First tunes, now textbooks.
While Congress renewed a higher education act last week that aims to reduce textbook costs, downloading textbooks illegally is still on the rise.
Although there are multiple ways to download e-books, one of the most popular ways is to use torrent sites, like isoHunt or The Pirate Bay .
The free printing perks of Carlson School of Management may tempt finance sophomore Grant Severson to think about possibly downloading textbooks and printing off the pages at the school, he said.
“[Textbooks] are extremely expensive,” he said, but said that having a book or papers in front of him was more desirable than reading from a computer screen for hours.
Severson said he knows some students who have downloaded textbooks illegally from websites.
The Pirate Bay, the self-proclaimed largest torrent tracker in the world, has faced legal action from giants like Microsoft and Apple , but that hasn’t stopped it from allowing users to check out what textbooks are available to land on their desktops.
While the site doesn’t keep statistics on textbook downloads, it has seen an increase in e-books being tracked, Peter Sunde , spokesman and co-founder of The Pirate Bay , said.
“I would guess this is because more and more people seek knowledge and it’s a cheap and fast way to get to it,” he said.
The estimated cost of books and supplies for undergraduates at the University during the upcoming school year is $976 , according to the University’s estimated cost of attendance numbers.
Textbook publishers have threatened The Pirate Bay, but Sunde said it’d be hard to take his site to court.
In July, a torrent website called Textbook Torrent was taken down .
Although the website officials could not be reached for comment, the site had previously received threats from book publisher Pearson Education .
Another textbook company dealing with illegal downloads is McGraw Hill , whose spokeswoman Mary Skafidas said continually works with authors and other publishers to protect property rights.
Although the impact of textbook piracy is tough to quantify, it reduces revenue for companies and then raises textbook prices, William Sampson, manager of infringement and anti-piracy at Cengage Learning , a learning supplies company, said.
“As textbook piracy ultimately contributes to the rising cost of textbooks, we would urge students to consider legal alternatives,” he said.
Between 200 and 300 of his company’s textbooks are seen on file-sharing websites each month, Sampson said.