According to Attributor, a company that develops anti-piracy and content monitoring solutions, the daily demand for pirated books can be estimated at up to 3 million people worldwide. The company's latest study also highlights that the total interest in documents from file-sharing sites has increased more than 50% over the course of the last year. Interestingly, e-book piracy is moving away from large sites like RapidShare to smaller sites and those that specialize in pirated e-books.As the popularity of e-books and e-readers continues to increase, e-book piracy is also growing rapidly.
Stephanie Meyer's "Breaking Dawn" was the most often pirated book last month, and the majority of demand for these books came from the United States (11%), India (11%) and Mexico (5%). Since the arrival of the iPad, demand increased by about 20%, though this is mostly in line with the previous trend.
It is important to note that Attributor's study focused mainly on file-sharing sites like RapidShare, Hotfile and Megaupload. The study did not look at bit torrent sites like PirateBay or Torrenz. Given the popularity of these sites, chances are that Attributor actually underestimates the scope of e-book piracy in the U.S. You can find a more detailed look at the study's methodology here.
No matter the details of Attributor's methodology, it is clear that e-book piracy is a growing concern for the publishing industry. Unlike the music industry, the leading publishing houses haven't resorted to suing e-book pirates yet, but while the publishing industry has been more open about allowing DRM-free content on the market, most of the e-book content that is for sale today is still crippled by DRM. Sharing books - just like sharing music - is deeply ingrained in our culture, so it doesn't come as a surprise that a lot of people would use these illegal conduits to access pirated content.