Brian F. O'Leary has posted slides updating his quantitative research on the effect of "piracy" and/or free giveaways on book-sales
, done independently using data from O'Reilly and Random House (the largest tech publisher and general publisher in the world, respectively). The new slides, from the recent Book Expo America, expand the work with a larger data-set, and confirm the earlier findings that free downloads are broadly correlated with higher overall sales (though correlation is not causality!).
With a larger data set, we tried plotting the average paid sales of pirated and un-pirated content using a common starting point (that is, we plotted sales data week-by-week after publication). The results of the week-by-week and four-week rolling averages are shown on slides 28 and 29 of the BEA presentation. Both pirated and un-pirated titles showed similar growth in sales in the first few weeks after a title is published, followed by a decline after peak. Average sales for unpirated content start higher and peak later, although this may reflect the specific nature of titles in a small sample.
The impact of piracy
The primary difference between sales of pirated and unpirated content appeared in weeks 19 through 25, when sales for pirated content peaked a second time at a level higher than that seen in the first, sell-in period. This second peak followed the time (19 weeks) at which the average pirated O'Reilly front-list title was first seeded on a P2P site.
We stress that this is correlation, not causality, but the difference in the sales profile is notable and persists even when using rolling averages.
Impact of Piracy and Free on Book Sales (BEA 2009, Powerpoint) 2.0 MB
After years of speculation and wrangling over his remains, Kennewick Man turns out to be closely related to contemporary, local Native Americans after all. Discovered near Kennewick, Wash., in 1996, the skeleton ended up in a tug of war between tribes in the pacific northwest who wanted to bury the remains, and scientists who wanted […]
Our solar system is awesome.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, has been releasing portions of its research to the public for years. This week’s massive 300 terabyte dump of Large Hadron Collider (LHC) data is the biggest yet by a long shot — and it’s all out there, open source, free for the exploration.
You never know when new projects, ideas or opportunities can drop into your lap at a moment’s notice. That may require you to learn a new programming language like Python. Or maybe you need a primer on 3D game development. Or you might realize you could use a serious brush-up on iOS mobile creation.Point is, […]
Isn’t it about time to stretch what your Mac can do? I mean, you’ve got plenty of great programs now…but don’t you think you could use some new tools to get your creative, analytical and organizational juices really flowing? It’s spring, so we cleaned up a whole bunch of super-cool apps lying around and packaged […]
In the world of app development, there’s no greater arena to find success than with Android users. About 80% of the smartphones in use today worldwide operate on the Android operating system, so if you build a great app that Android users love, you’re an international rock star. You’ll be able to make sure your […]