Is Audio Piracy More Insidious Than E-book Piracy?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

What’s at stake is not just the financial cost, but the very authorship of audiobooks.

By Edward Nawotka


Today’s lead story looks at the growing market for audiobooks in Germany. As the story notes, as long as people continue to pay for what they listen to this is a positive development. But digital audiobooks are just as vulnerable to piracy as e-books. What’s more audiobooks are subject to a different type of piracy — the piracy of authorship. Increasingly authors report their dismay at learning that amateurs are recording their own versions of books and uploading them to the Web. As the Russian mega-bestseller Boris Akunin notes in a forthcoming article in Publishing Perspectives (running on Monday in our London Book Fair print edition):

What irritates me enormously is the audiopiracy. I am very careful at choosing actors who read my texts for licensed audiobooks, each of the recordings is nearly perfect. But there are dozens of home-made audiorecordings throughout the Russian Internet, where some mumbling and stumbling character reads my defenseless text, making all the wrong stresses, overacting, etc.

What’s at stake is not merely the fact that book has been pirated, but the interpretation — the very integrity of the book — has been hijacked.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.