Furious Author Cancels Pirated Book


Last night while searching around online, I found this interesting article about Stephanie Meyer, who writes the Twilight series of books about vampires. I found it interesting and wanted to share if with you guys. Enjoy.

Written by Ben Jones on September 04, 2008

Writer Stephanie Meyer isn’t too happy with the Internet. The first 12 chapters of her eagerly awaited book, a counter-view novel to Twilight, has hit file sharing sites. Despite knowing who was responsible, Meyer’s anger seems only to be for her Internet fans, while she plans to cancel the book.

This year we’ve reported on several book authors who embraced the Internet, and BitTorrent in particular. Having pirated copies of their books listed on BitTorrent sites such as The Pirate Bay is considered to be an honor to some. They use it as a promotional tool, and actually sell more books because of it.

One of the prime examples is best-selling author Paulo Coelho, who said he sold thousands of extra books because he pirated his own books. “Sharing is part of the human condition. A person who does not share is not only selfish, but bitter and alone,” Coelho told TorrentFreak in a follow up interview, explaining why he decided to share his books for free.

Responses to unauthorized filesharing vary. Those that have embraced it have seen dividends. Others fight it and throw tantrums, or use it as an excuse. A prime example of the last category has emerged, in the form of author Stephanie Meyer. Meyer, best known for her recent hits based around vampires, caters to the ‘young adult’ market re-popularized by the Harry Potter books.

In what seems like an echo of what happened to Potter author Rowling, Meyer’s latest book, Midnight Sun, has leaked online. Not the entire book, but a major part of the first draft, comprising the first 12 chapters. Meyer says the source is known to her. In a statement on her website, she says

“I have a good idea of how the leak happened as there were very few copies of Midnight Sun that left my possession and each was unique. Due to little changes I made to the manuscript at different times, I can tell when each left my possession and to whom it was given. The manuscript that was illegally distributed on the Internet was given to trusted individuals for a good purpose. I have no comment beyond that as I believe that there was no malicious intent with the initial distribution.”

Instead of rolling with it, working on reader feedback, and moving on and forward, Meyer is ‘throwing in the towel’ on the book for now, putting it “on hold indefinitely”. However, as was reminiscent of the buckcherry debacle, it smells of contrived events. A June update to her site said that she was working on it, partly due to fan pressure.

A leak that makes her so frustrated to want to write the book in the opposite way from intended, shouldn’t at the same time leave her ambivalent to the person and actions that caused it. It certainly shouldn’t leave her attacking her fans with statements such as:

“Just because someone buys a book or movie or song, or gets a download off the Internet, doesn’t mean that they own the right to reproduce and distribute it. Unfortunately, with the Internet, it is easy for people to obtain and share items that do not legally belong to them. No matter how this is done, it is still dishonest. This has been a very upsetting experience for me, but I hope it will at least leave my fans with a better understanding of copyright and the importance of artistic control.”

Yet again, P2P is blamed for ‘ruining’ something, and this will no doubt be added to the big list of ‘reasons filesharing should be dealt with more harshly’ that the governments of the world get hit around the head with (paid/lobbied/bribed).

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  1. I saw a snippet about this last week. It’s too bad about the leak, but I don’t think it means she shouldn’t complete the project. Granted, I don’t know what it feels like to have something of that grand a scale read before it’s ready (which makes me wonder, are there typos and the standard amount of “pre-edit” mistakes?)… but I’d try not to let it stop me from writing and telling my story. I hope it works out for her. And check out that author’s pic. It’s fantastic!

    • ac
    • September 9th, 2008

    I read a different article about this. From the article, I took away that she knows who distributed the book because each advanced copy slightly varied from one another.

    I feel that there is a part of the puzzle we aren’t being told.

  2. Yes! That sounds familiar, ac. I remember the same thing. It’ll be interesting to see how it pans out long-term.

    • Aaron
    • September 11th, 2008

    From what I saw, I think that it’s weird that she is canceling the book. To me, that doesn’t seem like she really wants to write it in the first place. Additionally, it could be to get people talking about it and generate free publicity. Either way, I don’t agree with it, especially when she pretty much knows who the person was who did it.

    I agree with Janna that there is something we’re not being told. All her books are in the top 20 best sellers on the Kindle store, so I’m not so sure she’d want to give up extra revenue so quickly.

  3. Too bad. I’m not sure why they say she’s blaming her fans; from the stuff quoted in the article, it sounds more like she’s just disappointed with the person who let it loose in the first place. The article does make it sound like she wanted to stop in the first place. But I’m thinking, who do you show the first chapters of a first draft to? Your editor? Your agent? Maybe she stopped because of business issues. It’s hard when you get that kind of a pressure and fan base.

    -C.A.

  4. I’m glad you posted about this. I saw an article about it while I was in the states, and I think the whole situation just sucks. Sucks for her. Sucks for the publishers. Sucks for the readers. My niece was reading the second book in the series while I was there, and she didn’t understand why it wouldn’t be published because of this. I hope they can resolve it amicably.

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