*Holds up white flag*
I come in peace, and before you throttle me and make me regret my decision to ever start a book blog, hear me out. Just humor me this once, and we can go back to the throttling afterwards.
We cool? Great. That means I can begin to explain myself.
Now, according to the dictionary, the definition of theft is:
- the action or crime of stealing.
And pirating books are—in its essence—taking something without paying for it, most commonly known as stealing.
That is a fact. It can’t be disputed unless the law changes. Piracy is stealing. End of discussion.
With that said, though. There might be a ton of reasons why someone would choose to pirate a book.
Perhaps they don’t have the money to buy the book currently.
Perhaps their local library hasn’t seen any new release since the seventh Harry Potter book.
Perhaps Amazon/book depository doesn’t ship to their country.
Perhaps they have to choose between starving or books.
Perhaps it’s banned in their household and they have to hide it.
Like I said, a ton of reasons that are all valid concerns, but which doesn’t dispute the fact that piracy is still stealing. I don’t make the rules here: if you download a book from a piracy site it’s theft. And that sucks. I get it.
Oh trust me, I get it. You see, I live in Denmark. We are not a poor country, but books are still hella expensive here.
If I go to the bookstore, a paperback english book costs around $21/£15. For a paperback that might be £5 on amazon.
A Danish translated book can easily cost $49/£36. That is a lot of money that not many of us have.
If you’re like me, who mainly reads English books, then you’re also out of luck because it’s only the biggest book stores that carry them. Libraries have a small and, frankly inadequate, section—mostly available near the universities. And there’s no Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or Goldsboro.
We have one big bookcon every year and there’s no english publishers nor english books sold at the venue. E-books are still breaking through here.
So trust me, I get the frustration.
I get that sour taste in the mouth when you hear someone calling you a thief.
I get that you’re only trying to read what the majority of the world already have access to.
I get it.
Doesn’t change the fact that it’s stealing.
^ In the next section this mug doesn’t fit me 100 %.
If you haven’t already deduced it, then I might as well confess it directly: I used to pirate.
At first, I wasn’t really entirely sure it was pirating. I’d just gotten a sweet smartphone, and I found a few reading apps on what used to be called Android Market (Now Google Play). These apps were amazing.
I’d just read Twilight, and I jumped head first into all the big vampire series. We’re talking Morganville Vampires, Vampire Academy, Vampire Kisses, Sookie Stackhouse Novels, House of Night—you name it. I was so on board.
And it was still wrong. Even though I didn’t know, or that I wasn’t the one who made the apps… I stole the works of Rachel Caine, Richelle Mead, Ellen Schreiber, Charlene Harris and P.C. and Kristin Cast.
I didn’t even really care when I found out at first. I couldn’t help that it happened. Sure it was wrong, but they were there anyway, I wasn’t the only one who read it.
And then I tried writing my own story on a writing website, which was then uploaded somewhere else withour my permission. I wasn’t even being paid. It didn’t lose me any money, but it sucked to know that all those readers could have helped me, on my platform, following me, commenting, supporting me, instead of someone who literally copy-pasted the entire thing.
So, I started feeling bad. I felt bad for the authors I’ve stolen from, and I’ve tried to redeem myself by buying their books (a few years late) and are now doing my best to promote them to other readers.
Still doesn’t justify any of it.
My point is, you might try to justify why you’ve been or are pirating books. You might have a heartbreaking and completely valid reason. But that still doesn’t make it right.
Which is why, I’m gonna leave a list of websites where you can read books for free. You might have to make a profile, some might have time limitations, and some othes want you to sign up to a newsletter. Some might have paid options too. But they all have legal content free of charge.
For FREE ebooks, check out:
- Amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.au The Amazon Kindle App is free on any device (Computer, tablet and phone) and offers access to thousands of freebies. All you have to do in the Kindle Store is to selevt “Low to High” and a ton of free reads across all genres will appear.
I couldn’t be a part of the UK site due to regional rights (apparently) but the amazon.com works absolutely fine for me. Both for buying ebooks and for freebies.
They have a top 100 free list, as well.
- Project Gutenberg is an online catalogue of public domain books available for free. They cover various Classics in several languages. Additionally you can find over 18.000 books on their wattpad profile.
- manybooks.net over 33.000 books available.
- openlibrary.org The internet Archive, working to digitalize local libraries across the US.
- Riveted is Simon & Schuster’s free YA program. Every Week they have some new selections online. These often range between New and upcomming books, and long time YA Bestsellers.
- Instafreebie is an online Giveaway and promotion tool for Authors and Readers to connect. By signing up for the author’s newsletter you are given access to an ebook which can be downloaded in mobi, PDF and epub. Lots of books to chose between.
- Tor.com is Tor’s own website where the offer numerous of free reads, novellas and short stories from some of their greatest authors.
- International Children’s Digital Library is an online source for children’s books across the world.
- Wattpad.com is a writing an reading website and app. If you’re an aspiring writer, the platform is pretty useful in building an audience of booklovers. Authors like Anna Todd, Beth Reekles, Taran Matharu and many more started on wattpad. While many of the authors have since then taken down some or all of their writing, there are still some who have the unedited drafts or a novella on the site. Big Time authors like Brandon Sanderson, Colleen Hoover, and even more authors. A good place to start would be This List which was made by the wattpad staff themselves.
And, if you’re completely bored, you may even check out my own unedited first drafts here.
If you got a few bucks to spare and don’t know where to look:
- Book Riot has a daily newsletter where you can find great reads on discount.
- OHFB initially started for freebies only, but has since then expanded to include deeply discounted books.
If you’d rather go for physical books:
- Awesomebooks has a ton of cheap used books, with a flatrate shipping to almost anywhere in the world. Your country not on the list? Send them an email and maybe they can work something out. Otherwise I’m sure someone would be happy to act as layover if you need it.
- Amazon Warehouse Deals and Book Outlet has great prices on used, slightly damaged or overstock books. It’s well worth it to check your local Amazon to see if they have something you’d like.
- Book Depository Bargain Shop sometimes stock up on some awesome books, they then discount them for our pleasure. With book prices so high most places, this is definitely worth a look. Also, Book Depository has no added Shipping Costs which is always nice. They don’t ship everywhere, though. But maybe you can also find a friend in a nearby country that can ship them to you.
So here was a few ideas for alternatives to book pirating. This list doesn’t even include the Read Now books on NetGalley, or the many authors looking for a Beta Reader. There’s even more writing websites where you can read amazing completed works, as well.
There are a lot of alternatives which can offer almost as most as pirating, but legally, So the next time you want to read a book, maybe check out some of these? That way more authors can release more free stuff legally, and publishers can see that they have readers all over the world.
Who knows? Maybe I’ll even see Penguin, Tor, Hot Key Books, Sourcebooks or Simon and Schuster in Denmark some day.