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Understanding determinants of illegal e-book downloading behaviour in the UK and Germany

Oliver Jonas, Ibrahim Sirkeci

Abstract

With the success of e-books in the last decade, e-book piracy has become increasingly prevalent. This is a significant threat to the publishing industry, publishers and authors alike. Despite efforts to inhibit illegal downloading of e-book files, unauthorized download platforms have not lost much popularity. One of the underlying problems is a limited understanding of the determinants that drive consumers in their choice between legal and illegal download options. This article identifies and critically evaluates the key product attributes in the decision-making process of consumers downloading e-books from legal and illegal sources. By providing consumer insights, the publishing industry and e-book sellers can be guided to meet consumer demand better and design marketing plans to attract consumers towards legal download sources and discourage e-book piracy. The consumer choice between legal and illegal e-book download platforms is analysed using the multi-attribute theory for consumer decision making. 23 attributes were tested using an online questionnaire and analysed by logistic regression. Three attributes were found to be significant in determining the choice of download platforms: A low perception of the importance of copyright compliance, dissatisfaction with the security of download platforms and dissatisfaction with e-book prices in online stores.

Keywords

E-books; illegal download; consumer behaviour; Multi-attribute Theory; Germany; UK

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References

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