In 2010, I started writing Twilight fanfiction. I was obsessed with the books and movies and desperately needed an outlet for my feelings. So I chose fanfiction. I created an account on Fanfiction.net and made friends with someone to asked me if I had read The Vampire Diaries. I admitted that I hadn’t though I always wanted to. The books were expensive so I never got the opportunity. She offered to send me PDF copies of the books and I agreed.
I loved the idea of pdf books. Ebooks! That you could read on your phone. What I didn’t know at the time was that an eBook was not a PDF file. No, PDF files were illegal and we were committing book piracy. I sent the files to all of my friends.
Once I was done with all the books, I started looking for others. House of Night. Vampire Academy. Blood Bloods. This continued for years. I would read the books and if I liked them, I would save up money for a print copy.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might know that I didn’t have the opportunity to go to the library as a kid as my dad was always busy. So these “ebooks” were great for me.
Sometime in 2012 I stopped reading as I wanted to focus on school. I started college in 2014 and discovered Netgalley. I had a lifestyle blog at the time so I requested books on Netgalley and reviewed them on my blog. It was the same thing as high school. Or so I thought.
I had been reviewing books for a few months when I came across a warning on one of my review copies. “This book is for your eyes and your eyes only. Sharing a copy with anyone else constitutes as ebook piracy.” My first reaction was to laugh. Piracy was for music and movies. Not eBooks. Or was it?
I started Googling and was appalled. I had been committing ebook piracy and I had no clue. I especially had no idea how it affected authors or the book community as a whole. I felt awful.
Fast forward a few years later and I still haven’t purchased print copies of all the books I pirated. Though not for lack of trying. It’s not the same and the damage has already been done but I thought purchasing the books would be some sort of atonement.
I know what I did was wrong and I feel really bad (especially considering how often I review books) but at the same time I feel like there should have been more education on the subject.
Nowadays you cannot mention “free pdf copy” without having someone jump down your throat for it but at the same time there are more avenues to get a book than just the library or the bookstore. Amazon, Scribd and Bookbub to name a few.
For me, there are days where I wonder if I would still be pirating if I hadn’t stopped to read that warning on that one book. I am truly grateful that I did.