Digital Piracy Hits The E-book Industry
When Dan Brown's blockbuster novel "The Lost Symbol" hit stores in September, it may have offered a peek at the future of bookselling.
On Amazon.com, the book sold more digital copies for the Kindle e-reader in its first few days than hardback editions. This was seen as something of a paradigm shift in the publishing industry, but it also may have come at a cost.
Less than 24 hours after its release, pirated digital copies of the novel were found on file-sharing sites such as Rapidshare and BitTorrent. Within days, it had been downloaded for free more than 100,000 times.
Digital piracy, long confined to music and movies, is spreading to books. And as electronic reading devices such as Amazon's Kindle, the Sony Reader, Barnes & Noble's Nook, smartphones and Apple's much-anticipated "tablet" boost demand for e-books, experts say the problem may only get worse.
"It's fair to say that piracy of e-books is exploding," said Albert Greco, an industry expert and professor of marketing at Fordham University.
Sales for digital books in the second quarter of 2009 totaled almost $37 million. That's more than three times the total for the same three months in 2008, according to the Association of American Publishers (AAP).