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 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.
The impact of piracy
Impact of Piracy and Free on Book Sales (BEA 2009, Powerpoint) 2.0 MB
Russian scientist Denis Rebrikov claims that he’s begun a gene-editing process to eventually enable couples who both carry a specific genetic mutation that causes deafness to birth children who can hear. Rebrikov formerly announced his effort to use the CRISPR tool for gene editing to create babies resistant to HIV. From Nature: In his e-mail […]
Caltech theoretical physicist Sean Carroll, author of Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime, explains the concept of a “dimensions” at five different levels of complexity. Dr. Carroll sure has a big brane.
In 1936, the Tasmanian tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus) was declared to be extinct. Yet in the last three years, there have been eight reported sightings according to Tasmania’s Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment. I hope it’s true. From CNN: While stories abound that some continue to live in the remote wilds of Tasmania, […]
In recent years, natural language processing technology and language translation technology have advanced greatly. The trouble is, language translation software typically comes in the form of apps. And while your mileage may vary on their usefulness, they share one thing in common: a serious drain on the battery for your smartphone, the very thing you’ll […]
Treat yourself, internet: We’ve rounded up some deals from the past week that were too good not to bring back for an encore. Take your pick from home goods, massagers and other tech, all at serious discounts. TREBLAB Z2 Bluetooth 5.0 Noise-Cancelling Headphones Get in the groove and stay that way with these headphones and […]
As cool as your smartphone is, it can’t do everything. When a job requires a little elbow grease, a multitool is a great thing to have around – and might just save your life in the right situation. Here’s a roundup of some of the latest multitool designs, which have come a long way since […]