I woke up yesterday to several Google alerts for Am I Boring My Dog. That usually makes me very happy, because it means that someone has been paying attention to my book, via a review, perhaps, or a reference in a blog post.

Yesterday the news was not good. Turns out that Am I Boring is available as a free e-book. One that has nothing to do with me, and gives me zero benefit. By today it was available on some 15 more sites. None of them are related to any e-readers like the Kindle — cleverly avoiding the Mighty Amazon and their resources for shutting sites like them down.

I thought about trying to download the book on one of those sites, just to see what it looks like, but then realized that, since the thieves, being thieves, were clearly up to no good, this was not a smart idea. I didn’t want to add injury to injury by getting my personal information stolen, or my computer crashed.

I’ve been wondering — why my book? Not very high profile, so they figured no one would notice? I’m sure the choice of this time of year, when most publishing offices are emptied and many people (including authors) on vacation, was deliberate.

So… just to reiterate for anyone who knows me: THE E-BOOK HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME, OR MY PUBLISHER (whom I’ve alerted).

I also alerted the Authors Guild, a wonderful resource for writers.

Do warn other authors — and any author organizations you or they might belong to — about this.  Maybe it will reach someone who can figure out how to stop this type of theft.

Update: The Authors Guild legal department confirmed what others have said: Since my book is in print, it’s the publisher’s responsibility to take care of this. But timing is everything and — no surprise — the publishers’ offices are all closed this week.

The other suggestion I got was to check the the websites for their take-down information and email them, requesting that they remove my book: “Most of the peer to peer sites/file sharing sites have a DMCA take-down section whereby authors like yourself can demand they remove your copyright protected materials.”

So that’s what I’ll be working on. As of today, I’m up to about 3o sites, but the initial outpouring is slowing to a trickle.

38 thoughts on “Bootlegged!”

    1. Thanks, Debbie. I don’t know why I should be surprised that this type of thing happens. I suppose because it never happened to me… 🙁

      And yes, if anyone is/knows a hacker: By all means… Just google Am I Boring My Dog, e-book. Maybe you’ll find them all.

  1. This is absolutely the first time I’ve ever seen the tag “slimy scum who are ripping off penurious authors.”

    I’m sorry this happened to you. I don’t think many people realize how hard it is to make a living from writing, art, music etc. (and of course, many just don’t care).

    I work for a nonprofit that provides housing help to low income families and several of my clients are writers, artists, and musicians (including a Grammy winner). It’s the craziness of our culture that stockbrokers can get million dollar bonuses for creating nothing of value while artists have to struggle to protect their work.

    Anyway, I just ordered my copy of Am I Boring My Dog from Amazon. I’ve been meaning to do it for a while since I keep wanting to lend it out. But your post was a good reminder to support what I really value.

    Good luck in getting full use of your book back–or in figuring out how to beat the thieves at their own game!

    1. What a lovely response to my posting of this problem — both words and action — and especially coming from someone who is owed another book as a result of winning my contest! In fact, I was just in the midst of writing you an email to find out to whom to inscribe it when all the dog poop began hitting the proverbial fan.

      I’m not sure why I relegated my anger to a tag rather than putting it in the main post; I suppose I was trying to be rational. Right now I’m still in shock, dully depressed. Maybe the fury will catch up with me. I hope so.

  2. Wow! I’m sorry to hear this happened. I actually never thought about something like this even being a possibility… Man. People really will do anything to make a buck off of someone else’s work. I hope you’re able to get your book back and off of this disreputable sites!

  3. Love my un-hackable hard copy of “Am I boring my dog”. A real book should have a smell of ink and read in any position w/o hard disks crashing 🙂

    And hey, it looks much more cool posing in my library, than it would be just one other file on my hard disk. Glad I paid real money for real value.

  4. This also a great reminder of why it is not fair to burn copies of CDs rather than buying the albums…illegal, unfair and just plain mean.

  5. Outrageous, not to mention creepy! I just checked to see if my book had been bootlegged. It hasn’t. But, it’s old. Maybe a threatening letter from your lawyer about the consequences of copyright infringement to the bootleggers if they can be located? I like your idea of white-capped hackers, so to speak, going after these thieves.

    BTW your link to the Author’s Guild isn’t working. I got an error message when I clicked on it.

  6. Yikes, I am so sorry this happened. I didn’t realise this was going on with books until I read this. Just terrible! There must be a way to prevent his from happening as there are probably countless authors like you out there who have had their work stolen. It’s despicable.

    While I love books and reading and don’t always have the money I’d love to be able to spend on this hobby, I would much rather save and wait until I do. This kind of greed benefits no one. It makes me angry too. I hope you are able to stop this from happening in the future. Good luck burning off the anger!

  7. Welcome to the wonderful world of file sharing! Being a “maker” myself, I really feel for artists, writers and the like that get ripped off by jerks who feel that copyright laws don’t apply to them. That’s the reason that I don’t illegally download movies or music, to me it’s outright stealing. I hope that you are able to resolve this.

  8. Thank you all for your support. It’s greatly appreciated. Leo (aka Kenzo) was nice enough to check what happens when you link to those sites. One asked for credit card info — for a “free” download, gee — and another asked to illegally act as a platform for others to download. I’d like to think people aren’t dumb enough to do either but that would be foolish.

    I decided to contact Amazon.com, since they’re being ripped off too. They have a lot of resources for dealing with online issues and — as many authors know from the other end — a major legal department. So far I just spoke to a customer service rep, but she said she’d pass my complaint along.

    I’ll keep you all posted.

    And I totally agree about downloading music and movies. I’m happy to say, I didn’t incur bad copyright karma in that way. I try to identify/get permission for all photographs that I use on this site for the same reason and/or use Wikipedia commons and similar sites.

    The gym helped. That’s where I got the idea to contact Amazon. And now I’m going to take Frankie for a walk before he bites ME in the buttocks. Not that he’d ever do that.

  9. Excellent that you have google alerts set up for yourself.

    I did a quick search, and it looks like someone placed it up on bittorrent overnight, and that made it show up on some of the dodgier file sharing sites. There’s a good chance this all boild down to one person, believe it or not.

    1. I don’t know what bittorent is, but it doesn’t sound good! It actually started on Saturday night — Merry Christmas! — and continued through yesterday and this morning. As they say, the hits just keep on coming…

  10. Edie this is awful and I’m so sorry! I know this won’t help you but I truly believe in Karma. Just read about some guy being thrown in jail for reading his wife’s e-mails. Surely people that do the type of thing that was done to you will get their due one day. Hugs!

  11. Hi Edie,

    I could be wrong but I dont think you have anything to worry about. Your book is is being used as bait for people to sign up. Once they sing up, I dont think they actually get your book, instead they get lost in the sea of pop-ups, Internet Marketing offers and alike.

    I think anyone with half a brain could figure out that this is not an official release of any sort.

    Hope that helps in some small way 🙂


    1. Thanks — it does help. And I hope you’re right. It did occur to me that it was an awful lot of trouble to make pdfs of all the pages, and I doubted that thieves would spend any money on getting hold of the e-reader version of the book to convert.

      My worry is all those people out there without a brain!

  12. I think Dino is right on this one Edie. This is a variation of phishing.

    I am really bothered by both the thought that someone stole your book and that they are using it as bait to collect credit card info. When I first started my blog I had a scraper stealing my stuff and putting it on another blog site owned by them. I can completely relate to your anger and frustration. I always like to think the best of people, but incidences like these make you wonder.

    I hope they are shut down quickly. You may want to report to the FBI (or whoever would handle identity theft) since this is just another way to steal someone’s identity. So sorry Edie. This sucks.

    1. Thanks Mel. I know phishers but have never heard of scrapers — I think I can get what they do from your context though. Sometimes I’d rather not expand my vocabulary, you know?

  13. Wow, Edie, I am so sorry to hear this…but it sounds like Eric Dino and Mel have ideas that make sense…because it is work to copy a book and these chaos loving thieves don’t want to work, just steal credit card numbers. But it would be good if publishers lawyers took a look to make sure…jeez, it must have been depressing to see that and I’m so sorry that happened to you:( As if writers, artists and other creative types don’t already have it hard enough…please keep us updated!

  14. Edie

    Your post finally got me off my rump and I purchased a NEW copy of Am I Boring My Dog? I’ll combat these cyber criminals by purchasing a brand new hard copy of your brilliantly funny book! (It is brilliantly funny, isn’t it?) I’m such a cheap guy that I would normally opt for the $2.98 used price, but hell, but not in this case! Artists (and writers) unite!!!

    I’m suspicious of so much of this technology that I’m sorry, but not surprised that things have gone awry. It’s the feeling of helplessness that comes with computers and the internet in general. Yes, I’m a luddite, and I feel, oftentimes, that new technologies are being promoted without adequate safeguards.

    When are we going to work on your next book? This one we will sell out of the trunk of your car to protect your interests!


    1. Karl, Am I Boring My Dog *is* brilliantly funny but it’s not in hard copy,* I’m sorry to report. I hope you’re not having buyer’s remorse now.

      Seriously, thank you for the support. And you’ll be the first to know about my next book which I would sell out of the back of my trunk if only I could open it (long, sad automotive story).

      *Hard copy = The opposite of digital, as opposed to hard cover, as the clever Mr. Edwards was nice enough to point out privately. I plead a long mind-boggling day filled with bytes and phish.

    1. I wish I could advise a way to prevent this kind of thing from happening! Thanks for your good wishes, and happy New Year from me and Frankie to the Dogs in Brazil, especially Emmy.

  15. Hi Edie

    This is not funny and sadly you’re not the only victim (as I’m sure you know). I hope you manage to get this resolved. Happy New Year from Dougie and I.

    1. Thank you (and Dougie), Juliette. I knew about movie and music bootlegging, but had no clue that this was a widespread problem with books before it happened to me. Now I know. Sigh.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *