I didn't know diddly-squat about ePiracy when I began writing eBooks, but I sure learned quickly. For every book that my publisher sold, pirate sites gave away over a hundred. I wisely set up Google Alerts for all of my titles, as well as for my pen name and such, and every day, I got several alerts telling me where my new releases were already being snapped up by those who didn't want to pay the small price my publisher asked. I discovered that search engines were advertising where folks could get my books for free...all a web surfer had to do was enter my name or the title, and up came the purchase link(s)...plus half a dozen pirate links to get the book for free. In fact, I found alerts about "requests" for my upcoming releases on the big sites, where readers were begging someone to "share" my new book the second it came out. And someone generous soul always complied. I think I sent many hundreds of cease and desist notices that first year. My publisher sends them out for me, but the books would pop up again instantly the minute they would be taken down, so I got to the point where I sent nasty notices and cc'd them to the FBI internet crimes division.
In one year alone, from the ten major pirate sites that I followed, I determined that my various books were downloaded over 15,000 times. The income I lost from those pirated books (had they been legally purchased) could have paid for a decent car (I drive a 20-year-old car that is on its last legs), could have helped pay off every credit card I owe, and would have paid a good sized portion of my mortgage. Over the next two years, I almost lost the desire to write, knowing that whatever I published would be on the pirate within the first hour of its release. That is very disheartening.
So, yes, I personally know what it costs an author to have his/her work stolen and given away for free. And the worst part? When other authors tell me I shouldn't let "a few pirated books" get me upset, because "those people would never have paid to buy your books in the first place...and it's just good publicity when people read your books"...HUH????? Way to give encouragement to other authors, folks.
I have discovered that when a person gets a free book from a pirate site, they will never buy your books...because they don't have to. They love my books...but why go buy them? Yes, I worry and get upset. If I made millions of bucks off my books like a few select authors do, I might feel generous. But as long as I live royalty check to royalty check, and I see more books being stolen than being purchased, I reserve the right to gripe.