Digital content monitoring company Attributor is out with another survey gauging the amount of book piracy that lurks on the Internet. Unlike its earlier study that looked to put a figure on how much book piracy is occurring, the new report attempts to measure the demand for pirated books. And accompanying the report, Attributor announced that it is launching a consumer awareness campaign aimed at educating consumers about the importance of downloading legal copies of e-books.
The study found that demand for pirated e-books has increased by 54% over the last year, including a 20% increase since the spring launch of the iPad. Attributor measured demand by identifying large cyberlocker sites in the book space and then pulling the top 89 selling titles on Amazon. The company then entered keywords typically associated with searches for pirated e-books for each of the 89 books into a Google search to measure demand. The company estimated that 1.5 million to 3 million people worldwide were looking for pirated editions of the 89 e-books on a daily basis.
The survey found some good news, however. When consumers looking for pirated e-books were offered the chance to go to Amazon to buy the book legally, just under 20% at least clicked through to Amazon. This helped convince Attributor CEO Jim Pitkow that consumer behavior could be altered to do the right thing, which in turn led to the creation of Attributor’s Protected Badge program. So far two publishers, Macmillan and Kensington, have signed on, agreeing to place a “Badge” inside copies of e-books that alerts consumer that they have bought an authorized copy and which has links to learn more about why that is important for both publishers and authors. “We don’t want it just to be a campaign against piracy, but one that educates people about the importance of doing the right thing,” said Pitkow. He said he hopes to expand the program as more publishers get on board.
Steve Zacharius, president of Kensington, is glad Attributor is mounting a campaign. “I think it’s a great idea. The more attention that can be drawn to the importance of buying authorized e-books the better,” he said. Kensington has been using Attributor for about six months and Zacharius has been impressed with their results. “They get about 99.9% of the sites to remove illegally posted books,” he said, adding that he regularly receives thank you letters from authors when a pirated book has been removed from a site. “Selling books is the only way authors can make money. They aren’t going to generate revenue by going on a tour,” Zacharius said.