Monday, January 17, 2011

Does eBook Piracy Help Sales?

Media Bistro has an article, DOES EBOOK PIRACY HELP SALES. I like the comment, "It is illogical to interpret piracy as boosting sales. Piracy, one can assume, will come in direct relationship to popularity of a book. If more people want to buy it there will be a parallel number wanting to steal it."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

Anthony said...

While I definitely don't condone book piracy, I think there are a lot more shades of grey involved.

The release of Chris McKitterick's new book, Transcendence, has been instructional. While he was planning on releasing a digital version for free, it was pirated before he was able to do so. He went ahead with the plan, simply asking that anyone who had been "redistributing" the book simply point people back to his site - where they'd have the ability to donate and get a higher-quality digital version.

It's been successful. It helped that it made the news, so there's been lots of extra free press. But beyond that, some self-proclaimed pirates have come out with apologies and effectively paid for two hardcovers with their e-book purchases.

And whether it's intentional or not, something distributed for free will generally have a greater distribution - sometimes reaching new fans that wouldn't have noticed otherwise.

I'm a bit ashamed to admit that I didn't fully appreciate intellectual property (especially re: music) while I was in college - but my favorite bands probably wouldn't be my favorite bands if not for pirates - and they've since made good money off of me. Hundreds or thousands of dollars between cd purchases and concert tickets since. There've been some steps forward with various IP industries. Digital stores like iTunes or Steam, or online radio like have made it easier for people to expand their horizons and find what they're looking for - legally.

Unfortunately, I don't think intellectual property can be effectively regulated in a free society - especially as the technologies for data storage, transmission, and distribution take leaps forward every day.

But perhaps we're asking the wrong questions. Do we even want to regulate IP? Especially if it's not effective - whether measured in finances or security. Younger generations are growing up in a world where data and intellectual property are still valued - but differently. And I strongly feel that the music and publishing industries, to name two, will really have to reexamine their processes and practices if they're going to survive.

In related news, Masked arrived in the mail the other day. I'm really looking forward to it.