DRM On My Books
Posted on April 16, 2012 Posted by John Scalzi 53 Comments
Question in e-mail today:
I have your books on my Kindle. As an author, would it bother you if I stripped the DRM from the ebook, to read it on another ebook reader? Or should I buy another copy?
Speaking personally and only for myself, I’m of the opinion that once you bought the book, in electronic format or otherwise, it’s yours to do with as you please. So if in the privacy of your own home and for your own personal use you de-DRM’d your book files? Fine by me.
I should note on a personal level that typically speaking I don’t strip out the DRM on my ebooks because from a practical point of view I don’t find it particularly onerous. Amazon, Nook and Google all have reading apps for my phone, tablets and computers, so I don’t find the need to crack the DRM in order to read what I want, where I want. I’ll note the Apple bookstore doesn’t have an Android or PC app as far as I can know, which keeps me from buying many books out of that store (Krissy buys some, as most her iReading is done on the iPad). As a practical matter, it’s access, not DRM per se, which is the issue for me, and I suspect access is the issue for most folks.
This is separate, mind you, from the philosophical issue of DRM, which on a personal level I find unnecessary for the books I write, and which from a business point of view may actually become an economic hindrance to publishers in the long run. Charlie Stross mused about this recently, and I recommend his thoughts to you. Other authors may feel differently than I do on the philosophical and economic desirability of DRM for their work, and that’s fine, and I support their choices. My belief is every author should have the ability to say how their work is presented to consumers in the marketplace.
But again, once you’ve bought it, I think the thing is yours. As long as you’re stripping out the DRM for your own personal use, what do I care? Please don’t turn around and put the book on a torrent, etc, blah blah blah. Athena needs college. But I don’t think most people are really that interested in becoming pirates, arrr. I think most people just want to read the books they buy. I’m for people doing that.
I end up having to strip them because they won’t let me rename them after I buy them. I have a ridiculous amount of series and I want them labeled in a certain way, so I remember that this is book 27 instead of having to look it up every time I can’t remember.
Apple definitely has the Kindle App in their store. I have it. They have several other readers as well.
“I think most people just want to read the books they buy. I’m for people doing that.”
I just want to buy the books I want to read. I wouldn’t mind DRM if georestrictions were lifted.
See, I feel that kindle “DRM” is almost a feature. Sure, it’s locked to my account, but I read it on any device that has a kindle app, which includes the following: My kindle (duh), my android phone, my ipad, and my computer.
Not sure if he’s talking about someone else’s DRM.
Yes, which I noted. There is not an app for the Apple bookstore for non-Apple platforms, however.
Well, I did strip “Zoe’s Tale” of pretty much everything, because I own a BeBook Neo and the only versions from online bookshops that I could trust (or actually had time to research for a digital copy) were Amazon, where I already have an account, Barnes and Noble and one or two others. If I remember correctly, I also had some trouble ordering from some places cause they didn’t deliver in Greece (helloooo? Digital copy via the internet? Weird, huh?). So, I ended up getting the Kindle version which I then converted and stripped it of its DRM, so it would be compatible with my e-reader… I would much prefer to be able to get a copy that is not device dedicated without all that hassle,
Actually, my problem isn’t with DRM, per se, but with the abandonment of the first sale doctrine. To put it another way: I pay just as much for my ebook as I do for a physical book, but I can’t loan it out and I can’t resell it. I don’t resell many books from my collection, but the inability to loan them out (or borrow from others) is a bit of an annoyance.
Yeah, as far as electronic works go, that’s a messy mess of messitude that probably deserves its own thread. I’m going to avoid commenting on it at any length for the moment.
I always strip the DRM after I buy it – I have been reading (and buying) e-books for more than a decade, and this way I have ALL the books I have bought when I need to migrate the collection to a new PC. And it saves the hassle when I want to put my books on a new reading device
Also, there has been some times when the book I have bought was not in the format I prefer – and Calibre won’t let you convert DRMed books.
What really raises MY blood pressure, though, is geographical restrictions, but I suppose that is quite another story.
I’m interested in your view “Athena needs college”. I think you are probably right, from a signalling point of view (I like this post: http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2012/04/signaling_versu.html) and I’m kind of hopeful that my kids will get a lot out of late night bull sessions and college friendships. But do you expect that college will continue to be the only, or even the dominant, way to learn the subject matter currently in the curriculum? If not, why – aside from signalling – do you think she needs it?
kendiara: “because they won’t let me rename them after I buy them” Yes! In some cases I’d be happy just to have a descriptive file name at all. It’s not just commercial DRMed books that do this (though as you note the DRM makes it more difficult to correct). I have a ridiculous number of public domain books from Project Gutenberg (highly recommended, by the way, except for this, and worth considering should you need a tax deduction for next year) — they name all their files “pg” followed by a sequence number. While I’m sure this helps their internal organization, it’s not much use when you’re looking at a big list of files and trying to figure out WTH “pg22629-images.mobi” might be (“The Vortex Blaster” by E. E. “Doc” Smith, as it happens). The inverse problem is even harder; it’s usually faster to just download the file again rather than figure out which pgXXXXX is the one you want to copy onto your friend’s Kindle.
File names: they matter.
Here’s the way I see it.
Imagine that in order to buy a book from a bookstore, you needed a special bookshelf made by that bookstore. And when you want another book, you’re perfectly free to buy from a different bookstore, but you need a special bookshelf from *that* bookstore. Depending on how you do it, maybe you need to pay for each bookshelf or maybe not. Also depending on how you do it, you might be able to put all the bookshelves in one room. Or maybe not.
You can sort the books on the some of the bookshelves, but only in certain specific ways. And all of your books are sorted first and foremost by bookstore, because they’re on different bookshelves.
Only some of the bookshelves enable you to lend the books, and the books remain tied to the shelf. None of the bookshelves allow you to sell or give away books you don’t want anymore. All you’re allowed to do is throw them away.
If you’re unlucky, a bookstore that you bought from may go out of business, and the bookshelf will eventually fall apart, destroying the books on it.
If you’re sufficiently knowledgeable about how bookshelves work, you can put all your books on one shelf, but only if you don’t mind breaking the law to do so.
(On the plus side, you can carry a huge number of books without getting a hernia. And you don’t need to go to a bookstore to buy a book.)
@ben – yep. But if you didn’t like the Kindle reader for some reason you can’t read that Kindle book on other readers that might allow you to do other things with the book in the way of adjusting fonts, etc. Huge deal? No. Limitation? Yes. I ran into this with the new iPad regarding Nook books. They took about a week to update their iPad app so the fonts looked sharp in the Retina display. They looked very fuzzy, like a photocopy. Unreadable? No. But what if B&N had gone out of business and there wasn’t ever going to be an update? Bit of an issue.
There’s also the minor inconvenience of having books in 2 or 3 different libraries. Mostly I buy from B&N. But if Amazon runs a deal on an author’s book I’ll have a book there and same with the Apple store. Now, that’s somewhat a problem of my own creation, but it’s something I don’t run into in the paper world. I can buy from anywhere and shelve the books together.
While I’m mostly in John’s camp that the issue is access it does annoy me that the various entities upstream of me seem to want to impose software licence-like restrictions on my ebooks in terms of ownership and rights, yet charge me the same price as they have been for a book that I outright own. Since the tools exist out there to redress this situation should it become onerous, eh. I do wish that publishers would allow no DRM…. but I don’t really think that will remedy the current ebook pricing issues. Aside from the antitrust/collusion issue raised by the DoJ, some people seem to object to how a price is set (floor via the publishers, unrestricted as Amazon wants). Me, while I’d love cheap everything, I can’t get excited about ebook prices. The dollar/hour equation is quite good already and I find it curious that people who will spend $5 on a latte at Starbucks which they will literally piss out in an hour or two object to spending a couple dollars more than that on a book.
Leaving out John’s own personal choice as an author (who, I personally feel, should have the final say in such matters), we’re really looking at two different issues here. Firstly, copyright law is still fairly fuzzy about electronic media, and can vary considerably from country to country despite the standard warning on any commercial DVD about the Stockholm agreement and Interpol. I suspect that’s still got a long ways to go before there’s anything remotely resembling global agreement, if ever.
Then there’s the technology conflicts … basically, we’ve been thrown back to the miserable VHS vs. Betamax days, with a number of additional “choices” this time around. Hopefully before too much longer we’ll see the same result as back then, one of the formats/platforms emerging as the “winner” in the sense of becoming the standard.
I’m not into ebooks myself, preferring physical copies of books (preferably MM paperbacks, if available, because of cost and space — I was delighted to see John’s anouncement of the mmpb of :Fuzzy Nation”, which I’ve now gotten from Amazon but haven’t yet started), but can understand the problems and frustrations associated with them.
O/T, but vaguely related — why on earth do we need “security devices” (confirmed by my son to be strictly anti-shoplifting) on DVDs and the like purchased online? The only explanation that makes sense is that they go into all copies of a given massive release, and the dealer benefits from (and hopefully passes along) the large-quantity pricing.
I make a practice of stripping DRM on all books that I want to share with my wife. We both have Kindles but they’re on separate accounts, so according to Amazon ne’er the twain shall meet. Yes, you can lend a book, but IIRC only one lend ever and it’s for a limited time.
Obligatory plug for the Baen Free Library and the CDs they include with certain hardcovers. Those were the first e-books I ever read, way back in 2001 in lynx on a Linux console, and I have bought more in those series.
MikeB-Cda: “basically, we’ve been thrown back to the miserable VHS vs. Betamax days, with a number of additional “choices” this time around.”
It’s not quite that bad. Beta and VHS were incompatible both physically and electronically, and required an (analog) conversion step if you wanted to move one to the other. The only two ebook formats that matter at the moment, AZW/mobi (Amazon) and epub (everyone else) are both essentially HTML wrapped up in different packages. Grabbing the HTML and stuffing it into a new box isn’t hard at all — or wouldn’t be, if it it weren’t for DRM. The Calibre tool mentioned above does a pretty good job.
Hopefully before too much longer we’ll see the same result as back then, one of the formats/platforms emerging as the “winner” in the sense of becoming the standard.
Well, that’s what Amazon would like. However, they want to also be the sole seller of the format which is what others object to. The fact that VHS won didn’t mean you could only buy VHS tapes at one retailer and had to use the player made by that retailer to play them. In contrast, if Kindle became the sole format for ebooks we’d be in just that situation.
I don’t want this on a personal level – I want to see a variety of book selling entities out there who all compete on things other than access. If the publishers went to a no-DRM world and would sell those ebooks to anyone at a wholesale price then we could see storefronts on the web that mirror some of the small stores in the physical world… stores that specialize in SF, Mystery, etc and compete not on price but on their ability to cater to an audience who is looking for a place where the staff has deep knowledge on a genre. Larger independents could also compete on a field that isn’t restricted by things such as file format and DRM.
Beyond the personal and on a cultural level I don’t think it’s healthy for books to be in a format that is controlled by any one entity.
dave schutz says: “But do you expect that college will continue to be the only, or even the dominant, way to learn the subject matter currently in the curriculum?”
Nah, he’s just a snob :-)
One of the first things I do when I buy a ebook is to remove the DRM. Music is no longer a problem in this regard. The reason being is that things change over time. I have ebooks I bought way back on Palm 3’s and MS Reader format (anyone remember LIT books?) that if it had not been for me removing the DRM I would have had to buy again just to read on my androids and iPad. I should not to nor will I pay more than once for the exact same thing.
@Bearpaw: Your nice anaolgy describes my thoughts exactly.
I still have a couple of Betamax tapes… Wish I couple play them. Someday I’ll break down and pay to have them converted and hope the tape hasn’t degraded by then.
John: Is there some tricky technical reason the firefox browser spell check does not work on your website?
“My belief is every author should have the ability to say how their work is presented to consumers in the marketplace.” Hear, hear!
Each author can choose whether to spend money out-of-pocket, self-publish, vanity publish, go with a small press, an acdemic press, a Major Publisher, per SFWA’s list, or some multimediaq or new media mix. Let a million flowers bloom.
If you find that you want a book that is available for Kindle, but not as an ePub should one track down the author and ask for his say on the matter before cracking the DRM?
Isn’t stripping the DRM even for your own purchased content a violation of the DMCA and TOS of the publisher? I thought it was very clearly spelled out for music and movies, I don’t know about ebooks but I assume it also applies.
Thank you for linking to the Charlie Stross piece. That was very informative in a non-inflammatory way.
This is a bit off topic, but I tried to download your novel, Agent to the Stars, in the epub format from Manybooks.net, and the first 20 or so chapters were blank (in both iBooks and Stanza readers). The Kindle version at Manybooks, however, was fine. It’s a fun read.
I always strip DRM from my ebooks. The reason for is that I want to own the ebook. And I also want to be able to read it in 5 or 10yrs. It’s nonsense to restrict ebooks to 4 or 5 devices because I could buy a new (better) reader every 6month. So, I would reach the limit quite fast.
John: Ahh yes, so no way to read books from the Apple Store on an Android device.
Now I see the violence inherent in the system!
Regarding iBooks, I mostly just go with another source. I can still read all of them on my iPad anyway.
My issue with DRM is that it is a little bit like borrowing a book for $8 or $10 or whatever. But I’m not clever enough to strip DRM so I live with it. Still, it is totally the philosophical issue for me. In the end I have no control over the item I have purchased for the same price I could have bought it in print. I try, whenever possible to buy books from sources that will allow me to keep my own digital copy (Baen is great!), but in truth the whole DRM thing has limited some of my ebook purchases. If I’m spending the same amount, I want to have something I can give away when I’m done.
Interesting discussion. There’s also the issue of how DRM affects the “active reader”; I discuss that in a piece I wrote a week ago for TidBITS: http://tidbits.com/article/12919
Last week I went to a local bookstore (Thalia, big German chain store). A woman asked an employee to help her with her OYO (branded reader) and some DRM issues (she had forgotten her Adobe ID password, got a new one, but hadn’t been able to change it in the reader). Waiting for almost half an our, I sarcastically noticed: “I guess, I would have stripped the DRM faster.”
As long as all works right, you won’t notice DRM. But it adds a layer of comlexity, another (unnecessary) point of break.
Mark: You are correct that stripping DRM is illegal per the DMCA, it goes beyond that you can’t even circumvent the DRM. Depending on what your jurisdiction is some courts have ruled circumventing DRM is prohibited even for fair use purposes. The DMCA also makes it illegal for you to create and distribute any tool that can be used to circumvent DRM. For most ebooks you also have TOS problems, that is you are breaching the contract. You see for most vendors you do not actually own the copy of the ebook, you merely have a license to use it.
I’m really glad to read this article. My wife and I tend to be outliers when it comes to a lot of computing purchases, which means that we usually end up slipping through the cracks of the companies that concentrate on locking you down to just the devices they want to support. Add in a silly, old-fashioned desire to protect the things I’ve purchased, and DRM ends up being a major factor in any purchasing decision.
@Bryan314: “Actually, my problem isn’t with DRM, per se, but with the abandonment of the first sale doctrine.”
The recent concerted push to kill secondary markets is both fascinating and extremely annoying. The theory that the used market is taking money that “rightfully” belongs to the original manufacturer is just silly, and I’m of the opinion that resale value is a non-zero part of the value of any object. If the thing I’m buying has nothing but sentimental value once I have it, I’m just not going to want to pay as much for it unless I’m absolutely sure that sentimental value will continue to be worth it.
It’s sad that the “in” thing lately seems to be to transform all entertainment into carnival rides – you pay your money for a spin… if you want more, just pay again!
eh…. DRM doesn’t bother me one way or the other. I have ‘lectronic books that have it… and others that didn’t. To me it is what the author wishes that matters. Shrug… as the proud owner of 2 Nooks, it isn’t hard for me to read a book i’ve bought at any time or in any place.
For me it’s often that I object to the typesetting that leads me to strip the DRM. Also the filename. What is it with graphic artists that they love big margins and generous font sizes? Given the tiny screen in the middle of a big device, can I at least use the display area for display? My Sony eWhatsit has a 2cm “margin” made of aluminium that gets added to whatever the artist wants. So normally I flatten the layout to “7.2 point, 1mm margins” using Calibre as the first step, then rename it to “Lastname, Firstname etc – (series number) Book Title” because really, how often does anyone other than a bookshop sort by title?
One slightly spooky thing that’s come out of the ereader is that it measures my reading speed. Once the novelty of that wore off it became a useful metric. I read Terry Pratchett at about 800 words/minute but Scalzi at about 500 wpm (presumably because I have to think more). Making Scalzi better value for money :)
Calibre won’t let you convert DRMed books
Untrue: it can be done, but it requires a plug-in only available from one specific source. Google, in this, is your friend. Or try checking bookmarking sites like Delicious or Pinboard. In any event, it’s a bit beyond the average consumer.
… um, not that I’m advocating anyone break the law or anything. Just speaking hypothetically.
Until B&N goes out of business and your Nooks break or are damaged. Then… you have a collection of files that can’t be used. That’s the pernicious think about DRM files – you don’t own them. This is fine if there are other compensations, e.g. price or in the case of iTunes when that was DRMed music, the ability to easily buy single songs. It’s slightly annoying when you pay the same price as you used to for a paper book that you did own.
I agree wholeheartedly with the DRM strippers. I just got back from vacation and just before I left I had purchased a book. Didn’t have time to do my normal “purchase, strip, convert, etc” routine so I figured that just this once I’d do it the “correct” way. Once on vacation I went to open my newly purchased book and surprise! It wouldn’t open. Now that I’m home and have time I’ll deal with it and be able to read it (once I figure out which ridiculously named file it is at least).
And someone else already said it, but Baen rocks. They were (rather obviously) not the culprit in this case.
“Until B&N goes out of business and your Nooks break or are damaged. Then… you have a collection of files that can’t be used. That’s the pernicious think about DRM files – you don’t own them. This is fine if there are other compensations, e.g. price or in the case of iTunes when that was DRMed music, the ability to easily buy single songs. It’s slightly annoying when you pay the same price as you used to for a paper book that you did own.”
Yeah yeah… the thing is, books I KNOW I’ll wind up rereading dozens of times, I sooner or later invest in a hardcopy. But, having a physical library of thousands of books gets unwieldy… been there done that.
Also, what happens if you have a house fire and the hardcopies get burnt? Or If you DRM strip your ‘lectronics, what happens if they get corrupted at some point? Owning ephemera such as books is always a win/lose proposition.
So here’s my thing with DRM that’s irritating me: if I want to read the Nook books I’ve bought (The God Engines being one of them) and my Nook is charging or something, I HAVE TO use the Nook application on my iMac. And the app doesn’t friggin work! And it looks like their developers have no inclination to fix it from what I can tell from complaints by other Mac users. So I tried installing a different ebook reader app and while any ebook I have without DRM works just fine, none of the ones from B&N will open up. That just sucks and I’d really love it if someone could email me and point me to something that would help. Please?
I would love to buy your ebooks but as a Linux user (Puppy Linux to be precise), the *only* option to me is Kindle Cloud Reader. (Meh)
I’m not going to waste my time trying to strip DRM. Instead I buy ebooks only from non-DRM vendors like Smashwords, Baen, Angry Robot, etc. Failing that, I buy print copies.
IMHO, DRM is a sucker’s bet where the house…er, the DRM vendor always wins. It harms readers (as illustrated by numerous tales above and in other places) and I believe it has held back sales of ebooks for publishers and authors.
I’ve been reading ebooks for a while. When Fictionwise had problems I lost a few books that I hadn’t downloaded (maybe 5-10, not a great percentage, but annoying), it really was Barnes & Noble’s fault, Fictionwise went from being the best place to purchase books to not really worth while when the Agency model took hold. However Barnes & Noble could have easily kept the quality up, I suspect they wanted to point things towards the nook.
I make it a point to keep backups now (that is actually what I use cloud backup services for). Baen is of course the model I wish all others followed.
I hope Charles Stross is correct, however I fear that while it would be in the publisher’s best interest to drop DRM, they might not be allowed to do so by higher level controls.
@ Mr. Scalci: If you consider this posting as off-topic please forward it to the intended addressee.
@Bill Smith: I managed to get Kindle for PC (Windows) running on Puppy Linux 5.3.1 using Wine. I had no success first, but after deleting the vc90 “deadbeef” manifest in windows/winsxs/manifests the program did start. But that had only been the half way: I installed the root certificates from VeriSign according to this blog post: http://www.timelesssky.com/blog/secure-https-under-wine
@Nonentity and Bryan314: I couldn’t agree with you more. I once had a textbook writer colleague rant to me about all the money he was losing to second hand book sales (a guy whose royalties far exceeded his academic salary), up until I mentioned the fact that if I bought and owned a new car, I could of course sell it (or give it away, which is what I do with “real” books).
@digitalathest – you misunderstood my point. I wasn’t saying that paper was thus better. I was saying that DRM has the fault I outlined and that the solution was no DRM on the files. At that point, I don’t care if B&N exists or not or whether I can find a Nook to read my Nook books on. With a DRM free file, I can read it in anything that supports epub or I can convert it to a new format if I need to.
Just look at Graphic.ly, which a couple weeks ago announced they basically getting out of the comic book sales business and almost immediately pulled their apps from the Android and Apple app stores. Want to read your comics – the ones you bought and paid for – on the iPad3 with Retina display that you were gonna buy with your tax refund next month? Outta luck, Jack.
At best, now you have people with a comic “collection” that they can only read on devices they already own, or on a computer. At worst, you have people who will wake up one day in a couple years, months or weeks to find that maintaining app authentication servers with terabytes of huge comic book files is “no longer part of Graphic.ly’s corporate mission,” and all they will be left with is a credit card bill.
I buy ebooks (and thankfully, I don’t buy digital comics). I strip the DRM. The Free Market, in it’s myopic wisdom, demands it.
I’ve always said that “for your own personal use” is the key. I don’t use DRM on my own books, save sites that add it automatically. If you want to buy from those sites, you’re stuck with it or you break it. If I want to offer readers the choice of buying from those sites, I’m stuck with it. Not much to be done about that. I’d rather have the books available wherever readers want to purchase after all.
Beyond the fact that DRM doesn’t work in general, I have never been fond of the idea of a reader being inconvenienced by DRM. If you change equipment and need to convert the book, you should be able to. If you lose your library on the primary source, due to whatever catastrophic cause, you should be able to have backups. Not having this ability strips one of the major selling points of ebooks. For that reason, stripping DRM to access what you have purchased, for your own use, is fine with me.
Luckily, the newest court cases have pointed us in favor of stripping DRM for access to what you have purchased being fine but stripping it for infringement being punishable by law. It wasn’t ebooks; rather it was software, but it did go that way. Thank goodness. It mirrors the common sense answer here.
You don’t pay as much for MY ebooks as you do for print. Please don’t judge all ebooks on the mistakes conglomerate press makes. My opinion of their ebook policies…throw stones if you want to, but it won’t change my perceptions of the way they are handling ebooks.
Since it’s possible to make endless copies of ebooks, I fully support the fact that you can’t legally resell them. How is a purchaser supposed to know if you are legally selling a single copy (as you would with a print book…unless you are making pirated print copies…also illegal but does sometimes happens) or illegally selling copies of the original ebook (which happens all the time…I’m fighting another two mass infringers today)? They all look the same to a reader, though there are warning signs that a seller isn’t legal.
You can’t have it both ways. I don’t use DRM and price reasonably, but I don’t allow reselling of the books. I do put my books in lending programs via Kindle and Nook, which means you can get copies on lend, if you don’t want to purchase. I even have two books on KoLL (Kindle Owner Lending Library). I offer free reads, which are covered by a creative commons licensing. That means you can share them freely with your friends, but don’t try to sell them either. Another nit of mine…if I give my readers something for free, do not try to cheat them by selling it. It will only hack me off.
Some of us in the industry are reasonable, and I happen to feel this law is reasonable. It’s the pricing some of the larger presses engage in that isn’t reasonable, in my opinion.
@Brenna Lyons: This is fairly easily achieved with watermarks, which have been used by the RPG publishing industry for some time. It marks a copy as unique without otherwise limiting its usability–though some publishers also bundle on additional DRM that makes functionality such as adding bookmarks impossible. The issue of multiple copies is a technical one, and a solution exists. The publishing industry does not wish to embrace it in order to quash First Sale by fiat.
A different topic that hasn’t been brought up a lot and sort of only affects packrats like me: At some point I plan to subscribe to some magazines through a Kindle. Kindles delete your old magazines automatically after a period of time (seven issues) unless you specifically instruct it to keep each issue, and once it expires it can’t be re-downloaded. Myself, I’d want to keep that archive since it would be trivial to do so, and would be annoyed being denied access later. I’d also like to be able to buy back issues more easily but that is not a DRM issue.
It’s not the first sale doctrine that motivates me to DeDRM my ebooks, although that does bother me a bit. I would like to be able to loan a purchased copy of a book to someone.
However, I keep non-DRM copies of all my ebooks for one specific reason. I want them to be available in 25 years when Amazon has gone the way of the dodo and no one can read these DRMed files anymore because the keys were destroyed, or whatever other technological reason comes along. Paper books are always readable unless they’re damaged. DRMed ebooks aren’t likely to be readable if the company that supplies them disappears and all the cryptographical keys and apps to read them go away too.
You might think: “But Amazon is a huge company! They won’t go away.” Tell that to the employees of Lehman Brothers or RJ Reynolds or any other big company that is either gone or a shadow of its former self.
This reminds me of when I used to crack PC games so that I no longer needed the disc — not because I wanted to steal the game, but just so my disc drive wasn’t constantly spinning. It was loud and wore out the drive before its time.
Just goes to show that DRMing doesn’t always function the way publishers were hoping it would. On the other hand, some anti-piracy protection, however flawed, is usually better than nothing. And I think publishers as a whole are becoming better and better at reducing the hassle of DRM.
Honestly, I couldn’t care less about being able to resell my books. Look, the used stores here pay about 25% of the price that they intend to sell it for which is usually 50% of the cover price. That means an $8 book gets me back $1 IF they buy that book. It’s not that much money, so I can’t help but feel the people who get so worked up about this are looking for excuses not to embrace ebooks.
I recommend breaking DRM for two reasons:
1. Back up your data in case of temporary or permanent (ie: borders) outage.
2. Calibre. Its the best ebook mngmt software created and its completly free. All proprietary systems pale in comparison. It can handle DRMed books, but it does more for you if they are not.
illmunkeys has it right. I swore a blood oath years ago that I would not, ever, buy an eBook I couldn’t jailbreak. I’ve moved over time from a PalmPilot to an iPhone (and iPad) and I have no idea what I’ll be reading on ten years from now. (of course, I can always hope to have a BrainPal by then.) But always I will choose when I can read, what I can read, where I read, and what I shall use to read it, and neither the Dread Pirate Gutenbezos nor B&N nor anyone else will dictate that to me. Ever.
this discusstion is over: