Okay let’s talk about Book Piracy. Here I’m not taking about eBook piracy where you probably see about hundred’s of eBooks being uploaded to Torrent everyday. I can safely say that I have never ever downloaded a book illegally.
Here I’m talking about paper books. I really don’t know about other countries but in India such piracy is very rampant. If you go to the major shopping areas, you can see number of vendors just display the pirated books on the street.
And people buy them. Now I never thought much of it before but since I’ve started book blogging and interacting with authors and publishers I realize what a huge impact this makes on the book publishing industry.
Am I guilty of it? Yes.
I own only 2 pirated books out of hundreds that adorn my shelf. The first pirated book I bought was The Da Vinci Code. We were going on a family vacation to the North and as we were about to board the train I realized that I had nothing to read in this 20+ hours journey. So I bought one from the only book vendor on the platform and yes, it was pirated.
The second book was The Maximum City by Suketu Mehta. I wanted to read this book really badly and none of the bookstores I asked had it. This was way before the book became a bestseller. I got so frustrated from the repeated trips to the bookstore that I bought one from a guy who was selling pirated books just outside the bookstore.
Do I feel bad? Yes and no. Do I feel disgusted or angry towards people who buy pirated books? No.
Let me explain. Books are expensive and what I’ve mostly observed is that people who read regularly are generally college students. Generally. They don’t have the money to spend 300 bucks on a book when they can buy a new pair of shoes or a T-shirt. I know I never bought books when I was not working. I joined the library. But there aren’t many libraries here. We have those very tiny libraries where you can probably finish all the books in a year. There are a couple of big libraries but then it’s not always feasible to travel the distance.
We also don’t have library sales or second hand book stores, at least not in my city which is also known as the Oxford of the East. In so many years here I have found only one decent second hand bookstore (which I now love). I think Mumbai and Delhi are better whereas second hand books are concerned. But not every city or town has this luxury.
Will I ever be caught buying a pirated book now? NO. Never. That’s the reason why you’ll find me saying over and over again that I’ll wait for the price to come down or I’ll wait for the paperback to release. It would be easier to just go out and buy a pirated copy instead of drooling over the display books and wish I could have them. But my conscience wouldn’t allow it.
I really don’t know where I’m going with this but I keep thinking about this whenever I pass any of these pirated goods. So I just wanted to put my thoughts forward.
What about you? Have you ever bought a pirated book before? What do you think of it? Do you have a lot of pirated booksellers where you live? I’m curious.