Avast, Ye Scurvy Sea Dogs!

Well, this is unexpected.

I’ve been pirated.

I was looking for a graphic of the Russian cover for the third Angel’s Luck book when I discovered a Russian web site that is distributing a converted form of the first two books in the series for Rocket Books. With a little research, I found out that the books were apparently scanned and OCR’ed, then converted into a Rocket Book format from there – then uploaded to some guy’s server for distribution from there.

While I do have a Russian character set installed on my iBook, I still can’t read Cyrillic, so poking around on the site didn’t do me any good. I couldn’t tell if the e-books were for sale or not. Clicking on a link ended up downloading one of the books on my hard drive, so I downloaded the other one just to see what would happen. They’re both in gibberish because the text editor doesn’t know what do do with the foreign characters, but they were there nonetheless.

The odd thing is that I’m flattered about this more than anything. True, this guy may not have liked the book all that much, just decided to convert it for distribution – but I didn’t exactly see a lot of other AST SF titles available. So I took it as a compliment.

Yes, this means I’m not horrified or outraged about it. This sort of thing has been happening to SF authors with print books during the history of the Soviet/Eastern European Bloc, when suddenly Robert Silverberg or someone of the like would discover that not just a guy with a scanner in his bedroom, but a legitimate publishing company had put out an unauthorized translation of his work. So seeing this makes me a member of the club now.

Besides, it’s hard for me to be as militant about this as, say, Metallica is about mp3’s. After all, for centuries authors have had to put up with a free file sharing and distribution network, one that offered them little compensation when compared to the number of people who got to read their work for free.

They’re called libraries.

(That was the point of this odd little exercise in writing, but I may have over-subtled the point.)

In the meantime, I’ll take my flattery. I did tell my agent because I thought my Russian publisher would want to know about it. But from my side of things, I don’t see this having much if any effect on what I will see from Russian editions of these books in the future (which is basically nothing).

Besides, is it really piracy if they’re giving the material away?

Good heavens. I haven’t been pirated. I’ve been Robin Hooded.

NP – iTSP (Al Stewart, Time Passages)

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