Publishing Expo: How Piracy Really Affects Sales

I sat through a presentation by the head of Magellan Media, and he presented high level results of their most recent piracy study. You might recall the report put out by Atributor a couple months back, the one with the claim of billions lost to piracy? Magellan Media took a diiferent approach. Instead of measuring the activity once and coming up with a number, they track individual titles.

Magellan Media's only long term research partner at this time is O'Reilly. Why do they need a partner? He didn't say why exactly, but I assume it's so there is someone to pay for the research. The change in sales can then be pretty reliably assumed to be cuased by piracy. With only one publisher, the sample group is small, unfortunately. But I would call it pretty reliable.

Here are some of the important details:

  • There was a lag time of 19 week on average before a title shows up on torrents, and
  • in 3 weeks the number of seeds (uploaders) peak and then drop
  • in 2 weeks the number of leeches (downloaders) peak and then drop

The most interesting detail they've noticed so far was that sales increased after titles appeared on torrents. I wouldn't be too happy about that, becuase a non pirated title had more sales than a pirated one. Also, the boost in sales for the pirated titles was still less than the sales of the non pirated titles.

About Nate Hoffelder (11215 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

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