Reddit has an interesting thread soliciting reasons (or rationalizations) from people about why they pirate e-books. There are people who say things like “I’m poor and I like to read, but I can’t pirate food, so I pirate everything else,” or “I limit myself to pirating things that are out-of-print or otherwise unavailable through a legal digital outlet.”

And there are even some who admit, “I don’t justify it, just like I don’t justify speeding or rolling stops. It’s wrong (in whatever way you want to define ‘wrong’), but there’s an infinitesimal chance of getting caught, so I’m just going to do it.”

There are some who have longer responses, too, though they aren’t so easily quotable.

One hopes that the publishers are paying attention to discussions like this, because these people are basically doing their market research for them. “How can we convert more pirates to paying customers?” the publishers might ask? Well, they could start by addressing some of the issues that make people feel like they are entitled to help themselves instead of paying for an inferior, overpriced, or unavailable product.

Yes, piracy is wrong, and people shouldn’t do it. But telling them that generally isn’t the best way to get them to stop. Nor is sighing, “Won’t someone please think of the children authors?” Piracy is an unmet need (or a number of unmet needs) in the marketplace. Publishers won’t ever meet the needs of people who say they just like getting stuff for free, but there are other things they can do to convert some of the others. (Like getting rid of DRM, which some publishers to their credit are.) So stop complaining about piracy and do them.

(Found via GalleyCat.)