Originally Posted by Alexander Turcic
Not sure about the statistics in Western cultures; it's why I referred to the Internet rather than to specific countries.
On the Internet, it's relatively easy to see how "free" e-books have gained popularity... whether you look at torrents, newsgroups, or IRC - the volume of available e-books of all kinds has increased substantially over the past few years.
I think part of the appeal of the 'free' ebooks that are out there illegally is the fact that in many cases no legitimate source for a given book exists. Either the author doesn't want them published that way for some odd reason or the publisher fails to take advantage of a new medium by which they could make more sales. Add to that the fact that sometimes the ebooks that are offered are set at higher prices than the paper copy of the same title and you have a situation that is ripe for problems.
Also it sometimes seems publishers are trying to take more and more rights from the readers. When I buy a paper book I don't have the right to make and distribute additional copies to others but I do have the right to keep the copy that I have paid for. Now here comes ebooks and it seems publishers have the idea that even if you have paid for your books they have the right to take your copy away from you if you don't do exactly what they say. Even if they drop support for your type of reader and your books then become unreadable they don't seem to feel any responsibility to the customer.
Mobipocket is a good example of that. They stopped supporting the ebookman so new books (that weren't free) wouldn't be readable on the device. But they are owned by Amazon so everything is ok and you can read them on the Kindle right? Wrong. Short of stripping the DRM from the file they are not readable on the Kindle.