Spanish Author Quits Writing, Claims More Copies Of Her Books Are Stolen Than Sold

Lucía Etxebarría. Photo: Xavier Thomas (http://photo75.online.fr)

Lucía Etxebarría. Photo: Xavier Thomas (http://photo75.online.fr)

Are things really so hopeless for writers? In Spain perhaps. Giles Tremlett reports for the Guardian (thanks to Mike for the tip):

An award-winning Spanish novelist claims that the illegal downloading of ebooks has forced her to give up writing and start looking for a new job.

“Given that I have today discovered that more illegal copies of my book have been downloaded than I have sold, I am announcing officially that I will not publish another book for a long time,” Lucía Etxebarria announced on her Facebook page.

Etxebarria told the Guardian that Spanish authors faced a difficult future as online piracy spreads from music and film to literature.

She pointed to Spain’s position at the top of the world rankings for per capita illegal downloads. “We come after China and Russia in the total number of illegal downloads but, obviously, there are a lot more of them so we win on a per capita measure,” she said.

“People are making millions out of online piracy by setting up in places like Belize, which is where the money goes,” Etxebarria said. “They are a powerful lobby and our government doesn’t dare legislate.”…

[continues in the Guardian]

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  • jade

    What were the copyright restrictions on her works?  You have to ask, why did people prefer to pirate it rather than buy it?  It usually comes down to lack of availability or overpricing.  

  • jade

    What were the copyright restrictions on her works?  You have to ask, why did people prefer to pirate it rather than buy it?  It usually comes down to lack of availability or overpricing.  

  • Floyd

    Amusing, as she has been guilty of plagiarism not once, but twice.  But I understand her frustration; all of those pirates “making millions” off of her work. While she’s at it, she should go after the public libraries that don’t pay her royalties when they lend out her books.

    • Hyphylibrarian

      Ever heard of Public Lending Right?  In Europe, many countries’ public libraries pay royalties to authors.

  • Floyd

    Amusing, as she has been guilty of plagiarism not once, but twice.  But I understand her frustration; all of those pirates “making millions” off of her work. While she’s at it, she should go after the public libraries that don’t pay her royalties when they lend out her books.

  • Godozo

    I wonder if her book is in the Amazon lending library. Then it wouldn’t be piracy, but a takedown by Amazon along the lines of Borders and Tower Records (all flaws and mistakes by these two companies noted).

  • Godozo

    I wonder if her book is in the Amazon lending library. Then it wouldn’t be piracy, but a takedown by Amazon along the lines of Borders and Tower Records (all flaws and mistakes by these two companies noted).

  • VGA

    I noticed the following text in the article. It’s like saying, I won’t release my album on a CD or iTunes as digital music is too easy to copy. You want my new masterpiece, you better make sure your old record player still works. And then she is surpriced that her book isn’t selling well?>It is not available as a legal ebook but can be downloaded in pdf format from numerous websites. The print edition costs more than €20.”We decided against publishing it as an ebook because that is easy to pirate. It would have been like throwing it straight to the lions,” Etxebarria said.<

    • chinagreenelvis

      Well put. She may as well have said, “I’m not going to write any books at all, since books are too easy to pirate.”

      Oh, wait, I guess she did.

  • VGA

    I noticed the following text in the article. It’s like saying, I won’t release my album on a CD or iTunes as digital music is too easy to copy. You want my new masterpiece, you better make sure your old record player still works. And then she is surpriced that her book isn’t selling well?>It is not available as a legal ebook but can be downloaded in pdf format from numerous websites. The print edition costs more than €20.”We decided against publishing it as an ebook because that is easy to pirate. It would have been like throwing it straight to the lions,” Etxebarria said.<

  • http://twitter.com/talkbackty Tyler Shotwell

    She’s not writing anymore because she can’t make money? Doesn’t sound like much of a writer.

    • stefan

      although i agree that ms. etxebarria’s position on copyright is wrong, i disagree with the sentiment that, in order to be a writer, you should not care for money. there is a difference in the quality one can produce, between writing as a “hobby” or “vocation” in the “free time”, or writing 9-5, 5/7. if she does not earn enough, what is she to to? starve?

      • http://twitter.com/talkbackty Tyler Shotwell

        I agree with that. There is a difference. However, as any writer knows, there’s hundreds of thousands of other writers out there who are just waiting to fill the shoes of someone who doesn’t want to struggle as much to succeed.

        An author who proclaims they are not going to publish will quickly be replaced by someone who will say, “I can deal with the fact that my work is not generating as much money as possible b/c I know people are reading it. And that is satisfying in another regard.”

        I’m not say she should starve (which I doubt she’s at that point) but I am personally not very interested in a writer whose primary motivation, it seems, is monetary.
        Thanks for reply stefan.

      • Bat Weasel

        No…but get a real job. I don’t make a damn dime reading your reply but does that stop me from posting it? Does that make me want to quit because no one is going to like this post? No. Will it give me satisfaction in knowing you read this and everyone on the web has? Yes! But I still won’t get a dollar for my opinion…I like to write…but I don’t make it my life. Well back to real work…hahaha

        • stefan

          which was exactly my point: if you do not earn enough, you have to do something else, hence you are no longer a “writer”, but a teacher, burger-king-counter-minder or whatever (who is free, in his/her spearetime, to write for fun).

    • tomasiepants

      Stupid logic. 

  • http://twitter.com/talkbackty Tyler Shotwell

    She’s not writing anymore because she can’t make money? Doesn’t sound like much of a writer.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    We’re probably just going to have to move to a “donation” economy for this kinda thing: Anyone can get it for free but “please pay me if you like this” sorta situation. Of course that would be a huge paradigm shift…

    • http://www.facebook.com/leonidbasin Leonid Basin

      I am doing exactly that! http://www.leonbasin.net It’s been working well. 

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    We’re probably just going to have to move to a “donation” economy for this kinda thing: Anyone can get it for free but “please pay me if you like this” sorta situation. Of course that would be a huge paradigm shift…

  • rtb61

    Reality here is, authors suck it up, it ain’t pirates that are killing book sales, it is an interactive internet. A novel simply can not compete with the internet, with social media, with forums, with online games and, with millions of online articles.
    I have download some books mainly from http://www.gutenberg.org/ out of copyright, some more in copyright, reality was I never ended up reading them and after coming across the files sometimes years later simply deleted them.
    So give up novels fro creative blogging and they will take you a lot further than whining about pirates.

    • Andrew

      I wish I could insert an eye-rolling emoticon here.

  • Anonymous

    Reality here is, authors suck it up, it ain’t pirates that are killing book sales, it is an interactive internet. A novel simply can not compete with the internet, with social media, with forums, with online games and, with millions of online articles.
    I have download some books mainly from http://www.gutenberg.org/ out of copyright, some more in copyright, reality was I never ended up reading them and after coming across the files sometimes years later simply deleted them.
    So give up novels fro creative blogging and they will take you a lot further than whining about pirates.

  • Anonymous

    Reality here is, authors suck it up, it ain’t pirates that are killing book sales, it is an interactive internet. A novel simply can not compete with the internet, with social media, with forums, with online games and, with millions of online articles.
    I have download some books mainly from http://www.gutenberg.org/ out of copyright, some more in copyright, reality was I never ended up reading them and after coming across the files sometimes years later simply deleted them.
    So give up novels fro creative blogging and they will take you a lot further than whining about pirates.

  • Carlos Panzram

    Big fuckin’ loss.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Carlospanzram Carlos Panzram

    Big fuckin’ loss.

  • http://www.xenex.org/ xen

    I am a legit novelist and I catch no end of flack from other writers for publicly hating things like SOPA. I would much rather people be pirating my works and actually reading them, knowing that where the attention flows, so flows the ability to make money.

  • http://www.xenex.org/ xen

    I am a legit novelist and I ca

  • chinagreenelvis

    Well put. She may as well have said, “I’m not going to write any books at all, since books are too easy to pirate.”

    Oh, wait, I guess she did.

  • chinagreenelvis

    Well put. She may as well have said, “I’m not going to write any books at all, since books are too easy to pirate.”

    Oh, wait, I guess she did.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leonidbasin Leonid Basin

    I am doing exactly that! http://www.leonbasin.net It’s been working well. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/leonidbasin Leonid Basin

    I am doing exactly that! http://www.leonbasin.net It’s been working well. 

  • Hyphylibrarian

    Ever heard of Public Lending Right?  In Europe, many countries’ public libraries pay royalties to authors.

  • Hyphylibrarian

    Ever heard of Public Lending Right?  In Europe, many countries’ public libraries pay royalties to authors.

  • Hyphylibrarian

    Ever heard of Public Lending Right?  In Europe, many countries’ public libraries pay royalties to authors.

  • Dunzain

    Look what you done you greedy bastards!  :)

  • Dunzain

    Look what you done you greedy bastards!  :)

  • Mortimer

    There is a simple answer to this: simply don’t allow your book to be published in electronic form.

  • Mortimer

    There is a simple answer to this: simply don’t allow your book to be published in electronic form.

  • stefan

    although i agree that ms. etxebarria’s position on copyright is wrong, i disagree with the sentiment that, in order to be a writer, you should not care for money. there is a difference in the quality one can produce, between writing as a “hobby” or “vocation” in the “free time”, or writing 9-5, 5/7. if she does not earn enough, what is she to to? starve?

  • stefan

    as the author of a bunch of books in german language (see http://www.schmitzer.mur.at ), i must say that i am happy if my stuff turns up “stolen”. it means people read. and since (a) i earn more with public lectures than with book royalties, and (b) people who read something on a screen will want to be able to read it on paper ( i know i do), while printing out 300 pages of text at your home printer costs around the same as a paperback, with less quality, i would suspect that 1 in 3 “illegal downloaders” will buy the book.

    as i explained further down, in a reply, i am all for writers looking into ways to get enough money. but the legal framework we do have for works of art and/or entertainment just does not work to that purpose. an economy of donations and/or of costly “extras” (but free actual content), should prove better. but it needs all of us artists and consumers of art to work on that. not to alienate the public, but the industry that lives better off of us then the other way round.

    it is also possible that the writer mentioned in the article has no other weapons against a bad publishing deal…

  • stefan

    as the author of a bunch of books in german language (see http://www.schmitzer.mur.at ), i must say that i am happy if my stuff turns up “stolen”. it means people read. and since (a) i earn more with public lectures than with book royalties, and (b) people who read something on a screen will want to be able to read it on paper ( i know i do), while printing out 300 pages of text at your home printer costs around the same as a paperback, with less quality, i would suspect that 1 in 3 “illegal downloaders” will buy the book.

    as i explained further down, in a reply, i am all for writers looking into ways to get enough money. but the legal framework we do have for works of art and/or entertainment just does not work to that purpose. an economy of donations and/or of costly “extras” (but free actual content), should prove better. but it needs all of us artists and consumers of art to work on that. not to alienate the public, but the industry that lives better off of us then the other way round.

    it is also possible that the writer mentioned in the article has no other weapons against a bad publishing deal…

  • Anonymous

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euHzXiAkYwY
    Could this is the continuation of the scam played by the big corporations to pass SOPA?

    Watch THIS

  • etfordavidmarshfurniture

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euHzXiAkYwY
    Could this is the continuation of the scam played by the big corporations to pass SOPA?

    Watch THIS

  • Sobeit19

    You write a book, it’s published.. you expect to make a living for your work Tyler.. would you work at a construction job for months maybe years and not get paid?? same thing

  • Sobeit19

    You write a book, it’s published.. you expect to make a living for your work Tyler.. would you work at a construction job for months maybe years and not get paid?? same thing

  • Sobeit19

    You write a book, it’s published.. you expect to make a living for your work Tyler.. would you work at a construction job for months maybe years and not get paid?? same thing

    • sonicbphuct

      um, actually, no – it’s not the same thing at all. Did you commission her to write a book? Did I? Just because it’s published doesn’t make it a commissioned or contracted work. On the other hand, if no one asked you to build the building, you would be arrested, meaning, you only work if you’re asked to.

      Don’t be so fucking lame – show some mental abilities and think through your stupid analogies. So lazy to say, “she works” & “you work”, have the same word, therefore they’re the same. Seriously, is that how you regularly reason things out?

  • http://twitter.com/D351 D351

    Fuck copyright. This wreaks of publicity stunt. It’s bullshit to draw attention to her and to copyright lobbies.

  • http://twitter.com/D351 D351

    Fuck copyright. This wreaks of publicity stunt. It’s bullshit to draw attention to her and to copyright lobbies.

  • http://twitter.com/talkbackty Tyler Shotwell

    I agree with that. There is a difference. However, as any writer knows, there’s hundreds of thousands of other writers out there who are just waiting to fill the shoes of someone who doesn’t want to struggle as much to succeed.

    An author who proclaims they are not going to publish will quickly be replaced by someone who will say, “I can deal with the fact that my work is not generating as much money as possible b/c I know people are reading it. And that is satisfying in another regard.”

    I’m not say she should starve (which I doubt she’s at that point) but I am personally not very interested in a writer whose primary motivation, it seems, is monetary.
    Thanks for reply stefan.

  • Andrew

    I wish I could insert an eye-rolling emoticon here.

  • Quique Lomeli

    What about dishing the paper option? 

    Publish only in the internet, and ask your readers to pay you direct to download your books, that way you may be able to downprice your books to 3 euros, that’s what a pirate book may cost at the street, and that’s what you get from a publisher if your book sells for  12 euros at the book store.I don’t see the need for drama, unless is a media strategy for the new book to come. 

  • Quique Lomeli

    What about dishing the paper option? 

    Publish only in the internet, and ask your readers to pay you direct to download your books, that way you may be able to downprice your books to 3 euros, that’s what a pirate book may cost at the street, and that’s what you get from a publisher if your book sells for  12 euros at the book store.I don’t see the need for drama, unless is a media strategy for the new book to come. 

  • Little_green_chicken

    The age of entertainments’ free ride is well and truly over…Gone are the days when you could rely on a big publisher or a big record label or even movie studio to market your intellectual property efffectively….They are all stuck in the past and until they get with the times and focus on what will get people paying for entertainment, e.g. fans buying to keep their favourite author/musician/movie makers producing, then nothing will improve for artists. There is also an element of refusing to get with the times and accept that the business structure for entertainment has changed extremely rapidly in the last 10 years…The future is micro transactions, paying for individual songs, TV shows etc. There is lots of money in this, but the dinosaur companies want to keep doing things the same way they always have. I honestly believe there is heaps of money to be made off entertainment, if you can accept the upfront prices of things will inevitably be lower than in the past, when the consumer had no choice whether to buy.

    As consumers, we have to face up to the fact that we are literally getting what we pay for these days, which especially in music is fucking trite, no talent garbage most of the time. (Kanye West anyone?)
    If you want to see the quality increase, you HAVE to support the artists you admire, or this trend will continue until it reaches a breaking point…(Kanye West anyone?)
    I like getting free stuff online as much as the next person, but I ALWAYS buy what I like, because that is just about the only thing stopping governments from harshly legislating online piracy laws, the idea of try before you buy…

    At the end of the day, entertainers don’t get to whinge about not making enough money if they want to sound legit at ALL anyway! Shit, nobody goes into entertainment just to make money, because that would be stupid! Theres heaps easier ways to make money that don’t include ripping out chunks of your soul, sticking it the the appropriate media and whoring it out to the masses…

  • Little_green_chicken

    The age of entertainments’ free ride is well and truly over…Gone are the days when you could rely on a big publisher or a big record label or even movie studio to market your intellectual property efffectively….They are all stuck in the past and until they get with the times and focus on what will get people paying for entertainment, e.g. fans buying to keep their favourite author/musician/movie makers producing, then nothing will improve for artists. There is also an element of refusing to get with the times and accept that the business structure for entertainment has changed extremely rapidly in the last 10 years…The future is micro transactions, paying for individual songs, TV shows etc. There is lots of money in this, but the dinosaur companies want to keep doing things the same way they always have. I honestly believe there is heaps of money to be made off entertainment, if you can accept the upfront prices of things will inevitably be lower than in the past, when the consumer had no choice whether to buy.

    As consumers, we have to face up to the fact that we are literally getting what we pay for these days, which especially in music is fucking trite, no talent garbage most of the time. (Kanye West anyone?)
    If you want to see the quality increase, you HAVE to support the artists you admire, or this trend will continue until it reaches a breaking point…(Kanye West anyone?)
    I like getting free stuff online as much as the next person, but I ALWAYS buy what I like, because that is just about the only thing stopping governments from harshly legislating online piracy laws, the idea of try before you buy…

    At the end of the day, entertainers don’t get to whinge about not making enough money if they want to sound legit at ALL anyway! Shit, nobody goes into entertainment just to make money, because that would be stupid! Theres heaps easier ways to make money that don’t include ripping out chunks of your soul, sticking it the the appropriate media and whoring it out to the masses…

  • http://www.facebook.com/BatWeasel1 Bat Weasel

    Writer’s Write and expect people to read.

    Publishers Publish because they expect people to read

    Here some News Folks: Being an Author isn’t a Job or a career. Its like
    saying that my grandmother Knits because she gets paid by the mitten. No
    she makes them because she loves to make mittens for free with out
    charging and without a care in the world. Same as any craft. You love
    what you do on your spare time. You don’t make it into a freaking career. Sure it would be nice to get some gratuity but think about it…would you tip the delivery boy for giving you a cold pizza and a flat soda 3 days prior or ordering it? Then why on earth would you tip someone who doesn’t love their job? Obviously this person didn’t write for the love of it. Like my grandmother who knits mittens…she isn’t going to quit because we didn’t pay for the mittens…nor will she stop because we forgot to coming by…but when we come …I guarantee you ▬ grandma will have a pair of mittens for you because its something that she loves doing.

    This award winning author doesn’t sound like a winner to me. Sounds like a grandma that doesn’t love her kids unless they come with some cash in hand to buy those mittens.

    TL:DR
    My Point (Finally!)
    She wants to get paid to write: Grandma wants her kids to be happy; Free Mittens…grandma stays happy and author should be happy because people like her writing.

  • Bat Weasel

    Writer’s Write and expect people to read.

    Publishers Publish because they expect people to read

    Here some News Folks: Being an Author isn’t a Job or a career. Its like
    saying that my grandmother Knits because she gets paid by the mitten. No
    she makes them because she loves to make mittens for free with out
    charging and without a care in the world. Same as any craft. You love
    what you do on your spare time. You don’t make it into a freaking career. Sure it would be nice to get some gratuity but think about it…would you tip the delivery boy for giving you a cold pizza and a flat soda 3 days prior or ordering it? Then why on earth would you tip someone who doesn’t love their job? Obviously this person didn’t write for the love of it. Like my grandmother who knits mittens…she isn’t going to quit because we didn’t pay for the mittens…nor will she stop because we forgot to coming by…but when we come …I guarantee you ▬ grandma will have a pair of mittens for you because its something that she loves doing.

    This award winning author doesn’t sound like a winner to me. Sounds like a grandma that doesn’t love her kids unless they come with some cash in hand to buy those mittens.

    TL:DR
    My Point (Finally!)
    She wants to get paid to write: Grandma wants her kids to be happy; Free Mittens…grandma stays happy and author should be happy because people like her writing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BatWeasel1 Bat Weasel

    No…but get a real job. I don’t make a damn dime reading your reply but does that stop me from posting it? Does that make me want to quit because no one is going to like this post? No. Will it give me satisfaction in knowing you read this and everyone on the web has? Yes! But I still won’t get a dollar for my opinion…I like to write…but I don’t make it my life. Well back to real work…hahaha

  • http://twitter.com/MiGaOh Michael G. O’Hair

    No big loss. None of her titles were very compelling or entertaining.

  • http://twitter.com/MiGaOh Michael G. O’Hair

    No big loss. None of her titles were very compelling or entertaining.

  • tomasiepants

    Totally agree with her.  More artists should protest torrent sites on the internet.  

    • sonicbphuct

      yeah – i don’t understand why the artists don’t just shoot the people who like their work, but can’t function within the defined business model dictated to them. Metallica should stand outside day & night protesting the Pirate Bay, as should this idiot woman. Together, they can disenfranchise all their fans until they have nothing left to protest.

      • tomasiepants

        Sorry, I missed the conversation……..  what was the name of the product you manufactured/book published?

        • sonicbphuct

          I think you missed more than the conversation. What was the name of your dog? Oh – non sequitur. The point you missed was: “Pirates don’t pirate things they don’t like.”

  • Anonymous

    Totally agree with her.  More artists should protest torrent sites on the internet.  

  • Anonymous

    Stupid logic. 

  • stefan

    which was exactly my point: if you do not earn enough, you have to do something else, hence you are no longer a “writer”, but a teacher, burger-king-counter-minder or whatever (who is free, in his/her spearetime, to write for fun).

  • http://twitter.com/MiddleAmericaMS MiddleAmericaMS

    Yippee for Free Market theory!
      
    At least she doesn’t have those mean old nasty regulations invading her life & business!
      
    Now she can go work at Walmart.
      
     

  • https://twitter.com/#!/MiddleAmericaMS MiddleAmericaMS

    Yippee for Free Market theory!
      
    At least she doesn’t have those mean old nasty regulations invading her life & business!
      
    Now she can go work at Walmart.
      
     

  • pappymill

    I like how people seem to be missing the point about what kind of piracy this is. She’s talking about bootlegging. Which would piss me off and make me not want to publish. (love how people seem to read headlines then stop thinking) she said publish headline said write.

  • pappymill

    I like how people seem to be missing the point about what kind of piracy this is. She’s talking about bootlegging. Which would piss me off and make me not want to publish. (love how people seem to read headlines then stop thinking) she said publish headline said write.

  • Anonymous

    um, actually, no – it’s not the same thing at all. Did you commission her to write a book? Did I? Just because it’s published doesn’t make it a commissioned or contracted work. On the other hand, if no one asked you to build the building, you would be arrested, meaning, you only work if you’re asked to.

    Don’t be so fucking lame – show some mental abilities and think through your stupid analogies. So lazy to say, “she works” & “you work”, have the same word, therefore they’re the same. Seriously, is that how you regularly reason things out?

  • Anonymous

    yeah – i don’t understand why the artists don’t just shoot the people who like their work, but can’t function within the defined business model dictated to them. Metallica should stand outside day & night protesting the Pirate Bay, as should this idiot woman. Together, they can disenfranchise all their fans until they have nothing left to protest.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, I missed the conversation……..  what was the name of the product you manufactured/book published?

  • Anonymous

    I think you missed more than the conversation. What was the name of your dog? Oh – non sequitur. The point you missed was: “Pirates don’t pirate things they don’t like.”

  • Briareuss

    Corry Doctorrow isn’t starving. Nor plagiarising, afaik.

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