Illegal e-books

  morddwyd 10:12 01 Jan 2012

Acoording to the Sunday Times, and estimated 20% of e-book downloads are illegal (Under the "Implant Scandal" byline!)

That's quite a proportion and must surely be affecting authors' incomes?

Since e-books also carry VAT can we expect HMRC to be taking more than a passing interest?

  interzone55 10:29 01 Jan 2012

I'm surprised it's only 20% to be honest

Book publishers are in the same position the music industry was 10 years ago, and if they don't watch it they'll get into the same mess.

Basically we have a few different, incompatible standards, with Amazon Kindle, Epub and DRM protected Epub. This is pretty much the situation we had with music, where MP3, Apple AAC and Sony Atrac all competed, and just caused confusion and directly led to people just downloading unprotected MP3 files that could be played on any player.

Many ebooks are more expensive than paperbacks, this is partly down to VAT, but not all.

The we get down to the old, what to do once you've read the book problem. With paper books you can sell them, give them away, or lend them to a friend or colleague. But with ebooks that's generally not possible, although Amazon are trialling a system where you can lend a book for two weeks, and during that period you can't open the book on your devices.

Some libraries allow you to borrow ebooks as well, I've not experienced this and would be interesting in seeing how it works...

  Woolwell 13:47 01 Jan 2012

alan14 I agree about the incompatible standards. I have a Sony E-Reader but cannot transfer the DRM epub books to my iPad. I have a book that I've paid for and want to read on any of my devices with ease and without resorting to file conversion programs.

There are libraries which allow borrowing for epubs but unfortunately none of them are in my area and you have to be a member of the library.

  OTT_B 14:02 01 Jan 2012

The book publishing industry needs to learn from the mistakes of the music publishing industry, as alan14 has suggested.

Books now, as early digital music was, are way overpriced with publishers trying to screw every penny from a sale that they can without realising that they are losing volume in the process. Once ebooks are properly priced (cost of a paper book, minus print and most of the distribution costs) and the government drops the VAT, the industry will be in a better place to combat illegal downloads.

As with the music industry, DRM needs to be forgotten. People have loaned books to one another for as long as the book have existed. Pretending that a new 'format' of book can stop it from happening would be naive to the end.

I'd love to see an electronic lending library. Say, a subscription service not disimilar to Lovefilm, but downloading books instead of posting / streaming films. You could borrow a book from the library for as long as you want, but you can only have 3 or 4 at a time. Come on Amazon. Get working on it - I'll buy a Kindle if you do!

  Flak999 15:20 01 Jan 2012


Hear, hear. agree completely.

  Condom 16:18 01 Jan 2012

I was at a Computer Fair this morning and low and behold where years ago there used to be wall to wall MP3 Music I now find DVD's of e Books openly for sale at £5 each.

Possibly illegal I know but I bought one out of curiosity. Out of 7500 books, I would say that at least 5000 were free from any sort of law breaking so were probably OK but the remaining were I should imagine still under copywrite protection of one sort or another.

There were probably only about a 100 or so that would interest me immediately but still good at £5.

Yes I would say the publishing industry will have a serious problem to deal with if it doesn't sort itself out quickly especially as I bought two books as Xmas presents which were £20 each but on sale at £6 each a few days later.

  ams4127 16:44 01 Jan 2012

I read that same article and was somewhat surprised to see the name of one of the more prolific sites revealed.


  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:48 01 Jan 2012

Bought a Kindle a few weeks ago.

Now got about 700 books (non from Amazon)in mobi format for it, total cost £10 there are loads of free / cheap books available and if your choice isn't in the correct format for your particular e-book reader then a program (free) called calibre will convert them for you.

  spuds 22:50 01 Jan 2012

It would appear that the European Commission are investigating ebook prices, and some of the major names are involved

  Forum Editor 23:40 01 Jan 2012

Transferred to Consumerwatch from Speakers Corner.

  daz60 07:50 02 Jan 2012

What is the equivalent status regarding PDF's.? I have recently downloaded approximately 6,400 pages all on a portable to be read via my laptop from 3/4 sites.They all claim to be legal.

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