The Piracy of eARCs

Hi everyone! Welcome back to Amber’s Rambles, my feature where I discuss bookish topics.

Last week I discussed a lot about justifications on buying and selling ARCs. For the majority of the post, I was for the buying and selling of ARCs. I said then that I would be bringing up a more important issue, in my opinion.

The More Important Issue?


Now that I’ve said what I have to say about buying and selling ARCs, it’s time to switch the focus over a bit.

Every few weeks I see authors talk about how google results show unpublished electronic ARCs of their books up on pirating sites or sites that have their books.

I think this is a more important topic because piracy is becoming more and more common. It started with music in the early 2000s, expanded to movies, games, software, ebooks  and is now hitting eARCs. I suppose it was only a matter a time before eARCs came along, but I had hoped it wouldn’t.

This is an issue for a few reasons:


eARCs are only distributed to bloggers, librarians or booksellers, so when an eARC shows up on a piracy site, it is someone from the community that has done this. eARCs are widespread, once it is out there, it is out there. There’s no way of recovering it, no matter how many times you may report the link (if possible) or find it deleted.

Lost Sales:

This DOES cause lost sales. Unlike someone who may buy an ARC of a book along with a finished copy, a person who downloads an eARC seems unlikely to buy a physical copy if they can just download it. Once you purchase an ARC, it’s a one time purchase, once an eARC has been uploaded online though, there’s little to be done with it.

These lost sales can be really important, especially for under-the-radar authors that aren’t being boosted by bloggers, booksellers, etc. An unknown debut author could suffer from a lack of sales and end up being dropped from their publishing house.


You could also call this one “karma”. 😉 This is more on the pirate’s side than the authors. If they go to download an eARC from a website, a lot of times there are viruses and no actual book. This is horrible. One could say they deserve it, but I think there are different reasons people may pirate books, that I won’t get into right now.

I think a lot of peole have this “now” mentality, when something is out or even before it’s out (ALA, leaked albums), people are in the hurry to get it right. that. second. They don’t want to wait and who can blame them? I was never  patient person, so I can relate. However, distributing eARCs is so wrong because they were given to you by publishers who decided you were a good person to have them, with the faith that you would use them as they were intended and not leak the eARCs online where many can download them.


I think piracy is a bigger issue because of how widespread it’s impact is. It can directly link to lost sales, which causes authors to not be successful in addition to the publishing houses. It disrespects the authors and publishers by releasing an ARC they were given access to before it was published.

What do you think of piracy of eARCs? Have you thought about it? Have you seen authors discussing it on Twitter?


About Amber (YA Indulgences)

Amber is a 20-something woman who enjoys reading, writing, listening to music and taking walks. She has a book blog called YA Indulgences . She is still trying to figure out what she's doing with her life, but she's confident that time will tell. In the meantime she's heading towards the goal of becoming a renowned blogger. View all posts by Amber (YA Indulgences)

15 responses to “The Piracy of eARCs

  • Kayla

    The piracy of ARCs is such a big issue in the book blogging community and I’m so glad that you made a lot of good points in your discussion. It’s weird because a few days ago, I and a couple of Filipino book bloggers were getting worked up after seeing a girl selling a shitload of ARCs online. We’ve reached out to her and reported her but so far, nothing.

    Thanks for this very timely and relevant discussion! Can’t wait to see your next one. 🙂


  • hermionefowl

    I guess I never thought of it happening to arcs, although I don’t know why, when it happens with everything else electronic. I feel so sorry for authors who suffer from that! It’s crazy to think people in our community would do that, when I don’t think I’ve ever talked to an outright mean blogger 🙂


  • Bee (Quite The Novel Idea)

    Piracy is general is a big no-no, but eARC’s? That’s just wrong. The publishers send these because they trust you and if you just put them online or something, you break that trust.


  • Ashley

    I think pirating books is terrible, so don’t misunderstand what I’m about to say.. but I think that people often overestimate the damage that pirated books cause (in terms of lost sales). This is also massively done in the music and movie industries too.

    It’s completely unrealistic to look at a pirated book that was downloaded 10,000 times and say, “I lost out on 10,000 sales.”

    That’s just blatantly untrue. Most of the people who pirate stuff wouldn’t have bought the product anyway.

    SOME sales are lost — yes. But I’m willing to bet it’s nowhere near the amount that people like to claim it is.

    I’m still against pirating books so don’t misunderstand and think I’m for it. I’m just ranting about some of the “look how many sales I lost” claims. 😛


  • Valerie

    Yep. yep all yep. I do somewhat agree with Ashley’s comment above, as much as I don’t like it. But I think it also depends on the pirate (lol, or the individual). For example, let’s pretend this is the real me for a second. If I knew how to pirate video games onto my Playstation and play them without any problems, I would. But because I have no idea how to, I am forced to buy them. And I do buy them (or I WILL buy them), simply because I want to play the game but I have no way to do it illegally.

    (Of course I would never pirate video games, we are just pretending, ok?)

    So yeah. But if we were to take an occasional video game player (or we can switch to books now), then they probably won’t bother with buying a video game if they can’t find a way to get it for free. And then they’ll forget about it and move on.

    There’s still lost sales from situations like the former, and I think that it hurts smaller authors that do not get as many sales as more popular authors.


  • Rachel @A Perfection Called Books

    Great discussion! It makes me sad when people email or GR message me asking where they can download free books online. Ummm NO. There’s this thing called Kindle along with its friends Nook and iBooks where you can BUY books online. Also LIBRARIES exist. I feel so bad for authors, especially the ones who aren’t established yet because it really takes a cut from their sales. I can’t even imagine the stress it puts them through. The hard part is supposed to be writing the book, not the aftermath :0

    There definitely is a NEED NOW mentality. It’s human nature, but I wish there were a way to limit that effect. Patience is a virtue.

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books


  • Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    I do agree in a sense with Ashley- because she’s definitely right, some of those people were never, ever going to buy the book. BUT, on the other hand, I think it’s still very true that eARC pirating is MUCH more harfmul than the selling of a physical ARC- just based on the sheer reachability of the eARC as opposed to ONE physical book.

    I also feel like maybe that is why ALL my requests on EW and NG have been sitting unanswered for months. And it’s really sad that bloggers who are genuine and using the ARCs for actual reviews and would NEVER do this stuff are potentially being punished for the actions of a few. I just wish there was a way to out these people, without ruining things for everyone else.


  • nereyda1003

    As much as I agree with you, I also agree with Ashley’s comment. Back when it was ‘normal’ to download illegal music, I downloaded so much music! Music that I never would have even thought of buying but because it was ‘free’, so hey why the hell not?
    I also think some publishers need to be more selective with who they give arc’s to and who they auto approve because where do those pirated earcs come from??? Bloggers…which is sad.


    • Amber (YA Indulgences)

      Ashley’s comment made such good points that I do agree with. I was definitely part of the illegal music downloading community back in the day.

      Publishers do need to be more selective about who they give ARCs too. I mean, clearly they’re already somewhat selective given how they approve some and reject others (even if their stats and such are better). But yeah, it is really sad. 😦 Some people have auto-approves from years ago.


  • The Weekly Recap (181) - Nick & Nereyda's Infinite Book List

    […] You Fiction Addiction talks about books that intimidate her. -Amber at YA Indulgences talks about the piracy of e-ARCS. -Nitzan at Afterwords talks about her distrust for bloggers who never post bad ratings. – […]


  • evaallbooksconsidered

    This is a huge problem and we do (as the book blogging community) need to come together against this practice! It is so depressing to google the title of a book (literally any book) and that google fills in epub after the title. I hate this fact and I appreciate this post!!!


  • Heartless Lyn

    I find it so horrible that people have this mentality that they are just entitled to free entertainment. When people discover that I have a Kindle, many times, the first thing that occurs is that people want to give me links to free books. Not cheap books, or even recommend a novel or an author, but they want to share where they get their free books. Because, I suppose, they think authors live like rock stars? It makes my stomach turn to see how many people are our looking for free books, free movies, free TV…heart shattering.


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