The Perfect Antidote to Being Upset About Book Piracy

Most authors I know get depressed about piracy. I make my living from my books, and if people don’t buy them, I simply won’t make enough money to keep writing them.

It doesn’t help that piracy is basically impossible to fight, because the torrents pop up so quickly, and those torrents make it as difficult as possible to get your stuff taken down (seriously! It’s crazy).

(Yes, I know there’s a spirited debate about whether piracy ends up helping some authors, or is at least a wash in the end, but I am extremelyskeptical. Piracy has already destroyed the music and journalism industries, eliminating countless jobs, so I don’t see why it couldn’t kill my job too.)

Anyway, that’s why it was such a pleasure to get this email over the holidays:

To Brent. Hi, I decided to write you this to apologize. You may ask for what and you also may not know what I’m talking about. I pirated some of your books over the summer  . I wanted to read them really badly and I didn’t have access to get them the proper way. So for that I apologize!

For Christmas I received gift cards. With them I purchased all of your books that I got originally illegally. I know it won’t make up for what I did and I know book piracy hurts the authors so that’s why I wanted to write you myself and apologize.

I’m a teen and I write as well (obviously not as good as you xD), so I felt extra bad since I was technically stealing from a fellow author. So for that again I’m sorry…

Doesn’t that restore your faith in humanity a little bit? What a good guy! Since I believe honesty should be rewarded, I offered to send him some signed copies of my books.

P.S. One of the many ironies about piracy is that I’m happy to send free copies of my books to people who want to read them but truly can’t afford them. I do it all the time, especially to teenagers and folks in poor countries. In return, I ask the recipients to “pay it forward” at some point in life, extending their generosity to someone else.