Everybody likes free stuff, unless it is their stuff being given away by other folks. So when I Googled my pen name and “free” I was a bit miffed to see my books being offered for free as a “Kindle [pdf]” at various places on the internet.
You may know about these online bulletin boards, where college kids seek free copies of the textbooks and other published works which–in their minds–they are entitled to. For €99 a subscriber can download thousands of “pirated” books which have been posted there. So, two things: If you self-publish your books online you might want to check to see if your projects are available (supposedly) elsewhere. And (2), if someone is offering your book for “free,” relax. It is probably a scam which will only burn the subscriber.
Take Usenet.nl, for example. The front for this bogus company is located at Via XXV Marzo, 4 Domangano, San Marino Italy, which I discovered when I saw that they were offering several of my books free of charge, with a subscription to their service. However, the RIPOFF REPORT website shows that this is a scam which never delivers a product and does not allow users to unsubscribe after they provide their credit card information for a “free” 14 day trial. In fact, Usenet.nl is basically a collection agency which wears subscribers down until they cancel their credit cards.
How about Motoauthority.com? This is another slick scam, piggybacking on the legitimate websites of Motorauthority.com (with an r) and Moto-authority.com (with a -), which are very reputable on-line providers of aftermarket motorsport products. The crooked website with the slightly different name would have you believe that they have converted your eBook to a pdf for redistribution, but in my case, that was nonsense. What they DID do was to skim the information about my book from my author website, which is why I don’t post sample passages any longer.
So, relax. This happens to every author as a “write” of passage once we publish on the internet. The crooks probably don’t actually have that novel you poured your heart and soul into and their shenanigans will not effect your sales in the least.
I, for one, just laughed it off. Hey, I’m so famous now that people all over the world are clamoring for copies of my books! Sure. Right … if only THAT was true.