Children’s Writing Weblog

Did Piracy Just Create a #1 Best Seller?

Posted on: May 17, 2011

So, just the other day we offered up our new ebook The Problem Isn't Piracy, the Problem Is Obscurity and now we look like freaking geniuses.  🙂

To recap, Cory Doctorow's essays, as reprinted in The Problem Isn't Piracy… argue that authors should chill about people copying and downloading their books online, because, ultimately, the added exposure will help sell printed copies of the book.  Not everyone, to put it mildly, sees things that way.

Well score one for Cory.  I give you the current #1 best selling book on

Go the F**k TO Sleep is a picture book parody and it's a pretty funny idea.  But here's what's really fascinating about it:

PDF copies of the book (which won't be released in print until June) have been floating around the Internet for months.  Booksellers and publishing industry insiders have been sending copies of the book around and the buzz kept getting louder and louder.   Loud enough to drive the book to the top of the charts weeks before its release and without a shred of promotion from its publisher.

So what do we learn from this?

1. Having people talk about your book is a good thing, no matter how it gets started

2. Even if they're given ebooks for free, readers still want print editions of  Illustration-heavy books ( opines "Books with artwork have a tactile, archival appeal lacking in the latest Grisham potboiler, say.")

3. Having a great title and easy to grasp concept is always a winning combination when it comes to viral attention.


Forget this specific book, and whether you appreciate the language or the joke.  That's not relevant.  But pay close attention to what happened here — a book was "pirated" and the treasure ended up in the hands of the "victim". 

Maybe, just maybe, it's time to change the terminology a bit. 


'Go the F— to Sleep': The Case of the Viral PDF

How Viral Copies of a Naughty Bedtime Book Changed Publishing

'Go the F— to Sleep': The Case of the Viral PDF

Source: The Bay Citizen (

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