Ebook piracy resulted in €350 million ($467.1 million) in lost revenue for the €3 billion Spanish publishing industry in 2012 (13%-15%), according to a new report from Spain’s Federation of Publishers’ Associations and Spain’s ISBN Agency.
The report also said the number of titles published in the country decreased by 8% even while ebook publishing increased — with ebooks now accounting for 22% of all registered titles in the country.
Like many studies that seek to measure the economic impact of ebook piracy, this study may fail to account for content piracy that occurs as an alternative to not consuming the content at all — i.e., when the content thief wouldn’t have bought the ebook unless they could get it for free. That may not represent lost revenue for the industry.
A popular notion in the ebooks industry in the U.S. is that piracy isn’t much of a problem. Organizations like BitTorrent, which provides a content-sharing technology, frequently cite studies that show piracy has little impact on content industries. At Digital Book World last week, Michael D. Smith, professor of information technology and marketing at Carnegie Mellon University, argued that piracy does in fact effect the ebook industry and that studies that say the opposite are invalid or improperly conducted. (See his full presentation here.)
Most authors don’t seem to care why piracy occurs — they want to guard against it. When asked in a recent survey about digital rights management software (DRM), which theoretically guards against piracy, a majority of authors want it either strengthened or left alone. (More from this groundbreaking survey of authors here.)
More on ebooks in Spain here. (H/t infoDOCKET.)