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Why eBook DRM Has To Go

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the because-we-don't-want-a-bezosopoly dept.

DRM 299

Sci-Fi author Charlie Stross was recently put in the position of offering his thoughts to book publisher Macmillan on why eBook DRM is a terrible thing — not just for consumers, but for publishers, too. He makes a strong case that the removal of DRM, while not an immediate financial boon, will strongly benefit publishers in years to come through increased goodwill from users, greater leverage against Amazon's near-monopoly on distribution, and better platform interoperability. "Within 5 years we will be seeing a radically different electronic landscape. Unlocking the readers' book collections will force Amazon and B&N and their future competitors to support migration (if they want to compete for each others' customers). So hopefully it will promote the transition from the near-monopoly we had before the agency model, via the oligopoly we have today, to a truly competitive retail market that also supports midlist sales." Users have been railing against DRM for years, but it appears the publishers are finally starting to listen.

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"increased goodwill from users"? (1, Insightful)

pedantic bore (740196) | about 2 years ago | (#39793211)

You can't be serious.

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39793231)

You can't be serious.

No really he's right. If we can get rid of the DRM, there will be some really nice people who will loan out their book collection to a million or so of their close friends.

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (5, Informative)

Roman Grazhdan (2483616) | about 2 years ago | (#39793379)

I've bought a dozen of ebooks from O'Reilly and didn't upload any of them anywhere. They don't treat me as a potential thief and don't fuck up my reading experience and the prices are reasonable (especially when you compare them to apress or pragmatic). They are my friends. I want them to prosper and publish more DRM free books.

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (2, Insightful)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | about 2 years ago | (#39793403)

It takes just one person to upload

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (5, Insightful)

NeverSuchBefore (2613927) | about 2 years ago | (#39793443)

And then people have to download the book. If it has DRM, they'll just bypass it easily. Either way, your book will get downloaded by people who don't mind downloading it.

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39793645)

The solution is not releasing any more books, it's so clear now!

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (4, Funny)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | about 2 years ago | (#39793753)

Yeah, just like Lily Allen [nme.com] , who said she was giving up music for good because of all those filthy pirates.

Oh...I guess until her acting career didn't pan out, then it's back into the studio! [dailystar.co.uk] Guess those pirates weren't such a drag after all.

And, just because I love it so fucking much, Dan Bull's response to her 'quitting music' [youtube.com] .

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (1)

cjjjer (530715) | about 2 years ago | (#39793829)

Not all books just ebooks. Solved!

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (5, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 2 years ago | (#39793453)

Yes, and it only takes one person to crack the DRM, too.

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39793669)

Yes, but with stenography, it's possible to encode the name and address of the party that the file originated from.

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (4, Interesting)

value (2182292) | about 2 years ago | (#39793799)

Watermarks can be destroyed by averaging multiple watermarked copies into a single copy.

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (5, Insightful)

wrook (134116) | about 2 years ago | (#39793515)

To paraphrase Karl Lagerfeld, "People who buy knockoffs of my product are not my customers". In the same way, people who do not pay for ebooks are not customers of the publishers. I can understand the frustration people have when they see someone take their product without paying for it. But if they concentrate on the people who *will* pay for it, (i.e. their actual customers) they will be better off.

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (3, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 years ago | (#39793547)

There is a reason why the command to copy files is not: knockoff file copy_of_file

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (5, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | about 2 years ago | (#39793565)

Unfortunately, that's a reality that these guys are going to have to face. No amount of DRM or lawsuits or even infomercials [youtube.com] has stopped it from happening yet, and likely never will.

DRM only punishes legitimate customers, anyway. It makes the pirated version of a work, be it an eBook, video game, whatever, a better product than the legitimate one. A pirated eBook works on any device that can read the file format. No stupid account tied to a particular store tied to a particular piece of hardware tied to a credit card number required.

I mean, you know it's bad when people are starting to buy legit products and still download pirate copies so they don't have to deal with the bullshit. I actually know people that do that, particularly with PC games.

The war on piracy is just as effective as the war on drugs or the war on terrorism. Something like 70% of people here in the states think that there is nothing wrong with sharing media between family and friends, according to a poll I read during the SOPA debacle. The general public is not on their side in this fight.

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (1)

NeverSuchBefore (2613927) | about 2 years ago | (#39793671)

I actually know people that do that, particularly with PC games.

I seriously wish people would stop supporting companies that utilize DRM.

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (2)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#39793785)

If only that was possible. There are no parametric 3D CAD systems without DRM. There are no professional-grade EDA tools without DRM. For many devices, the only development environment has DRM and there are no third party alternatives.

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (4, Insightful)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#39793769)

I do the some with any EDA and development tools. They are all legitiate, but the first thing I do is get a crack for them so that I don't have to deal with the silliness. Who the heck wants to travel with a fistful of dongles in those times of checkpoint groping and think-of-the-children mentality.

PS. Now, moderate that, ha.

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (5, Insightful)

beanpoppa (1305757) | about 2 years ago | (#39793821)

EXACTLY! With four kids, I buy (or receive as gifts) a lot of kids DVD's. Disney, Dreamworks, etc. When we put a movie on in the car, I can't be juggling menus to skip past previews galore, and ultimately hit enter on a menu to get the movie to start. I regularly would use tools like DVDShrink to rip the movie to another disk so that it would play automatically when put in the player. Eventually, I got tired of the cat and mouse chase with copy protection, and began to download the torrents of the movies instead. Not to mention, ripping a movie would take close to an hour on my old computer, but I could download the torrent in 20 minutes! These were movies that I had on legitimate DVD's in my hand, but the pirates were still providing a product that was more convenient.

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (2)

Roman Grazhdan (2483616) | about 2 years ago | (#39793683)

I know very well where to download them (and some of them, like 'Practical Postgres' are available for free anyway), but I still buy them, because I love O'Reilly Media. I also keep telling everyone how awesome they are and that one shouldn't be afraid of the prices: they are twice lower than they show.

It takes one person to upload, but everyone decides if he should buy a book himself.

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39793393)

You can't be serious.

No really he's right. If we can get rid of the DRM, there will be some really nice people who will loan out their book collection to a million or so of their close friends.

People are fundamentally honest. If this were not the case then tell me why Itunes sells drm free mp3 ?
Its just as easy to record a music stream from some internet radio or download from your favorite warez sites. Yes you will find bad apples here and there but in the grand scheme of things people pay for things they want to OWN.
I am very glad that the publishing industry is going in the near term drm free. As an avid reader I've refrained from even buying an e-reader since I don't want deal with vendor lock-in. Yes yes I know its easy to strip DRM but thats not the issue. DRM free books means everyone can sell these, not only Amazon. Diversity in the supply chain is good for everyone. Good for the publishers that are not beholden to one buyer, and good for consumers that can choose the store/s from which to buy ebooks. Ebooks are important, the ipad and other tablets are just a means to an end. For a reader, for me what is important is the ebook. Knowing that in 10, 20 years time I will be able to go back a read these books without any problem even if platforms change, and e-stores go out of business. Just like a real physical book.
Now if we only could get the MPAA to understand this basic reality. Oh well we can't win everytime I suppose. 2 out of 3 is still good though.

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39793773)

People aren't inately honest they're inately lazy.

iTunes sells drm free music sucessfully because:
1. It's a low margin item to drive sales of their hardware (they really don't care if you pirate music, as long as you play it on an iPod and manage your library with a Mac)
2. They have the name recognition to get people to look there first
3. They provide an easy to use ecosystem (device, content, store).

Amazon has the easy to use ecosystem, but they're trying to use their hardware as a loss leader for their content. Which means that their DRM has to be hard enough to break that people would rather pay for the ebook than go through the trouble of breaking it. Otherwise people will by the cheap ereader and get books elsewhere and that means Amazon will stop selling kindles.

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39793413)

You can't be serious.

No really he's right. If we can get rid of the DRM, there will be some really nice people who will loan out their book collection to a million or so of their close friends.

And when has DRM made sharing impossible? It is just annoying.

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (4, Insightful)

s13g3 (110658) | about 2 years ago | (#39793517)

Correct. I would never pay EA or the like a single dime more for a game than I have to, and I usually give them what they ask for only grudgingly. OTOH, I have "overpaid" anywhere from 50% - 100% for every one of the 5 Humble Bundles I have purchased, not only willingly, but happily. A little goodwill earned by treating the customer not just well, but better than you have to, will go a long way in not only earning repeat business, but in the customer overlooking when you occasionally get things wrong, or being willing to patronize your business even when they may not need to.

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39793735)

...really nice people who will loan out their book collection to a million or so...

They even have a website: http://www.ala.org/ [ala.org]

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#39793367)

You could also phrase it as "decreased bad will from users", because when I see DRM applied to something it can't possibly protect (e.g. ANYTHING) I get mad and I want the perpetrator to go out of business and I don't want to give them money.

Sure Why Not? (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#39793383)

You can't be serious.

Well, to be fair he doesn't say how much it increases.

Let's look at examples where this has already worked for me: Bandcamp. From the start they offered music with no DRM at various qualities of lossy and lossless downloads. As a result, for a while I was trying to make it a point to only purchase my music through bandcamp or directly from the little guys. Because the option was there with a large enough volume I could actually do this.

Oddly enough I can stream all the music on Bandcamp when I'm connected to the internet through my computer and phone and I constantly send out links to friends via e-mail and social media sites (free advertising, more goodwill). So you might ask why I would ever pay anything for the music on Bandcamp but I do because sometimes the music is so good that I want something physical as well or I just want this unknown band from Sweden to have enough gas to make it to their next gig.

Am I a typical consumer? Probably not but Bandcamp posts their numbers so I know other people are using it:

To date, artists have made $16,858,713 using Bandcamp, and $1,188,800 in the past 30 days alone.
Albums outsell tracks 5 to 1 (in the rest of the music buying world, tracks outsell albums 16 to 1).
On name-your-price albums, fans pay an average of 50% more than the minimum.
We've driven 2,570,177 paid transactions and served 30,232,263 downloads to happy fans.

Now, does this goodwill offset someone sharing all of Bandcamp's MP3s? Apparently you don't think the goodwill is worth anything compared to that piracy. Maybe you're right but I would be thrilled if there was a Bandcamp site for ebooks where I could read most if not all of the book before purchasing it. Apparently Stross agrees that something less encumbering than the current model will be a better situation than what they have. Unfortunately, there's no sure way to measure this or to speculate if it will work for small time authors but not for big authors nor can you tell if it will be similar to the music anecdote I listed.

So, he actually is serious, it's just the magnitude and trade offs that are unknown and scare publishing executives.

Re:Sure Why Not? (4, Informative)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 years ago | (#39793627)

You mean like this one http://www.baen.com/library/ [baen.com] ?

Not Quite There Yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39793989)

You mean like this one http://www.baen.com/library/ [baen.com] ?

That seems to be some sort of mix. First book that caught my attention I can't even buy let alone read online [baenebooks.com] ... The possible free books appear to be a very small subset [baenebooks.com] and the books that are listed as "Baen Books" are closer to what I'm talking about [baenebooks.com] but the selection is small and the topic is very narrow (sci-fi fantasy?).

Thanks for demonstrating goodwill in this exact situation to counter the OP's "seriously?" comment.

There's only ever been a few cases I've found out of hundreds where music has been discontinued on Bandcamp and the one instance I know of is a French band Malajube ... even bands like fun. [bandcamp.com] that "graduate" to big labels keep their first releases up on Bandcamp.

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (4, Insightful)

LandoCalrizzian (887264) | about 2 years ago | (#39793527)

I just got on the e-reader bandwagon last Christmas and I can say that I have only purchased one book because I don't want to be locked in to B&N (yes I know it's hackable) if they can't withstand the Amazon/Tablet onslaught. I have 2 bookshelves full of books and choose to checkout library e-books instead of purchasing them. I'd gladly pay for an e-book if a) it is cheaper than the hard copy AND b) I could read it on any device at anytime without an internet connection long after [insert controlling entity] is gone. DRM is and always will be a short term gain because in the long run it will cost you more to maintain it.

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39793605)

Agreed. I can't understand why this clueless guy got placement on slashdot... Oh that's right, its a pro-piracy story, which is a sure fire method to get attention from the terribly misguided and ignorant which flock to slashdot for their daily ego stroke. Yes, its yet another affirmation their knowingly illogical and irrational political-economic view has been justified one more time. See, because some idiot agrees with them, therefore their ego can survive another day within the confines of the me-too crowds.

Slashdot is dead.

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (5, Insightful)

NeverSuchBefore (2613927) | about 2 years ago | (#39793703)

Oh that's right, its a pro-piracy story

Being anti-DRM and being pro-piracy are not equivalent things.

Re:"increased goodwill from users"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39793803)

I bet if you are Wiley & Sons [torrentfreak.com] they would love more people to sue for goodwill settlement bribes.

No One Hates DRM More Than Me ... (4, Informative)

smpoole7 (1467717) | about 2 years ago | (#39793239)

But it's interesting to see what some of the authors have to say about it. Here's a comment from Jim Butcher (Dresden Files, Codex Alera):

I literally receive notices every single day about available free downloads of books I put months if not years of work into, and that's from a simple Google alerts search. Over a three month period, I tracked over 22,000 total pirate downloads of my work, using the stats available from the various file-sharing sites which include a counter stating the number of times the files had been downloaded. Actual sales of e-copies during that same period? Just over 2,500. That's sales information taken from the sales reports I get from the publisher.

http://www.jimbutcheronline.com/bb/index.php/topic,26233.msg1117676.html#msg1117676 [jimbutcheronline.com]

He also has some interesting comments about the publishers and how they're being dragged into eBooks kicking and screaming. :)

Re:No One Hates DRM More Than Me ... (4, Insightful)

NeverSuchBefore (2613927) | about 2 years ago | (#39793267)

In this case, the real questions would be:

1) Would DRM stop people from doing this? Highly unlikely.
2) Is stopping the pirate bogeyman worth punishing everyone, including paying customers, over?

Re:No One Hates DRM More Than Me ... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39793311)

e-books will not seriously take off until they are suitably cheap. Once they're like iOS "games", selling for $1-2, people will start to buy them when selling portals are integrated into the various ereaders.

That won't happen for a very long time, book publishers are terrified of losing control of the entire distribution and "scarcity" control.

Re:No One Hates DRM More Than Me ... (4, Interesting)

crafty.munchkin (1220528) | about 2 years ago | (#39793431)

Charles Stross also has an explanation of why reducing ebook costs to that level is impractical... it's a part of his series of essays regarding common misconceptions about the publishing industry [antipope.org] . Very much worth a read.

It won't happen soon because of Amazon (3, Interesting)

FreeUser (11483) | about 2 years ago | (#39793543)

e-books will not seriously take off until they are suitably cheap. Once they're like iOS "games", selling for $1-2, people will start to buy them when selling portals are integrated into the various ereaders.

That won't happen for a very long time, book publishers are terrified of losing control of the entire distribution and "scarcity" control.

That won't happen soon because of Amazon's pricing model. If you price a book for under $2.99, you only get 30% royalties (as opposed to 70% for $2.99 and greater if you organize your account right). If it were 70% all the way down, more authoris might be willing to price lower, but who wants to write a book just to give Amazon 70%?

You might as well go with the old guard publishers in that case (well, not really, they pay even less, but still, at leat they'll give you an advance, and some distribution muscle.)

Re:It won't happen soon because of Amazon (1)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | about 2 years ago | (#39793643)

Quite a few people? Most books I've bought from Amazon to use on my tablet are $2.99 or below and they are some of the most popular titles available in their genres through Amazon.

Re:No One Hates DRM More Than Me ... (2)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 2 years ago | (#39793587)

e-books will not seriously take off until they are suitably cheap. Once they're like iOS "games", selling for $1-2, people will start to buy them when selling portals are integrated into the various ereaders.

That won't happen for a very long time, book publishers are terrified of losing control of the entire distribution and "scarcity" control.

Until about a year ago I would have agreed with you but I think you underestimate the convenience of the technology. Recently, however, I decided to move house and found that moving my sizable library of over a hundred books and a stack of journals is a tiresome undertaking. Additionally over the last year or so some of my books and the majority the journals have been made available in electronic format (Mostly PDF) by the academic societies who publish them which means I can reduce the size of my library by about 50% which translates into many, many kilograms of paper and store much of my library on an iPad or a Galaxy Tab. That does not mean I'm going to trash my bound paper books but having some of them and most of the journals on a tablet is a huge advantage. As many of my future acquisitions as possible will also be in electronic format. The only downside is paying twice for stuff I already own in print but at GBP 3-5 per volue for back issues It won't bleed me dry. Plus most of the societies that publish this stuff are non profits, they did incur costs digitizing back issues going back to the 1960s, and the money isn't exactly likely to flow into the pockets of somebody like Rupert Murdoch (if ever there was a motive to pirate print media it's to keep your money out of that bastards pockets).

Re:No One Hates DRM More Than Me ... (2)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | about 2 years ago | (#39793889)

Actually, instead of following the link that crafty.munchkin has given you, I'll cite you a relevant section from his eBook section on common misconceptions about publishing:

1. A manuscript is not the same thing as a book. Just as a random sampling of 100,000 words is not a novel, so too does a finished book differ from a manuscript (the text an author writes, which forms the core of the book). In particular, about 80-90% of the cover price of a book has nothing to do with the paper and ink object you buy in a shop; indeed, using current production standards, ebook production requires nearly as much work as paper book production. (Paper and ink are dirt cheap; proofreaders and marketing teams aren't.)

I don't know why people believe that the hard work isn't in the WRITING of the book. If any hack could write Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings, it would have been done dozens of times. Instead, we get these remarkable stand-out series; they have value because of the STORY not because of the PAPER. If you printed LotR on a dot matrix printer, it would still be a remarkable story. Print The DaVinci Code on platinum tablets in 24k gold ink and it's still an unreadable lump of dross.

$1-$2 books is a sure way to make sure you read nothing but tripe for the rest of your life.

Re:No One Hates DRM More Than Me ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39793467)

2) Is stopping the pirate bogeyman worth punishing everyone, including paying customers, over?

Correction:
Is stopping the pirate bogeyman worth punishing only the paying customers?

That's the problem with DRM. It doesn't punish those who download illegal torrents, it punishes those who obtain legal copies. I think everyone would see that jailing those wh did not commit murder in order to prevent them from murdering is not a good strategy to fight murder. However with DRM, somehow people don't see that.

Make it less painful to obtain and use legal copies than to obtain and use illegal copies, and you'll see most people use legal copies (well, unless you seriously overprice them).

I've got a DVD player and bought DVDs, but I'll probably never buy a BluRay player or BluRay disks. Why? Because with a DVD player, I can be sure that the DVD will play, and will not stop playing at some time in the future because someone revoked some key because some third party I don't even know about made an unauthorized copy (or maybe for some other reason, after all, how could I check that it really is due to piracy, and not because some government decided to censor that disk and eliminate all uncensored versions that way, or the company got greedy and just wants everyone to buy that disk again?).

Re:No One Hates DRM More Than Me ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39793967)

However with DRM, somehow people don't see that.

Make it less painful to obtain and use legal copies than to obtain and use illegal copies, and you'll see most people use legal copies (well, unless you seriously overprice them).

I hear this argument a lot. But what exactly is so "painful" about say Amazon.com's DRM?

They provide unlimited downloads from their servers to any device on your account, and a reader application for every major platform. The only limitation is that you need an account to manage the downloads, and you can't read the books on a platform that can't run their app (so not a PC, Mac, iDevice, Android Device, or processing a decent web browser.) I really can't see what's so "painful" about that. Unless you want to put a copy of a book you bought on a device that isn't yours. At which point you're a pirate and the inconvenience is working as intended.

re: Butcher's pricing (3, Interesting)

BitterAndDrunk (799378) | about 2 years ago | (#39793305)

Butcher prices his Dresden files books at over $10 a pop. I read the first four or five but the pricing is too stupid and the quality's simply not that good. Not for significantly greater than pulp paperback.

If he priced his stuff at $6 a pop I would have read the catalog. But $12? Now you're taking advantage.

Re: Butcher's pricing (4, Interesting)

smpoole7 (1467717) | about 2 years ago | (#39793463)

> Butcher prices his Dresden files books at over $10 a pop

I don't know if it's at the link that I posted, or somewhere else in his forums (search through the "WOJ" -- "Words of Jim" -- I believe it's in his Amazon comments) ... but Butcher actually has an emphatic reply when someone says that to him. HE doesn't set the prices, the publisher does, and he rails at Amazon's pricing on EBooks all the time. :)

By the way, I should also point out a different view, namely from Eric Flint (www.ericflint.net), who successfully lobbied for the Baen Free Library. Flint is a leader AGAINST DRM and insists that free distribution actually *increases* sales.

Also, to be fair to Butcher, if you read all of his comments, he's not particularly enamored of DRM. He was just commenting on how the *publishers* view it.

Re:No One Hates DRM More Than Me ... (2)

allcar (1111567) | about 2 years ago | (#39793327)

I am more likely to download an illegal copy, as it will be DRM free. Why should I pay to get the product in a less convenient form. They are not even allowing themselves to play on a level field with the pirates, as they have an inferior product.

Re:No One Hates DRM More Than Me ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39793365)

Two things:

1. If DRM is removed, and real competition hits the ebook market, then the price will go down and people will be more willing to buy copies. The major forces driving people to pirate work are price and a stick-it-to-the-man attitude because of DRM. Make the work cheaper, and easy to buy and use, and at least half of the 22,000 pirate downloads will become actual sales. I guarantee it. Ask the music industry.

2. Maybe people aren't paying for his work because it... sucks? (I don't know, haven't read his work)

Re:No One Hates DRM More Than Me ... (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 2 years ago | (#39793929)

well i think a lot of folks just don't "get" the whole Wizard/Private Eye thing so they don't get to the point of Harry

1 having annoyed 3 of the Fae Royalty (winter/summer/Wylde)
2 made enemies of a sect of actual DEMON possesed folks
3 made friends of The Fist Of God (and one of the major angels)
4 actually tried to bill GOD HIMSELF
5 frightened a Maffia Don
6 Stopped Armageddon
7 Nuked a whole "race" of Vampires

and a other things

Re:No One Hates DRM More Than Me ... (4, Interesting)

Korvin20111803 (2019784) | about 2 years ago | (#39793391)

In contrary, Paulo Coelho says in his blog: "... the physical sales of my books are growing since my readers post them in P2P sites. Welcome to download my books for free and, if you enjoy them, buy a hard copy..." http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2012/01/28/promo-bay/ [paulocoelhoblog.com]

No imagination! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39793405)

See, what you need to do, is go on the lecture circuit, offer support services, and write a book on what you did and sell thatFree and open is the way. There are plenty of examples of folks who made it big this way.

You're just stuck in an old outdated business model and you just want to legislate to keep you business going the way it was in the past.

Re:No One Hates DRM More Than Me ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39793435)

Charlie Stross experimented with this too. One of his blog entries discusses of the pirate community is a "gift-based" community, meaning, the better the gift the the community, the higher your reputation. DRM-free books have no gift value, so he actually found that his free or DRM-free books were less likely to be on pirate sites, compared to DRM "protected" books.

Re:No One Hates DRM More Than Me ... (4, Interesting)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | about 2 years ago | (#39793457)

As an indie author I can sympathise with his annoyance at people pirating his work. However he is making the classic mistake of assuming that if those people couldn't get his work for free, they would have gone to Amazon and paid for it.

As my sig suggests I decided to upload all my own books to ISOHunt, Demonoid, Pirate Bay and Retroshare. I even posted about it in their forums, on 4Chan and include links to the torrents on my blog.

The torrent page and the forum posts all contained an image of the front cover of my latest book. I got some nice feedback and potentially reached a large audience that normally wouldn't even know who I was.

Re:No One Hates DRM More Than Me ... (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | about 2 years ago | (#39793503)

I buy books and music online (sometimes in electronic formats, sometimes physical media.) Then I get it from TBP instead of downloading it where I bought it or ripping CDs. It is faster and easier for me, I do not have to deal with Digital Restrictions Management, and the vendor saves money on bandwidth. Everybody wins, except that the pirate download count is artificially high.

Re:No One Hates DRM More Than Me ... (2)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 years ago | (#39793545)

Some of those downloaded copies will be mine. Of course, I've also bought physical copies of all his books in as they've come out, and most of the audiobooks over Audible, so he's still getting plenty of dollars from my pocket. I wonder how many else have done likewise, and how many have given him money after initial exposure via piratical means. The first I found of Dresden files was downloading a pirate audio version of Storm Front. I've spent at least $300 on them since.

Re:No One Hates DRM More Than Me ... (4, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 years ago | (#39793597)

So Butcher is saying that there are 22,000+ people who would either have never read his book, or would have checked it out at the library instead of buying it, who are now - if it was any good - likely to mention it to someone else who may well then go out and but it ? The poor bastard!

Re:No One Hates DRM More Than Me ... (2)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 2 years ago | (#39793873)

But it's interesting to see what some of the authors have to say about it. Here's a comment from Jim Butcher (Dresden Files, Codex Alera):

I literally receive notices every single day about available free downloads of books I put months if not years of work into, and that's from a simple Google alerts search. Over a three month period, I tracked over 22,000 total pirate downloads of my work, using the stats available from the various file-sharing sites which include a counter stating the number of times the files had been downloaded. Actual sales of e-copies during that same period? Just over 2,500. That's sales information taken from the sales reports I get from the publisher.

http://www.jimbutcheronline.com/bb/index.php/topic,26233.msg1117676.html#msg1117676 [jimbutcheronline.com]

There's not enough information there. Butcher's latest work is selling in ebook form for somewhere around $15 or so - essentially the same as the hardbound book.

There are very few books that I have to have so desperately that I'll buy them hardbound. True, part of that is that I don't have so much storage space that I want to spare the room for bigger books than paperbacks, but partly because even my favorite authors are in the final analysis luxuries. So how about breaking down these figures by title and see if rampant piracy is all-encompassing or if it's mostly on the overpriced stuff.

Recently yet another study confirmed that people actually do want to pay for other people's work and given the option of free/pay generally will send money. But they also want to feel that they're getting a good value for their money.

There will always be deadbeats and shoplifters. The important thing is not to obsess about them, but to concentrate on the value customers and make them feel like buying more. The ultimately secure store is one so miserable that no one wants to walk into it.

Re:No One Hates DRM More Than Me ... (2)

kqc7011 (525426) | about 2 years ago | (#39794013)

Is he trusting the sales figures from the publisher?

It could just be me... (5, Interesting)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 2 years ago | (#39793241)

...Project Gutenberg has had more money from me (a few hundred Pounds in donations by now, easily, plus time spent volunteering as a proofreader and space and bandwidth given over for distribution which has got to be worth something) than Amazon, B&N or any other major online publisher/distributor ever has. Why? Because their ebooks aren't locked down to fuckery.

Call me cynical, or a pirate, or whatever you want to call me, but I'm not about to buy something I can't use. IF DRM PREVENTS ME FROM TRANSFERRING FILES FROM AN OLD DEVICE TO A NEW ONE WITH NO FURTHER OUTLAY REQUIREMENT THEN I AM NOT INTERESTED.

Re:It could just be me... (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#39793283)

As much as I think ebook DRM is bad, this isn't a problem with the kindle "ecosystem." I broke my gen 2 kindle earlier this year and had no problem at all putting my old purchases on my new Kindle touch. Not to mention I could still read it on my phone, in the cloud reader, on various other desktop readers, etc.

However, I don't see why I shouldn't be able to put the same content on another type of reader completely outside of the kindle system, but that would probably be considered another argument.

Re:It could just be me... (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#39793345)

Will you be able to take the books with you on your next non-kindle reader?

Re:It could just be me... (2)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | about 2 years ago | (#39793441)

If it's android, then yes. Probably iOS too. Or a PC, yes, absolutely. The only real question is what happens when amazon folds.

Or there's a new platform / OS. (1)

earls (1367951) | about 2 years ago | (#39794009)

You assume that Amazon is committed to developing a version of their "reader" that is compatible with future devices, operating systems, etc.

I'm not suggesting there is any problem nor definitely will be any problem, only that the potential most definitely does exist.

Re:It could just be me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39793351)

DRM strippers for ebooks have been around for years, it's a one click problem. If you don't know how to do it, you're on the wrong site.

People that read books are in the minority, it takes time to get through them. Most would rather play games, watch mindless TV shows and reruns, etc. The market is small. Even with so-called pirated books, most people will still not be reading them.

I still enjoy reading, but I'm in the minority. Almost everyone around me prefers altenative entertainment media.

Re:It could just be me... (3, Interesting)

crafty.munchkin (1220528) | about 2 years ago | (#39793479)

I spend around 10hrs a week on public transport going to and from work - it's the price I pay for living in a forest outside of the city - which consequently allows me around 10hrs a week of reading time. I could be playing games on my phone, or my tablet - but most of the time, I'm reading.

On the rare occasions I look up from my book, it seems I'm not alone. At least a half of the passengers on the train are reading something.

Re:It could just be me... (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 years ago | (#39793723)

That is impossible. You mean to say that the publieck skool system actually works and half the people on the train can read!?

Re:It could just be me... (1)

crafty.munchkin (1220528) | about 2 years ago | (#39793831)

Literacy in Australia (where I am) is actually quite high... so I'd say yes (with the caveat that we have a lot of private schools here too!).

Re:It could just be me... (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 years ago | (#39793401)

On the other hand I can see how getting rid of DRM could really create better competition. I bought the first two books from The Hunger Games from Chapters/Indigo for my Kobo. When it came time to get the third book, the price had jumped from about $6 to somewhere around $12. I noticed that Amazon still had the book listed for $6. So I bought the Kindle version, cracked the DRM and moved it to my Kobo (This is legal in Canada as far as I know). I have no problem paying for books, and supporting authors, but there's not reason one retailer should be charging twice as much as another retailer for the exact same book. Most people have no idea how to do this, so when they see an unfair price from one retailer, they can either pay the extra money, or just download a pirated copy (which is more simple than breaking the DRM on a rightfully obtained copy). DRM (in it's current form) is unfair because it locks the user into a specific hardware vendor and a specific book store. If you don't like the price the book store is offering, you don't have the option of shopping around for a better price. This is bad for the consumer, and bad for the retailer. People will be hesitant to jump on the e-book bandwagon because they are unsure if they want to be locked into a particular store. And retailers can't really compete on the price of books, because after you've bought the reader, you don't have much of a choice of where to buy books from.

Re:It could just be me... (1)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | about 2 years ago | (#39793451)

If your alt-reader runs android, then amazon provides a kindle reader app which is almost more convenient than the kindle itself (minus e-ink); so if your alt-reader can sideload or official load the amazon store or amazon kindle reader app, you're good. Yes, you can read on an alt-reader.

Re:It could just be me... (2)

RDW (41497) | about 2 years ago | (#39793663)

However, I don't see why I shouldn't be able to put the same content on another type of reader completely outside of the kindle system, but that would probably be considered another argument.

Well, this is one reason (maybe the main reason) why ebook DRM still exists - not to benefit the authors or publishers, but to lock buyers into the Kindle system (or equivalent). The locks are easy to pick, of course, and with even mainstream sites like Wired linking to DRM stripping guides, you have to wonder how long this will be sustainable:

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/01/how-to-strip-drm-from-kindle-e-books-and-others/ [wired.com]

This makes removal so easy and seamless, you almost (as with DVD DRM) forget it exists. Now that Amazon has such a strong market position, perhaps they'll decide this minimal 'protection' has served its purpose and get rid of it, just as Apple did with audio DRM when iTunes had blown away the competition.

Introducing html markup! (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 years ago | (#39793623)

"IF DRM PREVENTS ME FROM TRANSFERRING FILES FROM AN OLD DEVICE TO A NEW ONE WITH NO FURTHER OUTLAY REQUIREMENT THEN I AM NOT INTERESTED."

If DRM prevents me from transferring files from and old device to a new one without further outlay requirement then I am not interested!

See the difference?

Bean has done drm free for years (3, Informative)

bitflusher (853768) | about 2 years ago | (#39793247)

At Bean (http://www.baen.com/) the books are drm free and in all sorts of formats. When I buy a book I make shure it will be readable in the future on any new device I own no even when the store drm server crashes or the publisher goes belly side up. The books I buy at Bean don't have to be cracked in order to do this. One little confession: only 2 books and 1 monthly bundle were bought at Bean by me (I still buy books because for reading pleasure, not DRM free-ness).

Re:Bean has done drm free for years (2)

Drantin (569921) | about 2 years ago | (#39793343)

You got the URL right, but you spelled the name as "Bean" twice. o.O

Re:Bean has done drm free for years (1)

crafty.munchkin (1220528) | about 2 years ago | (#39793501)

www.damnyouautocorrect.com ? :)

Pottermore... (5, Informative)

nweaver (113078) | about 2 years ago | (#39793249)

I think one factor which has really changed publisher's views in the past few weeks on this issue is the success [guardian.co.uk] that J.K. Rowling has had selling Harry Potter online. She deliberately waited a long time before allowing eBook versions, as much to get things settled out, but the result is very clean: even Amazon just directs to the Potter site [guardian.co.uk] , which then links back to all the DRM'ed eReaders as well as providing direct downloads in ePub.

So she's getting most of the money (well, her and her publisher), not Amazon, she dictates the price, and is no longer affected by the Amazon Monopsony [wikipedia.org] that Amazon has gained by being the most common (but not universal) ebook platform. While a buyer no longer has to worry about DRM lockin: the books they buy will read anywhere, painlessly.

Re:Pottermore... (1)

wrook (134116) | about 2 years ago | (#39793571)

The prices on Pottormore are even quite reasonable. I would easily pay double for the Japanese version of the e-book, but alas it doesn't seem to be for sale. E-books let me look up words in the dictionary very quickly so they are much more convenient than paper for studying. I hope they figure it out. As strange as it sounds, they probably don't own the copyright for the Japanese version... sigh.

Re:Pottermore... (4, Interesting)

netsavior (627338) | about 2 years ago | (#39793593)

I wanted to clarify (as an author who works with amazon) Amazon does not require DRM.
Want to publish your book DRM free with amazon? That is a CHECKBOX on their interface.

All of my novels are published DRM free in the kindle store. I insisted on it because DRM is annoying to ME as a paying customer, because I like to decide which readers I read my books on personally, and I would like to afford my customers and fans (even the ones that pirate) the same courtesy.

The first time a fan comes up to you sheepishly and says "I saw your book on TPB and started reading it, and well... can you sign this hardback for me, I bought all your other books too." You really get it.

I push (and sometimes pay personally) to have my books in libraries, I made sure they are available for free in the kindle lending library, I make sure they are DRM free, I have to respect my customers, or they will never respect me.

I have no real problem with DRM on my ebooks (2)

Shivetya (243324) | about 2 years ago | (#39793261)

The only guarantee I want is that regardless of the DRM method used that the original provider of the material does not have to exist for me to continue to access the books I purchased. This would most likely require some form of public repository for the encryption keys.

Real books have their own DRM which is simply, whomever has it has access to it. Digital copies are simply to easy to give away. How can that one property physical copies have be replicated in the digital world without inconveniencing the end user and opening the publisher to loss by copying? Water marking doesn't seem practical, let alone enforceable.

I do wish that DRM protected works were a lot cheaper.

Re:I have no real problem with DRM on my ebooks (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#39793475)

What you ask for is the exact opposite DRM intends to accomplish. Just Say No.

Re:I have no real problem with DRM on my ebooks (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | about 2 years ago | (#39793611)

How is Watermarking not practical?

Someone buys the book, the server builds the book on the fly with the user ID placed at the appropriate places in the book and provides a link for the download which applies to that specific user.

Re:I have no real problem with DRM on my ebooks (1)

webdog314 (960286) | about 2 years ago | (#39793921)

I think what they mean is that it doesn't really change anything. You still can't give your book to a friend, or even lend it out without risking that somewhere along the line it could be pirated and leave you at the sharp end of the law. We *hope* our friends are trustworthy enough, but shit happens. Someone steals your laptop, or a college buddy uses your computer and uploads the book to TPB with your name on it, whatever. Watermarking is dangerous because it makes *you* liable for protecting the copyright of a purchase. If someone steals a physical book from me, then I'm just out a book. If someone steals a watermarked ebook and then distributes it, I could be liable. The problem is that I *shouldn't* be. Theoretically, you can't *prove* that it was me who infringed, even though my name is on the book.

This is a serious shift in copyright. It takes the onus of protection off of copyright holders, and puts it on the reader/user. That seems like a really bad idea from the consumer's point of view.

Knowledge in the World vs. Knowledge in the Head (4, Interesting)

michaelmalak (91262) | about 2 years ago | (#39793269)

In the 90's, the distinction was popularly called Knowledge in the World vs. Knowledge in the Head [aacinstitute.org] . As our communication and recording systems improve, we externalize more of our knowledge. First we recorded knowledge in books rather than memorize poetry. Now we rely on Google instead of memorizing facts.

Every book we read, therefore, constitutes a portion of our externalized knowledge. Some of what we read might get memorized, but most of it gets absorbed as an awareness where we know we can look it up again in the future (moves knowledge from DK-DK to K-DK [wordpress.com] ). By agreeing to DRM, eBook users place control of part of their knowledge -- part of their mind, if you will -- in the hands of corporations. The corporations are practicing mind control with DRM.

DRM has to go because of competition not good will (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39793291)

I am from Asia-Pacific region. The books over there are dirty cheap. The same book sold in US for $100 could be listed ~$6. Even with $6, many simply download "free" bootleg version.

IMHO, cheaper books means lower barriers in obtaining knowledge. Lower such barriers will benefit a country to improve their competitive edge.

Given that US is not dominating the technology frontier any more, it is inevitable to systematically lower down the barrier to knowledge at least from society and government level.

B&N will be gone in 5 years (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#39793333)

between amazon and apple there will be no more B&N soon

even though i have 2 iphones and an ipad i still buy all my books in kindle format. it's the closest standard there is that works across a lot of different hardware from different manufacturers

Re:B&N will be gone in 5 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39793447)

I think ePub (with or without Adobe drm) is working way wider range of devices than Kindle mobi.

Re:B&N will be gone in 5 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39793477)

even though i have 2 iphones and an ipad i still buy all my books in kindle format. it's the closest standard there is that works across a lot of different hardware from different manufacturers

Provided that the hardware was sold to you by Amazon, or it's NOT a dedicated ebook reader. Kindle format works on Kindle, mobile phones, computers, etc.
If you want to buy a eBook reader with an E Ink screen you can open Kindle format on the Kindle and ePub on everything else (Nook, Sony, Kobo, Onyx, PocketBook, EZ, ectaco)

Is this about DRM or standardization? (4, Interesting)

wasabiboy (537118) | about 2 years ago | (#39793357)

I sense a mix-up between DRM and open/standardization of format. DRM alone doesn't create the kinds of problems outlined in this post. Perhaps we should be more uncomfortable about the lack of inter-operability or portability between purchased eBooks and apps that can display them. I think that DRM would be fine if it was implemented in an open/universal system.

Re:Is this about DRM or standardization? (1)

Loosifur (954968) | about 2 years ago | (#39793513)

I couldn't agree with you more, and if I had mod points I'd mod you up. As someone else pointed out, all DRM is meant to do is to preserve the same security that physical limitations provided before digital editions, i.e. you can only read a book if you're physically holding it, which limits you to one copy. As a writer, I want to get paid for the work I put into writing something, and DRM is one way of ensuring that no one is reading something of mine without my permission. BUT, I also want people to want to buy my stuff, and they're more likely to do that if the ebook version has the same utility as a physical book, meaning portability. Ergo, standardization solves a lot of the piracy issue by increasing the perceived value of each ebook and reducing the burden that DRM places on the consumer.

Re:Is this about DRM or standardization? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39793637)

As someone else pointed out, all DRM is meant to do is to preserve the same security that physical limitations provided before digital editions, i.e. you can only read a book if you're physically holding it, which limits you to one copy.

It's a completely arbitrary restriction since they're not physical items. Not only that, but their DRM often only harms paying customers, because it sure as hell won't harm the pirates who can just crack it.

As a writer, I want to get paid for the work I put into writing something, and DRM is one way of ensuring that no one is reading something of mine without my permission.

As a non-pirate, I do not want to be punished for the actions of others (pirates). Take your collective punishment schemes elsewhere. I pay for things because I want to support people who make those things, but when you treat me as a criminal, I'm going to ignore your product entirely and tell everyone else to do the same. I feel for you, but the ends do not justify the means even if DRM worked.

You're seriously wasting your time by using DRM. The pirates will crack it, and the paying customers will suffer.

Amazon monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39793489)

The only reason that Amazon might have an eBook monopoly is that it sells the books using a closed DRM format that only their reader (which is very popular) can decode. Couldn't the publishers break this by simply insisting that Amazon sell their books with an open (DRM or not) format? That way the consumer could decide which reader to use irrespective of where they buy the content and Amazon would be unable to use vender lock-in to dominate the market. Or am I missing something?

Re:Amazon monopoly (2)

netsavior (627338) | about 2 years ago | (#39793613)

amazon already allows any publisher to select DRM or no DRM during the publishing process... it is a checkbox on a web form.

Rockfax seems to have a good solution (4, Interesting)

slashbart (316113) | about 2 years ago | (#39793495)

I like the Rockfax solution for downloadable rockclimbing guides. You buy one for a few euros, and they generate the pdf on the fly, with 'registered to Bart van Deenen' in the footer of every page. Works for me.
Bart

Publishers don't know shit (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 years ago | (#39793523)

I've been downloading ebooks for years. No drm, no hassle. Sure, these books were OCR'd and have mistakes sometimes, but I don't care.

Yet the publishers want DRM, want to charge the same prices for paper books, etc.

Fuck you, you want my money? Do the shit right.

DRM held me back from purchases (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39793559)

DRM held me back from purchases. Books, music, videos, movies .... When I can use the electronic version "like a book on any current or future device I want", then they have a win.

I'd like to loan out my "book" to a friend for a few weeks, or better, sell it to them in a 2nd hand market - you know - just like a book.

We haven't purchased a DVD and do not own a Bluray player due to DRM. I don't think we will ever own a bluray player, at least as long as the DRM is not trivially cracked.

We have never purchased eBooks that weren't DRM-free. I've taken pride in deleting those books when I've sold them to friends later. The backups took 90 days to be removed. I would be happy if my personal details were included in the pages of a purchased book to discourage piracy - full name, address, telephone number and email address(es).

Our local library loans out eBooks, audio books, movies, etc., which is very nice. Our tax dollars at work.

We have never purchased music that wasn't physical. Ripping a CD isn't a big deal to have it in a format that WE prefer, not something mandated by an outsider that limits the way we can use the content inside our homes.

I've also read lots of free books from many different sources. Sometimes those are excellent, but I will admit that books going through publisher filters and edits are more enjoyable, if only due to the lack of typos.

More and more, I enjoy free scifi podcasts with stories. These are entertaining and who doesn't like "free?"

Convenience is why most people pay for content. Doing the "right thing" works for people with the money to do it too. I've felt that I needed to pay for content since college graduation. If I couldn't afford it, then I didn't need it. I honestly believe 90% of people in the USA feel that way, but I also know that in certain parts of the world, those views do not work. People will never pay for something they can get "for free." It is against their cultures.

Recent DRM Headache (1)

The_Doughboy (565172) | about 2 years ago | (#39793577)

I recently purchased the novel Triggers on Kobo's website. On the book's page it listed both Smartphone and Kobo eReaders as compatible devices. Clicking on the Smartphone it shows Blackberry, clicking on Kobo eReaders it shows my 1st Gen Kobo eReader. So I purchase the book, the first book I had purchased in about a year. The book automatically shows up on my Blackberry but I can't open it. It shows up in my Kobo Desktop software where I can read it and when I plug in my eReader it says it has finished transferring it to my eReader but it isn't there after the sync. I ended up needing to use Adobe Digital Editions to transfer it over. This was kind of frustrating as there were scant instructions at all. And I was never able to read it on my Blackberry. (The Blackberry is from work)

It doesn't have to go (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 2 years ago | (#39793695)

It just has to be standardised. And standardised in a way that implements such concepts as fair use, doctrine of first sale and so on. Basically the whole concept of digital property needs to be defined and implemented by some framework so that when people buy an ebook they're actually buying a book rather than a licence to it.

The book would still be protected by a key but the key could be revoked by one owner and transferred to another. I would still hold a copy of the book as a file but in the absence of the authorizing key it is no longer readable. If such a system were carefully designed it could enshrine concepts such as destroying content, lending it, renting it, selling it and donating it in much the same way as any physical item. Not just books, video, music and any other form of platform neutral data.

I'm kind of surprised the EU isn't pressing for something like this. Ultraviolet demonstrates the industry can agree around some kind of cloud based key system and it needs governments to legislate that such a system should be fair to users as much as it is for providers.

Stop using DRM as an excuse to not pay (2)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | about 2 years ago | (#39793699)

I've read a bunch of comments and there are two things that I keep seeing:

1) "I hate DRM and I won't pay if there's DRM on a book! I'm definitely just going to download it!"
2) "DRM is so easily cracked, anyway! Why do they think it's going to stop anyone?"

Bonus:

3) "With DRM, how will I move my books to a new platform?"

We all know DRM is, at best, an inconvenience. I agree that it should be removed, and publishers should face up to the reality that people are willing to pay a fair price--even an inflated price, honestly--for a product as long as it's convenient. Piracy is only more appealing when it's easier than buying.

But if you're using DRM as an excuse to not pay for the book, you're full of shit. Seriously.

You should buy the book anyway and send an email to the company explaining why their system is counter-productive. Downloading books without paying shortchanges authors. These are the people that you're ostensibly trying to support.

iTunes ended up DRM free because the middleman (Apple, obviously) was convinced by consumers that DRM wasn't necessary, and encouraged the labels to drop DRM as a requirement. It became obvious to everyone that people are happy to spend their money to support artists they enjoy. I'm sure there's still quite an active music trading scene, but there's money changing hands, too.

Your positions on downloading and trading are inconsistent with your positions on supporting artists and convincing companies to remove DRM. You have to show them that the market is there and willing to pay (assuming they're not fleecing us) to convince them that DRM is unnecessary. In the meantime, you're just entrenching them further and making it harder for your favourite writers to do their work.

Buy books. Pay for them. If you can, buy from a publisher that's already DRM free and thank them for their decision. If you can't, buy the book and remove the DRM afterwards if you like and stop falsely complaining that you can't device-shift your collection. Then get off your lazy ass and write the publisher and remind them that you ALREADY paid for the book and that you'd appreciate it if they considered changing their policy.

Re:Stop using DRM as an excuse to not pay (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 years ago | (#39793767)

I am using DRM as an excuse to not buy, period. It is not an inconvenience, it is a show-stopper for any committed reader.

Re:Stop using DRM as an excuse to not pay (1)

Roman Grazhdan (2483616) | about 2 years ago | (#39793823)

Why would one need an excuse to download anything?

Re:Stop using DRM as an excuse to not pay (2)

NeverSuchBefore (2613927) | about 2 years ago | (#39793855)

But if you're using DRM as an excuse to not pay for the book, you're full of shit. Seriously.

Are they? Consider this: a person doesn't want to support the people who make the product because they utilize DRM, but still wants the product. I'm not saying it's right, but what I am saying is that it's a very possible scenario.

You should buy the book anyway and send an email to the company explaining why their system is counter-productive.

What I'd suggest is: don't buy it at all, and tell them why you didn't. Don't download it, either, as that could provide them with free advertising.

Then get off your lazy ass and write the publisher and remind them that you ALREADY paid for the book and that you'd appreciate it if they considered changing their policy.

If you keep buying their products, there is far less of a chance that they'll learn their lesson. They'll change when their source of income is threatened.

DRM free and working fine - Baen Publishing (1)

michaeldgale (1005623) | about 2 years ago | (#39793811)

Baen Publishing has been DRM free for its ebooks for more than a decade. And even gives some books away free via the Baen Free Library. Here are Eric Flint's arguments for that model from 2000: http://www.baen.com/library/intro.asp [baen.com] DRM free texts from Baen have encouraged me to try authors I may not have otherwise and Flint, Ringo and Weber are all authors whose hard back books I've purchased after I've started reading a series via their ebooks. In fact, in the case of those 3 authors I tend to own both the physical & ebook version of each of thier books. I refuse to purchase either Apple or Amazon players/readers because I want to own the books and music I purchase, not pay for just a license to use as long as those corporations maintain servers to authorize my access. I have moved my ebook purchases from Baen across 5 personal computers running different versions of Windows & Linux, across 3 different portable reading platforms Palm Vx, Windows mobile & now Android.

Are people going back to physical books? (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | about 2 years ago | (#39793925)

I am seeing it happening. But I don't know if it's very widespread.

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