They stole what?

Pirated e-books offer unusual glimpse into a culture’s soul

According to BitTorrent’s tally of nefarious downloads, the literary pirates of the world are not interested in Dan Brown. The No. 1 illegal download of 2009 was the “Kama Sutra,” the ancient Indian manual for so many things sexual, which just managed to beat out number two: “Adobe Photoshop Secrets.” As commentators have noted, the two books may well have been downloaded by the same people for entirely related purposes. So too, perhaps was the number three finisher, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amazing Sex,” possibly stolen by those who found No. 1 too hard to follow. There’s no explaining number four, “The Lost Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci,” but the fifth-place finisher, “Solar House–A Guide for the Solar Designer,” may reflect a surge in pregnancies. More sex began the second half of the list, “Before Pornography–Erotic Writing In Early Modern England,” which edged out the entire sublimated-sex “Twilight” vampire trilogy at number seven. “How To Get Anyone To Say YES–The Science Of Influence” (number eight) and ninth-place finisher “Nude Photography–The Art And The Craft,” possibly reflect a desire to move on from sublimation. Rounding out the list, and possibly the average pirate’s real daily life, is “Fix It–How To Do All Those Little Repair Jobs Around The Home.”


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