Young adults aged 18-29 are responsible for swiping 41% of the $315 million in pirated e-books in the U.S. every year, according to a new Nielsen study commissioned by Digimarc. This group downloads illegal copies from torrent websites or gets them from friends.
For financial reasons—since this age cohort is often short of cash and many are still in school—you might jump to the conclusion it constitutes the largest band of e-book pirates. Actually, the study found it’s their slightly older, better-off cousins who are doing much of the stealing.
Some 47% of those downloading pirated copies are 30-44 years old and 36% earn $60,000-$99,000 annually. In fact, 29% of all digital-book pirates earn salaries of $100,000 or more and clearly could afford to pay for legitimate copies. Convenience and the allure of getting something for free were the reasons most often cited.
Almost one third of the illegal downloaders held graduate degrees.