The 10 Most-Pirated eBooks this Year

September 2nd, 2009

Courtesy of comes this perhaps authoritative list of the 10 most-pirated eBooks of 2009. The results are calculated from BitTorrent downloads. As FreakBits notes, “The list shows us that illicit book downloads are not yet threatening the bestselling authors you’ll find in the New York Times list…In fact, most books that are downloaded on BitTorrent fall into the nerdy niche, are porn-related – or both.”

(I write “perhaps authoritative” as the post notes neither author nor publisher. In the case of the “Kama Sutra” (the usual spelling), includes over 6,000 listings. Further it’s not clear whether the pirated editions are eBooks where the digital rights management (DRM) was broken, or whether they were amateur scans from printed versions.)

The post goes on to note what may be a frightening harbinger for book publishers as they flock to make their paper books available in digital form: “All eBooks in this list were downloaded between 100,000 and 250,000 times.”

The list:

1. Kamasutra (sic)
2. Adobe Photoshop Secrets
3. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amazing Sex
4. The Lost Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci
5. Solar House – A Guide for the Solar Designer
6. Before Pornography – Erotic Writing In Early Modern England
7. Twilight – Complete Series
8. How To Get Anyone To Say YES – The Science Of Influence
9. Nude Photography – The Art And The Craft
10. Fix It – How To Do All Those Little Repair Jobs Around The Home

As music publishers have learned, DRM does not solve the problem of illegal downloads. Most book publishers still, I think naively, believe that DRM will somehow prove more effective with eBooks than it has with music. No, the truth is that the business model for eBooks, as with music, must make it easier and more beneficial for the user to pay than to steal, while at the same time accepting that there will be a great deal of theft (but, as I and others argue, mainly from those who would not pay anyway under any circumstances).