How Significant Is E-Book Piracy?

You probably don't think of pirates as having advanced degrees and earning nearly $100,000 a year at an office job, but that's because you aren't considering the more literary-minded pirates.

The majority of people who illegally download e-books hold at least a bachelor's degree and earn over $60,000 a year.
The majority of people who illegally download e-books hold at least a bachelor's degree and earn over $60,000 a year.

In the world of e-book publishing, piracy is a real threat: U.S. publishers lose more than $300 million a year to such theft. However, the folks who are swiping their reading material are surprisingly difficult to stop.

According to a Nielsen study, illegally downloading e-books is most commonly done by people earning between $60,000 and $99,000 a year, and the average age of these thieves is between 30 and 44. Most of these individuals hold at least a bachelor's degree. Devon Weston, the director of market development for Digimarc Guardian, a California-based company devoted to fighting digital piracy, said there is no particular "criminal profile" that would make it easier to prevent and fight the crime of e-book piracy.

"They access digital content from a vast universe of web pages, social platforms and file sharing portals," he told PR Newswire. "Our aim is to break down the problem for publishers and help them develop an effective prevention strategy."

Inside the e-book world:

  • Kindle dominates the e-book marketplace, accounting for 75 percent of all U.S. digital downloads and 95 percent of all British sales.

  • More than 40 percent of all the Kindle books sold on Amazon are from independent publishers.

  • While 90 percent of all readers still prefer printed copies, 6 percent of readers stick with digital books exclusively.

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Discussion Comments


How long is it going to take people to learn that anything that is put online is fair game for even an average hacker? It is not, necessarily, because they want to steal. It is because it is a challenge to break into stuff. The stealing is secondary. Humans are curious by nature. We all get a thrill from getting away with something we are told we cannot have.


The article is way too short with no usable information ... fun to know, but not useful in any way.

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