Pirated Books and Book Piracy Statistics

  • ** Click to view value source
  1. Financial Losses to Book Piracy$0.6 Billion ($600 Million)

Book Piracy

News, statisitics and facts about book piracy. Data about downloading pirated ebooks and the selling and buying of pirated books are collected from publishing agents, book publishing companies and security agencies.

Between 2011 and 2013, authorities in Chile seized 362,752 pirated books from stores across the country. The pirated books were valued at $1.5 Million. In 2013, a total of 6,559 pirated books valued at $106,000 were seized in Chile. The rate of seizures has increased in 2014, with 13,181 pirated books being seized in the first three months of the year, or more than doubled the total amount for 2013. Most of the pirated books seized in Chile are children’s books and literature books. However, police have seen an increase in pirated textbooks in 2014. For example, the textbook Atlas of Human Anatomy is the main book used for health programs in universities in Chile. Officials have seized 34 pirated copies in the first 3 months of 2014. The pirated textbook costs $35, while an original copy of the textbook cots $200. According to security officials, pirated book smugglers from Peru have strapped copies to their bodies and have smuggled it into the country by copying the tactics of drug traffickers.

The Japan Book Publishers Association and other publishing sources reported that online piracy of popular Japanese comic books are causing sales to drop.

Popular manga series such as Naruto and One Piece are quickly posted at online websites. There have also been incidents where the manga is pirated and posted online before it was released in stores. In an investigation conducted by Japanese media, over 700 installments of the One Piece series was available for free online.

Sales of comics books in Japan dropped from $4.3 Billion (450 Billion Japanese Yen) to $2.9 Billion (300 Billion Yen) between the years of 2007 and 2011.

Source:  “Manga pirated, put online,” Japan News, April 19, 2014.

According to research by Dutch firm GfK, only 10 percent of all ebooks on devices were actually paid for, with most of the digital books being pirated.

On average, an e-reader in the Netherlands holds on average 117 ebooks. Out of that total, 11 were bought at legitimate websites. The remaining books were pirated at file-sharing sites or through Bit-torrent files.

Ebooks sales in the Netherlands account for 4.5 percent of total revenue for publishers.

A Dutch man admitted to the criminal justice system that he uploaded over 5,000 ebooks to The Pirate Bay as anti-piracy group BREIN attempted to bring criminal charges against him. However, the court ruled that it was not a criminal case.  The Dutch Court system also recently lifted a ban on The Pirate Bay website. At the end of January 2014, the Hague Appeals Court ordered an end to a ban on the website.  The Court found that the ban on the Pirate Bay had no impact on slowing down online piracy in the Netherlands.

(More pirated ebooks information.)

Source:  Michael Kolowski, “eBook Piracy a Big Deal in the Netherlands,” Good E-Reader, February 5, 2014.

Source:  Ernesto, “Pirate Bay Uploader Can’t Be Criminallly Prosecuted, Court Rules,” TorrentFreak, January 29, 2014.

Source:  “Netherlands court orders end to Pirate Bay ban,” BBC News, January 29, 2014.


Security services in Nigeria seized a shipping container in December 2013 that contained over 40,000 pirated books that were on its way to be sold within the country.

The 1X20 foot container contained 1,336 cartons filled with pirated copies of books. In total, Customs officials stated that 40,080 copies of pirated books with a retail value of $125,129 (20,040,000 Nigerian Naira) were seized.

The pirated books included popular American titles and language dictionaries.

Source:  Mos Abaka, “NCC confiscates 40,080 copies of pirated books,” WorldStage News, January 23, 2014.

An online brand protection firm conducted an investigation into the availability of textbooks as pirated copies on the Internet. Netnames investigated 50 popular textbooks that are used by students in the United Kingdom. Based on their findings, up to 76 percent of the titles were available as free pirated e-books.

The most pirated textbooks were in the science and engineering fields of study.

Source:  Chi Chi Izundu, “Students ‘worst’ at e-book piracy, says data monitor,” BBC News, Newsbeat, October 17, 2013.

A survey conducted by Book Industry Study Group fond that during the Spring 2013 semester, 34 percent of college students in the United States illegally downloaded course materials from unauthorized websites. In 2010, the percentage of textbook piracy 20 percent.

In addition to unauthorized downloads, 31 percent of students in the survey stated that they photocopied or scanned chapters from other student textbooks. The rate of unauthorized copying in 2010 was 21 percent.

According to a report by the Government Accountability Office, the costs of textbooks has been rising by 6 percent each year.

Source: David Schick and Mary Beth Marklein, “College students say no to costly textbooks,” USA Today, August 20, 2013.

92 percent of ebook readers in Russia obtained their books illegally downloading the materials.

In the United States, the ebook piracy rate is about 12 percent.

(All pirated books statistics.)

Source:  Lauren Indvik, “92% of E-Book Downloads in Russia Are Pirated,” Mashable, July 9, 2013.

Over a three month period that ended in January 2013, almost 400 million digital files were pirated by Internet users in the United Kingdom.

According to a study by Ofcom, 18 percent of Internet users in the UK over the age of 12 accessed a pirated copy of an entertainment service. These files included movies, music, television shows, books, software and video games.

In the previous three month period, the number of Internet users who accessed pirated files was 16 percent.

Out of the 18 percent who accessed a pirated file, the study states that 5 percent of that figure only use illegal services.

59 percent of the digital piracy users in the United Kingdom are male, and 68 percent are under the age of 34.

Source:  Mark Sweney, “Music, TV and film piracy rises among UK internet users,” Guardian, May 28, 2013.

Pirated ebooks in Spain caused the book industry  to lose up to $467 Million (€350 Million) in revenue, according to a report by the Federation of Publishers’ Associations and the ISBN Agency of Spain.

Book publishing in Spain is a €3 Billion industry.

(More statistics on pirated books and ebook piracy here.)

Source:  “Piracy Taking Big Bite out of Books in Spain?,” Digital Book World, January 22, 2013.

Children who sell pirated copies of books on the streets of Mumbai, India are paid roughly $2 (100 Indian Rupee) for each book that they sell.

An essay published in the New York Times interviewed child who would sell three pirated books a day and thus was earning more money than his father, who was working as a plumber.

Most of the children who sell pirated books in India are unable to read.

(Income and earnings from the underground economy.)

Source:  Sonia Faleiro, “The Book Boys of Mumbai,” New York Times, January 4, 2013.