Last updated: 19 march, 2010 - 18:31 GMT

The Book Pirates of Peru

Pirate book vendor in Lima in Peru. Photograph: Claudia Alva

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Bootleg DVD's and fake designer goods - they're available all over the world, despite the best efforts of the police and the genuine manufacturers - however in much of Latin America and the developing world, you can also add pirated books to that list.

The most prolific piracy is in Peru. According to one estimate, Peru's book pirates were employing more people than formal publishers and booksellers, and their combined economic impact was estimated to be 52 million US dollars - roughly equivalent to 100 per cent of the legal industry's total earnings.

However most writers in the country know that if the pirates copy their books they can reach a much larger audience than in the legitimate publishing industry. In fact, they are more concerned when the pirates ignore their work.

Peruvian born author Daniel Alarcon spoke to Outlook's Ritula Shah and told her more about the underground world of the book pirates.

Book flea market in Lima in Peru. Photograph: Claudia Alva

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