Friday, August 10, 2012

Lend Me Your Ear

Bad pun, sorry. There's been a lot of news lately about pirate sites. A lot of issues over all sort of piracy issues, actually.

I was poking around on a Facebook group the other day and and found a link to a site called LendInk. I was under the impression it was a pirate site because someone said so. Imagine my ire when I discovered one of my short stories on there! The nerve! Granted, it's a free story anyway, but still!

Ahem. And then I learned it was legit. Amazon is cool with letting some sites share and lend books (at the publisher's discretion). Which means if your book is free on Amazon, it could very well wind up on one of these sites. And if a customer buys it, it could too. These sites are designed to hook up owners and potential readers. You're also able to lend through Nook on the Lendit site.

Update: LendInk has shut down because of angry authors. You can read the full story here.

Apparently there's been a bit of uproar over lending sites, mostly because Amazon is the biggest retail company in . . . I dunno, the world? I think it's safe to say they own the corner on ebook readers and reading.

Recently in the news Amazon pulled the plug on because they didn't agree with what Lendle was doing. They reinstated Lendle's API the very next day because there was massive outrage on Twitter by readers who said they made a lot of their purchases based on books they borrowed through Lendle. is the site where Clear As Mud, my short story, is posted. I don't know why you'd bother borrowing it, since it is free, unless you don't want the hassle of deleting it yourself.

I found a lot of close author friends on that site. Curious, I turned to Lendle to see if my books were there. Lendle wants you to 'fess up right away and tell you which books you own. I deliberately avoided telling it I own THL through Kindle, but searched for it anyway. I didn't want it getting any ideas from me that I would be willing to lend it.

Sure enough, Clear As Mud and The Treasure Hunter's Lady are on there when I search my own name.
The whole point of this site is to help "promote" my book. Supposedly when someone borrows it, I get a cut because I'm signed up with KDP Select.

There's no sure-fire way to tell if the borrows on my Amazon KDP dashboard in July were from a friend actually loaning it to another friend or if these loans came from a site like this. It seems to me that as an author, there should be some way I can contact Lendle or LendInk to find out. And that I should completely be able to opt out of their site if I want to.

And here are some other sites in case you want to check them out to find out if your books are there:

Weigh in (especially authors who find themselves on one or both of these sites). Do you think this is a good thing or a bad thing?

When I'm not blogging at Nocturnal Nights, I'm at Have Novel, Will Edit, on Facebook, Twitter and occassionally G+


Brenda said...

I am still up in the air over this because I don't know enough about it. So that being said, since I don't know much about it then I don't think it should be allowed. If my book is up on one of these lending sites, shouldn't I as the author be informed BEFORE my book is up there? Shouldn't I be asked first? Maybe if they had bothered to get a hold of me and ask for my permission and told me exactly what was going on then maybe I would have said yes, but they didn't even give me the option to say yea or nay, which irks the shit out of me. Also, there are so many sites that are ripping us off that we are now all up in arms.

ALN said...

I've been giving this explanation for a few days now, and it is getting tiring. However, I'll offer it one more time, and I'll try to maintain my cool. :)

First, let's clear up a few things:

LendInk did not distribute any books.
You, the author, did not get paid for any lends.
You, the author, if your books is lendable, agreed to this (lending) in your KDP contract. It is required if you choose the 70% royalty option, and optional at the 35% rate.

All LendInk did was matchmake two people for lending/borrowing purposes. For example. I purchase The Treasure Hunter's Lady, which has lending enabled. I may lend the book to one person, facilitated by Amazon, for 14 days. After the 14 days, the book disappears from the device of the person to whom I lent the book. I cannot lend out the book again.

LendInk basically acted as the bring-together for a person who PURCHASED a book that had lending enabled and still had their one lend available, and a person who wished to use the PURCHASER'S one lend.

In other words, instead of me saying on Facebook that I have TLH and asking who wants to use my ONE lend, I go to LendInk and state the same to a perfect stranger. The actual lend takes place through Amazon by the process in which you, the author, agreed to participate.

Because lending is part of your contract agreement, and because the lending terms do not specify in concrete terms to whom someone may lend the book, you, the author, have consented to and have endorsed that the book may be lent one time to whomever the PURCHASER of your book chooses. This is a manner of control you have relinquished in return for a 70% royalty rate. Some authors may not like that someone has found a way to provide a service whereby the work is LEGALLY distributed without said author receiving compensation, but once again you the author agreed to this by agreeing to a contract that did not prohibit this.

The LendInk site owner has no obligation to inform the authors whose books were listed.

This is much like Amazon's return policy, in how authors get irate over it. Yes, someone can buy an ebook, read it and love it or hate it, but as long as it is within 7 days of the purchase date, that person can return the book for a full refund. Yes again, you the author may dislike that people do this, but by agreeing to sell on Amazon, you have also agreed to and have endorsed the Amazon return policy.

Once you put your work out in the world, you must accept that you lose some control over it, even control of illegal things happening, such as piracy. However, control you agreed to give up is out of your hands, and you are wasting time by worrying about it.