The impact of piracy can be hard to establish. Piracy, after all, occurs in the shadows, and content businesses have not done a great job of creating a sales baseline.
The measurement challenge is not limited to books. Evidenced by recent reporting about the estimated impact of piracy on IPod app sales, the debate about what makes a figure real is clearly at issue.
At this point, there’s not much clarity in the debate. If this is an inflection point, we need data to establish trends. Declaring the answer limits discussion.
Edited January 18 to add: Hugh McGuire links to Canadian Broadcasting coverage of “why people pirate”. Hugh points out that digital rights restrictions make for one of the most frequently cited motivations.