Curious about the effects of the iPad’s launch on e-book piracy, “Ernesto” at BitTorrent news site TorrentFreak tracked the download rates of six popular nonfiction e-books during the days immediately before and right after the iPad’s launch.

The results, Ernesto said, were surprising.

By comparing the data from these two samples we found that the number of unauthorized eBook downloads on BitTorrent grew by 78% on average, a significant increase. It is worth noting that all of the six eBooks had more downloads after the iPad launch than before.

However, the total download figures were still quite small. The most-often-downloaded book, Getting Things Done by David Allen, went from 277 to 435 downloads per day—a pittance compared to the millions of daily music downloads.

Of course, this hardly has the scope of a scholarly study, though I imagine some of those have been going on, too. And I don’t doubt that suddenly e-book piracy is going to become the Next Great Scourge of the Internet, even though it has been going on quietly behind the scenes for years now.

Still, it’s interesting that those particular e-books got such a significant bump in numbers. I wonder if it held true across all BitTorrented e-books?


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