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GoodEreader.com – your friendly neighborhood ebook pirate

October 21st, 2010 by · 30 Comments · opinion

If you follow ebook news, you might have heard of a site called GoodEreader.com. At first glance  it looks like a news site. It has a blog, podcast, and a monthly magazine, and they even opened an ereader store last week. But all of that is all a facade that they are using to hide their true activities.

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GoodEreader.com are  a pirate ebook website that’s been operating for a couple years now. It has been quietly known in ebook circles that they actively pirate ebooks, but no one wanted to do anything about it. We’ve all just been ignoring the matter, and it’s time that changed.

Here’s how they run their operation. They sell subscription access to a closed set of forums (that’s where you download the ebooks). You can buy a subscription by the day, month, year, or lifetime. I bought a monthly subscription ($12), which was a waste. It took me less than 2 minutes before I found pirated ebooks.

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Name an author or series and you’ll find the ebooks. John Grisham? Yep, including cover images obviously ripped from Amazon. Harry Potter? That was easy. Ooh, here’s a bundle of 23 ebooks by Ian Rankin.

And it’s not like this is an accident or oversight on the part of the website’s staff. I checked, and most of these ebooks are uploaded _by_ the staff. They are willfully pirating ebooks. You can even ask them to pirate an ebook for you (it comes with the more expensive subscription levels). In fact, there’s a forum dedicated to the requests.

I bet you’re wondering how have they been getting away with this scheme for as long as they have. That’s probably because they’ve been very careful to maintain the facade. They add posts to their blog on a fairly regular basis. It’s almost never new news, though, becuase that might get someone’s attention. No, what they usually do is rewrite someone else’s story from the day before. BTW, as a second step to support the facade, they never give credit. I’m pretty sure that was deliberate; if they linked to another news blog then that source might look them over and realize they were committing piracy.

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30 Comments so far ↓

  • purcelljf

    I always find it weird how they will post about some new device I have never heard of, but when I try and find a link in their article to find out more information (such as a manufacturer’s website), all the links point back to their own website.

  • Ed Renehan

    Thanks so much for flagging this. It is not just the piracy that irks me, but the “in your face” audaciousness with which it is done.

  • kurt

    until publishers wake up and make their books available DRM free and at a reasonable ebook price (including backlists) more power to ‘em

    not condoning piracy blah blah blah, but sometimes it is the only choice

    • Zigwalski

      What price would make you happy Kurt? Reading books is not a God given right. There are plenty of cheap books to read. If you can afford to buy an e-reader then you can afford to buy books for them. Otherwise go to the bargain section of any bookstore and there are plenty of great books to read for cheap. You can go to the library and read books for free. You can download free books from lots of sites legitimately. You just feel entitled to get things for free because you do not want to pay for them.

      • kurt

        actually the price doesn’t matter so much to me although i do believe ebooks should be a bit cheaper than paper
        long story short i am blind in one eye and the other has the use of a trifocal lens
        i have not been able to read books for many years and then i tried an ereader with its ability to change font size and type and increase line spacing (this last one seems to be most important) and voila – happiness

        so yes, make an ebook available for purchase or i’ll find it “somewhere”
        although, so far what i have found has atrocious formatting and i haven’t actually been able to read any “suspicious” ebooks

        • rj

          Kurts comments are very fair.

          Publishers need to charge less for ebooks than for physical books. Various garbage pulled like only offering certain ebooks on audible.com for way more than a paperback copy are flagrant attempts to gouge consumers for popular items. I am happy with a business model where the ebooks are less than physical books and I’ll pay for them. But when amazon (or the publishers) wants to *push* a model onto consumers that they don’t want… they will encourage piracy and they get what they deserve.

    • Anuvab

      Yeah. Most of the time it is the only choice.

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  • J.M.

    I have a question about Piracy.
    Don`t have a Reader yet but I`m wondering about something.If you buy a book or borrow a book is it considered Piracy if you strip the DRM ONLY so you can read the book on your device.You don`t share it with anyone and in the case of a borrowed book,you delete the DRM`d book when it would normally delete itself if you had the right Device for borrowing?Is that considered Piracy?I`m not talking about downloading an in copyright book from this site but purchasing or borrowing legit books but your Device doesn`t allow you to read that particular book.

    • Nate the great

      I don’t think it’s piracy; I think it’s just good common sense. I strip the DRM to protect myself from events like stores closing, my device dying, etc.

      • J.M.

        Thanks.
        I don`t want to intentionally break any laws but I want to buy the device that I want and not base my purchase on anything else.

  • James

    I steal books and will use that site. I don’t want to steal books but I have a Sony reader and live outside the US/UK. I spent months trying to buy books legitimately and would happily pay full price but I am simply not permitted to due to geographical restrictions, so I just download them illegally. I don’t feel in the least bit bad about it and they can’t say I am denying them a sale since I am not permitted to buy the damned thing anyway. If the publishers change there rules me and my money are waiting.

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  • justin

    I work for a publisher of romance and erotica. We publish print and ebooks. Every time I search our titles, I get hits on so many bittorrent file sharing sites that is just giving away what we publish, it just makes me sick. It hurts the industry. If the industry loses money, my company loses money therefore I lose money. Possibly a job. When will people finally wake up? We own the copyrights. No one has any legal rite to be stealing our books, or distributing them in any form without the written copncent of the publisher. Its outrageous…

  • Lucy

    Justin, I find it funny that you work for a publisher and can’t spell “right” or “consent.”

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  • Lee

    What I want to know is why there are different fees for different countrys. When i purchased my ebook reader, the prices were compatible if not less than the US price on the back of a paperback. Now I am paying the same old Canadian price!!! They have no shipping costs or over the border cost so why do I have to pay more in Canada??? Life is too expensive as it is….so I personally will look for the best deal!! I did not mind paying the original price, but now that it has gone up…free looks good to me if they are going to get greedy and charge more!!!

  • Seer

    I’ve never pirated anything, not even a single song….yet. But I’m actually considering pirating ebooks. The agency model / publisher price fixing has pushed book prices up to the point that even if money didn’t matter I still feel ripped off as a matter of principal. $16.99 for a fiction new release….really? I’m positive I could get the hardback for significantly less. And I just can’t buy into the idea of paper, printing, binding, shipping and merchandising cost saving just evaporating. As much as I love books and support authors, for me, the value/convenience ratio has me looking at alternate ways of getting ebooks, including libraries, lending sites and maybe even piracy if we don’t see

  • jon

    sweet, just got an ereader and was looking for a good site to find pirated ebooks! thanks!

  • Cambridge student

    Cheers. I’ve been looking for sites to download books from. I’ll find a free one soon but this is a good start.

  • Rose M. Welch

    It’s hilarious that you’re discussing ‘pirates’ getting thing for ‘free’ when they’re willing to pay money for this subscription. So what you have aren’t pirates, but under-served customers. Also, the most brazen ‘pirates’ out there? Your public library.

    Anyway, this is what I see: People reading your books for free? The world will end! The market can’t possibly adapt! The looms will kill the industry… Err, I meant the VCR will kill the industry. Wait, no, it’s file-sharing, which libraries have been doing for longer than any commenter here has been alive. The end of publishing!!!!!

    Anyway, thanks for the recommendation, which I found by Googling how to pirate ebooks. (You’re advertising for the site, lol forever.) I am going to check them out now.

  • Oliver

    Surprisingly, a lot of people downloading illegally do spend more money in authorized stores!

    What’s your perspective on that?
    I am running a survey for my dissertation on E-Book piracy: http://www.ebooksurvey.net

    Your expert input is highly appreciated!

  • RAD DUDE

    This is a tiny hole-in-the-wall type site. I’d agree that what they are doing is pretty well concealed. I took a look around and didn’t see any indication that it was a pirate site.

    • Nate the Great

      That’s because they took it down after I exposed them. First they moved it offsite then then they moved it again.

      This post is well over a year old. I don’t know why everyone keeps commenting on it.

  • Mike

    Hi. I’m an Indie author. If you steal (download without paying for the book) then you are a thief. Yes a thief. You are taking money from someone’s pocket. My books all sell for less than $3.50 as do most eBooks. If you can afford an e-Reader you should be able to afford to pay to add to your library, If you can’t afford to pay then at least go to your public library and borrow an eBook. Your library should be willing to buy a library copy so the author gets something. P.S. Most libraries buy books at a large discount; even eBooks.

  • dave c

    so your saying only people with money to spare should read good books. show me one author who has gone out of buisness because of ebook piracy and ill show you someone not tell the whole truth.

  • Binko Barnes

    Every time I see an angry author ranting about how downloading is stealing and illegal copies are taking money out of his pocket I just shake my head and wonder how the average person is supposed to respect copyright if authors and publishers continue to rant and rave and misrepresent it?

    Copyright has nothing to do with ownership. It is a government granted monopoly on the creation of copies. That’s all.

    And if somebody somewhere gathers electrons from across the internet, re-assembles them into words and reads them he is not stealing money from anybody. Continuing to couch the debate in such hyperbolic terms just means you won’t be taken seriously.

    • Tyler

      @ dave c So your saying if someone can not afford a television, then he is entitled to steal it because he doesn’t have the funds to buy one. There are alternative places to get free books legally such as libraries. There are tons of free books to download legally.

      • Binko Barnes

        Completely refusing to recognize that digital and physical are not analogous just makes you foolish.

        A digital book could be replicated and a copy sent to every single person on the planet without any other person losing their copy. Nothing is stolen. Nothing is removed. Nothing is taken away. It’s pure gain except to the gatekeepers who demand a toll!

        Old school copyright was designed solely for the age of the purely physical. Now copyright proponents are trying to use propaganda and draconian punishment in order to cram the digital world into their old physical model.

        It seems that everybody who personally benefits from archaic copyright concepts is desperately determined to hold back all progress lest their tiny little personal gravy train be derailed.

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