The rise of “digital libraries” will see authors ditched by their publishers, the novelist Joanne Harris has claimed.
The warning comes amid the growing popularity of sites such as the eBook Bike website, which allows readers to download titles for free.
Travis McCrea, owner of eBook Bike, is a Vancouver-based businessman who publishes hundreds of books for readers to access online in what he describes as a “digital library”.
But authors claim that many of the books available on his site have been put up without their consent – breaching copyright and depriving them of income from their work.
Ms Harris, the author of Chocolat which was made into a hit film in 2000, has led the calls to have the website taken down.
She said: “[Mr McCrea’s] current enterprise claims to be an online library, claims to pay authors, and also claims that authors are donating their books voluntarily.
“None of this is true, of course. There are many self published authors who are never going to make a living out of writing books and this site is taking away their last validation.
“This is not helping anybody. It means that mid-list authors who are already struggling for sales may be ditched by their publishers.”