I don’t agree that you have to remove the original in order for it to be theft. I believe that’s (just practicing learning fallacies) fallacy of defective induction. I don’t know what they call it when you make a picture of it, but the picture doesn’t make it true.
When you pirate, the people who create the work—or make it available—don’t get money for their work. If they don’t get money for their work, there won’t be work for you to steal.
Go ahead and get them for free from the library. That’s free, and legal. Those are the terms of the agreement. If going to the library isn’t convenient for you, buying the license is often cheaper than going to the library.
Now what about this element of owning the story? Are you not able to find ways to legally purchase your books that allow you to own it?
I don’t know much about that latter part, but whether you want a license or not seems like a flimsy excuse to doing something that’s convenient for you. It protects you from facing the reality that you are harming others by stealing their work. (Which, of course, precludes you from being persuaded by this line of thought.)