Is this the NYTimes’ effort to promote the PIRATE Act? In the Virtual Stacks, Pirated Books Find Eager Thumbs
He emphasized that he had sought alternatives to downloading books without permission by turning to publishers that allow readers to view a book’s pages one at a time. And he confesses to a sense of guilt over playing the role of a “leech.” But “as a student, I was pretty broke and couldn’t really afford $100 textbooks,” Mr. Ruesewald said. “I had to turn to the Web for help.”
He is clearly not alone. While the music industry’s effort to quash the trading of pirated songs over the Internet has attracted far more headlines, the unauthorized sharing of digitized books is proliferating in news groups, over peer-to-peer networks and in chat rooms.
The activity is all the more striking because making a book available online is as cumbersome as ripping a CD is effortless. Each page must be scanned, run through optical character-recognition software and proofread before the complete work is uploaded to a network or transferred directly to a recipient.
Yet a quick survey conducted with peer-to-peer file-sharing software revealed the digital availability of dozens of titles currently on the New York Times best-seller list …
[...] Envisional, a company based in Britain that tracks Internet piracy, estimates that 25,000 to 30,000 pirated titles are available on the Web. The vast majority are English-language titles, although pirated German, Spanish and French books are also plentiful.
An estimate of how many people are actually downloading the books is harder to come by, however, said David Price, a researcher at Envisional.