Would all those people have purchased your book if they hadn't illegally downloaded it? Highly unlikely so you have now got your work sampled by hundreds of thousands of people who may never have sampled your work otherwise. And if its any good then those people may have then purchased a legit version of that book or previous books (and will purchase future books) or recommend it to others who will buy it.
I've read the rest of your post but I still think this is utterly incomprehensible to me. It's yet another excuse by thieves to justify their actions.
You know why? Because publishing companies release previews and you can download the first couple of chapters of most novels online - more than enough information to know whether you like a writer or not. So all of this alone utterly destroys your theory.
And to utterly crush it. My sales did improve,but equally, the same people didn't bother to buy any of my books, but the requests for upcoming books increased alarmingly.
And I'm only a Z lister. I cannot fathom how A listers cope with their materials being pirated in the millions (especially popular games).
It really should be seen not as a lost sale but as a marketing cost because if its a good piece of work the direct and secondary income the illegal download will generate a decent amounts for a fairly low cost.
Again, total nonsense. That's what preview copies are for, which go out to thousands of reviewers. And again the said preview download - available to everyone.
... there are a lot of TV shows and movies sitting on my shelves that are only there due to being introduced to them via illegal download.
And I wonder how many shows you've NOT purchased but have watched anyway calling them 'not worthy of purchase'.
It's all rather alarming and has had a major effect on the industry in general.
I find it reprehensible that anyone would admit to illegally downloading, but it shows how this kind of theft has worked its way into popular culture.