eBookNewser Readers Debate Relationship Between Piracy And Sales

Last week, we linked to a Forbes interview with Magellan Media founder Brian O’Leary who contends that piracy may help lift eBook sales. Our readers debated the issue in the comments section of the post. Here is what they had to say:

Tom Collins wrote: “I think book ‘piracy’ in the sense you’re talking about has existed since the invention of the free lending library. I would think by now the experiences of folks like Robert Scoble, Cory Doctorow, and Lawrence Lessig, writing whole books in public on their blogs and having the finished print versions go best-seller would put this debate to rest.”

Vincent Eaton wrote: “In another media, Monty Python tried for four years to ban their TV skits from UTube, and spent a fortune on lawyers. They gave up. Within three months of that decision their DVD sales when up 3000%.” D L Hulick, countered this argument with this comment: “This is a false equivalent, IMO. Watching a three minute sketch on YouTube and then deciding to buy a DVD with *hours* of content is not the same as reading an entire novel. Once you’re done with the YouTube video, there is still more content, and you may want to see it in a different medium (TV, etc.). However, with a book, once you’re done with it, well, you’re done with it. Unless you decide to read another book by that same author, you have used up the content; and even then, the lure of alternate media isn’t there.”

Mitch wrote: “I’ve been studying the digital disruption of publishing and believe that Piracy accelerates change in this market, actually lowering the risk at the cost of short term negative impact on publishers. See my blog on this subject.”

A3n3d3y commented: “It is illogical to interpret piracy as boosting sales. Piracy, one can assume, will come in direct relationship to popularity of a book. If more people want to buy it there will be a parallel number wanting to steal it.”

What do you think?