March 16, 2012

...piracy actually increases book sales?

Forbes "Neil Gaiman cites an experiment he and his publisher did with his hugely popular book, American Gods." by David DiSalvo

'For a month they put it on the publisher’s website, allowing anyone to read or download the full text absolutely free. One might think this would at least dent sales of the book, but quite the opposite happened. In Russia, where he says his books were being pirated the most, sales of American Gods increased 300% during the month following the free experiment.

'His argument is that if people are exposed to your work and enjoy it—even if they originally pirated it—they will eventually buy your work. Perhaps they won’t buy the work (book, music, etc) they pirated, but they’ll soon enough buy something else.

'This argument, while intriguing, didn’t really hit home for me until recently when I discovered that my book is being pirated far more than I suspected. I happened upon a handful of “file share” sites over the last few days offering free PDF and other e-book downloads in English and a few other languages. It’s impossible to tell exactly how many pirated copies are out there—especially since one copy is sure to multiply—but from what I can tell the number is well into the thousands and climbing.

'Gaiman concludes his talk by saying that piracy is really a form of advertising. It allows people who would never have been exposed to your work to sample it, leading to legitimate sales among audiences that otherwise would know little or nothing about you.'

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