Popular torrent site Textbook Torrents, which was the largest textbook torrent site on the Internet, has closed down for good.
The site was temporarily shut down in July 2008, but was relaunched a few weeks later — this shut down is permanent, according to the site’s founder. After silently launching in January 2007, the small site quickly blossomed into a site with more than 100,000 members and 80,000 titles. Since the site’s launch, there were reportedly more than 10 million downloads, according to Geekman, who created the site.
"We heard from several reputable sources that there was a lawsuit in the works against myself personally," Geekman said during an online chat on the web site.
Prior to the site’s removal, a welcome banner read: "There are very few scanned textbooks in circulation, and that’s what we’re here to change. Chances are you have some textbooks sitting around, so pick up a scanner and start scanning it!"
Even with a large number of reported downloads, the web site did not draw publishers’ attention until an article relating to textbook piracy was published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, which was eventually posted on Slashdot.
After seeing the article, publisher Pearson Education sent takedown notices to Dreamhost and xlHost, which led to the site being temporarily removed while Geekman found a new host. That worked until Geekman heard about possible legal issues, and decided to close the doors for good.
Torrents for music, movies and TV episodes spend a lot more time in the spotlight, but due to the high cost of textbooks, the demand for text book torrents has been rising.
Although Textbook Torrents is officially out of business, it’s very likely a similar torrent site will pop up in its place.