I just found three of my books being shared online. One of them, a relatively new release, has more downloads than my royalty statements say I've sold. So, right now, I'm really bummed.

Am I being selfish? Why shouldn't someone who has purchased a book be able to share it? After all, if I buy a paperback book, I can share that with my friends, or even sell it.

Well, I'm going to tell you why not. You buy one copy of a paperback book, you have one copy. You can only share one copy. You can only sell one copy. An eBook is not a paper book. Only one copy of an eBook may exist on your computer or reading device, but you can take that one copy and send it to 100 friends. You have just made 100 copies of that book.

One hundred illegal copies. Illegal copies that neither I nor my publisher are receiving anything for.

Am I being selfish? No. I write because I love to write, but if all the hours of research, plotting, character creation, world-building, writing the book, editing, finding a publisher, another round of editing, keeping my website updated... you get the idea. If all that means that somebody will decide that they have a right to deprive me of a fair return on my work, then why should I do it anymore?

Many small and independent press publishers do not use digital rights management control on their eBooks. This means more convenience for the shopper. You can buy your books and put then on any device you have. This also means our books are easy to steal.

Yeah, I said steal. If you buy a book from a bookstore or publisher and upload it to Scribd or some other sharing site, you have committed a copyright violation. You have deprived us authors and our publishers of the fair return for all our work. You have stolen from us.

By the way, Scribd's terms of service do not allow uploading copyrighted material. If you look in the front of the book, you'll see the copyright information. If it's copyrighted, you are not allowed to upload it or otherwise share it. You own a license to read that digital media. You do not own the book.

I'm sure most people don't even think about what they're doing. Maybe they enjoyed the book so much they want everybody to know about it.

Please resist the temptation. I write better when I'm not bummed.