Author | Josephine Ngatia
Ebook piracy is the #1 fear authors have when they consider publishing a digital version of their book. No one wants to see their hard earned money go to pirates who were not part of writing and publishing of their eBook. Book pirates are people who distribute your book, print or digital without your authority. They do it illegally using shady methods.
Safety of an eBook is a genuine concern especially in this day and age of content going viral on the internet.
It’s true that eBook piracy is taking place on the internet, more than you know. This should not deter you from publishing yours. There is no guarantee that no one will pirate your eBook. Waiting till someone resolves book piracy so you can publish yours is an illusion. You will face an even bigger problem as an author – obscurity.
As a new author, you know how hard it can be to sell books when people don’t know you and you don’t have an author platform. Ebook publishing is worth considering regardless of the risks involved. The best thing you can do is look for how to mitigate the risks.
A lot of authors and publishers have written on eBook piracy and how to handle it. Kindlepreneur and Inkwell Editorial have comprehensive articles on handling book piracy. You’ll also find authors who have shared their piracy experiences.
Here are the 4 things you need to know about dealing with eBook piracy
1. Copyright Certificate
When you register your eBook with the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO), they issue you with a copyright certificate. It is important to know the law recognizes you as the copyright holder even before you register your content. But if you want to take legal action for copyright infringement, you will need a certificate. Finding pirated copies of your eBook is the easy part. Taking legal action is the hard part.
If you want to report a website that has pirated your content or ask for a DMCA take down, the copyright certificate will come in handy.
2. Tracking Your eBook
To find pirated copies of your eBook, you must first track them. There are several methods you can use. You can use plagiarism checkers for example, Copyscape, Grammarly or ProWritingAid. You can use Google alerts to inform you when your eBook or parts of it appear anywhere on the internet. Tracking methods will show you the exact location where your content is being distributed without your authorization.
3. Reporting Copyright Infringement
Once you spot your eBook on pirate websites, you can decide on the action you want to take. There are many options. A few authors prefer not to do a thing and even claim to get more sales when pirates illegally distribute their books. You can order a DMCA take down, contact the pirate website or its hosting provider or you can ask Google not show them in search results. You can report the piracy to the copyright authority in your country.
4. Read Reviews on eBook Piracy
Before taking any action on your pirated eBook, find out how other self-published authors are dealing with copyright infringement and protecting their eBooks. You will learn what has worked and what hasn’t, what is worth pursuing and what is not. Many self-published authors are not alarmed by piracy or spending sleepless nights because of it. They have made peace with piracy. Others are benefiting from it.
An eBook will increase your chances of discoverability. You get to reach a global audience and give others a chance to know you. Social Media has made it easy to get the word out there on your eBook. Not everyone will easily access your print book but want to read your eBook. Let piracy not stop you. Don’t fear distributing your eBook far and wide with trusted distributors for example, Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, Draft2Digital, etc. Give readers around the world the opportunity to read your eBook and experience transformation.