More hard data on the impact of free/pirated downloads on book-sales

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10 Responses to “More hard data on the impact of free/pirated downloads on book-sales”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I used to buy a lot of books. First new… paper backs only , then used. Now I cant afford to buy any books. No Money lost here. This artical is a bit slanted in as much as it does little or nothing to bring the state of the economy into it.

  2. Daemon says:

    “correlation is not causality”

    It’s also not causation… which is differant.

  3. ppival says:

    As much as I like to find compelling statistics to illustrate that information wants to be free, these slides don’t cut it. Yes, they show the spikes after pirated copies are seeded, but looking past that initial spike, sales drop and continue to drop WAY below the average non-pirated work (slide 28) over the long term.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hot dog. I hope they repeat this on a larger sample. Correlation doesn’t imply causation but if every example correlates it certainly supports the idea of causation, and paves the way for further studies which do show causation.

  5. Anonymous says:

    As with Microsoft software, for example, it’s in their best interest to allow a percentage of pirated copies of software to be used because it ups the number of people who are familiar with their software. And since everybody knows how to use Windows, businesses have it in their best interest to use Windows.

    The same is true with books: if the number of people recommending a book goes up, the number of people reading the book on their friends advice goes up. As long as only a percentage are pirating, you still have an overall increase in readership.

    This same principle applies to video games, movies, anime, tv shows, music, etc.

    This even applies to fashion. One of the reasons LV and Chanel are such fashion powerhouses is because it’s so easy to find fakes. So their popularity goes up, which means a larger percentage of people are willing to buy the real thing.

  6. Anonymous says:

    everyone that tries to track lost sales for pirated things, books, movies, music always overlook one huge glaring error in their research. They’re not lost sales, chances are strong that the people downloading the books or movies would have never purchased what they’re pirating.

    What they should do instead is consider all the lost sales due to high prices, how many more people would be willing to buy a book that costs 2 dollars to print, if it was priced at 4 dollars out of the gate instead of 25 or 35.

  7. SamSam says:

    We will continue to monitor the data on an ongoing basis to establish a more complete profile. A download of the full research paper, which is published as a Rough Cut that includes access to any future updates, is now available for purchase ($99).

    Err.. $99? Anyone have a pirated version?

  8. Anonymous says:

    In regards to slide 28- according to the study, they’ve only been monitoring titles since fall 2008. Slide 27 actually notes a disclaimer stating “the average time on sale for pirated content in this sample is shorter (35 weeks) than that for the un-pirated content (47 weeks). Comparisons at the end of the on-sale period are not reliable.”

    Sounds to me like the graph should have stopped at 35 weeks when they no longer had accurate data, and it wouldn’t have led to confusion.

  9. tinyfolk says:

    Maybe people who are wont to giving their books away for free just make more appealing content. ;)

  10. toekneesan says:

    Slide 28 is pretty damning. It seems the take away is if you want to sell your book for longer than a year and a half you should do everything in your power to stop pirated copies. That uptick after the first seed is pretty interesting, though. Maybe what we need to figure out is does that little boost compensate for the early death of the title as backlist. Since a publisher’s backlist (books older than a year) usually accounts for half of a traditional publisher’s revenue, I suspect it won’t. That may not be true for O’Reilly though as technological advances make many of their books irrelevant much more quickly than, say a cookbook, or a monograph on art history.

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