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Old 02-21-2011, 01:52 PM   #1
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Kindle e-Book piracy accelerates - from CNET

An article regarding the frequent pirating of Kindle books. Say it isn't so!!


http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-18438_7-20033437-82.html
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Old 02-21-2011, 02:07 PM   #2
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Funny how the Kindle is singled out. I bet there is just as much piracy from B&N and other ebook retailers as there are for Amazon. The title on the torrent is there, I guess, as a key work to make it easier to find books in Mobi format...

Or so I would guess
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Old 02-21-2011, 02:18 PM   #3
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Just goes to show that DRM doesn't discourage pirates ... in fact it encourages them. They can strip it in momentsd or merely scan a blockbuster treebook. DRM is an insult to honest buyers and a joke to thieves. Neil
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Old 02-21-2011, 02:31 PM   #4
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Might be a good time to increase the price of ebooks, huh? I mean, if selling ebooks for $1.99 makes no difference at all to a pirating culture, I'm sure soon enough they'll be sharpening that up, regardless of true costs and all, to at least try to capitalize on the last remaining good samaritans out there funding all the free ride for scumbag crackheads...
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Old 02-21-2011, 02:51 PM   #5
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It wouldn't be the first time this author, David Carnoy, has written a load of rubbish about e-books and e-readers.

"I popped open an alert to learn that my book was being pirated--both as a separate file and part of two larger Torrents called 2,500 Retail Quality Ebooks (iPod, iPad, Nook, Sony Reader) and 2,500 Retail Quality Ebooks for Kindle (MOBI)." he writes. He goes on to value each time this is downloaded as a $10,000 loss.

At best, downloads like these may result in a small handful of books being read "for free" by any given user. At best, this is "free marketing" vs. lost revenue for the authors and publishers. And it's not pirating in the sense that someone else is making money from this content other than the content owners. A public lending library distributes books to any given individual "for free" although there is a reimbursement for the original product (and possibly trailing aggregate copyright fees).

Then he bashed e-book pricing at $12.99 and $14.99. Has he not been to a local bookstore lately? Most books are more than that; most hard covers and trade paperbacks are way more than that. Sure, the "best sellers" are heavily discounted; but everything else in the store isn't. If people are willing to pay $14.99 for an e-book, then publishers ought to charge that. (I personally think mass market paperback pricing -- ie well under $10 -- is more appropriate for most back catalogue items, but that's just me.) It's true that really high prices can encourage true piracy -- stealing, in fact, by individual choice, title by title -- but that's not what a "piracy omnibus edition" is all about.

The "the sky is falling" clique who worry about piracy and inevitably dredge up mp3 experience completely miss the point that companies like Amazon, Kobo, Sony Store, Waterstones, B&N and others are here right at the beginning, unlike iTunes which arrived two decades after CDs were launched and at least a decade after trivial ripping tools existed. There is simply no comparison in the markets.

No doubt there is some "slippage" in the ebook market, where a good with actual value is being consumed that would have otherwise generated revenue. But when Carnoy states:

"the point here is that there may very well be a dark side to the success of e-books, which some are speculating will make up 50 percent of the market in as little as 5 years."

... he has entered fairytale land. Systems like Amazon's Kindle ecosystem and others have put in place to make being a legit purchaser and readers of ebooks easy and economical will ensure that "50% of the market" will NOT disappear.
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Old 02-21-2011, 02:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neilmarr View Post
Just goes to show that DRM doesn't discourage pirates ...
Of course publishers know this. They're actually much more worried about casual sharing between average folks than the darknet.


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Originally Posted by SensualPoet View Post
He goes on to value each time this is downloaded as a $10,000 loss.
You mean each one isn't a lost sale? Say it ain't so.
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Old 02-21-2011, 03:32 PM   #7
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Well, considering that Amazon charges users in my country an additional $2 on all ebooks (even free), I guess lots of those come from here too. Ah well. We have enough problems with piracy in everything else.
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Old 02-21-2011, 03:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Just goes to show that DRM doesn't discourage pirates ... in fact it encourages them.
And what, exactly, do you base this on?

After all, music has been available DRM-free and rather affordable for what, 2 years now? There are also countless free streaming options, ranging from Internet radio to Spotify to Pandora. Yet music piracy rates are still sky-high, and there are correlations between nations with lax IP enforcement and cratering music sales rates (note: this does not necessarily prove cause and effect).

Plus, this guy and/or his publisher -- Penguin -- seems to be doing about 75% of what many MR peoples demand. The ebook is out at the same time as the hardcover; at $4, not only is it very reasonably priced, but it's a fraction of the hardcover price ($19). It's even agency pricing and still $4. And yet people still pirated it, albeit in almost a drive-by fashion.

I see zero evidence that DRM is what's causing most of the piracy, especially in this case.
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Old 02-21-2011, 03:53 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Kali Yuga View Post
And what, exactly, do you base this on?


I see zero evidence that DRM is what's causing most of the piracy, especially in this case.
In this case, there is zero evidence of piracy of this particular author. This guy's stuff is bundled into 2500 other books. What's the chance that someone downloaded it just for his? Most people downloading these are pirate hoarders who barely read what they download. I have way more ebooks than the average person and only have a total of 2606.

And by average person, I mean someone who plans to actually read every ebook they have, as opposed to just having it on their computer "because."

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Old 02-21-2011, 04:09 PM   #10
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Not piracy related, but I had to smile at this statement:

"my e-book is currently priced at $3.99, which only leaves me with about 50 cents a book after the publisher, e-book seller, and agent, take their cuts."

Who are the real thieves here? If he priced his ebook at 50 cents how many people who actually wanted to read it would bother looking for a pirate copy?

If I was him I'd be jumping for joy that my ebook was included in a pack with lots of famous writers. Maybe one of the file collectors might be interested enough to click on it before they delete it.
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Old 02-21-2011, 04:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SensualPoet View Post
It wouldn't be the first time this author, David Carnoy, has written a load of rubbish about e-books and e-readers.

"I popped open an alert to learn that my book was being pirated--both as a separate file and part of two larger Torrents called 2,500 Retail Quality Ebooks (iPod, iPad, Nook, Sony Reader) and 2,500 Retail Quality Ebooks for Kindle (MOBI)." he writes. He goes on to value each time this is downloaded as a $10,000 loss.
Ah, but with 658 illegal downloaders of his book worldwide, that makes $6,580,000 he has lost. SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 02-21-2011, 04:22 PM   #12
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My goodness, that article is rife with grammatical errors.
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Old 02-21-2011, 04:32 PM   #13
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Ah, but with 658 illegal downloaders of his book worldwide, that makes $6,580,000 he has lost. SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!!!!!!!!!!!
It was actually a pretty reasonable article, grammar mistakes aside. He was saying that a torrent could be valued at as much as $10,000. Which is true, if you look the selling price of each book. But he then counters that by saying that people won't read every book.

The article is worth visiting just to see the Pirate Kindle picture.

The funniest part is this bit:
Quote:
As I've written in the past, the rise of the iPad has spurred some of the pirating, but now the huge success of the Kindle is also leading to increased pirating.
I'm pretty sure Kindle (why are no other ereaders mentioned? they are also important) contributed to ebook piracy long before the iPad came along.
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Old 02-21-2011, 04:38 PM   #14
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It wouldn't be the first time this author, David Carnoy, has written a load of rubbish about e-books and e-readers.
Uh.... Y'know, not really sure why you're bashing this article. (I can't say anything about his other articles though.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by SensualPoet
He goes on to value each time this is downloaded as a $10,000 loss.
No, he doesn't. In fact, he asks, and I quote: "Even if I missed out on selling 200 e-books, that's a mere $100. No big deal, right?"

He is more pointing out that a massive number of ebooks can be downloaded in the same time frame as downloading a single movie. Why wouldn't that concern the industry?


Quote:
Originally Posted by SensualPoet
At best, downloads like these may result in a small handful of books being read "for free" by any given user. At best, this is "free marketing" vs. lost revenue for the authors and publishers.
Guess what, he mentions that too: "[piracy] won't cost me much now--and it may even help me find a few readers who might not have read my book." (Though he does go on to state that in the long run it probably won't be beneficial, if the problem is not addressed.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by SensualPoet
The "the sky is falling" clique who worry about piracy and inevitably dredge up mp3 experience completely miss the point that companies like Amazon, Kobo, Sony Store, Waterstones, B&N and others are here right at the beginning, unlike iTunes which arrived two decades after CDs were launched and at least a decade after trivial ripping tools existed. There is simply no comparison in the markets.
Pardon me whilst my head spins 360º

I agree there are several structural differences between digital music and ebooks, one being that as you point out, huge swaths of back catalog books have not been released in a DRM-free digital form.

However, considering that it is possible to strip the DRM on an ebook and release it to the wilds of the Internet, this might slow down piracy but is hardly guaranteed to choke it out of existence.

I also don't think he's hauling off with the nuclear option either. The worst he says is in quoting Scott Turow ("we need to make sure piracy is dealt with effectively") and "in the long run, it could really hurt." I'd view that as much more of a measured response than Chicken Little expressed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SensualPoet
... he has entered fairytale land. Systems like Amazon's Kindle ecosystem and others have put in place to make being a legit purchaser and readers of ebooks easy and economical will ensure that "50% of the market" will NOT disappear.
He isn't saying that "50% of the market will disappear." He's saying that many people believe that 50% of the book market will consist of ebook sales in 5 years.

He also goes on to say that he doesn't know what the solution is -- only that the industry is facing a potentially serious issue, especially since unlike musicians, authors don't have a real alternate revenue stream from their works.


I don't necessarily agree with everything he's saying, but he really doesn't seem to be screaming bloody murder and demonizing the pirates. You may want to re-read the article carefully, as it's a bit more moderate than you credit.
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Old 02-21-2011, 04:42 PM   #15
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It was actually a pretty reasonable article, grammar mistakes aside. He was saying that a torrent could be valued at as much as $10,000. Which is true, if you look the selling price of each book. But he then counters that by saying that people won't read every book.
One point no one seems to ever mention is that even if someone downloads the torrent and reads the book there is not guarantee that the downloader would have ever purchased the book in the first palce. This is the same assumption the music labels made. The files are easily downloaded and then used, this doesn't mean a sale was lost. What it really means is someone that never would have bought the book or music may now read or listen to it and then talk about it possibly leading to actual sales!

I'm not condoning piracy but I don't count every download as a lost sale either. Could be that David Carnoy sucks as a writer and just doesn't sell many books. His article isn't helping disprove that.
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