When it comes to e-readers, what do John Grisham, Janet Evanovich and James Patterson have in common? Yes, they are all top sellers...and, according to recent reports, they are the top three ripped-off authors when it comes to digital book theft.
J.K. Rowling, who has refused to release her Harry Potter series digitally, is also finding that "fans" are ripping her off by scanning her books and making pdf's to share with other "fans." Just like the music and film industries before them, publishers are quickly learning that they are losing control of their bread-and-butter authors.
Of course, publishers are now scrambling to safekeep their books but as long as they encourage e-reading, they will find that people will always opt for getting something for nothing instead of paying for it. And once people with digital book readers discover that the $9 they've been paying for a book will increase (a recent struggle between Kindle and MacMillan makes it inevitable), publishers can expect more electronic pilfering on the horizon.