Nebula and Hugo Award winner Martha Wells writes about how Amazon profits from pirated copies of her novels

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How do you tell if an ebook is pirated? I’ve put in a pre-order for the next Murderbot book, does that mean I’ll get the real one or something else?


Judging from its design and performance, I’ve concluded that Amazon’s purpose for existence is to transfer money from humanity to Jeff Bezos and whoever can figure out how to game its systems. It certainly doesn’t exist to offer quality, legitimate products to customers.
It’s a shame that the race to the bottom is the goal of so many of us.
I wonder what the free-market apologists have to say to the author.


“Works as intended!”


I mean, it really is classic libertarianism: Whoever makes money deserves it, and whoever doesn’t doesn’t.


How can you tell if a physical book is pirated? Usually, you trust retail stores because they’re regulated by government and/or market forces. Maybe we can start adding foil stickers to ebooks?


From whom did you order it? If you ordered from Tor, or from a bookstore, odds are good that you will get the genuine article.


Now that she’s an established writer I’d like to see if she can throw her weight around a bit, and if she were to say something to the effect of “fuck Amazon for treating me like shit, buy your book directly from me on my site/Tor/other, and tell your friends too!”

Similar to how Radiohead self-released “In Rainbows” as pay-what-you-want, she can treat it like an experiment, and if it does well she can certainly exclude Amazon in the future.


If any author has tried to fight the ubiquity of Amazon it’s earstwhile Boing Boinger Cory Doctorow. Cory tried to buck the Amazonifuckation of book sales, but I think even he eventually gave in after giving up hundreds of thousands of dollars in income holding to his principles.


“Those who approve of courtesy to living authors, at least, will purchase this edition, and no other.”


This only seems to be an issue with her self-pub’ed books (the early ones that went out of print), and the problem seems to have been cleared up by now (after a couple days of extreme public attention - totally coincidentally, I’m sure).

She said the legit versions were linked from her website and listed her as the publisher on Amazon, though I’m not sure about that last bit, as Amazon seems to show itself as the publisher. (But at this point there only seems to be the one version of those early books left on Amazon, so I’m not sure what was being displayed previously.)

Except she doesn’t run an e-commerce site, she’s an author. That’s the problem here - the vast majority of authors rely on Amazon to sell their books. She doesn’t have any weight to throw around, and Amazon knows it.


He’s working on undermining their audiobook subsidiary I think more successfully.

Antitrust all the way is the only thing that will undermine Amazon in the foreseeable.


Well, how many of us here EVER downloaded a .mp3 from Napster waaaaay back in the day?
OK now how many NEVER? Note I am against pirated copies of other people’s works.
I got into the Murderbot series via BB and borrowed most of them via the local library (and some via a Tor freebie giveaway to celebrate her latest, I’m on the hook for the next one [checks… amazon… sigh]). When I missed downloading one of her books for free I very happily paid full freight for the pleasure of reading that one. And the next one. And the next one!

Sucks there seems to be no way to right this wrong.

I’m still boycotting Amazon & Whole Foods. It’s going pretty well! I shop locally, get some exercise, use up what I have hoarded, figure out another way, or do without. The one gift that someone who doesn’t know me had delivered to me, immediately got stolen by porch pirates. So I’m good.


Hah. That’s funny.

Ditching Amazon is easy and fun.


that’s it then - no Amazon goal for 2021 for me. And also Home Depot - skipping them too.

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I haven’t ordered anything from Amazon in a year, and haven’t been to WF in a while either. There’s literally nothing I need I haven’t been able to get some other way. It’s more important than ever to support local businesses as much as possible.


Depends on where you live and what your Covid situation is, though.

And now Albertsons, which owns a whole crapload of other big grocery chains, is dumping their union delivery staff for Doordash “private contractors” thanks to the pro-corporate protections under Prop 22.

anybody know how to liquidate a HD gift card to cash?