Do e-readers increase book piracy?

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The publishing industry, especially magazine publishers, awaited Apple's iPad like a saviour. But what if these gadgets are actually hurting more than they are helping?

That was the suggestion of Ana Maria Cabanellas, the president of Editorial Heliasta, a family-owned Argentine publishing house, at yesterday's International Publishing Association Copyright Symposium in Abu Dhabi.

"In the first world, piracy is on the rise again, primarily due to the impact of electronic book readers, like Amazon Kindle, or the Sony Reader," she said. "These devices have the storage capacity for hundreds of books, and while they do use digital rights management software to attempt to restrict the trade of pirated materials, I read in December that a hacker was able to put a book from Kindle in the iPhone, so piracy is everywhere. Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol just minutes after publication could be downloaded for free from different websites."

covered the story here in January, but in general it seems there is more fear than real data to support it when it comes to e-book piracy. A

found that 28 per cent of e-reader owners have used filesharing sites like RapidShare, Megaupload or Hot File to download books -- but that's a far cry from saying that a third of all e-books are pirated. Seems more like an indication of the habits of the kind of technophiles who would buy e-readers in the first place.

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