Originally Posted by charlieperry
Book piracy is going to become a bigger and bigger problem for the publishing industry. eBooks are typically very small and can easily be emailed around. Most books are less than the size of a photo or a song. You can publish books on the web with very little trouble at all.
Has anyone else noticed a rise in the availability of pirate books recently?
As an old hack who used to hang around USENET a lot and who keeps tabs on modern p2p networks, I'd have to say it is not growing drastically. It has been possible to grab illegal copies of new popular books from alt.binaries.ebooks and from various others for a long time. What I do see now is more overflow to different networks like bittorrent - but this is only to be expected with the rising popularity of e-readers.
Piracy is not going away, that said, I do not think the people who grab pirated copies are the same people that would normally buy these books, in other words, there is no real loss of profit. (If there was zero piracy, these people would not suddenly buy all these books they've pirated, an imaginary profit loss calculation that the music and movie industries excel at).
What Publishers could and should do is not treat customers like their enemy (like the music and movie industries are currently doing) - that is, not try to lock people in to a DRM format and not selling their electronic versions at exorbitant prices (as we know the distribution costs of electronic media are very low). They also should offer services like making out-of-print books (that is a massive catalog!) available on the electronic platform.
Book publishers as a "middle man", the paper link between author and reader, I believe that era is coming to an end. It will take a long time, but (if you'll forgive the pun) the writing is on the wall.
What the publishing industry needs is a strong trade association, akin to the RIAA, which will go after criminals in the same manner that the RIAA has so admirably done in the music world. The problem is, at present, that there is nobody in the publishing world to take on these criminals.
Harry, I couldn't possibly agree less. The RIAA is only antagonising people and not even putting a serious dent in music piracy. I hope you were being sarcastic. Suing 14-year olds and senior citizens is not going to help any industry. And the RIAA is exactly the fat-cat middleman that has been made obsolete by the internet.