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Book Publishers Abandoning DRM

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the another-one-bites-the-dust dept.

Media 218

tmalone writes "The New York Times is reporting that book publishers are beginning to phase out DRM-protected audio books. This month the world's largest publisher, Random House, started offering DRM-free mp3s; Penguin has announced that it will follow suit. Their logic? DRM just doesn't work. 'Publishers, like the music labels and movie studios, stuck to DRM out of fear that pirated copies would diminish revenue. Random House tested the justification for this fear when it introduced the DRM-less concept with eMusic last fall. It encoded those audio books with a digital watermark and monitored online file sharing networks, only to find that pirated copies of its audio books had been made from physical CDs or DRM-encoded digital downloads whose anticopying protections were overridden.'"

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abandon ebooks too (1, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713526)

ebooks are an example of technophilia overwhelming common sense. they haven't yet succeeded, and they will never succeed. ebooks are NOT, repeat are NOT superior to wood pulp. sure you can use them in low light situations, but they aren't as durable and they require batteries

every new technology satisfies a need that was not satisfied before. there is no need to improve upon wood pulp when it comes to book. a paperback book beats an ebook in any way, any day. technophilia informs some people that they are an improvement, but they aren't thinking like a consumer does. a consumer looks at a paperback and an ebook and he or she chooses a paperback, every time

Re:abandon ebooks too (5, Interesting)

DKlineburg (1074921) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713554)

I disagree. I rarely if ever will pick up book anymore. I can't do it while I'm driving, while I'm jogging, or while I do a host of other things. Living in the greater Seattle area, a commute that takes an hour is common place. If you can figure out how to get back a useless hour of your time, I think that it is very profitable.

Is it not ironic... (3, Interesting)

yurivr (1252248) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713644)

that so many people listen to audiobooks in their cars? Who would have thought that poor transportation and urban sprawl lead to appreciation for literacy? Then again... automotive accidents are always on the rise, and surely most of them are due to distractions. Yet if we fix this problem, the economy fails! Efficiency is a bitch...

Re:Is it not ironic... (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714112)

Well, quite a few people also listen to them on subways, trains, buses, and airplanes. I also listen to them at the gym, and pretty much anyplace where I have to wait in line.

Re:Is it not ironic... (5, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714670)

Who would have thought that poor transportation and urban sprawl lead to appreciation for literacy?

Er, what? My idea of "literate" isn't having someone read to you.

You normal people should pity the poor hyperlex. There is no way that someone like us could enjoy a book while driving a car. When we read a novel by a good author, we become totally immersed. We are there.

When the literate drive we must unfortunately concentrate on piloting thousands of pounds of steel and avoidiong the fucktards that are paying attention to the machine that's reading to them instead of the task at hand, which SHOULD BE driving the damned car.

-mcgrew

Re:Is it not ironic... (2, Informative)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714750)

Can someone please mod up that post?

Don't listen to ebooks in the car folks. It's distracting.

There's just no way to concentrate on the book when you are dodging traffic and other drivers.

Won't someone think of the publishers?

Re:Is it not ironic... (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715062)

I can do both. I devour print books, and I throughly enjoy good audiobooks, but only while driving.

Currently the only good audiobooks I have found are: the unabridged version of "A Short History of Nearly Everything", "A Song of Ice and Fire", and anything by Alan Watts or Feynman.

Perhaps you should feel envious of the "hyperlex" who isn't incapacitated by someone reading words to them. :-)

Re:Is it not ironic... (2, Insightful)

Yev000 (985549) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715126)

I'm sorry, but thats a pretty narrow minded view...

You can quite easily drive a car while having a coversation. Quite a few people do it every day. People listen to the news on the radio in their cars. There are constant trafic announcements and none of this increases the chance to have an accident. So why are you so hostile towards Audio Books? If people should drive in total silence then why don't we have single seated cars with no audio devices?

It's quite clear that a majority of drivers enjoy having audio of some sort in their cars otherwise *all* cars would not be sold with speakers as standard. In todays world where safety is God, do you really think audio equipment in cars would still be there as standard if it significantly increased the risk of having an accident?

Now you could argue that it diverts attention significantly enough to cause an accident... But then so do police cars and speed cameras... Maybe we should not have those on the roads too hmm? After all, I could be glacing at that police car instead of putting my breaks on one day...

Re:abandon ebooks too (4, Insightful)

Archtech (159117) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713728)

One of the big lessons we all need to learn is this: People are different!

Some get addicted to drugs; others don't.
Some have their health ruined by alcohol; others drink like fish yet remain fairly healthy.
Some get sick when they eat certain foods; others thrive on them.
Some lose weight by exercising; others don't (true; look it up).
And some will never give up paper books, while others will be happy to do so.

It makes life more complicated, but also more fun.

Re:abandon ebooks too (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714054)

Agreed, I have no problem reading a book on my PDA. I don't worry about "batteries" or the likes, I just read on it. It doesn't make it any less of an experience - the words are the same, just a different medium. It's kind of amusing seeing people react this way to new mediums on a "news for nerds" website... very very amusing.

AUDIO book (2, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713738)

I think you and the parent are talking about different things. eBooks SHOULD be digital books, text documents. You are talking about AUDIO books, books being read by someone. Note how he talks about low-light, while you talk about driving.

Granted, the original article gets pretty confused about it as well.

Re:AUDIO book (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714704)

The summary only mentions audiobooks, though naturally I haven't RTFA. I would love to see DRM on download service audiobooks (Audible, etc) disappear. I really have no interest in eBooks but that's beside the point - I don't want DRM on them either should I get an interest (on the odd occasion I've wanted one, I'll just search that part of the internet for some manually-transcribed copy - I already own the dead tree edition).

Re:abandon ebooks too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22715320)

If you can figure out how to get back a useless hour of your time, I think that it is very profitable.


Where practical, use public transit.

Most people consider commuting a waste of time, but it can be useful. During the (Canadian) winter I take transit, and do a whole bunch of reading. During the warmer months, I live close enough to where I work that I can cycle, so I'm getting "free" exercise.

Some people simply stare out the window, and unless they're meditating/praying, then they really are wasting their time.

While audio books may be good if you drive to commute, the question I have is: are you paying attention to the book or are you paying attention to the road?

Re:abandon ebooks too (3, Interesting)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713598)

Since the only ebooks I've purchased are Role-Playing Game modules, I'd have to disagree. Going cover to cover: yes, I enjoy physical books much more. But searching for a tidbit of information (for school projects as well, in which Google Books is quite the useful tool), I prefer the ability to search through an entire text for a single word instead of flipping through a book for the page I need.

Re:abandon ebooks too (3, Insightful)

bistromath007 (1253428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713614)

Actually, the main problem with ebooks now that paper-like displays are seeing some progress is the cost. $400 for a Kindle is just nasty. When the cost comes down, people will snap those up like crazy, because it's all the benefits of ebooks without the eye strain that kept them away from the concept before. I know I want one, and I've always hated reading stuff on a screen.

Re:abandon ebooks too (3, Interesting)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713706)

Actually, the main problem with ebooks now that paper-like displays are seeing some progress is the cost. $400 for a Kindle is just nasty

Actually, $400 is basically free, if you are a heavy reader. Kindle books seem to be uniformly, and significantly, cheaper than the non-Kindle editions. A heavy reader will make up that $400 in a year or so, and then start pulling ahead.

Re:abandon ebooks too (1)

Wdomburg (141264) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713888)

There are plenty of heavy readers who don't have a big (or any) book budget. See, there's these things called libraries...

Re:abandon ebooks too (2, Interesting)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713918)

Your comment ignores the plethora of free content for ebook readers. Never heard of Project Gutenberg [gutenberg.org] ? And it's not the only game in town, lots of publishers are trying to raise interest by free giveaways, at least in the science fiction / fantasy genre (Tor, Baen).

> if you are a heavy reader. -----> if you are a heavy reader of expensive enough ebooks.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:abandon ebooks too (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714702)

Some of you people make WAY too much money! "Basically free" is the Public Library. Those of us who have to work for our money only buy the books that are so amazingly good that we know we'll re-read them. E.G. Asimov or Adams.

I'm not carrying around a four hundred dollar device that I can easily lose or break.

Then, there's the library (1)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715072)

"A heavy reader will make up that $400 in a year or so, and then start pulling ahead."

Use the library. The Kindle falls behind to start and falls further behind with each book you read.

Plus, librarians are sexy! They're fighting for our 1st amendment rights.

Re:abandon ebooks too (4, Informative)

Rolgar (556636) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713664)

Wrong


1. Searching: An index is nice, but I can think of times that I'd rather be able to search.
2. Portability: With an ebook reader, you can carry your entire library in a device the size of a piece of paper. Sure you have have to charge it, but you've got to sleep some time, right?
3. Commenting: The ability to markup the book without damaging it book in some way.
4. The ability to make as many bookmarks as you want. I don't know if any reader has instituted this yet, but this would be a killer feature that would allow you to mark all your favorite pages/passages so you can jump to any of them in a second.
5. Portable bookstore: Decide you want to read something but don't have the time to go to the bookstore, download the book to your computer or directly to your reader.
6. Unlimited selection: Everything ever published will eventually be available to be loaded on my ebook reader, but I have real difficulty with the selection available to me at local bookstores, especially with the lack of older titles available.

What is stopping me from getting into the ebook game now are the cost and features of the readers available. I never pay the early adopter tax, but within five years, I'll probably get a reader. I'm also not interested in paying the same price as I would at the bookstore for a new hardback, because the bookstore and it's share of the price shouldn't be necessary any longer, but as long as I can wait a year and get the book at half of the paperback cost, I'll be sold.

My take on ebooks and readers (2, Interesting)

zotz (3951) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713902)

My take on ebooks and readers:

http://zotzbro.blogspot.com/2007/11/ereaders-and-ebooks.html [blogspot.com]

Summary:

You need a great reader at a great price.

eBooks should be way less than regular books people.

Have every regular book come with an eBook in a sleeve in the back or have a code printed in it that allows for a free download of the book.

A bit more at the link and a place for more permanent comments.

all the best,

drew
http://zotzbro.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

7. Variable type (2, Insightful)

davide marney (231845) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714044)

7. Variable type: With an ebook reader, you can zoom the font size to suit your needs and/or abilities. Invaluable.

Re:7. Variable type (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22714212)

8. No need to hold the screen.

9. No need to turn pages.

10. Flexible pagination.

I've used both a TV and a computer monitor to read PDF ebooks from my couch with the scroll wheel of a wireless mouse, with the font size greatly increased as you mentioned. Adobe Reader with PDFs is really the worst case scenario compared to dedicated ebook readers, but even it has good options for reading ebooks. Set to Reading Mode, Continuous Pages (no page breaks) and Reflow zoom level. Then you can just scroll line-by-line.

Much more convenient than holding a book, keeping it from closing, and turning pages. Can never get comfortable with books. It's so tiring. I'd rather read practically hands-free from my couch. Did I mention I'm really lazy?

Re:7. Variable type (1)

Rolgar (556636) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715042)

I had forgotten about number 7. For number 10, ebooks might move to passage/paragraph numbers.

11. Clutter: My wife hates my book collection because it takes up space. I still have the books because I might want to read them some day, but all I'm really interested in is the words, not the paper they're written on. Once we can store them on paper, they are stored on the reader and your computer, but you don't have to use physical space to store them.
12. Back-up-able: Put all your books on a physical disk the way you back up your pictures, and store in your bank safety deposit box the way you do your pictures, and your library is safe from most disasters that you'd have to worry about.
13. Organization: Instead of figuring out how to physically store your books, and having to remember where each title is, you can use tags (author, genre, etc.) or search instead.
14. Magazines and newspapers should become e-zines, and you should be able to have the entire collection of whatever magazine you like, or excerpt the articles you like and ditch the rest in short order. You should be able to pull your newspaper down from anywhere. Popular columnists can go 'independent,' and you would be able to get their newsletter, weekly column, etc. with one or two ads from their own website.
15. Lower cost of entry for authors: You might see books released directly by an author that can't find a publisher, but one big, good review, and they'd find an audience. The author would get nearly all of the money by setting up an account to bill readers who voluntarily pay like with the Radiohead and NIN recent web releases. Some might write a book, and offer to release it once a certain amount of money has been pre-paid against the release of the book by fans of the author who are waiting for the next release. This might result in the return of the serial, the original episodic content.

The only advantages to using a paper book are temporary (mostly technical) limitations that can eventually be overcome. The biggest obstacle will be the formatting and DRM issues (mentioned elsewhere, and which I agree with) and publisher reluctance, much like what the music industry is progressing through.

Re:abandon ebooks too (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714284)

Here's the problem. ebooks need to be published that can take advantage of that. I dont give a rats ass that I can search the entire unabridged text of necromancer. I want the service manuals for all my cars, all my textbooks, several programming books, and other technical documents on the ebook reader.

I cant get them. Ebooks and ebook readers are useless toys until the publishers pull their heads out of their asses and publish what the format is designed for and would shine best at. Technical information and textbooks for education.

Until then they are just toys that are a passing curiosity. Get me my textbooks, my technical manuals, and my research books on a ebook reader. THEN and only then they will be useful and adopted widely.

Re:abandon ebooks too (2, Interesting)

txoof (553270) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714322)

Ebooks are a fantastic invention for the following reasons:

1. Searching: An index is nice, but I can think of times that I'd rather be able to search.
3. Commenting: The ability to markup the book without damaging it book in some way.
4. The ability to make as many bookmarks as you want. I don't know if any reader has instituted this yet, but this would be a killer feature that would allow you to mark all your favorite pages/passages so you can jump to any of them in a second.
College kids would die for those features in their text books, not to mention the whole portability thing. Lugging 30 pounds of books from class to class is never fun. As somebody who studied literature and science in university, I would have loved having all of Shakespeare at my fingertips in a highly search able format. No more skimming and poking around for the verse I wanted. Also, being able to search a chemistry text for the word "redux" or "hydronium" or whatever would have saved me tons of time when studying. The book marking feature is brilliant as well.

Unfortunately, for the some of same reasons an ebook is perfect, it also is lacking.
1. Searching instead of an index - I've stumbled upon countless, worthwhile side tracks while flipping to a particular page. It's sort of like finding a hidden treasure right there in the book you've used hundreds of times. You're digging through your perl book, looking for how to parse a string and you stumble on some database function that is EXACTLY what you need for some other project. That just doesn't happen when you search. It's serendipity at its best.
2. Commenting - buying a used book with someone else's comments is both entertaining and incredibly helpful. I don't think I would have made it through some political science classes without some of the notes scribbled in the margins of my text books. I had no idea what the hell I was doing and some of the summaries in the margins really helped me along. Today, when I borrow a cook book from someone and find all sorts of notes in the margin, it's like a gift of insight from a much more talented chef.
3. Bookmarks - On that one, I agree, bookmarks in dead-tree books suck. They fall out, they're not at all transmittable between copies.

What I'd really love to see is some sort of hybrid Ebook. A book with REAL e-paper pages and perhaps an input pad that you could write on with a stylus. You could write notes on the pad and insert them INTO the "margins" of the document where ever you wanted. I enjoy the act of turning a page; that could be simulated with a 4 page epaper book with some sort of ADVANCE> button that would display another set of pages. It wouldn't satisfy my desire for skimming, but the portability would be phenomenal.

Re:abandon ebooks too (3, Interesting)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713676)

I disagree. Ebooks are fantastically useful. I can pack 100 books onto a PocketPC and have something to read. It's just that so far book publishers and distributors have released their books in proprietary formats, slathered with DRM and that only play on devices they deign to release readers on. Consequently the whole ebook scene has been transformed into a wasteland of warring factions where no standards prevail and the attraction of the concept has fallen through the floor. Amazon Kindle is just an extension of this, choosing to implement yet another proprietary format and ensuring support for popular (free) file formats is minimal.

Publishers really need to pull their finger out and adopt a common book file format with no active DRM. The consequence of not doing so is ebooks languish. People who want books in an electronic format will just grab them them anyway through P2P, IRC or wherever and the publishers will get nothing at all. Once an industry standard format appears, the format has a good chance of taking off.

I also think the experience of ebooks and music should be a lesson for digital video downloads. People would have to be stupid to *buy* digital movies from Amazon, Sony, Microsoft, Apple, Netflix or whoever when the content is locked to a handful of supported devices and you are at the mercy of the provider to manage your collection. I don't want to have to own two or three software players, or only be able to play some movies on some devices. Just like with ebooks most people will just turn to P2P instead.

Drop the DRM. Piracy happens whether DRM is there or not. Dropping the DRM just means more people will buy their direct download videos rather than get it on P2P or copy it from DVD.

mnb Re:abandon ebooks too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22714192)

Consequently the whole ebook scene has been transformed into a wasteland of warring factions...

I thought you were talking about #bookz on undernet for a moment there.

Re:abandon ebooks too (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714730)

It's just that so far book publishers and distributors have released their books in proprietary formats, slathered with DRM and that only play on devices they deign to release readers on

That's just abysmally STUPID. They're not going to sell me one! The only format I'll buy any book in is plain ASCII text.

Re:abandon ebooks too (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715068)

That's just abysmally STUPID. They're not going to sell me one! The only format I'll buy any book in is plain ASCII text.

PDF would suit me fine assuming it could reflow content to the screen reader / font settings. Alternatively HTML and / or XML with suitable layout would be perfectly adequate for 99% of books. Text just doesn't convey adequate information for presentation.

It should be totally possible for the industry to produce a standard around either PDF or HTML. I'm sure they would lose some sales to piracy, but then they save a bundle by not having to manage DRM as well as the resurgence in sales that a common format would bring. If they have to tag content, they can do so via HTML tricks that do not affect the visible layout.

Re:abandon ebooks too (1)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713686)

The article is about audio books, not ebooks.

Re:abandon ebooks too (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713714)

e-books are kinda valuable to libraries in the third world where care and maintenance of computers is easier than care and maintenance of thousands of books.

MOD parent up (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714726)

This is actually very important. Like school books, these are a huge costs to societies to maintain books. In addition, libraries suffer in that only one person can access a material at a time. For schools, that has normally meant that children are competing for a resource. Now a resource is infinite and at little cost to preserve.

Just thinking about it, I wonder if some form of DRM should be developed and made free for readers that will enable a time limited access to a resource. That would enable a library to buy an e-book. The only problem is that companies will take the idea, pervert it and destroy the concept before it has time to take hold.

Re:abandon ebooks too (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715226)

Long duration copyright is an issue.

Assuming copyright the problems are:

Physical library:
Minus- hundreds can't read the same book if there's only one copy.
Plus- hundreds can decide to borrow other books and read them.

Digital library:
Minus- _each_ human reader needs to use an expensive device, and due to copyright and DRM you might still only be able to have one copy floating about :).
Plus- someone gets rich out of selling those devices and DRM ;).

If it weren't for copyright most stuff would be digitized then the library would just put books onto CDs or paper on demand (or in anticipation of demand).

If copyright were 7 years, authors would still make money from people who can't wait 7 years to read some book, or queue up for that one copy the library has.

Re:abandon ebooks too (3, Insightful)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713754)

a paperback book beats an ebook in any way, any day
Really? How much will you bet me that you can do a text search on your paperback faster than I can on my ebook?

Re:abandon ebooks too (1)

Nemilar (173603) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715106)

I have to say, I love Google for their book search. I never read eBooks in their entirety; if I'm doing research I'll read a few relevant passages (again, Google book search to find them), but other than that I can't stand reading pages of text on my LCD. Dead-tree format is the way to go.

But you are 100% right - you can't "search" a physical book the way you can when it's digitized. Enter Google book search; if I own a book and want to find a particular passage, I can usually remember a few keywords to search for, and find it within seconds. I honestly don't know how people got along before search!

Re:abandon ebooks too (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713924)

I own tens of thousands of books. I love books... everything about books. Having said all of that, I also find myself pining for the next version of iRex Iliad (the current version being oh so close to compelling) and I find myself listening to more and more spoken word audio content. I have completely replaced broadcast radio with serialized Podcast presentations from NPR, BBC, APM, and variety of other producers. I have found the internet awash with audio presentations of older books, scholarly lectures, current technical news, and political science, news & opinion.

I still subscribe to a few paper magazines (Nature, Science & Analog) and I still buy paper books. But I am not so interested in buying new books about computers, technology, or those awfully expensive books from the likes of CRC which are in my scientific discipline.

Professionally my main product is paper. I write designs of experiment, investigation reports, details of design, summary of design, lists of essential requirements, test results, service & users manuals... all of which wind up both as a digital copy and as a paper copy. My office is dominated by bookshelves and binders. Using my laptop to bring a digital copy of these documents to meetings has proven to be unsatisfactory. Bringing the paper copy is pain in the ass. The idea of having a wirelessly capable eBook which allows me to markup local copies of archival documents is really, really interesting.

So I'll disagree with your assertions but I'll keep all my books.

Re:abandon ebooks too (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713964)

The ebook fills a few needs for me.

1) wireless internet on the small and cheap
2) A good way to read Project Gutenberg (this is the big one, there is probably enough "required" reading I have not read to pay for a Kindle
3) If I want to read something more than a short paper back it is easier to travel with
4) If I am traveling long enough that I want 2 books it is easier to travel with

All that said, I am not ready to drop $400.00 because of the durability issue. But come $200.00 or less, I will be buying one happily.

Re:abandon ebooks too (2, Informative)

Eivind (15695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714078)

As you just pointed out, Ebooks -are- infact superior to wood-pulp books in some ways, and inferior in other ways.

As long as that remains so, they will suceed in some uses and fail in others. Notice how wood-pulp books are unlikely to improve much over the next few decades but Ebooks are certain to do so though, this likely means that ebooks will get more popular over time.

Advantages:
  • Can be read in darkness
  • Saves space physically.
  • Free when the content is. (there is much free content)
  • Cheaper than paper to buy content.
  • Search, bookmarks, annotations, integration of errata
  • Instant availability of content wherever there is a net-connection.
  • User-selectable font-sizes (good for people with poor eyesight)


Disadvantages:
  • More expensive reading-device (~$400 versus ~$0)
  • Reading-device requires batteries
  • Less durable


Re:abandon ebooks too (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714218)

you can use them in low light situations, but they aren't as durable and they require batteries


I thought an ebook was simply a txt or pdf file, and an example for an "ebook reader" is less or Acrobat? What format do the files for these hardware gadgets have, and can they be read on a normal PC without buying expensive electronic toys and supplying them with batteries?

The issue so far (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714574)

has been the ability to get books on a reader. At this time, I have been unable to load anything interesting on an ebookwise reader. IOW, it was 100 poorly spent. Once the DRM gets dropped, I would load many different books on it. But I also do not want to 400 for a reader. That is ridiculous. Once a real reader is available for ~100 AND they have the ability to easily load books AND the books are available, then we will see a massive take off. And yes, the publishers will back these. Why? Because book printings costs money. So does the equipment, the ppl, etc. In fact, once these take off, we will see paper-backs disappear slowly. Hard and leather covers will make a resurgence. Companies like Easton press will actually do BETTER, not worse. But the all the paper back companies will disappear within 10 years of the above condition.
BTW, the reason why easton will do better is that paperbacks compete against them, while e-books will actually show what books to print.

Re:abandon ebooks too (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714976)

I'm afraid you missed the memo.

A lot of my friends are going to these lately and report being happy with them. They must have passed some critical point of quality.

I do not have one myself yet. With carpal tunnel, I'll probably stick with wood pulp.

So, so wrong (1)

nightsweat (604367) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714996)

I'm exactly the kind of consumer marketers want to get. I buy things only when they make sense and I usually influence friends and family to buy the same thing because I make smart choices. I'm about 15% away from buying an e-book reader, and if the Kindle looked like the Sony reader or if the Sony had the instant download and instant buy feature of the Kindle, I'd have bought one.

My wife is a doctor and she lugs huge books around with her - up to 20-25 pounds at a time. If she could put those books into an e-book reader, she'd do it in a minute.

duh. (4, Insightful)

Dance_Dance_Karnov (793804) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713528)

the blindingly obvious usually will win out in time.

Re:duh. (4, Insightful)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713574)

I think this is needed as a tag for this article - suddenoutbreakofcommonsense.

Isn't this all based on something we try to teach children? If you give someone trust then they will do the right thing, but if you're instantly distrustful then they're never going to do the right thing.

Hurrah for non-DRM! It's good to see they put some effort in to this rather than just going "we must put digital restricting management on the files because of 'teh leet haxxorz' who will cost us trillions of dollars and destroy the world economy by being selfish enough to want to do what they wish with the file they've paid for".

If only I had the cabling to format-shift my two Discworld audio book tapes.

Re:duh. (3, Insightful)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713886)

Way to not read!

Isn't this all based on something we try to teach children? If you give someone trust then they will do the right thing, but if you're instantly distrustful then they're never going to do the right thing.
From the blurb

It encoded those audio books with a digital watermark and monitored online file sharing networks, only to find that pirated copies of its audio books had been made from physical CDs or DRM-encoded digital downloads whose anticopying protections were overridden.
People are going to pirate whether their is DRM or not, which is pretty much what their study found.. the DRM did not stop piracy, so why pay extra for a mechanism that doesn't work and inconveniences legitimate purchasers?

duh-Mirror, mirror on the wall... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22714108)

Agreed and the more insightful observation is that the OP wanted this whole situation to be a "they trust us" situation when it clearly wasn't. Interesting how humans want to look good even when they behave badly. Maybe we'll grow up enough to become the myth in the mirror?

Re:duh. (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714258)

Way not to read! From the blurb:

It encoded those audio books with a digital watermark and monitored online file sharing networks, only to find that pirated copies of its audio books had been made from physical CDs or DRM-encoded digital downloads whose anticopying protections were overridden.


People are pirating the DRM/physical versions, where as the watermarked versions (from the use and meaning of the phrase "only to find") weren't pirated (or were to a much lower level as to be insignificant). That reads (to me) as "people who were given DRM-free audio books were happier with them and didn't feel the need to pirate them". The reason they chose not to could, by human nature, be because they're being trusted and not restricted/instantly put under suspicion and locked out like criminals.

Re:duh. (1)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714536)

That reads (to me) as "people who were given DRM-free audio books were happier with them and didn't feel the need to pirate them".
Or the DRM release was available way before the DRM-free release and pirated first by a piracy group looking to sell it on in China or release it for some 'scene kudos'.

Re:duh. (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714430)

"Isn't this all based on something we try to teach children? If you give someone trust then they will do the right thing, but if you're instantly distrustful then they're never going to do the right thing."

Actually, I'd say it's kind of the obverse - what I've learned as an adult: that people who are basically honest assume others are too. If someone immediately assumes you're a lying, cheating, deceitful SOB, that's usually a key clue that THEY are in fact lying, cheating, or simply a deceitful SOB.

I believe psychologists call it transference; I'd simply say it's a matter of seeing the world through your own particular glasses. If you are constantly thinking of lying and ways to cheat people, then you're going to naturally assume others are too.

Re:duh. (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715266)

That wasn't quite my point. Yes, you can over generalise and there will always be people who are inherently going to cheat, but if you're given a position of responsibility then people will often be responsible because they have been given something extra and feel they should show it was worth giving it to them.

The other similar one is respect. A lot of people complain that they don't get respect from youngsters and yet they won't give respect themselves. Once you start giving respect then you start getting respect, as many "these kids are unruly" experiments have shown. Yes, it might take some time, but it can work.

Re:duh. (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714790)

Everyone thinks everyone else is like them. It's just human nature.

I used to go to Planet Crap years ago, and was struck that the publishers and heads of game companies who commented there who were in favor of DRM all admitted to being copyright infringing pirates when in college.

Thieves expect everyone else to steal, violent people expect violence and honest men expect honesty. Basically, anyone who insists that DRM is necessary is a thief.

Baen (1)

Ruie (30480) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713632)

And some did the right thing way back:

Baen Webscriptions [webscription.net] , Baen free library [baen.com]

Re:duh. (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713858)

Yes, but it won't be long until they come up with a business-solution to the drm-problem ... audiobooks with embedded advertising.

Goatse! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22713878)

Blindingly disgusting [twofo.co.uk]

You nerds love it.

Audible.com not allowing non DRM books (4, Informative)

DKlineburg (1074921) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713540)

I understand this was originally causing quite a stir with Audible.com [audible.com] . Audible stats that it will not allow any non DRM books to be placed on there site. Even if the author requests that they do so. I know of one author mentioned on TWIT - This Week In Tech [twit.tv] . (I believe was John C Dvorak, but can't remember) that we was not going to put his book up on Audible.com just for the reason he wanted it not DRM'd. With all the major book companies shifting to a none DRM format, I wonder if sites like this that are smaller will change there attitude.

Re:Audible.com not allowing non DRM books (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713572)

Even pdf ebooks are f*cked up. The one I bought from PACKT Publishing [in the UK] was watermarked with my email and mailing address [fine, didn't interfere with me using it], but the book also has errata. A) They don't have a version with the errata applied [which has been expounded as being a reason for having ebooks, because they are SO EASY TO UPDATE]. B) The permissions on the PDF are set so I can't even manually add annotations to the various pages with the errata

Re:Audible.com not allowing non DRM books (4, Insightful)

allcar (1111567) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713604)

Audible insists on DRM, so I won't use audible.
Whenever the free, pirated version is technically superior to the costly commercial version, the business case is on pretty rocky ground.
There are an increasing number of examples showing that people will pay real money for products that can easily be obtained for nothing, but it must be worth their while. Well presented, high quality, DRM free recording, perhaps accompanied by supporting extras, such as maps and illustrations will sell. The recent experiment by the Nine Inch Nails is an excellent example of people being prepared to pay for a premium product.

Avoid Audible.com for your own peace of mind (5, Interesting)

justsomecomputerguy (545196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713782)

As the unwilling DRM expert in the school district I work for, I've told all the Librarians to NOT buy from either the Apple iTunes store or Audible.com, to instead buy the books as CD's or even Cassette Tapes and then make their own DRM-less MP3 files for use on the players the district checks out to students.

We don't do this to get around copyright law, we buy as many copies as are made available, but it is simply NOT WORTH THE TIME AND TROUBLE to deal with DRM.

Re:Avoid Audible.com for your own peace of mind (2, Insightful)

douthat (568842) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714828)

Both Audible and iTunes audio books support CD Burning out of the box. If it is your prerogative, you can then rip the CDs to DRM-free mp3s or oggs, or whatever. The DRM is annoying, but not invasive, but using these services is really about the instant gratification. (You can also authorize your audible account on a seemingly endless number of computers and devices. There are also apparently some tools to strip the DRM in pure software.)

Re:Audible.com not allowing non DRM books (2, Informative)

Alon Tal (784059) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713752)

It was Cory Doctorow who complained about Audible's mandatory DRM, in TWiT 124 [twit.tv] , around the 43 minute mark.

DRM only; 404 compatibility soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22713824)

Coming soon, to a website near you.

Re:Audible.com not allowing non DRM books (1)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713912)

I shall watch with interest to see who wins out: the large publishers or Audible.com

I tried Audible.com last month - I actually tried to get into Audio books full stop, but on Linux it's a miserable disaster. All the methods I tried failed - for obvious reasons. Audible, however, while having the best site, quality and selection, was the worst experience. Their subscription model is hard to get your head around - especially if you are trying from scratch. And by the time you find out you can't use it on Linux you've paid for your first month, downloaded your first book and tried in vain to get it to play. Canceling the subscription proved equally tricky - to the extent that I'm not altogether sure if I have canceled it.

I think not having support for Linux is a bad idea. Not because of any Linux fanboy nonsense, but because I would imagine that the market share for Linux in the segment of 'People who will download and listen to audio books' is much higher than the normal 'Desktop' market share. Hey, I wanted to do it - and I was willing to pay for it.

I know that my father (committed to Windows) for instance would never do this - he would always prefer to have a physical copy of a book or CD - as would I think most of his generation, and the younger Win-generation (get off my lawn) wouldn't be into audio books (from an opportunity cost perspective).

Anyway, I gave up. Yesterday I bought the CD version of 'Slaughter House 5' - I couldn't find anything else I was interested in. I know, I know - it's better in book form.

Re:Audible.com not allowing non DRM books (1)

Kredal (566494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713956)

If you have not called them on the phone and waited on hold for 15-30 minutes, your account is probably still active.

Good luck.

Re:Audible.com not allowing non DRM books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22714612)

I understand this was originally causing quite a stir with Audible.com. Audible stats(states) that it will not allow any non DRM books to be placed on there(their) site. Even if the author requests that they do so. I know of one author mentioned on TWIT - This Week In Tech. (I believe was John C Dvorak, but can't remember) that we(he) was not going to put his book up on Audible.com just for the reason he wanted it not DRM'd. With all the major book companies shifting to a none(non-) DRM format, I wonder if sites like this that are smaller will change there(their) attitude.

I'm not even going to get into the punctuation and grammar issues. I'm not usually spelling/grammar Nazi, but your manner of writing is painful.

Re:Audible.com not allowing non DRM books (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714850)

placed on there site... change there attitude...

Their literacy is over there.

Once is a typo, twice in the same comment is either a non-English speaker or an illiterate. Ironic that in a thread about literacy you get comments from people who can't spell a five letter word.

Re:Audible.com not allowing non DRM books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22715040)

The author you're thinking of was Cory Doctorow. That was a bloody hilarious episode, considering the show is barely anything more than rolling adverts for audible.com and apple products. They more than made up for it with butt kissing the following week.

Are they even listening? (3, Informative)

Gareshra (1216996) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713542)

I realize almost everyone here knew this back when this whole thing began, but I fear that the music and movie industries will largely ignore this, or, worse, try to improve upon it somehow. The current models are failing, but they don't want to admit it. They'll probably continue investing more into an arms race they can't win. Maybe a mixture of diminishing sales and wasted money will cripple them enough that others can rise up and take their place.

Re:Are they even listening? (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713934)

``I realize almost everyone here knew this back when this whole thing began,
but I fear that the music and movie industries will largely ignore this,
or, worse, try to improve upon it somehow.''

I don't mind if they improve it. If they can come up with a scheme that
allows legitimate use (using the software and hardware of _my_ choice,
thank you very much) while making unauthorized use harder, I will be
happy. The problem I have with current DRM schemes is that they
restrict legitimate use (which then isn't even legitimate anymore,
due to _incredibly_ stupid laws).

``The current models are failing, but they don't want to admit it.''

Sometimes, I think we only _think_ they are failing, because we fail
to see what they are really after.

At other times, I think it works like this. The DRM schemes aren't
developed by the entities whose intellectual property they are used
to "protect". Rather, they are developed by companies that then
proceed to market their technology to the rights owners. Sort of
along the lines of "You are losing millions because of piracy.
Our proprietary technology (hence, you can only buy it from us)
will help protect your intellectual property and curb lost sales."
In other words, it's the old "sow fear, harvest meek sheeple"
tactic. Any technically inclined person will see that the DRM
scheme won't help against piracy and will only harm legitimate use,
but it's not being marketed to technically inclined people, it's
being marketed to managers. And it sounds like a good idea: for
a small fee, you can protect against millions in lost sales.
Clever marketing. The same thing that makes so many other
lousy products successful.

Apparently, the people in at least one company got the bright
idea to actually measure and compare the DRMful situation with the
DRMless situation. And they apparently came to the conclusion
that DRM costs them more then it gains them. Hurray! They've
done their homework, and their new policy is good for them and
good for their customers. Win-win. It's how business is
supposed to be.

``They'll probably continue investing more into an arms race
they can't win.''

Likely some will, some won't. Corporations are already getting off
the DRM bandwagon. Perhaps more of them will do a cost-benefit
analysis. Perhaps they will come to the conclusion that DRM
is a net loss to them. Perhaps they will discontinue buying into
it. Or perhaps they will continue to fall for clever marketing.

``Maybe a mixture of diminishing
sales and wasted money will cripple them enough that others can rise up
and take their place.''

Now this is the real problem. This is what would happen if there
were healthy competition. But in the world of entertainment, money
and power are concentrated in a handful of players. Often, this
is reinforced by laws. Actual competition is difficult and
sometimes even illegal. Fortunately, the Internet and the examples
of open source, Wikipedia, file sharing programs, etc. make it
easy to experiment and provide ideas for directions for
expirimentation. New and better models will develop and, in time,
may even prevail.

Re:Are they even listening? (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714058)

I realize almost everyone here knew this back when this whole thing began, but I fear that the music and movie industries will largely ignore this, or, worse, try to improve upon it somehow. The current models are failing, but they don't want to admit it. They'll probably continue investing more into an arms race they can't win. Maybe a mixture of diminishing sales and wasted money will cripple them enough that others can rise up and take their place.
I'm not so sure. There have already been moves to get music DRM free. Now Audio books seem to be following suit, so perhaps the penny is finally dropping. DRM is not a safeguard, its a challenge.

Good, now I can start pirating them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22713562)

no text

Re:Good, now I can start pirating them. (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714898)

This is a nerd site, not an RIAA lawyer site, Mr Troll.

Is the sky falling? (2, Insightful)

49152 (690909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713580)

From the article: "Our feeling is that D.R.M. is not actually doing anything to prevent piracy," said Ms. McIntosh of Random House Audio.

Wtf? A business person actually seeing whats been f...king obvious for years now? :-)

Re:Is the sky falling? (2, Interesting)

mSparks43 (757109) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714528)

its better than that, they're saying DRM encourages piracy, which makes a funny kind of sense, since even if you buy DRM'd stuff, you then have to turn to the file sharing networks to get the non DRM stuff.

Re:Is the sky falling? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714952)

Too bad they still haven't figured out that "piracy" isn't costing them a dime but can actually increase revinues, but DRM does cost them money.

DRM costs them qite a bit money they would get from me if I didn't refuse to buy it, and I imagine a lot of other people's money as well.

OTOH how many people bought a legitimate copy of something they originally got through shady means? Quite a few.

DRM is brain-dead stupid.

I'm impressed. (4, Interesting)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713592)

How often does a company actually get the queue and do something right? The fact that they tested their assumption and made a move based on evidence is praise worthy. Not that they will give up, but at least they figured out how they aren't going to win.

Maybe these books that everyone talks about actually do make you smarter.

Me too (1)

filabrazila (1254368) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713740)

Long time lurker (many years), first time poster. I just created a slashdot login, just so I could comment on this story. My comment beside what I've said so far is thus: HELL YES! VIVA LA REVOLUTION! FOR RANDOM HOUSE IS A JOLLY GOOD FELLOW! ETC! Finally a story worthy of my awesome posting powers.

Re:Me too (0, Offtopic)

that_itch_kid (1155313) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713818)

Long time lurker (many years), first time poster. I just created a slashdot login, just so I could comment on this story.

Shame on you - you DO realise that you could have had a UID < 1000000, right!?!?

Re:Me too (0, Offtopic)

filabrazila (1254368) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713914)

Yes, but in Soviet Russia, I DON'T realize that you shame on me, but do realize that you are UID > 1000000 right you!?!? WTF! FTW! teh f1rst POST!!!

Did I do it right?

Re:I'm impressed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22713952)

Yeah, I'm doubly impressed, not merely that they've made the right decision, but that they actually tested the effectiveness of DRM first. It's a practical and scientific approach to the issue.

It makes you wonder what kind of ignorant yahoos are running other businesses forking over huge amounts of money to the companies that make "invincible" DRM products that also don't work. At some point it's got to dawn on the majority of business people that these companies are selling them expensive snake oil, leading to loss of revenue both because of the cost of the stuff, and because the price for the consumer is necessarily higher and that will decrease sales.

DRM is one more technical obstacle between the product and the customer, it hinders fair use rights that customers are entitled to under copyright law, it costs money, and it doesn't work. How many more reasons do companies need to realize it isn't worth the hassle?

About the only circumstance where I can see DRM being worthwhile is for highly specialized and expensive software, not mass market stuff, and in that situation you may as well supply a unique hardware dongle to do the job. People will hate it just as much, but at least it is easily transferable and is slightly more difficult to circumvent.

I'm impressed-lost nose on first try. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22714178)

"How often does a company actually get the queue and do something right? The fact that they tested their assumption and made a move based on evidence is praise worthy. Not that they will give up, but at least they figured out how they aren't going to win."

Depends on how you define "win"? If it means that we get less books in fewer variety in easy to copy formats, then no we haven't "won"? The physical dead-tree form is still the best "RM" the book publishing industry has despite the proliforation of scanners. The other half as I'm finding out is that geeks (the one's doing most of the pirating) have a rather limited selection. There's a wide range of fiction not available on pirate networks not to mention genres completely absent. The only ones who should worry are the niche publishers with their higher than prices.

Re:I'm impressed. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714522)

How often does a company actually get the queue and do something right?

"get the queue"? Are you sure you're using it right? I've never seen that expression before. Maybe you mean "get a clue"?

Re:I'm impressed. (1)

phaunt (1079975) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714706)

"get the queue"? Are you sure you're using it right? I've never seen that expression before. Maybe you mean "get a clue"?
Or: get the cue [reference.com] .

Re:I'm impressed. (1)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714982)

Correct, thank you.

All this speed posting has got me publishing embarrassing errors with no recourse!

Good. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22713766)

The book publishers (and other content publishers while we're at it) need to stop trying to create artificial scarcity. They're sitting on huge back catalogs of material -- thanks to the automatically lengthening copyright terms around the world -- and they're letting it languish unpublished while they're busy fretting about piracy.

Yesterday I was on Amazon.com trying to find four decent sci-fi books for light reading. It took me maybe an hour and a half to actually find books to buy because time and time again when I would search for titles that people were recommending online they were out of print. That's just asinine.

Alright, it's not asinine from the standpoint that perhaps they won't make money if they do another 10,000 run of a book that's deep enough in obscurity that it'll only sell 500 copies. But it doesn't have to be that way. If they could work with electronics manufacturers to create a decent, cheap and restriction-unencumbered eBook reader they could be pushing out one-off digital copies for pennies on the dollar. And they don't even have to put money or time into advertising the old stuff -- if it's any good, people are searching the Internet for it already and the publishers (and authors) are losing sales to the used book market and piracy.

In conclusion, publishers, please remember what you're in business for. We'll all profit for it.

They really would be better off with just PDFs (3, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713820)

What the publishers need to do is make an agreement with a few distribution channels to get their books out there in PDF format incredibly cheap. If I could buy a typical $8 paperback book on the iTMS and sync it to my iPod Touch for $3, I'd buy a lot more books. Not only that, but if you got it down to around $3, the publisher would have much fewer worries about piracy because it'd be clearly discounted for internet sales. One of the things that is just asinine is that most ebooks cost as much as the printed copies!

I've debated a few IP expansionists on a subject that would do much more to hamper piracy: bringing IP under state property laws. You catch someone making a business off of your IP without you releasing it for free? How does grand theft sound instead of "copyright infringement" if it's really property? You want to get rid of serial piracy, especially the for-profit kind? Throw the punks in with the guys who commit real felony property crimes.

Of course that's assuming IP is real property...

DRM free (1)

Plasmagrid (322106) | more than 6 years ago | (#22713870)

Quote "It encoded those audio books with a digital watermark and monitored online file sharing networks, only to find that pirated copies of its audio books had been made from physical CDs or DRM-encoded digital downloads whose anticopying protections were overridden."

Did I miss something, they encoded to trace but wait, they found that the CD's were ripped and the DRM encoded ones were overridden

well if then how did they trace it, nothing to trace on overridden encryption and nothing to track from a CD ripped.

Re:DRM free (1)

Icarium (1109647) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714240)

Who's going to bother to try and remove a watermark that doesn't stop you from sharing the file, especially if you don't know it's there?

It makes it a reasonable assumption then that if the pirate copies popping up are lacking the watermark, they must have been sourced by ripping cd's or removing/curcumventing the DRM.

I would quote Sherlock Holmes, but I've never read it.

Re:DRM free (1)

Laughing Pigeon (1166013) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714286)

Quote "It encoded those audio books with a digital watermark and monitored online file sharing networks, only to find that pirated copies of its audio books had been made from physical CDs or DRM-encoded digital downloads whose anticopying protections were overridden."

Did I miss something, they encoded to trace but wait, they found that the CD's were ripped and the DRM encoded ones were overridden

well if then how did they trace it, nothing to trace on overridden encryption and nothing to track from a CD ripped.

I think You did miss someting. When it is said that the books were encoded with a digital watermark that does not main they were encrypted into some illegible group of bits (what does happen when You digitally sign something). A watermarked file will still be the same to the listener but it can be recognized/detected when found on some p2p network or in a binaries group (look for steganography in your favourite search engine). Later DRM was put on them, they were encrypted (and then they were illegible). When being decrypted (i.e. de-drm'ed) the still watermarked file shows up and that was being made available on file sharing media, being open to recognition.

If You watermark your product when You sell it to someone you can always trace back which customer put it on a file sharing network because You can use a unique watermark for each user (like someone else said, an email address and a name for example). It seems to be very difficult to create a watermarking systems that withstands re-encoding though, so if You would have bought an mp3 and recode it into another bitrate or format, the watermark will get damaged.

Re:DRM free (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22714394)

I think You did miss someting.
What's with the capitalizing "You" shit? Wait, don't tell me; it's because You are a Tool.

So Just Watermark Them Then (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714066)

Since the watermarks survive, as the content plays indistinguishably with them in there, but don't prevent copying, why don't they just watermark everything?

If they charge your credit card when you download the watermarked content, they can just watermark the content with your card ID. Then if they catch a file out there in the wild, they can see who it came from, and investigate the cardholder and the contentholder with violating copyright law.

If it's even worth the bother. They'll realize that people distributing some of the content for free to their friends the best advert for more content. And even if they give all the content away free, they'll realize that the content is just a way for people to connect to its author, so the content is advertisement for all kinds of other products: presubscription premiere releases, physical copy collector's items, schwag like T-shirts/posters/actionfigures, personal appearances, "author's picks" compilations of other content, recommendations of other authors, branded SUVs with the author's signature...

The audience has already moved into the 21st Century "free content" economy. These dinosaurs are still selling CDs as if they're still in the business of selling plastic discs, that they emboss with content-encoded patterns as a marketing stunt. Well, they can't custom-watermark CDs so easily, and the costs of trucking them around is more than they "lose" on free downloads. They should get with the program before they're nothing but an obstacle.

Doh!-R-M (1)

DotNetFreak (1018190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714080)

I think that even Homer Simpson would have been able to understand that: Protecting digital content from someone who *already* paid for it makes no sense. It's like taking out insurance for the purpose of protecting you from yourself if you develop multiple personality disorder. Sheesh... (or as we say in our native language, "bliksem!")

Bleah... wake me up when they add eBooks... (2, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714160)

I was briefly excited until I realized that this had nothing to do with multi-format eBooks.

Guess I'll stick with Fictionwise and Baen for a while more.

inaccurate subject (2, Insightful)

trawg (308495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714166)

would it have been that hard to prefix it with 'audio'? I don't care about audiobooks

Books on MP3 ... (1)

Rick Richardson (87058) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714616)

I bought serial number #1 from them, "The Pleasure of finding things out", on MP3 CD.

Then, they went DRM.

From: Doreen Moore
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2001 12:21:58 -0700

Dear Mr. Richardson,

        We just created our first MP3-CD recording. It is available for purchase
only
for 19.00. The title is "The Pleasure of Finding Things Out" by Richard
Feynman.

It will be a slow process initially, but hopefully within the next few
months we can release an initial batch of about 50 or so titles to start,
then expand the collection from there.

Within the next few years I'm sure we will get involved with streaming audio
formats as that technology becomes more feasible and more widespead.

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance. Thank you.
Sincerely,

Doreen Moore, Customer Service Representative
Books on Tape, Inc.
www.booksontape.com
Phone: (800) 626-3333
Fax: (714) 825-0756

STOP GIVING ME 40% OFF! (1)

freedomwrangler (980622) | more than 6 years ago | (#22714678)

I'd buy MORE books if the publishers stopped giving me 40% off hardcover price and include the ebook and MP3. Paying $30-$40 for all three is tolerable, IMHO.

Confirmation of my three-stage theory? (3, Interesting)

Rhapsody Scarlet (1139063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715020)

I've made a three-stage theory on DRM:

1) DRM is introduced, many bold claims are made about it, manufacturers are very excited about it, cracking efforts begin.
2) The DRM starts to get cracked, new schemes are introduced with equally bold claims, many legal threats are made, but it starts to become clear that this isn't working.
3) Investigations are done into how beneficial DRM is, and the results aren't favourable to DRM. The DRM is deemed to be costly and useless, and is promptly abandoned.

e-books seem to be moving towards stage 3 right now. Of course, there is the possible stage 4 to be concerned about.

4) Stage 3 is somehow forgotten, DRM is re-introduced, many bold claims are made about it...

If only they'd have asked us... (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 6 years ago | (#22715122)

Their logic? DRM just doesn't work.

It's a shame it took them this long to figure that out. They could have asked any one of us and we would have told them that for a $20,000 consulting fee.

(apologies to Mr. Black for ripping him off)

mo3 do3n (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22715146)

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