It seems that the trend towards the adoption of ebook readers has some book publishers worried over the possibility that their content will see illegal piracy on the rise.
Word comes via TorrentFreak that, despite the general lack of bestselling authors in the list of the top 25 most pirated books last year, many publishers seem to fear the ease with which their content might be distributed illegally for the ebook reader-enabled population. Indeed, as a result of their generally small size once digitised, book publishers could potentially have more to fear from piracy than publishers of more data-heavy media.
Perhaps most interesting is that publishers are taking some steps in an attempt to make sure they their content doesn’t end up being pirated. Unfortunately, it seems that some have accidentally spurred piracy in their attempts to impede it. Stephen King’s Under the Dome was released, with the ebook version following weeks after in an attempt to prevent piracy, resulting in ebook versions being stripped from physical copies and distributed illegally.
Indeed, J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, has determined that she’d rather the books were simply never made available digitally. Instead, illegal downloads of the series made her one of the most pirated writers of last year. Similarly, Twilight author Stephanie Meyer, disappointed with the leak of an upcoming book, simply cancelled the book… making the leaked copy the only version people could access.
While the illegal downloading of any content is entirely reprehensible, it’s curious to see publishers already acting to try and stop piracy now, given that we’re still in early days as far as ebook readers go. As the market grows, we imagine that illegal downloads will become more and more of an issue… it could be that publishers are simply hoping to have cracked the piracy problem by then.