Pirates Ahoy! A Writer’s Frustration

Being a writer isn’t all lattes in coffee shops and glowing bursts of inspiration. There’s quite a bit of hard work involved too, as many of you know. Writing a novel and then getting it out into the world is a huge effort, especially for independent authors like myself. I work with a professional editor and cover designer, have a critique partner and several beta readers, not to mention the endless rewrites, edits and formatting to get it ready for the reading public. Basically, it’s a big job.

But I love to write and share my stories, which is why I do it. However, one of the big downsides, especially with the rise of e-books, is piracy on the web. I know my books are out there as free downloads or, even more irritatingly, to purchase, on various pirate sites. I tried Blasty for a while, but now just do the occasional search and destroy method, following tips from fellow authors or online trails. I’m resigned to the fact I’ll never get all of them, but finding and deleting a title every once in a while makes me feel as though I’m doing something at least.

I was recently alerted to Kiss Library (google them, I’m not going to do them the favour of sharing their link) and, when I went to their site, I found both Oak and Mist, the first book in my Ambeth series, and A Thousand Rooms, my standalone novel, available to purchase. Oak and Mist is exclusive to Amazon – I can’t even sell it from my own website – so it was galling to see both my books available for sale on some pirate site, with none of the proceeds coming my way.

Kiss Library purports to be fully compliant with copyright laws, and has a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Form) link at the bottom of their site, which takes you to a simple form. You fill in a few details, add the link to your (pirated) books – there’s even a space to leave them a message if you so desire. It all seems very polite and above board. So I filled in the form, adding a few choice comments about them making money from my work, and pressed submit.

Within a few minutes of submitting the form, I received an email from them apologising and saying they were ‘very sorry about this situation – we’ve had an influx of copyright complaints recently which we haven’t seen before. Apparently someone has found a way to work around our copyright protection mechanism.’ A quick search of review forums found that this is a standard email they’ve been sending for at least a year, so I very much doubt this influx is ‘recent.’ They also said they would contact the parties involved and make sure I received any payments outstanding. Sure…

Several of the reviewers on the forums mentioned they’ve had their credit card/bank details stolen as well, so I don’t think I’ll be giving Kiss Library any further information, even if they do offer payment. And, in the meantime, if you’re an author, check the site to make sure your books aren’t on there. And if you’re a reader… buy your books from a reputable retailer. We authors really appreciate it!


Enjoyed this post? Want to read more? Find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, Under Stone (Ambeth Chronicles #4), is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.

25 thoughts on “Pirates Ahoy! A Writer’s Frustration

  1. I am an old fashioned book reader in that I still purchase books from usually quirky independent bookstores, and many of those are secondhand stores. Haven’t succumbed to an e-reader yet as I like to turn the pages of a real book physically.

    Hopefully, you get it sorted Helen, and the credit goes to you and no one else.

    • Thanks, Suzanne, and thank you for sharing the post 🙂 They have taken my books down for now, but apparently that’s quite common- they will put them back on the site in a month or so…

  2. I agree credit (and monies) should go to author/artist but in effort to quell the pain: consider The Grateful Dead. Early on, they actually condoned piracy of their own music. Bootleggers openly set up shop/recorders at a central floor space (prime acoustics) at concerts and sold their wares in the trenches. Monies were going to them, not the band. But somehow this (marketing strategy) worked for them because the art was being shared among the masses. They became famous and so the legit/licensed part of them profited. Immensely.
    I hope you become famous too! 🙂

    • Thanks, Walter! True story – I saw the Grateful Dead live many many years ago, and the car park was full of people selling a variety of, ahem, things, including bootlegs. I do appreciate the viral aspect of your hypothesis – most of the time, I just ignore this kind of thing. But I felt like acting on this one 🙂 And thanks – I hope I find a lot more legitimate readers too! 🙂

  3. Oh my gosh, Helen, is there no end to the way others try to make money off the back of other souls efforts. I must be naive, because I had no idea this went on. Thanks for the heads up. 🙂

    • Thanks, Jane 🙂 Yes, sadly, there are probably thousands of this kind of site online. It’s impossible to catch them all but it feels good to get one, every once in a while.

  4. I’m so sorry that you’re having to deal with that Helen! I have had to file DMCA forms with Pinterest where people take my photo quotes or covers and link them to their own website, which is annoying enough, but how horrible that somebody has outright stolen your work and is selling it. Good for you in shutting them down!

    • Thanks, Amy – and I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with it too! I cannot understand people sometimes – why they think it’s okay to take something that doesn’t belong to them. To be honest, these guys are just a drop in the ocean, and I’ve no doubt my books will be back on their site in a month or two, as that seems to be the way they do things.

  5. Pingback: Pirates Ahoy! A Writer’s Frustration ~ Helen Jones | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  6. Sorry to hear of another victim of Kiss Library. I found six of my books on their site a few days ago and got them removed. I wish there was some way to put them out of business for good. Nasty pirates!!

    • Oh no! That’s awful. And, according to quite a few writers I’ve seen in online forums, they basically remove the books when asked, but upload them again a month or so later. It is a battle we really can’t win, sadly. I wish there was a way to put them out of business too!

      • No worries! And thank you too – I first got the heads up about them from your post, and research led me down a nasty little pirate-infested wormhole. Agree we shouldn’t have to keep checking… but I’ll be doing so as well.

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