May 19, 2011

Older women e-readers prone to thieving


The UK Telegraph reports on a new study showing older women who own e-book readers are more willing to engage in e-book piracy than music piracy, “One in eight women over 35 who own such [e-reading] devices admit to having downloaded an unlicensed e-book. That compares to just one in 20 women over 35 who admit to having engaged in digital music piracy.”

The report continues:

News that a group formerly unwilling to infringe copyright are changing their behaviour as e-books take off will worry publishing executives, who fear they could suffer similar a similar fate to the record labels that have struggled to replace lost physical sales.

The picture across the entire e-reader and tablet markets is even more troubling for the publishing industry. Some 29 per cent of e-reader owners of both genders and all ages admit piracy. For tablets the figure rises to 36 per cent.

The study was part of the Digital Entertainment Survey, an annual assessment of consumer online behavior conducted by the law firm Wiggin. The study polled 1,959 consumers, and learned that the problem is likely to increase in that readers intended to continue pirating.

According to the Telegraph:

“The Publishers Association recently revealed that the total sales of books and e-books fell by 3 per cent last year, and although e-book sales grew strongly they contributed just £16m to a £3.1bn industry. Announcing the figures, the group’s chief executive, Richard Mollett, placed emphasis on preserving copyright protections. “The innovation in the digital marketplace and the strength of British publishers’ export performance is only possible because of the robust and flexible copyright framework which underpins the UK creative industries,” he said.

“Copyright ensures that authors, writers and researchers get rewarded for their talent and expertise, and that the publishers who support them see a return on their investment – particularly in their digital infrastructure.”

Valerie Merians is the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.