Originally Posted by ComboOrgan
why can't people get it through their heads that the net effect is pretty much the same. Read the post above yours again.
Copyright infringement and theft both have the net effect of reducing the amount of money the creator makes. Sure, actual theft also causes the loss of a physical copy, but we've already discussed in this article that the tangible cost of each copy is tiny compared to the fixed costs of publishing a textbook.
Maybe textbooks are some special good since the market is pretty small (the only people buying OR pirating them are probably taking a class and *need* the book) but the tiny cost isn't really any different from other mediums...its not like CDs or DVDs are expensive to press.
With most things that are pirated though, there is a significant difference--most pirates would probably never be your customers, they are just getting it because it is free. I have seen some informal studies done on iphone piracy rates where found that the statistics were far higher than the possible total number of customers ( based on how many jailbroken phones could even play the games and how many people would actually buy it). If all of the sudden they couldn't pirate some crappy pop song to play at a party, most pirates would probably play the damn youtube video instead of spending money buying a copy of Party in the USA. If they couldn't download a movie, they might redbox or netflix it (which leads to very little studio income as those disks might get used 100's of times). My point is, these downloads to not translate even loosely into a lost sale of a $15 album or a $25 DVD.
Don't get me wrong, I like a sane copyright system--my dad is a photographer and licensing images basically paid for the first 22 years of my life--but it is stupid to buy into the arguments the record industry use to cover up their failing business model.
With textbooks, I find that people like real paper books--normal people recognize that the book price is very small compared to the tuition (and you can probably resell it for almost as much on half.com--though this gives no money to the publisher, it might have incentivezed you to buy new knowing that you could resell). The only reason people would start to pirate textbooks en-masse would be if they were forced to use some DRM-laden piece of shit ebook that was hard to navigate and use. In that case, the pirated plain-PDF would be a better product than the real version and FREE.