My eBook’s being pirated. I’m taking advantage of that.

On December 6, 2010, in book, cocos2d, Marketing, by Steffen Itterheim

Discuss this topic on Cocos2D Central.

My Learn iPhone and iPad Cocos2D Game Development book is out and that inevitably meant it would appear on websites offering download links to illegal copies of the book.

Since there’s really nothing that can be done about it that actually works, and because I understand (but not necessarily condone) the reasons for downloading ebooks illegally, I wanted to take a different stance. And so I’m posting my thoughts on the matter on forums and websites, where a link to an illegal download of my ebook is shared.

That way, I hope to convert a minority of the downloaders to buying customers. But my actual goal is to use their websites as marketing instruments. Shamelessly placing my links on their websites and asking their users to come here is just fair and square. If they enable illegal downloads the very least they can do for me is to allow me to enable users to more easily come here, or on rare occassions to actually buy the book. Who said that illegal downloads can’t also be a mutual relationship?

Here’s what I’ve been posting to “warez” and “free ebooks” websites offering downloads or download links of my book:

My Response on Illegal Download Sites

I’m Steffen Itterheim, author of the Learn iPhone and iPad Cocos2D Game Development book.

I see that my book is offered here for download illegally, either directly or via linking to an externally hosted file. I wanted to share my thoughts on this matter.

1) I’m not offended, disappointed or furious.
Why should I be? It’s to be expected. I’ve been working long enough in the software industry to have come to accept piracy as something that shouldn’t affect you at all.

2) I don’t judge you.
A lot of people download(ed) things from the Internet that they shouldn’t have. For some, it’s part of their culture. For others, it’s the only way to take part in a world that they couldn’t otherwise afford to join. For a few, it’s simply a hobby, or a habit. Some claim it’s for research and trying things out before buying, but quite honestly I think they fall in one of the aforementioned categories. Or they’re merely being pragmatic about their spendings, cutting corners where they can.

3) I won’t lecture you either.
Piracy is a fact. It’s not even a market because if piracy wouldn’t exist, most pirated products wouldn’t be selling noticeably better anyway. Only very few pirates would ever buy a product they downloaded.

Those are my convictions on piracy. I think it’s pointless to complain about piracy, and it would be especially stupid of me if I did so in the lion’s den, so to speak. :)

I’m a realist. I understand that some percentage of you will download the book just to have it. You’re the collectors, you may skim over the book before you set it aside in your amazingly well-assorted, categorized archive of eBooks. Enjoy it. Then there’s a percentage of you who download the book on a hunch that you might need it soon, or that it might spark your interest (again) in game development or programming for iOS devices. You probably wouldn’t buy it either. Except for a select few for whom the book did spark a flame – but how could you know beforehand?

To everyone else who truly want to read the book, I can only encourage you to buy the book in hindsight, after the fact. I know it costs quite an effort to pay for something you have already used, or read in this case. I still hope some of you will, I’d be grateful for that.

And what I’d really like you to do, regardless of where you got the book from and what your intentions are, is to stop by and visit my website Learn & Master Cocos2D Game Development:

I also want to make it very convenient to those who *might* consider buying the book, to actually do so. I know that one aspect of piracy that shouldn’t be neglected is merely convenience. So for that reason I’ll give you the links that lead you to Amazon and other websites all around the world which carry the book, as well as links to eBook versions of the book The Learn iPhone and iPad Cocos2D Game Development:

Purchase the print book via Amazon: (United States) (Canada) (United Kingdom) (Germany) (France) (Japan)

Purchase the eBook:
From Apress (PDF):
NOTE: the Apress PDF eBook has no DRM, it is not copy-protected or password-protected. It’s probably the exact same file that is being shared here.

From Amazon (Kindle):

I hope you understand that if you offer my book for download illegally, it’s just fair to reply to that with promotion of my websites and making it a bit more convenient for the few people who tend to download books exactly because it’s convenient. At least this way I’m getting something positive out of it.

Thank you for your time and for allowing this message to be posted.
Steffen Itterheim

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I very much enjoy the learning process, the pushing of boundaries (mine and yours and that of technology), having the freedom to pursue whatever is on my mind, to boldly program what no one has programmed before, and to write about what I've learned. Help me help you by browsing the products in the Learn Cocos2D Store.

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17 Responses to “My eBook’s being pirated. I’m taking advantage of that.”

  1. Andre says:

    Do you actually think that someone who really wants to read your book is going to read it in front af a pc?
    My opinion is that if someone likes what is written in the ebook, then this person will buy it. I think ebooks are more like a preview and they won’t harm your income. Personally, I think the piracy will even increase it

    • I’m not worried about “losing” income but I do my best to benefit from freeriders. 😉

    • actually read the whole book on an iPad! before it was released (paid of course! not pirated!)

      its a lot easier to make notes on an eBook reader in order to refer back to bits of code rather than on a printed book.

      Dotn think i will ever buy the printed version since the electronic version works best for me and will for others i presume.

  2. I like your attitude. It takes a careful thought and intelligence to come to your conclusion and to write up that carefully argued message. It’s rational, realistic and constructive. I bought your alpha book.

  3. GZN says:

    i snatched a copy and literally after a few minutes of reading a given chapter and the introduction i found out that it is the perfect book for me and that i like your style. i went straight to amazon and ordered a print copy, because i love analog.
    …quality beats piracy, which is as well publicity. the snatched copy will help me passing the time until the real thing arrives. i wish you many more customers because you deserve it, thank you for your excellent work!

  4. MartinH. says:

    I like your attiude too. My only suggestion would be to put the link towards the beginning and shorten the text. It’s a rather long read even for those interrested. Those who are not (just stumbling upon it on some warez site) probably are not going to invest the time to read this completely.

    • Acknowledged, I moved the website links to the top for future posts. I see about 3-5 new sites listing my book every day. I think that’s half an hour every day well spent, marketing-wise.

  5. Dani says:

    Hello from Spain.

    I bought your ebook some weeks ago. If we’re talking about computing/developing books, I prefer ebooks because I can read, search and work at the same time. Fast searching is specially useful when developing. That’s my opinion.

    About piracy, as you say, it’s a fact. You cannot fight against, but try to use it in your favor. It’s the smarter approach.

    Keep the hard work on cocos2d stuff, many other people are grateful.


  6. Richard says:

    Hi Steffan, I too purchased your alpha book. :-) Shamefully though I have not had the time to read it yet!!

    From one point of view, I can understand why people download books illegally, especially one that has a subject out of the readers usual comfort zone – ie. “I am interested, but not sure if it is my cup of tea so I just want to dip my toe in the water”. However, there are plenty of legal online resources to test out a subject, and also many sites offer free chapters of books before you commit to buy.

    All I am saying is I understand, but don’t condone. So I completely agree with your post! I hope it leads to more sales, or at the very least let the person illegally downloading know there is a face behind the book that they are obtaining illegally.


  7. Josh says:


    I like your approach towards this issue, and everything else for that matter. I purchased your alpha book which I read on my 2nd monitor while reading the source code on another (which is very well commented, by the way). I sure hope you get some people to buy your book because it’s well worth it. As an intermediate programmer well on my way to understanding cocos2d much better, I’ve found your book to be a wonderful reference guide. In fact, after purchasing your book and feeling more confident, I purchased your line drawing starterkit and am loving that as well. Thank you for your time and hard work to the gaming community! For anyone else reading this that is on the fence of purchasing the book, just buy the damn thing, you won’t regret it.


  8. Huwell says:

    I bought your book. It’s helpful for my programming. That’s enough.

  9. Matthew says:


    Directed here from the techdirt article. My comment as an interested bystander, that seems like a really expensive book! I know it’s specialist content with a limited audience, but who would pay $28 for an ebook?!

    • Apparently a lot of people. They tell me so on Twitter etc. 😉
      I have no overview over (e)book prices so I can’t say if it’s particularly expensive, it certainly didn’t strike me as expensive.

  10. Hi,

    I was jst searching for a book on cocos2d iphone programming, came across some illegal site or other, came across your letter, found the link to yourself, apress and now ive paid for and downloading your ebook!

    Excellent way to advertise! 😛

    I’m going to read this book on my phone and hope to get a good overview while on a break in france this week!

    Good luck!

    – Toucan