Avoid Kidnapped Books!

No, this isn’t me advising you to stay away from the works of R L Stevenson. It’s a salutary tale of how not to destroy your computer.

Another author I know and I were disturbed recently to discover our books were apparently being offered for ‘free download’ on the web. As far as we were aware – apart from officially sanctioned competitions in which our books are offered as prizes – there shouldn’t be any outlets where people could get hold of our precious works for nothing.

I contacted my publishers in some worry, but was quickly reassured there was no need to panic.

‘This will be a spam site,' Sarah, Group Marketing Manager at Troubador Publishing Ltd said. 'We occasionally do get these but there’s nothing to be worried about. Save scanning and uploading every single page of your book there’s no way anyone could be listing your book for free! I would encourage you to stay away from any sites like this, especially if they look spammy, lest you get a virus!’

So, as usual, the lesson is: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Not that stealing works is new; history suggests that the first recorded incidence was in Roman times when around 80–100 AD the poet Martial claimed some of his works were being ‘kidnapped’ by other lesser poets, who were performing them in public.

The word with which he accused them was plagiarus, which is where we get plagiarism from today. In Roman times it actually meant kidnapping – specifically the taking of slaves, or freemen for slaves – but that’s how Martial felt about his works, that they’d been taken from him and put to work for the benefit of others.

So, lest you’re tempted to download Against The Current for free and run the risk of finding the Blue Screen of Death staring you in the face after a virus has infected your quad-core, here’s an easier option…

I’ve made some of my books available ‘for free’ on Goodreads. If you go to the 'Book' page on this website you can enter a competition, for which I’ve provided some copies of Against The Current as prizes. It’s simple: you only have to be in to win – no tricky questions, no need to be an avid reader even; just enter your details in the draw, sit back and wait.

And, your computer will be safe!

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