Publishers Realizing It's Silly To 'Fight Piracy'

from the smart-move dept

We're seeing more and more stories like this, but it's great to see yet another one, pointed out by Glyn Moody, of a publisher -- in this case, the University of Chicago Press director Garrett Kiely -- arguing that worrying about book "piracy" is a mistake, and in many cases embracing such infringement can be good for business:
“The majority of the titles that were infringed upon were scholarly monographs,” Kiely explained. “It’s very hard to find a correlation between the appearance of these books on these sites, and lost sales. In some cases you can’t help but think that … obscurity might be our biggest problem, rather than piracy.”

The cost of combating piracy -- a tedious and sometimes fruitless exercise -- may, in such cases, far exceed the cost in lost sales from having those titles available for free, he added. Allowing more obscure titles to change hands freely on the Web might even result in buzz, which could eventually translate to more sales, Kiely added.
Apparently this was a part of a panel discussion on the topic of "Is Piracy Good for Sales," which included someone from Attributor, the company famous for inaccurately hyping up online "piracy" claims in order to try to sell more of its "solution" to what may be a non-existent "problem." Thankfully, it sounds like other publishers agreed with Kiely that infringement isn't the real problem. Some noted that, especially with academic publishing, there were all sorts of other "reasons to buy" legitimate copies that meant that unauthorized versions quite frequently could lead to greater sales.

In fact, the report notes that among academic publishers, there's very little concern about such infringement. A recent study found that "piracy" ranked near the bottom of concerns for such publishers. It's nice to see an industry not freaking out about infringement, and instead focusing on providing greater value and adjusting business models.

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  1. identicon
    Gill Bates, 11 Jun 2011 @ 2:44pm

    Backwards ideas

    The whole concept of "the cost in lost sales" is nebulous (at best) and downright backwards probably.

    The vast majority of people that have pirated books, music, software would never have purchased it in the first place, they would have done without it. So there is no "lost sale." The whole concept is just a bean-counter device to try to make the bottom line look better.

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