Earlier this week, a writer at Nerdist wrote a post – that Nerdist then not only allowed to be published, but also sent the link out on both their Facebook and Twitter feeds, at minimum. (And no, I will not be providing any links to this here, though I do have screenshots of everything provided at the end of this article.)
This link not only actively promoted book piracy, but actively tried to defend it, claiming that the author herself endorsed it.
Here’s what actually happened:
Around the turn of the Millenium, author Katherine Applegate (then known as K. A. Applegate) wrote an intense series of books about children are recruited into an alien war and given the ability to shift into animal form. These books were published through Scholastic and I know for a fact I saw them at a Scholastic Book Fair back in the day, even read a few of them – though I do not remember where I got them from. We’re talking 20+ years ago at this point.
Around 2001, publication of these books ceased.
A decade later, the eBook Revolution is gaining steam when, on April 28, 2011, Applegate hosts an AMA on Reddit. In it, she is asked about piracy, where she notes the text seen here, which is eventually cited in the Nerdist article in defense of piracy. At this point, the books have been out of print for roughly a decade and the author seems ok with whatever it takes to keep the series in the minds of readers. Which is fair enough on her end, but possibly a bit lazy if she does not actually own the rights to the books – which is another matter entirely, and one that cannot be spoken to either way in this blog, as I simply do not know.
Now, remember the date: April 28, 2011.
As it turns out, according to current data on Amazon.com, the first book in the series was published as an eBook on… May 1, 2011. Just 3 days later. While its current price is $3.99, I cannot speak to what the initial price point was nearly 9 years ago, nor can I speak to what it has been at any point before a couple of days ago.
So the books have been available legitimately for nearly 9 years ago now. And yet Nerdist chooses to promote a pirate site to obtain them, rather than asking fans to obtain them legitimately.
But wait! In the comments when I decry Nerdist actively promoting piracy, someone chimes in claiming Applegate tweeted in support of the pirate site!
Well… not exactly. She tweeted that her fans were great, but didn’t actually address the pirate site at all.
As of press time (roughly 630 EDT on Friday, March 20, 2020 – nearly 4 full days after the initial article went up on Nerdist), a few tweets have been directed at Applegate, who seems to be normally fairly responsive on that forum, asking if the pirated copies are legitimate – including at least one such tweet by this author himself – and so far Applegate has not responded to any of these tweets. This noted, so far she has *also* not retweeted the Nerdist article in question.
So that’s where we’re at presently. Nerdist has published and actively and repeatedly linked on social media a post that encourages book piracy, which is WRONG. Will they do the right thing and remove the post and apologize for promoting stealing from authors? Only time will tell.
Below the jump, the various screenshots of everything from the Article to the relevant sections of the AMA to the tweet claimed to support the piracy to the social media links from Nerdist to the article.