In one recent case an author's book was given out in ARC form at a literature convention. Within days that book was up online (it had been scanned) as a free download. This was before publication. So that particular author's book was given a death blow before it was even in the shops.
There's also another kind of piracy - plagiarism or passing off. Sometime ago I was scrolling through research information on Athene, when I happened to notice something on Wattpad (for those of you who don't know what that is, it's a an online community where subscribers post their own writing, eiither through the Wattpad website or a mobile app). It was an Athene story - and as I read through it, it sounded more and more familiar. It was my own work, passed off as someone else's. It was not a nice feeling. Scribd is another culprit - despite their BookID initiative. Illegal downloads and copyright infringement of foreign editions are also a daily problem for some authors - including CJDaugherty, who tweets about it regularly.
Think about the figure above for a second. At 25% royalty on a e-book - that adds up to serious money. When most authors earn less than the national minimum living wage, every single illegally downloaded copy of our books hits us in the pocket. So what can we do? There's a new programme out there for Google, currently in Beta-testing called Blasty. I'm going to give it a try and see what happens.
Meanwhile - if someone tries to tell you that book content should be free to download 'just like music is' - feel entitled to snarl like Blackbeard and educate them as to just why their kind of piracy is just as bad as stealing a physical copy. Because that's what book piracy is - stealing. And we can't afford it.
OUT NOW: Cleo 2: Chosen and Cleo (UKYA historical fantasy about the teenage Cleopatra VII) '[a] sparkling thriller packed with historical intrigue, humour, loyalty and poison.' Amanda Craig, New Statesman
Also out: Beasts of Olympus series "rippingly funny" Publishers Weekly US starred review