Over 28% of e-reader owners have used unregulated file-sharing services, such as RapidShare, Megaupload and Hot File to download at least one e-book within the last twelve months, and 6% have used such services to download ten or more titles during this interval.
The results are based on Verso Digital’s 2009 Survey of Book-Buying Behavior, the full results of which will be presented at the upcoming Digital Book World conference, January 26-27 at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers in New York City. Conducted in two waves during November and December, 2009, the survey polled 5,640 book-buying respondents, weighted to mirror the U.S. adult population. The results are statistically reliable within a 1.6 percentage-point margin of error, at a 95% probability level.
The Survey further reveals that questionable downloading, while affecting all age and gender brackets, is concentrated disproportionately among younger male readers. Among males aged 18-34, over 45% report engaging in such downloading activity within the past twelve months. Nearly 13% have downloaded ten or more e-books from file-sharing services, more than twice the level of the Survey population as a whole.
Jack McKeown, industry consultant and Director of New Business Development for Verso Digital, acknowledged that “the results are bound to set off ripples of alarm within a publishing industry already distracted by issues of e-book pricing, timing and potential cannibalization of print sales.”
What do you think?