So just about a half hour ago I'm browsing through the top 100 horror Kindle titles on Amazon, as I am wont to do (I don't check the New York Times bestseller lists anymore, but the Kindle top 100 lists), and I noticed this title was currently free:
It stuck out to me immediately, because my friend Aaron Polson not too long ago published a new book with this cover:
As you can see, a very striking resemblance.
So then I thought, Okay, somebody just stole his cover. That's ridiculous but not too awful.
Then, on a whim, I clicked on the "look inside" option, and guess what.
It was the same book.
Word for word.
I immediately contacted Aaron and let him know.
The first book -- the plagiarized book -- according to its pub date, has been available since November.
But that's not all.
I noticed a few other suspicious-looking e-books and brought them to Aaron's attention, too.
One of them, he told me, was his as well -- a short story published under a different title.
Clearly this is a very fucked up part of digital publishing. Many e-books are published without DRM, which stands for digital rights management. E-books with DRM basically make that title only available on that device. Most authors are encouraged to publish their e-books without DRM to make it easier for the reader.
And while it is easier for the reader to transfer the e-books from different devices (you can even take Kindle titles, download them to your computer, and convert them to epub or anything else using Calibre), it makes it even easier for pirates to take your work and put it up for anyone to download for free.
As I've said before, while I don't agree with pirating, it's a reality we all need to face. And, to be honest, it doesn't really bother me. The way I see it, those who download my books from pirate sites wouldn't have even considered buying the books in the first place. And, who knows, maybe they'll really enjoy that pirated book and seek out more of my work.
But someone taking my e-books and putting them up on pirated sites is one thing.
Someone taking my e-books and doing like they did to Aaron -- republishing them under a different name and cover for profit -- is fucking despicable.
How can we fight this sort of injustice?
By being vigilant, for one.
I'm not so sure.
And that, when it comes down to it, is what I find really scary.