Online Book Piracy Nearing $3 Billion

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Publishers could be losing between $2.75- 3 billion due to online book piracy, according to a new report from Attributor.

Attributor's FairShare Guardian service monitored 913 popular books in 14 categories in the fourth quarter of 2009.  FairShare tracked the number of successful downloads completed for each of the 913 titles on four file sharing sites that make download data available (,, and Across those four sites, a total of 3.2 million downloads took place.

Across the top 25 one-click hosting sites a total download figure of over 9 million copies was projected with an estimated loss of $380 million. Each book's retail price and category information was collected from


Among the 14 book categories tracked, piracy was most common in the business and investing category with an average of 13,000 free downloads per title. The professional and technical category trailed followed by science, computer and Internet.

The 913 titles in this study represents works from publishers totaling 13.5 percent of the U.S. book publishing market. Projecting the $380 million value to the entire industry results in total potential piracy of $2.8 billion.

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