Who's Stealing eBooks?

Who’s Stealing eBooks?

As discussed in a previous post, illegal downloads of eBooks are a total mystery. The media often reports on the negative impact which illegal downloads of music and movies have for Hollywood studios and big record labels. But what about spurious downloads of eBooks regardless of copyright protection? Are people actually stealing eBooks by sharing them illegally? Are pirate websites profiteering from copyright infringement?

In this nice infographic by NeoMam Studios, the visuals speak for themselves. Its title says it all: “Who’s stealing eBooks.” Illegal downloads of eBooks are an actual concern for big publishers. But as the infographic shows, not all authors have had such a bad experience with the eBook piracy phenomenon. Some authors have actually seen sales of their books rocketing as pirated copies started to populate the internet. J. K. Rowling was very skeptical at first about digital publishing. eBooks of the Harry Potter series were published much later than in print due to fears that piracy would negatively affect sales. Yet, despite the fact that illegal downloads did in fact happen, she actually benefited from huge sales figures after her books went digital. Likewise, Cory Doctorow, a well-known champion of open culture, suggests that a radical overhaul of the publishing industry is necessary.

But I’ve already revealed too much. Let the infographic speak for itself:



Should eBooks be free?

For some authors, a pirated copy of her/his work has the potential of reducing her/his total income. Yet, for others, the free circulation of a book can only lead to an increased readership, without which there wouldn’t be any sales in the first instance. If readers want to share a book, this can only mean one thing: they absolutely love it! One only has to compare the experiences and thoughts of Paulo Coelho and Stephanie Meyer to realise that the distribution of eBooks for free is a hot issue at the moment.

Who do you agree more with? Paulo Coelho or Stephanie Meyer? Leave your comments below


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Founder and Director of Encremento, a new nonprofit publisher for the common good. Passionate about fair and equal access to education and culture. Also lecturer in International Business and Spanish at Aston University.