Sounds of Soldiers- Piracy

Notes Licenced or licensed? I’ll sort it out later.

Second time lucky on part-exing my old books. I stop by the storage unit to pick up a few more then head for the market.

The load’s so heavy this time that I drag along the trailer as a hand cart, trying not to be too antisocial about it. If possible it’s always good to do a little reconnaissance before committing to anything, so I head for a wander around the book alleys.

Mostly, this load consists of non-fiction- war library stuff and that fine fighting book on Second World War aircraft. The third shop along seems to stock the right kind of books. But it’s not that that makes me stop.

Beside the till is a display of new books, the paper still white and the spines stiff. The sign in front of the pile says “Top Seller!” and the picture on the top copy is very very familiar.

I licensed the image of the Eiffel Tower’s destruction to an agency. They sell it on, take a cut and tell me who’s using it legitimately. I don’t recall them mentioning a book called Sounds of Soldiers, by someone with the same name as me.

I pick up a copy and flip it around to read the blurb on the back. There’s a picture of Robert Jones. It’s entirely unlike looking in a mirror. Apparently alternate me is blonde and vacantly good looking. I wouldn’t be surprised if, like the cover, this image has been stolen.

Robert Jones was trapped in Paris when the Americans bombed the Eiffel Tower, capturing one of the iconic images of the conflict between the USA and old Europe. He then spent over three years covering the war on his blog, witnessing both the atomic battle of the Mediterrannean and the final surrender of American forces.

And, no doubt, all that time he looked good in a poncey sweater, chinos and deck shoes.

I should know better, but I look inside. The chapter titles are familiar enough. No doubt the prose would be as well if I paused to read any. What I can tell from skimming is that the layout is awful and inconsistent and the internal black and white photos are very badly reproduced.

The guy behind the counter looks down at the trailer and nods, “Selling or exchanging?”

“Probably exchanging. If I can find anything interesting.” I put my book down in front of him.

“Yeah. That one’s real popular right now. He tells a good story, but, y’know, no way he did all that stuff.”

I can’t help but smile. I flip the book over and tap the portrait, “No way he did all that stuff. He’s not Robert Jones.”

“How do you know?”

I’m still in the habit of carrying identification. The photo driving licence comes out of my back pocket and I lay it on top of the book. The guy does a double take from the card to me then back to the card. “No. Fucking. Way.”

“Oh, fucking way. Trust me. So, where do you get these from?”

He’s looking very nervous. “We….. uh, we print them ourselves. We’ve got a printer and binder and we download the files and make copies.”

“You pay people for the files?”

“Yeah. And then for copies we sell. As many as we want to tell them we’ve sold, anyway.”

“A trust system. Nice. You’ll have to tell me all about the site you get your files from. And I’ll be taking a few copies for myself. The rest will have to go into storage, or the recycling bin.”

He nods dumbly. I point at the trailer, “So, what can I get for these?”