The vast majority of UK residents have never pirated an e-book. There are so many options now available to legitimately pay or download for free from the public library or websites such as Project Gutenberg.
The Intellectual Property Office conducted a three month study into the extent of online copyright infringement in the UK. It found that 1% of UK internet users aged 12 and over read “at least some” ebooks illegally. This is a stark contrast to 9% consuming pirated MP3 files and 7% who download the latest Game of Thrones TV episode.
Why is ebook piracy virtually nonexistent in the United Kingdom? The government has taken an extremely hard-line against rogue websites. In June it was mandated that seven pirate websites were to be blocked by the largest internet service providers. There is even a new law currently being examined that would extend the amount of time e-book pirates would spend in jail. Currently the maximum sentence is two years and the government wants to dramatically increase it to ten.
I think it comes down to the simple fact that the ebook market has matured tremendously in the last five years. There are so many options to legitimately consume content. If you are a voracious reader you can subscribe to Scribd and read as much as you want. If you are a casual reader, it doesn’t cost very much to buy something from Amazon.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.