As ebooks become increasingly popular, inevitably there’s more discussion of ebook piracy. A recent Reddit thread titled Ebook pirates, how do you justify what you do? asked people to explain how they justify piracy, and some of the answers are pretty illuminating.
A lot of people seem to see ebooks as an ‘add-on’ to the traditional book-buying experience. For example, a number of respondents to the thread say that they own a physical copy that they’ve paid for, and they merely want a convenient digital copy. Since they’ve already bought the book once, they don’t see why they should have to do so again.
Others are more open when it comes to admitting that they’ve pirated ebooks for which they’ve not paid a penny. They generally say that they wouldn’t have bought the ebook otherwise, in which case the writer isn’t out of pocket. The idea seems to be that because taking a digital copy doesn’t reduce the seller’s stock in any way, it’s less bad to pirate an ebook than it is to steal a physical book.
Most people responding to the thread seem to acknowledge that pirating ebooks is wrong, but then they add a qualifier. As well as discussing piracy, the thread has a number of interesting tangents, such as a long debate over the decline of libraries.