, and then when your pre-determined limit is reached, let anyone and everyone have your book for free.

You could also litigate your way through it, but in the end, even if you win your lawsuit, you'll probably have paid more for the lawyers.

Maybe you could offer additional services or info (1)

Marrow (195242) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957375)

For established legitimate users? Perhaps an official sale will come with an entry point to a protected site that offers additional value?

A legit purchase that gives the customer the opportunity to ask the author a question might be very attractive.

Also the questions would give you grist for future revisions or alternate titles.

Anyway, if you wrote a book you are a subject matter expert. Perhaps you should make the book a kind of advertisement for advanced services in the field. So the more its passed around, the more benefit flows back to you.

Probably not the magic bullet you wanted though...

The first step is seldom a lawsuit (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957385)

I'm not a lawyer, but I can tell you a few things that have worked for me repeatedly over the years. These all apply to the people redistributing your work, not the people receiving it from them.

A cease-and-desist letter beforehand will sometimes do the job. Actually having a law firm draft this for you isn't a bad idea, and it's a lot cheap to pay them for this by the hour than to retain them for a civil suit.

Also, consider contacting hosting companies, registrars, DNS providers, and net block providers for the sites in question. If they have physical addresses listed on their websites, try contacting their landlords, too. Most leases contain a clause about eviction for using the premises for illegal activity. A law firm can probably help you with this, too, as the DMCA has certain requirements.

Report anyone in the US who is doing this for money to the criminal authorities who investigate such things, like the FBI, Postal Service inspections office (mail fraud), or the Secret Service (bank fraud). Chances are they're committing some act of fraud as well as copyright infringement, like claiming to be authorized to sell those copies or collecting money across the Internet claiming to be an agent of yours.

As others have said, all of these really should be handled by the publisher I'd think. That's the purpose of having a publisher rather than distributing the work yourself. They are supposed to take care of the business side of it.

Wise up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27957391)

I prefer my textbooks to be in a digital format. I just looked your book up on Amazon (which I will never need for my studies), and what do you know, the digital edition is MORE EXPENSIVE than buying a new printed edition. A used copy is even much cheaper. A pirated copy is free. I am a poor student, which do think I would get if I needed the book?

In all seriousness, I do not mind paying for my books as do other students, if the price is reasonable. However, to have your publisher blatantly rape us on the digital version, as well as the dead tree version, is crap. So yes, myself and other students would/will rape YOU because of this. If I could get the digital edition for $20 without DRM, I would pay for it. Wise up, or starve, the students did...

My advice: Publish it before complaining.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27957397)

What I think is interesting/funny is that if you do the google search the first link is for Amazon, but when you look at the result page the book isn't actually for sale from amazon, but it is available from a number of individual book sellers. So my advice, is put the book back in print if you actually want people to buy it new. Otherwise, will look for it from any source available to them, and sadly enough piracy tends to be the best/easiest option.

The author can't honestly be complaining about lost revenue if an individual is purchasing a used copy of the book since the author doesn't gain any immediate monetary award for used book transactions. Though they may generate long term gains from future books.

What do you do about libraries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27957403)

Some people read your book for free at the library. Legally, the Internet is not a big public library, but practically it can act like one. You'll probably be better off in the long run if you market as if pirates and libraries provide the same service, because you would not get those sales even if you sued. All you can effectively do is market to paying customers.

Sell cheaper ebook versions? (1)

Bull_UK (944763) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957413)

This may not be applicable to you but recently I was looking for several e-books and found the price stupidly high, I can buy a paperback for £3.99 but an e-book costs $16.00,to me this makes no sense, producing a paper based book and distributing it is surely more expensive than producing an electronic version, don't the publishers get the book in electronic form from the authors anyway? Where are the costs? Off topic, I also find extremely frustrating that most books I want are not available in electronic form, and some that are are restricted to the U.S. and Canada, I could understand this for new books but not ones published in 2004. I have resorted at times to downloading torrents of books I own already as paperbacks, this probably isn't legal either but it satisfies my moral code

Not every download is a lost sale (1)

Derling Whirvish (636322) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957425)

What you are missing is that not every download is a lost sale. People who download would probably not have bought it in the first place -- they would have bought a used copy, borrowed from a friend or roommate, or checked it out from a library. This is the fundamental fact that RIAA/MPAA don't understand either. Think of it as free advertising. After checking out a book from a library, if I've found it really useful I've then gone on and purchased a copy. I've even replaced a used book with a new book when a new edition came out because it was quite good. I never would have bought it in the first place had there not been a cheaper option available. This goes for downloads as well.

Wait wait wait (1, Funny)

GuloGulo2 (972355) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957431)

You came HERE, to Slashdot, where there is consistent and irrefutable support for what have to be some of the dumbest ideas about copyright ever uttered, and you expect something useful?

Good luck, there's a very small population of people here with ideas you can use, but they'll be drowned out by the idiots who routinely denounce copyright as though it raped their baby and murdered their granny.

Your blog post is rife with (0, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957447)

fallacies and assumptions.

"The kind of book I write, thick with equations that play to computer lovers, is also the first to be pirated."
based on nothing.

"he category sold 8% fewer titles in 2008 than 2007."
SO? gosh what could have happened in 08 to cause sales to go down. hmm.

"Iâ(TM)m not going to write more books if the revenues will be wiped out by pirates. "
so?

"there was no real uptick in the sales of my book when these pirated versions appeared."

Maybe they aren't being downloaded by people who would actually use them? maybe you are a poor writer? Maybe there just aren't a lot of people needing your book?
Add to that, they didn't down tick either. In fact it as if it had no effect on your sales at all. Surprise, pretty much what studies have shown for music as well. If you are good, piracy generates sales, of you are mediocre, then no change. If you stink..well nothing will help you.

How about you come up with some actual facts from some of the studies?

Bottom line: This is the new market realities, adapt or die. There is nothing you can do to stop it.
Nothing.

I talked about your ability as a writer. I just want to be very clear that I only list it as a possibility. I don't know the books you have written.

I do know, based on your blog, that you haven't actually thought out the issue, only knee jerked to what you feel is the intuitive problem.
Understandable, hell in 95 I started thinking the music industry would be gone by 2010, by 2000 I was sure of it. Howe3ver, is seems piracy has helped sales, and that people prefer to pay instead of get illegally distributed goods.
If not iTunes wouldn't have sold well over 2 billion songs.

Count your blessings. (1)

InlawBiker (1124825) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957465)

(1) get another job.

Maybe. If you can support yourself writing, you're way ahead of most writers. I doubt the publishing industry will be brought down by pirates though.

(2) sue people.

Let your publisher do this.

(3) invent some magic spell?

There isn't a magic spell, but there's a magic formula. Some percentage of people will always pirate. Some greater number of people are also buying the book. Keep cashing your checks and realize that some people are going to steal your book, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.

It must suck to see your work traded freely. I would be angry too. I first started noticing digital piracy of games back in the 8-bit computer days. It's fascinating to see that virtually no progress has been made in stopping it since then.

Here's my take on it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27957477)

It used to be that the value was in the book - it was expensive to publish, transport, display for sale, advertise, etc. Those costs were pretty substantial, so we (society) gave authors a "Copyright" - or the right to make copies, so they could recoup their costs and make some profit.

The Copyright was a limited monopoly to encourage the arts so that the Public would benefit. Eventually the Copyright expired, and the work went into the Public domain.

Through the perversion of the Legal System, the length of a copyright is now ludicrous, and almost nothing enters the Public Domain.

So what Authors are asking for is a lifetime copyright (sometimes beyond) and returning nothing to the Public.

Pfffft! To you I say. You've (Authors as a collective - not your personally) broken the Social Compact, so we're returning the favor and taking back what's rightfully ours (Society's).

Does any Artist deserve to make a living off their work? No. Can they? Yes. But the deal is that they have to CONTINUALLY produce new works, and push them out there to keep their fans happy so they can make money.

But I digress... To answer your question - forget about getting irked about the piracy. Stop trying to make the money from the book itself through sales.

In this day and age of instant and (for all intents and purposes) ZERO reproduction and transport costs, you can't do it. Instead, use the book as a giant advertisement of your services.

Can you help some company save money through the use of your Data Compression techniques? Perhaps they can reduce the number of hard disks they have to keep spinning for near-/on-line backups?

They read your book, like what you have to say - figure you know your stuff, and call you in at $X.yy consulting fee.

You learn something from that engagement which helps you to refine your techniques, you write another book with updated *whatever* in it, and get more engagements.

Forget selling books at $50/each to students. I was a student once - those prices were a utter ripoff. Sell digital copies for $2.00 each. Put a digital link to *something* on your website that they can get with their digital serial number (yeah, some of those will be shared too). For $2.00 - the average student won't ask a friend for a copy - their friend would probably say "Huh? dude... it's, like, 2 freekin' bucks... cut back on beer for a night... buy the damn thing"

Summary: Piracy is a direct result of authors/publishers ripping off the public. Charging too much. So charge less - try a takeoff on that Band's method - ask the people to pay what they think it's worth (minimum $1.00). Don't try to sell the same ole crap to us ad nauseum - we're not that stupid (anymore). And forget the lawsuits - they don't work, and often catch the wrong people in the net - which makes you look like a moron.

Number 3. Absolutely (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957489)

There really is nothing you can do.

You can't sue anyone. Unless you can find somebody actually making copies of your books and selling them for their own profit of course. However, that is quite rare compared to a person receiving a digital copy online without paying you. Let's say this consumer was supposed to pay you 20$. Even with fines and penalties you will never make a profit going after the consumer. Look at that RIAA for proof of that. Even if you do get a judgment there is no guarantee that you will ever get any money from it at all. The average consumer in the U.S will never have "deep pockets", which is the first thing you consider when you sue somebody for damages. My example, the RIAA, was never trying to make a profit either. It was terrorism, plain and simple. The idea being if that all the consumers are terrified of downloading illegal non-drm'd content, they ultimately win. It has not worked out that way has it?

Ultimately it will come down to if we live free in cyberspace, or if we live under a totalitarian fascist cyberspace where the consumer/citizen has absolutely no control over their own electronics. All systems are locked down with signed code and centralized authentication systems that verify all content is properly licensed. Violations are punishable as felonies under various laws.

I don't think there is any middle ground either. At least consumers are proving that they will not choose the middle ground, and will choose drm-less content and so-called hacked personal electronics that allow them total control over their own cyberspace. So what are you left with?

You can either support dying business models (financially, not just in principle) and the fruitless attempts to lock consumers hardware down to control them, or just give up.

I know that is not what you want to hear, and I support your copyrights (for a reasonable period of time) and the idea you should be paid for your work. I just don't see a way to actually protect your copyrights without "killing" the free internet, destroying freedom, etc. Which is sad.

So, absolutely, I think your only real option is Number 3, the magic potion.

P.S - I think you should at least take this to heart. The people that can pay, and want to pay you for you hard work, DO PAY YOU. I have pirated a buttload in my lifetime, but everything I have enjoyed and has turned out to be a valuable tool that makes me money, has been PAID FOR. I know a lot of people say that, but it really is true for myself and a lot of other people that I know about. In a very real sense, piracy is for the young and poor people of the world. People, that were never going to be paying you anyways.

Synthesizers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27957491)

Is society going to be able to support people who synthesize knowledge or will we need to rely on the Wikipedia for everything?

Apparently, many people are able to synthesize knowledge for us without relying on financial support from society. And that's not counting "the Wikipedia".

Is your work worthwhile, how can you add value? (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957501)

If your book is worthwhile, you can consider looking for opportunities to give lectures on the material to those interested. In some cases you may be able to use the opportunity to sell copies (perhaps signed) after the lecture. Is there an opportunity to sell it as a textbook?

If your book is garbage, or not particularly useful, nothing's going improve your sales. In that case do go find another job, or write a better book if you can.

You say: "The free copies aren't boosting sales for my books". How on earth could you possibly know that? Purchasers of your book aren't exactly going to walk up to you and tell you they pirated it first then worked out it was so invaluable that they bought a copy.

You're asking some pretty basic questions. Ones that I would not expect a seasoned author to be asking. If you thought you were going to get rich writing one book, you were very foolish. Learn and move on.

posting to cancel mismoderation. awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27957505)

because the new ui is a little twitchy.

Advertising/Promotion (1)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957511)

You don't say if you think people would buy your book even if piracy didn't exist. How much time/effort/resources do you put into advertising or promotional activities? It appears to be a text book; how many professors are using it? You have to convince people that this book is valuable to them before you can expect them to pay you for it. If you look at successful businesses, the one thing they have in common is the ability to "sell" their products.

For all I know the book could hold the deepest secrets to the universe. However we have to know it exists before we will buy it. BTW, I can't help but feel the slashdot question was a thinly veiled attempt to get free advertising. Congrats. Hopefully the editors will be more selective next time.

Nothing to it ! (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957521)

Ask Cory Doctorow. Apparently you just need to use a creative commons license. That will stimulate his ego, oh wait, I mean help you.

And, let's face it, if stimulating someone's ego is not the primary economic activity in America, then we really chose the wrong president.

"Founding editor of Boing Boing Cory Doctorow has written a report about 'do-it-yourself' digital licensing, which he's touting as the panacea for piracy. Doctorow's solution for content creators is two-fold: Get a Creative Commons license, and append some basic text requiring those who re-use your work to pay you a percentage of their gross income. Doctorow refers to this as the middle ground between simply acquiring a Creative Commons license and hiring expensive lawyers for negotiations. He calls do-it yourself licensing 'cheap and easy licensing that would turn yesterday's pirates into tomorrow's partners."

Gird thyself... (1)

patmfitz (517089) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957535)

The first step is to wear long pants. Next, make sure you have a sturdy belt that is difficult to remove.

Oh, wait... *book* pirates.

Never mind.

Actually, he knows exactly what to do (4, Interesting)

SlashDotDotDot (1356809) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957537)

His strategy is to complain about it in high profile forms, thus getting highly placed google results. Results 2 and 4 when I search on his query string:

2. A Victim of Piracy Wonders How To Fight Back - Bits Blog - NYTimes.com May 14, 2009 ... The specter of piracy of my books materialized for me several weeks ago when I typed the four words âoewayner data compression textbookâ into Google. ... bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/14/a-pirates-victim-wonders-how-to-fight-back/?pagemode=print

4. Slashdot | What Can I Do About Book Pirates? peterwayner writes "Six of the top ten links on a Google search for one of my books points to a pirate site when I type in 'wayner data compression textbook ... ask.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/05/14/2037236

Try Safari (1)

BillLaidig (1554799) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957563)

I have an account to O'Reilly's Safari - I don't know how authors are compensated but having your book on there would make it widely available.

consider it free advertising (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957569)

its not as if you don't have services to offer, no? if anyone wants to use your intellectual creations to their fullest, surely they should go straight to the intellectual creator?

the idea that you can constrain who gets your intellectual creations is the backasswards way of thinking about how to maximize your profit. you shouldn't constrain who gets your intellectual creations at all. you should maximize the exposure your creations get, cementing your reputation, and creating a golden calling card for anyone who wants to expand upon your efforts with your help

of course, they might not want your help. as if anyone who would buy your book wants your help either. but here's the important part: for every one person who wants your help, who bought your book, there are ten people who want your help, because they got your book for free. free=maximium exposure. and then the income from those ten revenue sources and work sources outmatches the income from all of the book sales

They probably wouldn't buy anyway (1)

rodrigovr (1396497) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957577)

People downloading your book probably aren't going to buy it anyway. They live around the world in places where (1) the book isn't available (2) it costs too many for them.

One way is to post your story everywhere (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 4 years ago | (#27957579)

You've got your story posted on the NYTimes website [nytimes.com] and here at slashdot. So you've got your name and that particular search term listed on two sites with very high Google pagerank with in effect pushes the other links down. This seems like a good start in making it harder to pirate the books in question.
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