Updated: Aug 8
I google myself occasionally. Sometimes helps me find book blogger reviews I would've otherwise missed, but inevitably, when I do this, I find some piracy links.
For the most part, I'm not too fussed with piracy links. In case you weren't savvy to this, most piracy sites are filled with viruses and are trying to get your personal information. A small percentage of them have safe downloads of my actual books, but for the most part (Well, insert Admiral Ackbar.)
Anyway, today I found someone who was tweeting a link (supposedly) to one of my books for free download. It was pretty obviously one of these fake links, but in the comments to it was some person criticizing the original tweeter for trying to give people viruses and offering to send a free copy of my book to anyone who wanted it instead.
The person's bio claimed they were also an author.
I mean, a non-author person I get might be under the impression that mid-list indie authors (like myself) are rolling in dough (we're not), but you'd think an author would get that we aren't exactly living high here. If you are an author who REALLY wants to help your fellow man, offer to send them a copy of YOUR book, not some other random author who you are presumably pirating. (see note below for update)
I mean, it was tempting to reply, "Or you know you could pay $4 for the book like an honest person, request it from your library so they buy a copy, or do something else that doesn't rip the author off of a hard fought sale" ... but I didn't want to flame war on twitter, so I let it be.
I would never shame someone for being too poor to afford a book. Honestly, there are people who can't willy nilly spend $4 and that's a thing ... and some who aren't near to libraries that can get them the books they want ... but still, there are so many options for free ebooks now, you DON'T have to pirate if you want to have books to read.
So for productivity, here is my indie author guide to how you can get ALL the free books you'll ever want.
1. Subscribe to newsletter ebook promoters like BookBub, MyBookCave, Ereader News Today, etc. Authors often offer their books for free rather to gain reviews or to increase their platform. A couple weeks subscribed to one or two of these newsletters, you'll have plenty of authorized free books.
2. Search free books on Amazon, Smashwords, etc. There are a ton. Again, authors have MANY different reasons to put a book free, and that's not what this is about, but there are so many out there that you don't NEED to pirate anything.
But what if you want a PARTICULAR book and it isn't free at the moment?
Become a book reviewer and ask the author.
Honestly, a lot of authors are starved for reviews. Most will give a free ebook if there is a promise of a review (you don't even have to promise a star rating or anything). A review is like 30 seconds of work and you've given the author something for it.
So, yeah, there are ways.
Now some big name authors won't be in the position where they need reviews and are giving out copies, but a lot of those authors will be in online library systems like Overdrive.
So yeah, don't feel ashamed if you don't have a huge budget for ebooks, but still don't steal. You simply don't need to.
ETA: Update, I'm glad I didn't call out the author who was offering to send copies because I've since seen more of these style of tweets, and beneath them multiple authors claiming that the book linked is THEIR book, which makes me suspect that the poster is changing the page the link goes to to different books through the day, so it is very possible the author WAS offering a copy of their own book rather than mine, and the original poster had just changed the book on the page since then (or they could be using some sort of spoofing system where it shows different books to different people based on their recent internet history.