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DRM: How Book Publishers Failed To Learn From the Music Industry

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the give-the-people-what-they-want dept.

DRM 212

Presto Vivace writes "In a blog post, danps explains how the music industry initially thought that the Internet meant that people wanted their music for free. In 2003 Apple persuaded the industry to use an online music store with DRM. But DRM just does not work for consumers, so by 2011 online music stores were DRM-free. Sadly, the book industry has not learned these lessons. And there are larger lessons for the gadget industry: 'The tech industry right now is churning out lots of different devices, operating systems and form factors in an attempt to get the One True Gadget — the thing you'll take with you everywhere and use for everything. That's a lovely aspiration, but I don't see it happening. What I see instead is people wanting to only carry around one thing at a time, and rotating through several: Smart phone for everyday use, tablet for the beach, laptop for the road, etc. If you can't get the book you paid for on each of those devices, it's a pain. As a reader I want to be able to put a book on everything as soon as I buy it so I always have a local (non-Internet dependent) copy — no matter which thing I run out of the house with.'"

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buy DRM free books (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878341)

There are an increasing number of books that are available without DRM. The last 7 books I have bought (novels and technical) have been DRM free.

Re:buy DRM free books (2)

JMJimmy (2036122) | about a year ago | (#43878505)

Certain publishers are DRM free to keep their pricing low. While not my cup of tea, I happen to know that Entangled Publishing http://www.entangledpublishing.com/ [entangledpublishing.com] is DRM free (fiance is interning there). I'm sure there are other smaller publishing houses that do the same... as with most things it's the big companies that have forgotten their customers.

Re:buy DRM free books (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43878891)

Actually I'd say it really doesn't matter as it'll take another 20 years to convert the majority at least. I live just a block from the local library that is on the edge of a lovely park so i spend a LOT of time there talking to folks and most of the book lovers? Really don't want electronic books at all. they like the feel, smell, texture of books, they like how they can just throw a paperback in their bag or backseat of the car and not have to worry about sunlight killing it, while a few of them use Kindles for the short stories that are now more often than not no longer getting paperback editions honestly if given a choice? they'd rather have the book.

Ironically its the college kids that seem to have this attitude the most, probably because so much of their lives involve screens that its nice to get away from the tech. Can't say as i blame 'em as I have yet to see an electronic book be as handy and as easy to deal with as a good old paperback.

As for TFA? Whatever Amazon goes with is gonna win, that's it. the Kindle outsells everybody else and with the new Fires you have an all in one media player/tablet/eReader that is affordable and I've heard nothing but good things about the entire kindle line from customers who've picked one up. No matter what you think of the company you have to give Amazon credit as so far they have been damned smart when it comes to how they design and market the Kindle and I haven't seen anybody come up with anything that will give the Kindle a run for its money.

Re:buy DRM free books (1)

JMJimmy (2036122) | about a year ago | (#43879143)

My 60+ year old mother had that same attitude until she got a Playbook then a Nook. Now it's a mix - book when she can, electronic for travel/convenience. Fiance has a massive collection of paper books but does almost all of her reading on electronic devices.

Personally I don't care either way - I tend not to read books (I read articles + studies instead).

Re:buy DRM free books (3, Insightful)

jandar (304267) | about a year ago | (#43879409)

I love paper-books and wouldn't buy any DRM encumbered e-book because some 30+ year old books I'm reading once a while and I don't trust any DRM-server to last that long.

But if a paper-book would get me a download of the same as an e-book I'm willing to spend a little bit more to have a significant chunk of my 4 digit number of books during travel.

I'm considering to build a scanner linear-book-scanner [google.com] to make my portable library but question my ability to build it ;-). This scanner seems to be able to scan a book without any human help. Start one book before going to work, one coming home and one before going to sleep gives more than 1000 books a year. A few years of minimal efford and all is done. If one could buy such a scanner for 1000-2000 eur I would start building my e-books tomorrow.

Re:buy DRM free books (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879569)

Same here. I would drop $1 on a download when I get the real book. I have a kindle and I really only use it for reading terrible fanfiction. It it not as fun nor as 'real' as a book. Plus, I can spill shit on a book but still read it. Also, paperbacks and used books are a heck of a lot cheaper than ebooks. McKays in Nashville is an amazing place.

Re:buy DRM free books (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#43879707)

I carry my entire library on a form smaller than a postage stamp. There's just no replacement for that convenience.

Re:buy DRM free books (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a year ago | (#43880207)

Actually I'd say it really doesn't matter as it'll take another 20 years to convert the majority at least. I live just a block from the local library that is on the edge of a lovely park so i spend a LOT of time there talking to folks and most of the book lovers? Really don't want electronic books at all.

All fine and well, but just where the hell do you put the batteries in a paper book?

Re:buy DRM free books (2)

Zumbs (1241138) | about a year ago | (#43878513)

Precisely. I only buy DRM free eBooks. If I want a book that is not available in a DRM free version, I either pass entirely or buy a dead tree version. For the record, I have spent some 300 Euro on eBooks in the last year, and maybe half that on dead tree versions. It really irks me that many vendors do not display clearly if their books are DRM encumbered or not. Kobo is one of the few where it is easy to see in the results list. Are there others?

Re:buy DRM free books (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878629)

Precisely. I only buy DRM free eBooks.

Hypothetically speaking of course - Every ebook I ever pirated had DRM. Emphasis on "had". Lot of good it did!

Re:buy DRM free books (1)

johanw (1001493) | about a year ago | (#43878861)

Most eBooks I pirated are scans from dead tree versions. Although the newer ones, that are also distributed digital, are often versions with DRM removed.

None of them have DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878595)

At least on the internet.

As long as a book has DRM, it better be cheap ($2-5), or I'll find a free alternative.

Fortunately (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878361)

Fortunately O'Reilly seems to learn the lesson... as long with some "bundles" that happen from time to time... unfortunately there's too much to change regarding mainstream books.

Re:Fortunately (1)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#43879495)

Hmm. That's right....I own some O'Reilly eBooks...keep forgetting about them...almost as bad as Steam sales sometimes. "Lightknight, how would you like that $40 book for $20, in eBook format..." -> fine, fine, put it with the others, I'll eventually get around to reading it (when I recover from this backlog in the real world).

Hobby press too... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878377)

One of my biggest gripes about a certain hobby publisher is that they seem to have exclusive deals with three different companies. Their hobby books are only available on Nook and Win8. Their magazines are available via Kindle and a third party company, however, only magazines bought via the third party seem to be available across all devices. The Kindle-bought magazines are only readable in the Kindle and not in the Kindle app for the PC or the one for my cell phone.

It's like the browser wars all over again: "Sorry, this document is only viewable in a Lynx browser. Download one now!" ;o)

Now if we could just kill PDF... (1)

maharvey (785540) | about a year ago | (#43878389)

What an awful format for ebooks.

Re:Now if we could just kill PDF... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878687)

What an awful format for ebooks.

It works for me. Instead of whining that something is awful like you expect everyone to agree with you, why don't you elaborate on what you don't like about PDF-format ebooks? If a particular device doesn't handle them well, is that the format's fault? Explaining this would be much more constructive and educational for the rest of us.

Personally I use PDF-format ebooks with no problems. Usually I view them with Okular on my Linux netbook. It displays the text and images with no problems. If you can name a problem with them I didn't even know I had, let's hear it.

Re:Now if we could just kill PDF... (4, Insightful)

Zumbs (1241138) | about a year ago | (#43878757)

My main gripe with pdf ebooks is that they do not adapt to my screen. It also means that if I want to change the size of the fonts, I will have to manually zoom in and move the visible area around. And given that eInk updates quite slow, it is not a nice and natural process. In my humble opinion, epub is the better format for ebooks.

Re:Now if we could just kill PDF... (1)

maharvey (785540) | about a year ago | (#43878863)

Agreed that is the biggest problem. Really the whole page-orientation is a problem. I want to be able to flow text continuously, at a readable font size, and have it adapt to my screen size.

File bloat is a problem too. PDF seems to encourage publishers to create 30MB graphical extravaganzas that are sluggish and hard to use. It's horrible for reference books too, since you can't export the text in anything resembling a usable format. Tables and paragraphs get deformatted and mangled.

HTML, with all its warts and limitations, would be far superior to PDF.

Re:Now if we could just kill PDF... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year ago | (#43879117)

HTML, with all its warts and limitations, is far superior to PDF.

FTFY. Pretty much every eBook format other than PDF—EPUB, Mobi, KF8, KePub, etc.—is based on HTML and CSS.

Re:Now if we could just kill PDF... (5, Informative)

Ferzerp (83619) | about a year ago | (#43879091)

The reason is, PDF and ebooks are really at odds with one another.

The point of PDF is to render the exact same on each screen. Like a physical book, each page should always look the same (only zoomed or not zoomed). An ebook needs to be able to reflow the text to support changing aspect ratios, font sizes, etc. When you do this with PDF, you can just zoom in or out. If your application is actually reflowing a PDF, that means it's not really displaying a PDF. Instead, it is taking the content, extracting it, and displaying it in some native format.

Tablet for the beach? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878397)

Sorry, you must not go to the beach much. E-ink owns. I like everything on one device too, but for lounging around in the sun all day, I love my kindle and will leave my ipad at home or in the safe, depending on which beach I'm at.

And what does this have to do with dRM anyway? The multiple device situation is exactly what DRM was set up for, just not multiple individuals.

The textbook market is just as bad (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#43878405)

The textbook market is just as bad small updates all the time to kill resale, paying teacher X per book (some even rip pages out and try use a used book you fail)

Doesn't Amazon provide what the OP wants? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878409)

I don't like DRM, and as a result I don't own a Kindle, but at least with Amazon, you still have Kindle apps on IOS, Android and for Desktops which allow you to read your Amazon ebook purchases on other devices. While the average Slashdot user, like me, would prefer DRM free ebooks so they could use any app on any device to read their books, the average Joe is going to be quite content with buying via Amazon and using the Kindle apps across devices. Using the same app across multiple devices to read your ebooks is a lot easier than juggling DRM free ebook files between different devices and apps (for the average Joe)

Re:Doesn't Amazon provide what the OP wants? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#43878447)

The Kindle app is a horrible, slow, piece of poo whose only saving grace is that it's not as bad as the Adobe equivalent.

Re:Doesn't Amazon provide what the OP wants? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878497)

Surely your statement is device specific as it works just fine on an Asus tablet, or are you just ranting about how much you hate the kindle app because it's made by a big player and you've never tried it? or is it that all the cool kids seem to use it?

Re:Doesn't Amazon provide what the OP wants? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#43879121)

Duh, I have the Kindle app on my Android tablet, on Windows and on Linux (through Wine). They all suck as e-book readers, at least when you have thousands of e-books.

Re:Doesn't Amazon provide what the OP wants? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878593)

It's a big slow piece of poo in YOUR opinion. You'll be amazed how the average Joe doesn't notice or care. I read ebooks on my iPad and I use Marvin because it has fantastic customizations in terms of fonts, font size, paragraph indentation, line spacing, etc. It far surpasses what Stanza once was and is a joy to use. iBooks on the other hand wastes tons of screen space and has practically no customizations. Yet, my wife couldn't care less and is happy using iBooks. She also doesn't care much about HD v/s SD content. You'll be surprised how a large chunk of ebook readers do not have the mindset of a tech/slashdot geek. They really don't care about anything beyond being able to read the book.

Re:Doesn't Amazon provide what the OP wants? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878479)

I think maybe you're a poor, which is why you don't own a Kindle. Considering you can link up to 6 kindles to one account and a basically unlimited amount of auxiliary devices (ipads, iphones, android (ugh), Macs, etc), your anti-DRM spiel is garbage. You can only have a physical book in one location at a time, so that's more restrictive than an Amazon account.

Re:Doesn't Amazon provide what the OP wants? (5, Informative)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#43878575)

Provides just more than that. Syncs reading all across tablets, e-readers, cellphones, and desktops. You can even put your own (or purchased elsewhere), DRM free book, send to kindle, and read in whatever device you have, in all of them if you want. That is a killer feature in a world where you can use a lot of different device, for different environments, to access your books. A service like that is needed, from Amazon or other players, but what matter is the broad reach across devices.

That books are DRM free is somewhat orthogonal with that. You must own what you purchase, DRM, in the other hand, is turning it into renting in practical terms.

Re:Doesn't Amazon provide what the OP wants? (1)

johanw (1001493) | about a year ago | (#43878939)

No, DRM is adding the extra hassle of installing Calibre extensions to get rid of it.

Re:Doesn't Amazon provide what the OP wants? (1)

MBCook (132727) | about a year ago | (#43879723)

Recently they added the ability to also buy the audiobook version and the app *syncs your place* so you can switch between the two formats. That's a pretty amazing idea.

But the app doesn't help the author. He said he had a Nook. Thanks to the recent firmware update people with a Nook Color or Nook HD can get then app, but if you have the eInk based "normal" Nook, you're just out of luck.

As DRM goes, Amazon has done an excellent job of reducing annoyance. They don't try that "you can only read this book on 2 devices, ever." stuff that we've seen elsewhere. But I get the feeling the only reason Amazon's DRM is so unobtrusive is they were so overwhelmingly powerful they could force publishers into a relatively consumer friendly system. We're lucky Amazon cares more about selling books than trying to wring money out of Kindle hardware sales, or the DRM would have been a lot worse.

Re:Doesn't Amazon provide what the OP wants? (1)

ljw1004 (764174) | about a year ago | (#43879821)

What Kindle doesn't provide: orientation lock on WindowsPhone. Makes it impossible for me to read books in bed. I gave up on my kindle purchases a year ago and switched completely over to epub.

Re:Doesn't Amazon provide what the OP wants? (1)

johanw (1001493) | about a year ago | (#43878919)

The average Joe's I know ask me to pirate their ebooks for them. Much, much easier than messing around with buying drm-infested books, especially here where credidcards are not commonly used.

Re:Doesn't Amazon provide what the OP wants? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879625)

The Kindle is actually the easist thing to strip DRM from. C'est la vie

Re:Doesn't Amazon provide what the OP wants? (2)

DJRumpy (1345787) | about a year ago | (#43879795)

You can also put your own content (DRM Free) on a Kindle account so that it syncs between devices just like purchased content.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/sendtokindle [amazon.com]

Re:Doesn't Amazon provide what the OP wants? (1)

digitig (1056110) | about a year ago | (#43879957)

Not just Amazon. I can read stuff I download from the Google Play store on my Android phone and tablet (and possibly my laptop too -- haven't tried) without an internet connection.

Just doesn't make sense for books (4, Informative)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about a year ago | (#43878411)

If you can read it, you can transcribe it as fast as you can read it (less than a day?)

With good OCR, books can be transcribed even faster.

Some people will read your book without buying it. You can't stop that. A lot of people are going to check your book out from the library and read it free too.

So DRM especially just prevents your legal readers from reading your book.

Re:Just doesn't make sense for books (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879005)

I can't think of any medium where this doesn't apply, I mean, drm is just a bother to buyers in movies/music/games/programs, mainly because there will be people who will remove, crack, or just find a way around DRM.

The beauty of DRM! (1)

gatfirls (1315141) | about a year ago | (#43879219)

It's only been an issue for me when I purchased something and wanted to use it. It's pretty much like the onion wrote an article on DRM and they ran with it.

This is absolutely true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878419)

The mainstream music industry has and will never have a part of the internet profit pie. Meanwhile, we have victory snaggers such as OReilly who are seemingly catching on to what DRM actually means , and what people actually want.

Heres to the internet.

If you're taking your tablet to the beach (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878441)

If you're taking your tablet to the beach then you're doing it wrong. You can survive unconnected.

Re:If you're taking your tablet to the beach (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year ago | (#43878529)

Taking a book to the beach means I'm doing it wrong too I take it?

Re:If you're taking your tablet to the beach (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878657)

Unless you don't have any spare time to read books, then it'd be a change of pace.

Re:If you're taking your tablet to the beach (2)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#43878607)

In the other hand, taking your ebook reader is a bit more comfortable that carrying a heavy book (or several), no need connection, and could pass a month between charges.

Re:If you're taking your tablet to the beach (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879883)

My tablet doesn't have a cellular connection. And if your beach has wifi, then I think you're doing it wrong.

Don't blame the book industry... (0)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#43878471)

If you want to sell your books through Amazon, they must be in DRM-"protected" Kindle format. If you want to sell your books through iTunes, they must be in ePub format; with or without DRM is up to the publisher. If you buy from both, you end up with books in two incompatible formats which is just a pain. But it's not up to the publisher really.

Re:Don't blame the book industry... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878767)

Please stop spreading this myth about Amazon. Publishers are perfectly free to list their books without DRM - you can tell because the last sentence of a book's description will say "At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied." You can also load DRM free books from other sources into the Kindle app. Of the 102 books on my Kindle, 49 are DRM free or in the public domain.

Re:Don't blame the book industry... (1)

sehlat (180760) | about a year ago | (#43878809)

DRM is chosen by the PUBLISHERS, not Amazon. Amazon is perfectly happy to sell DRM-free kindle/mobi content.

I have a number of books via AMZN I didn't have to jailbreak so I could convert them to ePub and move them to my phone.

Re:Don't blame the book industry... (1)

Ira Sponsible (713467) | about a year ago | (#43879599)

Bullshit. Amazon does not require DRM. It is an option that the publisher chooses. I chose no DRM for my book, because I think DRM is stupid. (link [amazon.com] ) Once upon a time, long ago, Amazon may have put on DRM by default, but they've given publishers (big and small) the option to have it or not for a long time. Bitch at the publishers about DRM, and unnecessarily high prices for ebooks. They need to learn that both of these are turning off customers and depressing sales.

This is an advocacy piece (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878483)

Google "Free MP3 Download" and add the name of any well known rock band and you'll see why the publishing industry doesn't trust that model.

Instead of wording the summary in such a way that if you disagree, you must be some kind of moron, or silly person, why don't you guys (including moderators) welcome give and take discussion?

Re:This is an advocacy piece (2)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a year ago | (#43878985)

Google "epub download" and add some authors name and book title and you'll see why DRM doesn't work.

DRM doesn't change the availability of non-licensed download options.

There is really just one group of people that has to deal with DRM -- the people who actually are willing to buy your stuff. Anybody who doesn't want to pay will find the content DRM-free somewhere.

That's the lesson that the music industry learnt the hard way -- the people that aren't willing to pay are a lost cause either way, but DRM may alienate the paying customers. DRM hurts the honest customer. You know, the guy that you want to come back and buy more from you.

So not using DRM anymore didn't make the non-licensed downloads go away. But it increased the number of payed, licensed downloads.
So it's good for the bottom line.

Re:This is an advocacy piece (1)

farble1670 (803356) | about a year ago | (#43880269)

That's the lesson that the music industry learnt the hard way -- the people that aren't willing to pay are a lost cause either way, but DRM may alienate the paying customers.

that's ridiculous. you are essentially saying there there are two groups of people: ones that will pay for your music, and ones that won't. are you really denying the existence of people that would pay for your music if they couldn't download it?

when i was a kid, i spent untold $ on $15.99 CDs. there's no way i would have spent my very limited $ paying for music if i could have it almost instantly for free. i really doubt i'm usual here. if you have any doubts, i challenge you to ask any 16 year old what they'd do.

Re:This is an advocacy piece (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about a year ago | (#43880081)

So, because the thing is available for free at a google search, book authors must punch their customers in the face every time they sell a book. That'll make people flock to the paid - punch enabled - version.

Actually, consumers didn't mind DRM (1)

mveloso (325617) | about a year ago | (#43878485)

The general success of iTunes shows that consumers don't really mind DRM as long as it's not intrusive. Going DRM free was great, and DRM still exists for movies/TV shows on iTunes...and for most downloadable movies, etc. Audible still uses DRM as well, and they're not slowing down any.

At some point Apple's going to have to increase the device count on what's left of the Fairplay infrastructure...but until then, whatever's left of Fairplay really is fine.

As a note, what the OP wants already exists: it's called Kindle for XXX, and it's not a pain at all, from what I've been told by kindle users.

Re:Actually, consumers didn't mind DRM (5, Insightful)

sehlat (180760) | about a year ago | (#43878695)

I call BS.

Consumers put up with DRM, in exactly the same way they put up with exorbitant prices for gas, "convenience fees" and other corporate tactics to sink a sump into their wallets.

When I buy movies, books, or music, if I can't jailbreak them, I don't buy them. Period. End of story.

Everybody I talk to either hates DRM or thanks me for telling them where the picklocks are.

But NOBODY "doesn't mind" DRM.

Re:Actually, consumers didn't mind DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878885)

I don't mind DRM done right.

That said, let's define what "done right" means.

First, I should be getting something that I can't have with the traditional, non-digital version of a product (ability to sync to multiple devices is a common one).

Second, I should not be locked in to a single hardware vendor for a software product.

Third, as a paying customer, I shouldn't see the locks unless I go looking for them--in the normal course of using the product, I should not be able to tell the difference between DRM and DRM-free products.

Services that have done this right include Steam, Audible, Netflix, and Amazon Kindle (yes, I would like to be able to use another brand of e-reader, but since I can read the books on any other device, I'm okay with the way it works now). For all of these services, DRM is important to their business model, since they need to maintain the artificial scarcity of bits. In each case, though, I get benefit for giving up the concept of total and absolute freedom (mostly freedoms that I didn't have with physical goods anyway).

Re:Actually, consumers didn't mind DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879685)

I believe there's another legitmate use for DRM. I can go on my local library's site and "check-out" an audio book using OverDrive. OverDrive has DRM mainly to make sure you don't "keep" the audio book past it's due-date. Since I didn't buy this audio book and the DRM forces a standard library model, I really don't mind it. It allows the library to serve it's customers in a new way that is more convienent.

Re:Actually, consumers didn't mind DRM (1)

sehlat (180760) | about a year ago | (#43879693)

There is no such thing as "DRM done right." There's only "YOU own what you bought and paid for." or "WE still own it, even if you bought and paid for it."

Re: Actually, consumers didn't mind DRM (0)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about a year ago | (#43878905)

You are an idiot. Please compare the definitions of anecdote and fact. You will apparently be surprised to learn that they are quite different.

Re:Actually, consumers didn't mind DRM (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year ago | (#43879149)

GP reflects my own views. I hate Amazon's business model for ebooks, their DRM, and the fact that they try to be "vertical" by selling e readers as well as books, but they have a decent app for my iPad, and they make it really easy to buy books from them, which is just what I want... for fiction. Stuff that I will probably only read once. Here, convenience trumps DRM.

On holidays I take my old e-ink reader which I will not miss too much if lost or stolen, and for that I buy books in (DRM'ed) epub or PDF if I can get it, or pirated copies if I can't (won't sell ebooks to non-US residents? Fuck you). And non-fiction I still buy in paper form as I tend to lend those out a lot. So, yes, in most cases I really don't mind DRM

As a consumer I do mind DRM (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43878753)

The general success of iTunes shows that

...is bloated unpleasant licence abusing (they made a south park episode http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HumancentiPad [wikipedia.org] ) itunes still relevant with the death of the iPod...and the decline of the iPhone, ironically it has several DRM free competitors that work through...a web page.

What is quite hilarious though is that DRM something Apple support as they currently benefit from it...will start to hurt them as customers are restricted migration to their platform.

Re:As a consumer I do mind DRM (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878941)

How about dicks? Do you mind big dicks up your ass? Do you like the man meat stretching your butthole? Do you cry out in passion for more?

DRM Pain (3, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#43878489)

I bought a couple of books on iBooks until I figured out that they were crippled by DRM. Naturally I couldn't view them on my Nexus 7, so I did two things:

1. I found torrents to decrypted copies of the books I purchased.
2. Never bought another book from iBooks.

I still buy DRM-laden books from Kobo, but I can still decrypt those with ePUBee. The minute I can't do that any more, I won't buy from them either.

As a bit of a kudo, any SF nuts out there, head over to Baen, who has a big chunk of their catalog available as non-DRM ePubs (along with other formats as well).

Re:DRM Pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878701)

I bought a couple of books on iBooks until I figured out that they were crippled by DRM. Naturally I couldn't view them on my Nexus 7, so I did two things:

1. I found torrents to decrypted copies of the books I purchased.
2. Never bought another book from iBooks.

I still buy DRM-laden books from Kobo, but I can still decrypt those with ePUBee. The minute I can't do that any more, I won't buy from them either.

As a bit of a kudo, any SF nuts out there, head over to Baen, who has a big chunk of their catalog available as non-DRM ePubs (along with other formats as well).

Whether epubs on iBooks contain DRM (or not) is solely up to the publishers - the publishers have a choice. Regardless, you can easily strip the Fairplay DRM from any iBooks (and be left with the DRM-free epub); try a simple web search and you will see various programs are available.

Quite frankly, you sound like a rabid apple-hater - Apple is far better than Amazon / Kobo or Google when it comes to DRM.

However, I do agree with you about Baen; superb business and my preferred purchasing site for my SF/Fantasy needs.

Re:DRM Pain (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#43878725)

Stripping the DRM off an iBook means installing an earlier version of iTunes. It was just easier for me to find the torrents and use other eReading software. Love my iPhone, won't touch iBooks.

Re:DRM Pain (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a year ago | (#43879031)

Quite frankly, you sound like a rabid apple-hater - Apple is far better than Amazon / Kobo or Google when it comes to DRM.

Oh, really?
So Apple has DRM-free books in their shop and marks them accordingly?
That's what Kobobooks does. And that's what Amazon does.

Re:DRM Pain - Grammar! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879661)

Kudos is a singular noun.

Pricing Plays a Role (3, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#43878493)

Given the choice between copying a song for free and paying 89 cents for a song legitimately, many people will choose the purchase, if it's easy enough.

Now, take a college student who can copy a textbook or purchase an eBook for $350.

That's why publishers want DRM - so they don't have to face the real value of their products.

who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878519)

There are sites where one can get literary millions of books for free courtesy of Russians
For example the Library Genesis project @ http://library-genesis.com

I want... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878531)

I want DRM free ePub with associated metadata I can load into any device of my choosing (including a 'cloud' if I so desire).

I also want unicorn ponies that fart rainbows and smell like kettle korn.

Much could be improved beyond fixing DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878539)

First, I have to agree that DRM really gets in the way. It is unreasonable to make it nearly impossible to share books that I have finished reading--even with my wife. The books/readers also leave a lot to be desired. No index, no reasonable cross-references, and no easy way to communicate locations with readers of physical books--as one does in a book club, for example.

I don't find myself changing font, or point-size, or orientation (intentionally) so often that I appreciate the on-the-fly recomposition of the book. The trade-off ain't there.

Lastly, there are many books that I would like to add to my library (the room) but also have availble to read anywhere, anytime. I should think that publishers could take a cue from the film industry and offer a print edition along with a digital edition for a few dollars more.

Buy DRM free and use Calibre (2)

hAckz0r (989977) | about a year ago | (#43878545)

If you buy only DRM free ebooks (let your wallet speak) you can convert those ebooks, manage, and use them on just about any ebook reader made to date. You can also convert other document formats (text, html,pdf, etc) to be compatible with your ebook reader of choice. Its free, open source, and fairly portable. http://calibre-ebook.com/ [calibre-ebook.com]

Been reading ebooks since the 90's (3, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#43878553)

Look people, corporations are greedy bitches that only care about making a profit. Because they are greedy, they think everyone else is out to rip them off. Why? Because they rip us off every chance they get. They except people to pay full physical book prices for ebooks, when it cost way less to make a copy of an ebook then it does to make a physical book. They know they are ripping us off, thus they want DRM so they can gouge the stupid people that actually pay them for the ebooks.

Me? I've been downloading ebooks since the 90's. Way before the publishers got on the bandwagon. Sure, I might get some spelling (OCR errors), but I don't care. It's free. So why should I go from paying nothing, to paying over $10 for an ebook? Seriously, explain that one to me. The corporations do NOT care about me, they only care about is how much profit they can make off of me. Well, fuck them.

Bring old ebooks to the $2-3 price, and I'd consider buying them. New ebooks $5, max. I'd never pay more then $5 for an ebook, ever. Why? Because I can't sell it used. A physical book, I can take to a use book store and sell for some dollars, or trade for credit. That is value. Ebooks? Don't have a value and I sure as fuck ain't paying the corporations to fuck me over.

Re:Been reading ebooks since the 90's (1)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#43878745)

Look people, corporations are greedy bitches that only care about making a profit.

Right, and you only care about paying as little as possible. What's your point?

Re:Been reading ebooks since the 90's (1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#43878821)

Look people, corporations are greedy bitches that only care about making a profit.

Right, and you only care about paying as little as possible. What's your point?

My point in about value. Why do physical books cost so much? Because it cost for the materials to make them. How much does it cost for ebooks? Very fucking little. But instead of getting cheaper books, we get DRM on the ebooks and high prices.

Can you sell your used ebook to offset the cost? No.

You like paying more for stuff then it's worth? Apparently you do, or you wouldn't of replied.

Re:Been reading ebooks since the 90's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879107)

Would you break into a writer's house and steal his TV? No? Then why would you steal a book he wrote?

Re:Been reading ebooks since the 90's (1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#43879177)

Would you break into a writer's house and steal his TV? No? Then why would you steal a book he wrote?

If the writer is taking forever to get his next book out (I'm looking at you right now, George R.R. Martin, and also referring to Robert Jordan, maybe his soul take years to get where it's going, since it's Wheel of Time took decades), then me stealing his TV so he can focus on the book is probably for the best.

Re:Been reading ebooks since the 90's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879385)

Would you jump out of a window? No? Then why would you make a non-sequitur argument?

Re:Been reading ebooks since the 90's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879439)

Would you break into a writer's house and steal his TV?

I wouldn't have to if I could download it.

Re:Been reading ebooks since the 90's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879379)

physical books don't cost all that much to make when they are mass produced. Hardcover is maybe a dollar, probably less. there might be some savings in transportation to the bookstore and employment of the book stockers and bookstore cashiers though.

My step-dad was big into used bookstores, and he generally got nearly nothing for recycling his books to the used bookstore... maybe a 7 to 1 return or so (bring the bookstore 7 books, they give you 1). He did it as a sort of culture thing, he liked poking about the old store with it's creeky floors.

I save a few bucks by not having to drive to the bookstore (and by not buying a pair of pants so that I am allowed in the bookstore)

I would like to buy my eBook to be $3 less than my physical book.

Re:Been reading ebooks since the 90's (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about a year ago | (#43879785)

Sigh... another fool on the Internet with bad grammar and no understanding of economics.

Books don't cost that much to bind and ship. This is definitely part of the cost of a physical book, and should be left off of the cost of an ebook. However, writing and even the non-physical portions of publishing (meaning editing, typesetting, getting cover art, and especially marketing) are not free. Writing in and of itself might not cost much of anything, but there is a huge opportunity cost; the time spent writing could be spent doing some other job that pays a direct wage. For writing professionally to be economical, it needs to be possible to pay off that huge investment of time.

Now, as to what an actually reasonable price is for an ebook... that's an interesting question (and of course there's no one solid answer, because different types of book will command different prices). For your typical mass-market fiction novel of ~300-400 pages, the kind of thing that would be maybe $8 as a paperback at a bookstore, something around $3-$5 (my mother is a published author, but I'm not familiar with the details of cost for each step of the process) for an ebook would still give a decent return on investment for the publisher and author (who might or might not be the same person)

Re:Been reading ebooks since the 90's (2)

N7DR (536428) | about a year ago | (#43880073)

Now, as to what an actually reasonable price is for an ebook... that's an interesting question (and of course there's no one solid answer, because different types of book will command different prices). For your typical mass-market fiction novel of ~300-400 pages, the kind of thing that would be maybe $8 as a paperback at a bookstore, something around $3-$5

Yes, I price the e-book versions of my books between $3 and $4 for essentially that reason. I do feel guilty that the various e-book "standards" don't allow for anything remotely resembling decent typesetting, so people who read my books on electronic devices are having a definitely less-than-optimal experience. On the other hand, I go to great lengths to ensure that one doesn't see (as I have seen with e-books from big publishing houses) howlers such as the word "you" presented as "y-" "ou".

I believe that the way e-books *should* have been done is to compile TeX on the fly. That way gorgeous output could have been presented on all devices. Frankly, I wouldn't take e-books seriously at all were it not for the undeniable fact that these days the bulk of my sales occur in that medium. I think my view of e-books is decidedly colored by how poor they have turned out to be (as a reading experience) compared to what they could have been.

If anyone cares, I am: http://www.sff.net/people/N7DR [sff.net] .

Re:Been reading ebooks since the 90's (1)

Crispy Critters (226798) | about a year ago | (#43880187)

The mass-market paperback market is not the important market to compare to, though. Books make their money on sales of hardbacks--that is what pays the author to write. The publisher and author might get 1/2 of the price of $25 hardback. It's not clear they can stay alive in a world of $10 ebooks.

Re:Been reading ebooks since the 90's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879297)

Cory Doctorow releases his books DRM free with a creative commons license on the internet for FREE. EG. http://craphound.com/littlebrother/download/.

I still BOUGHT the book, for $11 or so. Why
1) convienence. I just downloaded it to my kindle while I was in bed
2) I want to support this artist

I don't want to rag on you and say what you're doing is wrong, but if you really enjoy an artist (a living artist that will hopefully produce more art) you should think about financially supporting them. OR if you are too fucking lazy to surf the pirate bay, you should think about buying books.

Re:Been reading ebooks since the 90's (1)

massysett (910130) | about a year ago | (#43879571)

OK, you hate the business model of publishers, so you want to do the unprincipled thing and read their stuff without paying for it and then rant about it. Instead of ranting you could find publishers whose business model you DO like--those that release DRM-free works--and be positive and support their business instead of ranting against those whose business you don't like, while benefiting from their labor. You would rather sink to the level of the publishers you despise. But it looks like you're okay with that.

Blog Posts (1)

dragon-file (2241656) | about a year ago | (#43878597)

Why are people sharing blog posts like it's news. I read that whole thing and it sounded like one long whine. How about some real news /.

I find it amusing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878641)

That the only DRM free publisher is also named Tor.

Ehhh, who cares about DRM if it's trivially broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878691)

Several of the big DRM schemes are also broken; I'd rather buy DRM-free ebooks, but when I can just go to Amazon, drop $7-$12 on a Kindle copy of almost anything I'd want and 30 seconds later, feed it into the Calibre and have a DRM-free ePub copy of the Kindle book, hunting down whether the book is available on one of the handful of DRM-free bookstores just ain't worth it.

If Amazon ever makes the Kindle DRM truly effective, I'll stop buying from them.

Re:Ehhh, who cares about DRM if it's trivially bro (1)

game kid (805301) | about a year ago | (#43878825)

If your doctor told you that you have a disease that make you cough incessantly and will kill you in 3 months, and he gave you a medicine that would stop the cough but not the kill, when there are medicines out there that cost less and do both, would you be happy you got the cough-only medicine?

Calibre is the Robitussin, sure--it makes you feel good, and at least lets you talk without sounding like some sci-fi monster, so it can be used if the other medicines are out of stock--but not adding the bloody DRM is the cure.

Re:Ehhh, who cares about DRM if it's trivially bro (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year ago | (#43879099)

Your analogy is bad and you should feel bad.

When I strip the DRM from my purchased ePub documents, it's gone. There is no lingering death. There's nothing else to "cure". It's gone. I can access the contents of those files on any platform that can read ePub and I can convert the content to any other relevant format if I've got some weird device that can't read ePub.

I don't use reader apps (1)

D1G1T (1136467) | about a year ago | (#43878815)

Smart phone for everyday use, tablet for the beach, laptop for the road, and AN E-INK READER FOR READING. I've been reading ebooks regularly on a handheld computer since the Apple Newton. e-ink was a huge game changer. My kindle keyboard gives me so much less eye strain compared to laptops, tablets, iphones etc. Use the right tool for the job. As much as I hate the idea of DRM, having one device specifically for reading means it rarely gets in the way.

outdumbing the MPAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43878833)

What's particularly hilarious about these three particular businesses (books, movies, music) which dabble(d) in DRM, is that in all three cases, non-DRM was already proven to work. And with books we're literally talking about CENTURIES of evidence. Centuries. And some snake oil seller comes along and waves his hands and publishers close their eyes to the evidence. Seriously, this shit is right up there with astrology and its people should be given about that much respect.

At least the software guys didn't have lots of data about their market, when they dabbled in this back in the early 80s or late 70s. Books: centuries. Recorded movies: a few decades; from a retail-sold recording, they're arguably contemporary with the software market (if you ignore sold film and start with videotape, which I think is fair; film's market was never big enough). Recorded music: a few more decades (nearly coming up on the first century mark now, I think?). In that light, the software dudes and even the MPAA, could be forgiven. They'll catch up soon enough. Music sellers eventually saw the light and switched back to a pro-revenue approach. But books! Books! You simply have no excuse for the stupidity and confusion, at all. Book sellers saying no to customers really is dumber than movie makers saying no to customers. MPAA's business incompetence has been out-dumbed!

Hate to say it... (1)

Junta (36770) | about a year ago | (#43878883)

The music industry situation was different. At the time the market went to drm-free by a landside, music playback devices by and large had no wireless or cellular radios. They were fixed-function devices that could only consume non-executable content (mostly). In that ecosystem, supporting multiple platforms was difficult to the point of being unfeasible. For the no-name cheap devices, DRM was completely out of reach. Customers more keenly felt the pitfalls of DRM given the state of the ecosystem. Even if each publisher *could* put their content into walled garden apps, the nature of how music is consumed suggests back to back playback of arbitrary selections from a customers library over the course of minutes. Also, ripping CDs was trivial for even casual users.

The state of devices used for reading and movie playback are generally internet connected and companies can deploy their own content management application. Having to navigate and switch between the applications is less disruptive relative to how much time the consumer is going to spend in one specific work. Scanning books in is in no way feasible as a casual endeavor comparing with CD ripping. All the 'no name' devices that are available are android devices meaning DRM is feasible.

I'd like to think that the music industry went mostly DRM-free because they saw it as the non-evil way to go, but it was more about feasibility and the CD market pretty much leaving the barn door open, rendering it a silly exercise to DRM protect content that is trivial to rip in other ways.

When I buy books (1)

houghi (78078) | about a year ago | (#43878915)

As a reader I want to be able to put a book on everything as soon as I buy it

When I buy books, I am able to do that. I can put it on my computer, tv, xbox. I can also put it on my bed side table, on my desk, in my car on the dashboard, in my rucksack to read it on the train.

I can sell it and buy it new or second hand. The variety is immense,

But perhaps they are not talking so much about books as they are talking about text files.

Today's Music Files are NOT DRM-free (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879395)

Not sure what illusion the author is under - many mp3 files from Amazon are DRM'd with a personal identifier. This creates a legal trail that puts you on the hook for who uses your file, with or without your permission. And their cloud storage solution will add personal identifiers to the personal music files you store there. Music took a big step forward, and now in stealth mode, they are moving right back to DRM and streaming models. Not to mention their controls on the number of devices you use, and their tracking of your devices. If music is the role model, then ebooks are not on a good course. Or course, the Amazon personal identifier is a little bit more friendly than storing my un-encrypted credit card number in the ebook files on my Barnes and Noble Nook. The ebooks folks may eventually look to Netflicks as a winning model - which is completely DRM based and you consume it all but do not own any of it.

"But DRM just does not work for consumers"? (3, Insightful)

massysett (910130) | about a year ago | (#43879517)

"But DRM just does not work for consumers"? I don't buy that. The scores of DVD and Bluray players and discs that have been sold suggests otherwise, as does the number of Netflix subscribers and the number of Kindles sold.

DRM did not work for music for two reasons. First, network access was not as ubiquitous in the Napster days as it is now. Back then, if you wanted to listen to your music on the go, you needed a local copy. Now you can get one over a cellular network. Second, there were no business models around digital music back then. Now there are. Apple of course did big business in DRMed music tracks before finally removing the DRM.

Further, if you want to put your Kindle book on everything, you can. You can read it on a PC, iPhone, Android, or Kindle.

learned what?! (1)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | about a year ago | (#43879639)

The music industry has yet to learn its lesson(s)

Is book piracy even really a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43879769)

My personal feeling is that book piracy is much less of an issue compared to music/movies.. Almost everyone I know seems to have no qualms with paying for books.

Please don't rewrite history... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43880083)

In 2003 Apple persuaded the industry to use an online music store with DRM

Not quite. There were already online music stores before Apple got into the mix. The big 5 record companies already had their music online for listening and purchase because they were persuaded by others before Apple. Rhapsody was one of them. I doubt Apple was working on behalf of other music stores 1-2 years before they released their own.

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