E-book theft is big. I mean BIG. Authors by the hundreds or even thousands subscribe to services like Blasty.co that comb the World Wide Web for copyright infringements and outright theft of entire books. No one site catches everything and they are limited in what they can do without the site owners' cooperation. That compliance certainly isn't assured, either, because they knowingly listed books on their site for distribution (free or for a price) that they have no right to give away or sell.
Of course, these sites wouldn't exist if they didn't have customers, people who think nothing of downloading (i.e., stealing) content for which they did not pay. After all, they knowingly frequent these sites just for that purpose. Some authors ignore the rampant theft that goes on because (1) the people who steal their work wouldn't read it if they had to pay for it; and, (2) they believe there's nothing they can do about theft.
I know that I can't stop all the theft, but to do nothing implies consent. At least in my mind, a lack of action implies consent and an acknowledgement that the work holds no value. Really? All that time and work, plus the investment in editing and cover design ... doesn't that have value?
I digress and will hop off that soapbox.
Anyway, I came across an article on old-fashioned theft deterrents, old-fashioned as in truly medieval: "Protect Your Library the Medieval Way: With Horrifying Book Curses." And it got me to thinking. What would be the response if I inserted such curses in my books?
Would readers be offended? Amused? Or would they care at all? Should curses be written in Latin, English, or Klingon? Does the language matter?
Given that the people who already steal books wouldn't be the sort to let a curse deter them, threats of excommunication and the fiery pits of hell won't make a difference. Their opinions don't worry me. But the opinions of those who kindly pay for my books does matter.
A lot of authors have dedication pages in their books. Why not have a curse page, too? Who'd like to take a crack at crafting a really impressive book curse? Interested? Send me your best.
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