Why would you pirate books? Well, I read this very well-reasoned explanation proposing piracy of a huge range of digital media as a fundamental need to review content, something providers aren't aknowledging in the theft/purchase dichotomy. I have been thinking about this a lot lately with Pinterest, and Tumbler, and other sites really grappling with re-use of intellectual property.
I wouldn't have said that was a problem with my students. That was, until we started circulating ereaders, and a student asked me to transfer some files she had loaded onto the library Nook she had checked out onto another a second Nook her friend had checked out. Files of a book that, rather notoriously, wasn't even an ebook yet.
That necessitated a conversation, and I was aware I sounded irrational as I tried to get around the legalities of the issue. For my student, it seemed irrational. Most of my students are omnitextual. They want content in multiple redundant format, sometimes for different purposes. They are really over the notion of owning an image, or even a concept of an image, and plain text doesn't seem like a commodity of any sort to them. And I think they would agree that sharing (as Smith points out) only leads to a wider audience and more sales.