Something for the Weekend, Sir?

It does seem rather strange to me that people will spend a thousand dollars or more on the latest MacBook Air, a hundred dollars a month on a broadband package, and yet refuse to pay for the music they listen to or the books they read. Pirating is theft, pure and simple, but it’s a particularly crass form of theft in that it targets the little guy whilst funnelling more and more money into the pockets of The Man.

My book, Natural Causes, is available for free in all formats. You can get it from the ibookstore, from Amazon, from Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo, Diesel. Pretty much anywhere you want, really. And yet it’s available as a pirated torrent, with over 2000 downloads so far. Faced with that kind of logic, is there anything we can do about online piracy?

DRM isn’t the answer. All it does is make life difficult for honest buyers. I guess the best we can do is try to educate people as to just how much work goes into creating a book, or a song, or a film. Perhaps enough of today’s pirates will understand the need to pay for things and start acting responsibly in time. If not, we’ll have a superfast, flash, broadband enabled world with nothing in it worth consuming.

More thoughts on this and other aspects of the rise of ebooks over at SirBenfro.

10 Responses to Something for the Weekend, Sir?

  1. Christine Faichney July 31, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    Hi, absolutely loved Natural Causes – was hooked from page 1. Have just started Book of Souls. Just a niggle though, please, please use “led” as in “he/she/they led” and not “lead” as in the metal! Other than that can’t wait for the next Inspector MacLean!

  2. jameso July 31, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    Hi Christine.

    Thanks for getting in touch. I’m delighted to hear you like the books. As for the led/lead mix-up, I’ve corrected it in the latest versions. It’s a particularly embarrassing mistake, as it was brought to my attention by one of my beta readers before I published Natural Causes, and I told her it was a US/UK English difference. Here’s me pretending to be a writer and all…

    If you have a look over at you’ll see me eating a bit of humble pie on the matter.

    I’ve also said in blog posts, and possibly on here, that anyone who points out a typo gets a free copy of the next book or one from another of my series. The next McLean book is a while away, but I’ll add you to the list. Alternatively, you can try the Benfro books – though not all crime fans like the straight fantasy.

    Meantime, have a look over at for a few free McLean short stories, and thanks again for pointing out my mistakes.

  3. Lesley August 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    Hi James,
    I’ve just finished reading Book of Souls, and enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed NC. I normally stick to crime novels, however, I’ve really enjoyed the element of fantasy in both the McLean stories, and am lefting wanting more.
    [Plot spoiler alert!!] I have to say I was left feeling a bit short changed over the lack of explanation of the fires or of the reference to Angus’s ancestors in the basement, but perhaps this will be picked up in the next book? Looking forward to the next one being published, and to finding out what’s in store for McLean.
    I was quite excited to read your response to the previous comment regarding your promise of a copy of the next book for anyone who spots a typo. I did notice a few as I was going through but simply skipped over them – this gives me a reason to go back over it and see if I can get my name on that list!!!

    • jameso August 7, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

      Thanks Lesley. I think it’s a good thing to push your reading boundaries every once in a while.

      I have to admit the fires do lack a satisfactory explanation, except that the fire investigator is called Burrows – or is it Burroughs? Either that or they really are committing suicide. The reference to Angus’ ancestors was a bit of a throwaway – sorry.

      The typo offer stands – even if you send me one someone else has already seen. I’ve only just started writing The Hangman’s Song though, so it will be a while before it’s available. In the meantime, there’s a few McLean short stories over at to keep you going.

  4. jameso August 7, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    Well that was weird. WordPress left out the link. Ah well. It’s in an earlier reply anyway.

  5. Lesley August 9, 2012 at 8:41 am #

    Ach, I had formed a whole scenario of Angus having been possessed by his ancestors to carry out the bidding of the Guild of Strangers in taking back their buildings!! Oh well.
    I can’t wait for the Hangman’s Song to be written; perhaps you should give up your day job as someone else suggested, or as a compromise, enlist some of your avid Scottish readers to come and feed your cows for you while you batter away at the writing!! All for the greater good….
    On the subject of typos, I spotted one this morning on the train and nearly cheered out loud! In “The Final Reel” I suspect Gabriel Squire was wearing faded tartan baffies on his feet, and not bathies. Does this qualify?!?

  6. David Godson September 29, 2012 at 10:12 am #


    Really enjoyed both McLean novels; look forward to next one. Plots and characterisations were particularly good I thought in The Book of Souls.

    P.S. I was curious I must admit how is was that Constable MacBride managed to get promoted (twice!) to Sergeant and then subsequently demoted; or were my eyes deceiving me?


    David Godson.

    • jameso September 29, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

      Oops. The typo gremlins have got in again have they? I’ll search those out and correct them. Thanks for bringing them to my attention, David. Great to hear you enjoyed the books, mystery promotion and demotion aside.

  7. allan watson December 8, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

    James, wouldn’t normally have brought this up but as there’s a typo-spotting orgy taking place I feel duty-bound to point out that in Natural Causes you renamed the Blue Nile singer Paul Buchanan as Neil. Typos don’t actually bother me – I’m the King of Typos myself and actually employ people to insert them into anything I’ve ever written.
    Just finished Book of Souls today and loved it every bit as much as Natural Causes. Now highly distressed to discover The Hangman’s Song is still nothing more than a twinkle in your eye. Can’t you write any bloody faster?

    • jameso December 8, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

      Damn, that’s a bad one. Well spotted though, Allan. Thanks. I’ll fix it as soon as I can. Great to hear that you enjoyed the first two books, and I can assure you that The Hangman’s Song is a lot more than a twinkle in my eye. I will break through the 70k words barrier tonight and it’s all downhill from there, at least in theory. Of course, that’s only the first draft, and Penguin probably won’t publish the book until 2014. I’ll have more stuff out before then though, and since you’ve spotted a typo, you’ll get an advance copy of Hangman anyway.

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