If you’re on Book Twitter– or what I like to call the Online Soap Opera for all the drama it holds, you’re probably aware of the talk and debate that was going around a few days back about Piracy and how not all people have access to books. I have a lot of feeling about this topic, because even though I CAN get the books I want now, this is relatable to me to some extent, and while I wanted to make a thread about it on Twitter and be done with it, I was too exhausted at the time to make my brains work and by the next morning when I actually wanted to talk about it, the Internet had moved on. And that, kids, is the time we live in. For an old soul like myself, things are moving too fast.
For those of you who, by some blessing, missed it, here’s a little backstory from what I gathered and what some blogger friends told me (because I didn’t witness it firsthand). Some international reader tweeted asking for a pdf/epub version of a book which got to the author who attacked her (I believe the reader’s a girl?) and sent her to Amazon US. THEN, some other people attacked the author because they attacked the reader. Let me tell ya, it’s a vicious circle and every part of it is right and wrong at the same time. Let me explain myself, point by point.
PIRACY. There’s no getting around, it’s simple and it’s illegal no matter how you look at it or how your motives for it are. But I understand, believe me I do. Don’t attack me just yet and let me explain, I won’t go far, I’ll just use my own experience to try and bring you as close to the issue as I can.
I live in Morocco. Which is an underdeveloped country that DOESN’T have English as first language, not even second, third or forth. In fact, for someone to talk fluent English is considered a rare thing (eventhough it is more spoken with each and every generation). So there is simply little to NO English literature in my country. I won’t even try getting into procuring physical book because they’re like the holy grail in here and they ARE expensive, so I consider myself privileged that I’m able to get them from time to time. Getting them online is even worse because no matter how I go about it, the shipping always costs MORE than the book itself and before you talk about Book Depository or Book Outlet, they don’t ship here. And don’t mention libraries please, they don’t exist. For leisure, I mean, all books there are academic and/or for research. Onto e-books now, that’s mainly what I get now because they’re the most practical way for me to read without ruining myself. BUT, they are still expensive (for reference: A 1$ is 10 MAD), and my family and I are thankfully well off, so my case isn’t the general rule around here.
So, imagine a poor person, who has an infinite love for books, can you tell them no? You don’t have enough money to be able to read. So, here’s the real issue: In our society, today, reading is for those who can afford it. It is sad, yes, but it is true. I know it is not the Publishers’ fault, it’s not EVEN the reader’s. Yes I dare say it. Excuse me, if I understand how someone would HAVE TO resort to Piracy to read. Don’t blame them, blame society. I don’t when or how but there should be a time coming in the future when people, who don’t have the money for it, CAN access the books they like to read without it being illegal and without ruining themselves because they just CAN’T AFFORED IT when they struggle to even eat or put clothes on their bodies. And believe me when I say this, sometimes reading is the only escape they have, the last thread they hold on to.
I think I said most of what I needed to get across in the section above but I want to acknowledge the author’s rights too. I know how they can feel disrespected. Imagine putting countless hours, weeks, even years of work, sweat and tears for it to be stolen once finished. Because that’s really what piracy is: Theft. I know and understand how angred and frustrated said author can be, because at the end of the day, they make a living out of it, as well as the publishers, cover designers and everyone who participated in bringing that book to life. BUT attacking the person is no way to go out it. ESPECIALLY without knowing where she comes from or what her background is. All I’m saying is that there are better ways to go about this. If they actually engaged with the reader and found that she was disrespectful and did it just for the heck of it, by all means, go even for a legal pursuit if that’s what you want.
Did the people who attacked either the author or the reader think they were doing the issue any good? They only fueled the problem, and I’m sure some of them knew it.
- Attacking the author, I’m sure, only made them angrier because none of it was constructive or educational, they just feel attacked when they ARE the victim to begin with.
- Attacking the reader only makes her feel even worse than she already does, because believe me, if she has no other choice, she will STILL resort to piracy to get the book she wants. It doesn’t solve the problem and doesn’t do anyone any good.
At the end of the day, the best way to solve this -as any conflicts really- is proper education and communication. Talk it out for God’s sake. I saw some really amazing threads about the issue that were neither attacking the author, nor making what the reader did rightful. They just explained things and tried to educate people, especially privileged ones, on a point of view that isn’t theirs, simply because they -thankfully- never had to experience money shortage, or an issue or another that prevented them from getting the books they love.
I hope no one gets my words the wrong way, and I hope they don’t get twisted to make me say things I didn’t say.
I’m not encouraging piracy, I’m only explaining a perspective that not many people have or know.
That’s it until next time.
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.
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