A new study has found that people who illegally download eBooks are older and wealthier than most people’s perception of the average pirate. Commissioned by anti-piracy company Digimarc, the study suggests that people aged between 30 and 44 years old with a household income of between $60k and $99k are most likely to grab a book without paying for it.
In 2017, people can download any digital content they like from the Internet, but that’s still most likely to be movies, TV shows and music. Bubbling underneath, however, is a steady demand for pirated eBooks.
Ebooks are relatively cheap when compared to other digital content, but their handy file size and ubiquity ensures that millions of titles are just a few convenient clicks away.
A new study, commissioned by anti-piracy company Digimarc and conducted by Nielsen, aims to shine light on eBook piracy. It was presented yesterday at The London Book Fair and aims to better understand how eBook piracy affects revenue and how publishers can prevent it.
In previous studies, it has been younger downloaders that have grabbed much of the attention, and this one is no different. Digimarc reveals that 41% of all adult pirates are aged between 18 and 29 but perhaps surprisingly, 47% fall into the 30 to 44-year-old bracket. At this point, things tail off very quickly, as the remaining ~13% are aged 45 or up.
There are also some surprises when it comes to pirates’ income. Cost is often cited as a factor when justifying downloading for free, and this study has similar findings. In this case, however, richer persons are generally more likely they are to download.
Around 13% of pirates have an annual household income of under $30k, with those earning between $30k and $59k making up 19% of the total. At this point there is a sizeable leap, with 36% of pirates claiming to earn between $60k and $99k per annum. Around 29% make more than $100k a year.
Overall, the majority of illegal downloaders are relatively well-educated, with more than 70% having either graduated from college or in possession of a post graduate degree.
Taken together, this means that e-book pirates are often older wealthy people with a good education, which is probably close to the profile of the average ebook reader.