From Napster to e-Books

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By: Alexandra Campuzano

There are a few things I like to splurge on.

Shoes, make up, shoes, jewelry, shoes, books—yes, books.

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I find that I am as giddy browsing a book store as I am trying on shoes.

Finding the right book (or shoe) is a combination of anticipation, trial and error, scrutiny, and, in the end, ultimate satisfaction.

You might imagine I am quite fussy when it comes to buying books.

That stems from knowing that I can get completely wrapped up and lost in a book.

As much as I love a good story I have a hard time grasping the concept of getting wrapped up and lost in a Nook or Kindle or any e-reader for that matter.

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While I may not like the idea of an e-reader I absolutely love the idea of having thousands and thousands of stories a couple of clicks away.

The e-reader is the literary equivalent of iPod.

If iTunes has not been able to help regulate illegal downloads, is something similar happening with e-books?

According to Dan Misener of, it is. Misener, though, takes it a step further.

He states that while e-book piracy is thriving it has some unusual effects on the industry.

It seems that clandestinely releasing an e-book before the actual launch date boosts sales of the e-book.

Not quite the same effect as illegal downloads has on music.

Speaking truthfully I am baffled by the reverse effect of e-book piracy.

Nevertheless I think it is quite interesting!

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We’ve always understood that downloading music without paying for it is illegal and can have negative repercussions.

Shawn Fanning, the creator of Napster, however, made it easy for us to upload, access and share music.

His ingenuity and technological savvy spurred the rise of other similar peer-to-peer networks which lead to more music, more sharing.

A pioneer in the illegal download sector, Fanning could not have imagined the footprints he would leave behind.

Stepping into those footprints are e-books.

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For better or worse, piracy (with it’s negative effects and connotations) could be seen as a compliment to e-books.

I’m not saying it’s fair to the authors or publishers but the idea that people want your book enough to risk legal infringement says something about the content. Sure, there are culprits who opt to upload and disperse anything they can get their hands on yet this doesn’t mean people will download everything available to them.

Consumers, paying or not, are selective in what they choose to attain. We know what we want and where to get it.

At the moment, there seems to be no fast or reliable method of tracking leaked e-books; leaving the door wide open for us to traipse the internet in search for a good read.

Whether you or I will pay (or not) and download them remains to be seen.

What has been etched in the wall of illegal downloads is the availability and access provided in finding our favorite books in an electronic format.

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Alexandra Campuzano
is an Account Manager at Univision Interactive Media and a freelance writer. Admittedly, she’s  a social/new media fan who enjoys seeing its evolution. In balance, she’s mildly infatuated with elephants and fashion; be it magazines, websites, blogs, or spotting new trends close to home. Writing and yoga twice keep her mind in a good place. Her background in PR and interactive media has helped her understand the impact social media, advertising and PR have on our society.  She is a proud Golden Panther (Go FIU!) who drinks too much coffee and can be followed on Twitter (@Ale_Phant).

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