An online poll has discovered that older ladies have been illegally downloading eBooks for devices such as the Amazon Kindle and Apple iPad.

The Digital Entertainment Survey, conducted by the law firm Wiggin, has found that one in eight women over the age of 35 (including octogenarians) have admitted to downloading a digital book illegally, while only one in 20 have downloaded a pirate music file.

Indeed, the advent of eBook readers has increase illegal downloading activity across the board: 29 per cent of eReader and 36 per cent of tablet owners of all ages, both male and female, admit piracy.

The poll was taken from 1,959 consumers, with a quarter of them also admitting that they will continue to illegally download digital books - a harsh blow to a publishing industry that is only just starting to find its feet in the sector.

It comes as Professor Ian Hargreaves has published his report on the copyright laws in the UK, and the use of digital media.