EuroGamer covered this topic
; they were speaking of video games, but it's even more true for books:
Piracy suggests villainy of some kind, when in truth all that punters are doing when taking something for free is "taking something for free". It's like lifting a leaflet, or taking one of those samples of cheese from Tesco's deli counter. It's what people do. There's no malice in it.
1. HERE IS A THING I LIKE
2. DO I WANT IT? (YES)
3. DO I HAVE TO PAY FOR IT? (NO)
4. DO I WANT TO PAY FOR IT? (YES/NO)
5. YES: PAY FOR IT
6. NO: JUST TAKE IT FOR FREE
That's it in a nutshell. And here's the fundamental problem with the whole piracy issue. Publishers are focusing on dismantling Stage 6 of that process when they should be analysing decisions made at Stage 4.
Whether or not you think downloading-free-stuff is (or should be) a crime, or is an act of evil rather than casual convenience, the point is: to stop piracy, the consumer needs to be addressed at Stage 4, not Stage 6. Stage 6 is *never* going to be changeable, especially for books. There will *always* be ways to read a book for free; many of those will continue to be legit.
All the big hype about The Evils Of Book Piracy have done, is convince a lot of avid readers that publishers think they're leeches for buying used books.