July 2, 2008
I recently discovered that our book is available on a popular textbook torrent tracker. This isn't the first time I've seen it pop up on a pirate site; given the nature of digital files, it's both inevitable and unsurprising.
What amused me, though, was the hypocrisy displayed. The front page of the tracker says, "We're fighting the high price of textbooks." They actually might have a point, considering what textbooks go for. But we wrote our book for professionals, not a captive student audience, and it's priced accordingly. The cover price is a reasonable $40 and Amazon has it for $34.50. There's no price gouging here.* If you're fighting the evils of price-gouging publishers, why is our book on your site?
(*Yes, even at $40 we're more expensive than a paperback, but it's not price gouging. Computer books have very low sales compared to mass-market books and I'd bet they have higher production costs.)
Look, guys. You're taking something without paying for it. You're doing it because you don't want to pay, or because it's more convenient than paying. Current law calls that "stealing," the vernacular calls it "piracy." Whatever. I'm not going to lecture you--duplication of digital content is unstoppable and us content creators have to figure out other revenue streams. (Hey, hire me!) I lose more sleep over the RIAA's lobbyists and thugs than I do over lost sales. But please... don't pretend you have some high-minded aim here. You're pirates. You're not being noble, you're being cheap. Or lazy. Just admit it, already.
PS: I'm glad you like the book. 36 seeders and 257 downloads? That makes us the second-most popular by seed and seventh-most popular by download at the time I checked. Yay us!
PPS: To really show your appreciation, review the book for Slashdot.