Free download of my book available without my permission. How does this work?

Hugh

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This is more of a minor irritation but I'm curious about what's going on .......

Eighteen months ago I put out a book via createspace, paperback only, no e-book version.

Yesterday I found that it's available on a website as a free download in pdf form. Complete news to me. This website scottnicholson.tk has a bizarre variety of books available, most of which I suspect have sold minimally. I haven't tried to download in case there are nasties involved, and I'm not that interested in pdf copies anyway. But wtf is going on?

Here's an example of the website:

scottnicholson.tk/download/lyBKAQAAIAAJ-the-garden-journal

So how does this work? Anyone any ideas?

How did they access a copy of my book?

How do they make any money for their efforts given this is supposedly a free download?

I'll be very grateful for any thoughts.....
 

Hugh

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In one way I'm not that bothered about people downloading, they're welcome to it if they want to read it.

However I do get pleasure from seeing the occasional small flurries of sales on the Kindle Direct graphs and realising that someone must mentioned the book somewhere.
 

Hugh

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You could also try Blasty. I was in their trial period and did see a reduction of how many places I appeared in.
That's very interesting. I hadn't heard of Blasty at all (hardly surprising).

I also hadn't realised how common this is.
 

AlexH

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The download link goes through to a sign up page (which includes a screenshot of the INDEX page in the book). I wouldn't be surprised if a PDF download wasn't actually available, and the aim of the site is to get people's details or to download something dodgy.

You can request Google to remove the webpage from their search results here: Removing Content From Google - Legal Help. You'll need to provide proof that you are who you say you are and that the copyright belongs to you.

The website in question has a DMCA page saying you can request removal, but I wouldn't trust it.
 

Hugh

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The download link goes through to a sign up page (which includes a screenshot of the INDEX page in the book). I wouldn't be surprised if a PDF download wasn't actually available, and the aim of the site is to get people's details or to download something dodgy.

You can request Google to remove the webpage from their search results here: Removing Content From Google - Legal Help. You'll need to provide proof that you are who you say you are and that the copyright belongs to you.

The website in question has a DMCA page saying you can request removal, but I wouldn't trust it.
That's truly very kind of you to go to this trouble.

I haven't got round to doing anything at all, but I may well follow up your link to Google.

You've also answered the questions in my head as to why they'd go to this trouble to offer downloads of books with low sales. Many thanks again.
 

dannymcg

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From the loading page of Ebook bike (loads of books available)...

****Imagine a world where authors can make money by giving digital versions of their books away to their readers, and readers could explore all sorts of books that they may have never even considered reading before. In a nutshell, this is Ebook Bike, the Ultimate Ebook Library.

Here is a passage from Cory Doctorow's Little Brother:

Neil Gaiman asked the room "Hands up in the audience if you discovered your favorite writer for free -- because someone loaned you a copy, or because someone gave it to you? Now, hands up if you found your favorite writer by walking into a store and plunking down cash." Overwhelmingly, the audience said that they'd discovered their favorite writers for free, on a loan or as a gift.

Ebook Bike embraces the idea that when a person loves an author, they become that author's biggest consumer. They see the author in person, they buy the physical copies of the book (frequently multiple, to give to friends and in different editions), and they support the author however they can.****
 
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Teresa Edgerton

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This is, alas, not really the case most of the time. People whose friends lend them a book with a recommendation that they think they'll like it may well then go on to buy further books by that same author. But people who get books from sites that provide large numbers of free books often conceive the convenient (for them) impression that they have a right to free books; authors are greedy if they want to be paid. Lots of these sites straight-out advertise "Never pay for a book again." Any site that attracts readers that way certainly does not have the best interests of the authors at heart.

Cory Doctorow had the idea to give away free ebooks before anyone else was doing it. One author giving books away was generous. He earned the loyalty of readers who wanted to buy his books and reward him. Once bunches of people followed his example it began to be different. Once pirate sites sprang up to do the giving away (without the writers' permission) they were the ones who looked generous, by giving away what was not theirs to begin with; this sort of thing does not create loyalty toward the author.

Give-aways as a promotion can work for an author, if they are targeted and not too frequent. Like giving away the first book in a series when the second one comes out. But authors who do frequent promotions on, for instance, KDP Select have found out that the more give-aways they do the less sales result from each promotion.
 

dannymcg

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Cory Doctorow had the idea to give away free ebooks before anyone else was doing it. One author giving books away was generous. He earned the loyalty of readers who wanted to buy his books and reward him
That's true, I got Little Brother free and I bought the sequel Homeland as soon as it came out
 

dannymcg

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Teresa Edgerton

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For years I have been ready for this fight
—Travis McCrea

Sounds a lot like consciousness of guilt to me, whatever he may say about baseless accusations. Also, he's hitting people up for money for his legal defense though he appears to be saying he will be defending himself in court rather than hiring a lawyer to do so. Clearly an upstanding and honest fellow.

Also, he acts like it is impossible to find out whether the people submitting books to his site have the actual right to do so. Real publishers, honest publishers, make you sign a contract, a legal document with legal force, which (among other things) represents that you have the rights to the work in question. He doesn't mention doing anything like that when it comes to "jumping through hoops."

Also, comparing himself to Facebook, etc. is obviously a specious argument. When someone posts material publicly on Facebook they expect (perhaps even hope) that it may be Shared. There is no such expectation when one publishes a book.

I don't know what bothers me more when cases of book piracy come to light: the brazen theft of intellectual property, or the hypocritical self-righteousness of those who have been caught.
 

dask

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The analog era taught us there's a sucker born every minute. The digital era has upgraded that to a sleazeball every nanosecond. Faster is not always better.
 

Robert Zwilling

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You could try searching for your book, it is probably "available for free" from other websites. The name is pretty common so it might be hard to actually find it. I figure using an original title makes it easier to track. For the Digital Generation (which is not generation related) if it's not nailed down it's free to use. The first poetry book I published was on Amazon for 99 cents. It didn't take long for the title to show up on websites with weird dot names. I don't think anyone paid 99 cents for a book no one reads to get a copy so it could be distributed for free. Amazon never showed any sales. I could see it happening when a free promotion is used.
 

Hugh

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This has all been educational for me. Many thanks @Teresa Edgerton and @dannymcg for giving me the wider context. I've only read four or five ebooks in my life, all within the last year via Amazon.

(1) I hadn't realised how common this problem was.

(2) Having thought about it, and thanks to @AlexH, I realise that the site that features my book (actually it's not my book, it was written by my father and I thought it would be nice, posthumously, to get it into print) must be a complete scam. I'm a bit slow at thinking these "technological" issues through, but my father's book is only available as a paperback, not as an ebook, which must make it hardly worth the time for a scammer to put it into ebook form.

Edit: And many thanks also @Robert Zwilling. You posted while I was combining composing my post with cooking. In fact I've googled away, and as the book title is unusual, I'm fairly certain it's not available elsewhere.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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but my father's book is only available as a paperback, not as an ebook, which must make it hardly worth the time for a scammer to put it into ebook form.
Actually, modern printers can make it pretty easy to scan a book—I was scanning one of my old short stories in, since the computer on which it was written is long gone and my current one won't open the original file, and it was surprisingly more easy than my last printer/scanner which wasn't even that old—and if someone pirates a lot of them, I imagine they've got the formatting figured out so that is easy, too. A lot of scanning errors may remain, but I imagine they don't care about that.
 

Hugh

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Actually, modern printers can make it pretty easy to scan a book—I was scanning one of my old short stories in, since the computer on which it was written is long gone and my current one won't open the original file, and it was surprisingly more easy than my last printer/scanner which wasn't even that old—and if someone pirates a lot of them, I imagine they've got the formatting figured out so that is easy, too. A lot of scanning errors may remain, but I imagine they don't care about that.
Ah! Many thanks for explaining this!
 

dannymcg

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—Travis McCrea

Sounds a lot like consciousness of guilt to me, whatever he may say about baseless accusations. Also, he's hitting people up for money for his legal defense though he appears to be saying he will be defending himself in court rather than hiring a lawyer to do so. Clearly an upstanding and honest fellow.

Also, he acts like it is impossible to find out whether the people submitting books to his site have the actual right to do so. Real publishers, honest publishers, make you sign a contract, a legal document with legal force, which (among other things) represents that you have the rights to the work in question. He doesn't mention doing anything like that when it comes to "jumping through hoops."

Also, comparing himself to Facebook, etc. is obviously a specious argument. When someone posts material publicly on Facebook they expect (perhaps even hope) that it may be Shared. There is no such expectation when one publishes a book.

I don't know what bothers me more when cases of book piracy come to light: the brazen theft of intellectual property, or the hypocritical self-righteousness of those who have been caught.
Update!
His Ebook Bike site has now closed down :LOL:
 

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