images.jpgPublishers Weekly is reporting on this new study:

Digital content monitoring company Attributor is out with another survey gauging the amount of book piracy that lurks on the Internet. Unlike its earlier study that looked to put a figure on how much book piracy is occurring, the new report attempts to measure the demand for pirated books. And accompanying the report, Attributor announced that it is launching a consumer awareness campaign aimed at educating consumers about the importance of downloading legal copies of e-books.

The study found that demand for pirated e-books has increased by 54% over the last year, including a 20% increase since the spring launch of the iPad. Attributor measured demand by identifying large cyberlocker sites in the book space and then pulling the top 89 selling titles on Amazon. The company then entered keywords typically associated with searches for pirated e-books for each of the 89 books into a Google search to measure demand. The company estimated that 1.5 million to 3 million people worldwide were looking for pirated editions of the 89 e-books on a daily basis.

More details on the site.

The problem is, of course, that Attributor has a vested interest in showing that there is lots of piracy. If piracy goes away they go out of business. So I really don’t know how much one can rely on their figures. They were the ones who came up with an earlier study trying to put a value on pirated books. It wasn’t, in my opinion, statistics finest hour – not by a long shot.

Brian O’Leary, who has done some real independent research in this area has a couple of tweets on the new study:

make no mistake: you want to create demand for @Attributor services. I want to understand what is going on. Fundamentally different

I am so tired of @Attributor spin control. Demonstrate how piracy is a problem and THEN do PR. Don’t pretend what you do is research