Monday, June 9, 2008

Don't touch it, please!

It had to happen. It did. The bloody book pirates are at it again - 'SUPERSTAR INDIA' fakes are at every traffic light in the city, selling briskly. This is not fun. It is hugely annoying. Besides being a crime. How did I find out? Well, there I was enjoying lunch at 'Tiffin' ( great aapams, by the way ), when a lovely lissome blond walked up to me holding a really shabby looking copy of the book in her hand. She wanted me to sign it. I was flattered (but, natch ), when she told me how she had read every book of mine etc etc but when i looked at this awful edition , I nearly yelped in pain. " It's a pirated book," I said as calmly as I could. " Where did you pick it up?" Her Italian accent was as lovely as her slim frame. She went into a lengthy description, while apologising profusely. I told her I couldn't possibly sign a crappy, illegal, disgusting job like the one she was hanging on to. She looked crest fallen and embarrassed. Her local friend sorted out the issue by pointing to the bookstore in the lobby. Off went the stylish duo and came back in a jiffy with a clean, gorgeous, legit copy of 'Superstar..." just the way I like it! Signing over, we got chatting. The blond laughed and said, " You know something funny? I paid more for the pirated copy!" Oh no....
I called my publishers who told me to inform the cops. Well. That created a problem. The only cops I know well enough to call with such a complaint are the top dogs. They have far more important issues to deal with. I called nevertheless. Help has been promised. I know the story. It has happened with all my previous books.The cops catch the kids peddling pirated books at traffic signals. The wretches cry and feign total ignorance. The cops let them off.... and it's back to business as usual.
This is just not fair, as I'm sure you guys will agree. Piracy is a serious crime. I have worked really hard to write the book. And someone shadowy makes money from it?This is a fervent appeal to all you book lovers reading this : please do not touch those copies. By buying pirated books you are participating in a crime. This is nothing short of theft. Say 'no' to piracy at all levels - books, cd's,dvd's. Love me, love my book. The real one. I'll sign it for you. Anytime. That's a deal. Time to sign off.... and go mope. Grazia, signorina, for alerting me.


sanjuayyar said...

hi shobhaa,

I absolutely, positively and completely agree that piracy is rampant. But as an avid reader, the foremost thing for me to do is lay my hands on a book once its out. Although, I swear by original paperbacks now, I should admit that during schooland college days, I used to pick up books off the pavements left, right and centre. That was the only was I could afford my dose of literature. Back then, with meagre pocket money, it was next to impossible to buy an original. And libraries used to be ages behind with stocking up new releases. But, but, the trend now is encouraging. Books are affordably priced, and that is a huge positive to begin with. I presume Superstar India is priced at Rs. 350, which is a fair deal for me today. Ten, twelve years back, that kind of money meant a lot to be investing in a book. Today, the Chetan Bhagat stuff sells at Rs.95, making the pirated version redundant as it will be hardly profitable for the effort. Look at what Moser Bear has done to the film DVD business. With originals available at Rs. 49 (for DVDs) and Rs 34 (for VCDs) it makes absolute sense to buy nothing but the original. If Publishers realise this and ensure affordable pricing, I see no reason why the piracy market would even exist, forget flourish, in the first place. And if the lissome lady paid more for the pirated version, I have only one thing to tell her "Welcome to India".

vedika said...

"PIRACY" it's big capital form..sure represents sordid state of affairs...but hey, tell ya what..just relax...!You'd probably want to ask Why relax when it's your book that's being messed around with...Well..hmm..that's what we call India..anything and everything happens here and the best part is we can do absolutely Nothin 'bout it..NOTHING...don't we know it all????...I mean that one woman picked up a copy of yours in blank faith and probably didn't notice the difference between the original and the shall many other book lovers..alas, that's where the irony is....All we can say is that we learn to deal and live with such ordeals...hai na!!!
much love

*Aham* said...

de, thought of bringing this to your notice. bandra station mein, outside the ticket counter on the west, i saw your pirated book on sale. 60 bucks. i donot siupport piracy, but i also know that some years back when i was a student, to buy a book worth 300 + wouldve been difficult.

I opine that like what moser baer did with films, we should have a trend in the publishing industry that old books could be sold at cheap rates and secondly new books could be sold in mini versions, which would be at a much lesser rate.

patta nahi. id want more people to read your book. and we could have an innovative legitimate way for that.

*Aham* said...

De, this seller is a regular, there is no chance that the cops dont know about it. infact i have seen havaldaars loitering around that area often.

this issue, i feel it should be taken up by all writers together, especially self help book writers like shiv kher's "you can win". you will stop this one guy, but what about others. and not only prohibition, but alternative solutions, should also be provided.

i had been to bandra station some 1 week back, im going there tomm again, i will check again by posing as a buyer and let you know if your book is still there.

pirated book buyer said...

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