View Full Version : New poll: What do you think of DRM


davidhburton
04-19-2010, 07:50 AM
The results of my book buying poll are posted at my site. I have a new poll up on what people think of DRM.

Please drop by and vote at http://davidhburton.com

Cheers!
David

vaughnmr
04-19-2010, 08:01 AM
The results of my book buying poll are posted at my site. I have a new poll up on what people think of DRM.

Please drop by and vote at http://davidhburton.com

Cheers!
David

It would be nice if you would let people vote on the poll...

davidhburton
04-19-2010, 08:29 AM
You can't vote??

davidhburton
04-19-2010, 08:32 AM
Ugh, #pollfail!! Fixed now!

dmaul1114
04-19-2010, 10:35 AM
I prefer without DRM.

That said I don't really care that much as I so seldom re-read books, don't care about loaning (just share a Kindle account with my girlfriend) so most everything (other than public domain books) I just get from the Amazon store since I have a Kindle.

queentess
04-19-2010, 10:49 AM
Well, I don't know that anyone truly PREFERS DRM -- at it's best, the consumer shouldn't be able to tell that it's there while they're reading.

I definitely prefer without DRM, but I don't always let the presence of DRM stop me from making a purchase.

GeoffC
04-19-2010, 10:51 AM
i don't mind (at the moment) - it can be circumwhatsited, i understand, whilst geo-restrictions are barriers.

tompe
04-19-2010, 10:57 AM
Could not vote since the alternative "do not buy books with drm" was missing.

mr ploppy
04-19-2010, 10:59 AM
I don't really see the point of it, either from a writer/publisher perspecive or from a reader perspective. All it does is make pirated books more convenient and easy to use, and punishes people who decide to support the publishers financially.

Just out of interest, does anyone know how much of an ebook's RRP goes to pay for DRM? Is it something that is licensed so they pay every time they use it, or do they just have to buy a program once and that's it?

cfrizz
04-19-2010, 11:01 AM
I don't care one way or the other. If I want a book I will get it, so long as it is in the price range I am willing to pay.

davidhburton
04-19-2010, 11:26 AM
@tompe, funny!! I thought about changing the wording of "DRM is the spawn of the devil" but that might have seemed to biased. :)

DMcCunney
04-19-2010, 11:58 AM
You can't vote??
I believe it just let me vote. (No error message, but no success message, either.)

Folks accessing the site using things like Firefox with the NoScript extension need to allow the site in NoScript. Such things require JavaScript to work, and NoScript turns off scripting by default.
______
Dennis

DMcCunney
04-19-2010, 12:13 PM
I don't really see the point of it, either from a writer/publisher perspecive or from a reader perspective. All it does is make pirated books more convenient and easy to use, and punishes people who decide to support the publishers financially.
The point from a publisher perspective is protecting content from unauthorized distribution. That it is of dubious value is not something many publishers have realized. I don't believe the reader's perspective is considered, unless the DRM applied makes the buyer jump through enough hoops to be able to purchase and read the book that they complian to the publisher.

(I spoke to a woman at a New York City ebook event a while back who was an ebook romance publisher. She agreed that DRM was ultimately doomed to failure, but used it because her authors demanded it. They were afraid they would lose sales if buyers could freely copy and share it once purchased, which I thought was an interesting view of their readers.)

Just out of interest, does anyone know how much of an ebook's RRP goes to pay for DRM? Is it something that is licensed so they pay every time they use it, or do they just have to buy a program once and that's it?
DRM technology is present in the software that is used to create the ebook. They buy the program once. And they may not even buy the program: the MobiPocket Creator software used to produce Mobi editions includes DRM facilities you can choose to apply when you make the boom, but Mobi Creator is free.

So no, use of DRM does not add to the cost of producing the book.
______
Dennis

Worldwalker
04-19-2010, 12:23 PM
There really should be an "I will not buy a book with DRM" option in the poll.

There's a very significant difference between a preference and an absolute. For example, if a bunch of us were ordering pizza together, that difference would be critical: I prefer my pizza without Italian sausage, but if that's what the group orders, I'll eat it; on the other hand, I will not eat a pizza with anchovies, no how, no way, they're just revolting.

davidhburton
04-19-2010, 12:26 PM
I have added that option.

mr ploppy
04-19-2010, 01:48 PM
The point from a publisher perspective is protecting content from unauthorized distribution. ______
Dennis

Except it doesn't. It is easily removed, and it only takes one person to do it. At that point you have an unauthorised product that is much more appealing than the authorised one. Especially after someone proofreads it. The way to compete with piracy is NOT by offering an inferior product at a higher price.

Ea
04-19-2010, 01:54 PM
... At that point you have an unauthorised product that is much more appealing than the authorised one. Especially after someone proofreads it. ....
:rofl: :thumbsup:

DMcCunney
04-19-2010, 02:16 PM
Except it doesn't. It is easily removed, and it only takes one person to do it. At that point you have an unauthorised product that is much more appealing than the authorised one. Especially after someone proofreads it. The way to compete with piracy is NOT by offering an inferior product at a higher price.
I know that. You know that. It's publisher's that haven't figured it out, which is why I talked about "dubious value".

Mind you, I think we need to keep in mind that MR readers are a sophisticated audience. We know most DRM is easily removed, and know how to to it or how to find out how to do it. I don't the larger market for ebooks is that savvy.

But ultimately, I assume the majority of the market is honest and pays for value. Theft has always been there: retailers call it "shrinkage" - stock not on the shelves for which there isn't a sales receipt - but somehow they survive.

You make money and stay in business by providing value, charging a fair price, and making it as easy as possible for the customer to give you money. I know one author who commented years back that he had electronic editions of his books and had seen perhaps a couple of hundred dollars in royalties from them. No surprise: his publisher was one who "didn't get it" about ebooks, and it was hard to discover he had ebook editions, let alone buy them.

Ultimately, convenience rules. Amazon is successful providing ebooks despite DRM because of it. They charge prices the customer considers reasonable for ebooks, and if you have a Kindle or device running a Kindle app, you can purchase, download, and read a new book at any time, day or night. Instant gratification!
______
Dennis

Hamlet53
04-19-2010, 02:18 PM
DRM? I hate it. It's just a damn inconvenience. I understand why authors and/or publishers thing they need it though.



(I spoke to a woman at a New York City ebook event a while back who was an ebook romance publisher. She agreed that DRM was ultimately doomed to failure, but used it because her authors demanded it. They were afraid they would lose sales if buyers could freely copy and share it once purchased, which I thought was an interesting view of their readers.)
______
Dennis

Yeah, will have you read some of the posts here from people who claim, presumably with a straight face, that getting their e-books free from pirate sites instead buying the book DRM'ed or not, is not hurting the authors or publishers a bit. I understand the logic; getting stuff for free is just so much nicer than having to pay for it.

davidhburton
04-19-2010, 02:47 PM
Not all of us authors think it's necessary. :) And people are going to get it free one way or the other if they REALLY want to.

ficbot
04-19-2010, 03:23 PM
My preferred option was not in your poll. 'I will only buy books with DRM if they can easily be stripped and converted.' So for example I will buy epubs with DRM but not Topaz In a perfect world, I would prefer no DRM (or else for Amazon to adopt ADE support so at least everyone is using it). But in the present, I will buy it if it is in a format I can strip.

DMcCunney
04-19-2010, 03:51 PM
Yeah, will have you read some of the posts here from people who claim, presumably with a straight face, that getting their e-books free from pirate sites instead buying the book DRM'ed or not, is not hurting the authors or publishers a bit. I understand the logic; getting stuff for free is just so much nicer than having to pay for it.
Color me an optimist. I happen to believe that the majority of the market is willing to pay for what they get, if they want it, it's properly priced, and is easy to buy.

I think DRM implicitly presumes the majority of the market isn't honest, and will cheerfully rip you off given a chance. The question I always want to ask folks who hold that opinion is "Why do you think so? Is it because it's what you would do, and you think everyone else is just like you? Or do you assume that no, tyou're a good guy who wouldn't do that, but you're in the minority and everyone else would?"

I find either position anathema, though I can intellectually understand why folks might hold them.

I don't understand folks who think getting stuff free from pirate sites isn't harming authors or publishers. There is lots of stuff out there on pirate sites, and you can download torrents with thousands of books in on go. That in itself is meaningless. Simple downloads don't count. What matters is books that are downloaded from pirate sites and read instead of buying a legitimate copy. That's an actual lost sale, but quantifying those losses is likely impossible. You can track illegal downloads, but you have no way to know what is actually read.

Meanwhile, I still think the folks who prefer to grab pirate copies instead of actually buying a book are a small enough minority that ebooks and publishing can survive without DRM. Again, convenience rules. There's a new ebook out you want. Which is faster and easier - going online to Amazon, Barnes and Noble or the like and buying a copy, or searching for it on a pirate site? (And depending on the book, the legit copy may be a better quality edition.)
______
Dennis

Elfwreck
04-19-2010, 04:12 PM
What matters is books that are downloaded from pirate sites and read instead of buying a legitimate copy. That's an actual lost sale, but quantifying those losses is likely impossible.

Especially when they're a lost sale for *that* book, followed by sales of the author's other books, or that one in paper, which would not have been made without the free read.

We've got no way to quantify those sales, either.

delphidb96
04-19-2010, 04:20 PM
The results of my book buying poll are posted at my site. I have a new poll up on what people think of DRM.

Please drop by and vote at http://davidhburton.com

Cheers!
David

You forgot the most important choice:

"Stand the developers and advocates of DRM against the wall, blindfold them, and execute them."

:D :D :D

Derek

davidhburton
04-19-2010, 04:47 PM
Come on...is blindfolding really necessary?

DMcCunney
04-19-2010, 04:53 PM
Especially when they're a lost sale for *that* book, followed by sales of the author's other books, or that one in paper, which would not have been made without the free read.

We've got no way to quantify those sales, either.
Good point, and thank you.

It's essentially what the Baen Free Library is all about, and it's worked well for them. Baen promotes authors. You download one or more full length novels by an author from the Library, yiu decide you like what they do, and you buy the next one when it comes out (likely in hardcover). Baen credits the Library with driving their metamorphosis from a struggling mass market paperback house to a thriving hardcover publisher with a 70% sell through rate.

Of course, the Baen offerings aren't "pirated", they are legit freebies offered by the publisher to promote the line. Perhaps there's less illicit pleasure for the freeloader in getting those...
______
Dennis

Worldwalker
04-19-2010, 08:19 PM
Would it be possible to subtract one vote from "prefer not" and transfer it to "no way"?

davidhburton
04-19-2010, 09:59 PM
Done.

Ankh
04-19-2010, 10:18 PM
I don't really see the point of it, either from a writer/publisher perspecive or from a reader perspective.

There is but a single use for DRM it where I find it justified and even desirable. And that is for our public library (overdrive) loans. I don't mind DRM (even unbreakable one) applied to any freebie or loaner.

However, I won't buy content that I can not immediately "liberate".

Blue Tyson
04-20-2010, 02:17 AM
Come on...is blindfolding really necessary?

Hah. Clubbing them with Kindles would probably get more youtube views and save bullets, too. ;-)

astra
04-20-2010, 05:25 AM
I don't buy books with DRM anymore.

I used to do it. Then disinfect. However, I gave up. Why should I spend my time on earning money to purchase a product, then spend even more time to make is usable for me? I don't buy half assembled TVs or vacuum cleaners. I pay full price only for the end product that is ready for use.
In some cases, for example IKEA, I pay for half-made product then invest more time to assemble it but there is a substantial difference in pricing, so it is worth it.

mr ploppy
04-20-2010, 06:13 AM
Yeah, will have you read some of the posts here from people who claim, presumably with a straight face, that getting their e-books free from pirate sites instead buying the book DRM'ed or not, is not hurting the authors or publishers a bit. .

That would be because it isn't. Most downloads will be spur of the moment impulse, and only downloaded because they are free. Do you really think that someone is going to rush out and buy 3,000 scifi books new retail if they can't download them for free?

Even if it was something they actually wanted to read, at best your ebook would be competing with either a second hand paperback from ebay or a trip to the library -- neither of which you will profit from (UK authors get a few pence from the library, up to a very small maximum per year, publishers get nothing).

If they were going to pay hardback prices to read a book they would have bought the hardback as soon as it came out.

mr ploppy
04-20-2010, 06:21 AM
(And depending on the book, the legit copy may be a better quality edition.)
______
Dennis

Not unless I have been VERY unlucky in my first steps into ebook buying territory. Every one I have bought so far has had spelling mistakes every few pages.

mr ploppy
04-20-2010, 06:25 AM
Of course, the Baen offerings aren't "pirated", they are legit freebies offered by the publisher to promote the line. Perhaps there's less illicit pleasure for the freeloader in getting those...
______
Dennis

Do the non-free ones get pirated? I haven't seen any of the Smashword books pirated anywhere either. They let you have half the book for free, which would suit the try before you buy type downloaders. The ones who just download everything for the sake of having it probably wouldn't miss the second half either.

sabredog
04-20-2010, 06:25 AM
DRM is a reasonably easy fix for me, so I am not stressed about liberating my purchased product so I am free to convert to the format I require.

Geographic restrictions are my number one concern.

sabredog
04-20-2010, 06:29 AM
Hah. Clubbing them with Kindles would probably get more youtube views and save bullets, too. ;-)

I would have thought hard covers would be more appropriate with the agency model still meandering into existence. But Kindles work for me too :)

Lemurion
04-20-2010, 08:18 AM
Here's my big problem with DRM. I'm sitting here with a Droid in my pocket and my Sony Reader on my desk and while both "support" DRM, they don't "support" the same DRM. Thus if I buy an ebook with DRM I have to pick which device to read it on because there's no DRM scheme that lets me read one book on either device.

The sad thing is that while neither DRM scheme locks the book to a single device, they may as well have that effect because neither device supports the other's DRM scheme. (For purposes of the discussion the Android's DRM scheme is eReader because that's the only DRM format currently supported on Android devices.)

This is the real problem with DRM - it effectively prevents usage that should be allowed, and is theoretically allowed even by its own terms of usage.

Both can read DRM-free ePub - but the only way to get the majority of current bestsellers in that is to either strip the DRM from an existing file (and convert if necessary) or from the Darknet.

It just gets in the way and penalizes honest consumers.

Blue Tyson
04-20-2010, 09:49 AM
I would have thought hard covers would be more appropriate with the agency model still meandering into existence. But Kindles work for me too :)

Well, a fully professional executioner could work two-handed. One in each!

:rifle::smash:

DMcCunney
04-20-2010, 10:12 AM
Not unless I have been VERY unlucky in my first steps into ebook buying territory. Every one I have bought so far has had spelling mistakes every few pages.
Welcome to the wonderful world of cost cutting.

I'm on a list mostly populated with folks involved in publishing. A couple of years back, one of the posters, who was VP and an editorial production house that provided copy editing/proofreading services to publishers lamented the decline in such basics, as publishers decided to save money by not doing it. Another poster, who was an editor at a major house said "But such things are part of the standard budget of the book, and are always done!" "Maybe they still are in your house", said the original poster, "but I'm the one who gets to talk to clients who used to pay us to do it and don't do so any more!"

The problem goes farther back. I knew one editor who was chided by her boss for trying to do a proper line-edit on a manuscript. The boss wanted to know why she was investing the effort, since the glory was in acquisitions.

Declining standards of quality are an on going issue, and have been for some time. The problem is that doing it right costs, and no one wants to spend the money.
______
Dennis

DMcCunney
04-20-2010, 10:33 AM
Do the non-free ones get pirated? I haven't seen any of the Smashword books pirated anywhere either. They let you have half the book for free, which would suit the try before you buy type downloaders. The ones who just download everything for the sake of having it probably wouldn't miss the second half either.
I haven't seen any of the non-free Baen offerings pirated, but then, I haven't looked. They probably are, since everything else is, and it's easier because Baen doesn't apply DRM.

But I don't think Baen is concerned. They do the basics I think are required: provide value, price reasonably, and make it easy to buy from them. As mentioned, I think the majority of the market is willing to pay for what they get.

Baen is this generation's equivalent of DAW Books. When the late Donald A. Wollheim founded DAW, his goal was to be a mid-level action/adventure SF and fantasy house. They were a little like Harlequin Romances - if you bought a title from DAW you had a pretty good idea of what you were getting. I knew folks back then who matter of factly got everything DAW published each month, as they knew DAW published the sort of stuff they liked to read. (And DAW went to some lengths to keep the price of their PBs at 95 cents for as long as possible. Unfortunately, this sometimes meant cutting books to fit in the 160 page format thay could make and sell profitably at that price.)

When Don died and his daughter Betsy took over the reins, the direction changed and DAW is better known now as a publisher of fantasy "bricks" with feminist sensibilities.

I think Baen has largely filled the gap DAW left, and understands what they are doing and who their market is. You can get subscriptions that will automatically get you all Baen titles in ebook format each month. I don't know how many of their buyers use that option, but I'd bet on a good number.

(And Ben still pays attention to quality control. I've seen one odd ebook from Baen - a John Ringo novel included on a bound in CD in one of his hardcovers had an assortment of oddities. Email back and forth confirmed my suspicion: the finished manuscript wasn't available when the CD had to be produced, so what was included was an Advanced Reading Copy - essentially an uncorrected galley proof. I didn't mind. It was actually fun to see John's notes to himself and queries to his editor in the manuscript when it was a work in progress.)
______
Dennis

Ankh
04-20-2010, 11:46 AM
You can get subscriptions that will automatically get you all Baen titles in ebook format each month. I don't know how many of their buyers use that option, but I'd bet on a good number.

This is a reference to "webscription" editions, right? (I am, obviously, uncertain if ALL ebooks are covered by webscriptions).

Elfwreck
04-20-2010, 12:48 PM
I haven't seen any of the non-free Baen offerings pirated, but then, I haven't looked. They probably are, since everything else is, and it's easier because Baen doesn't apply DRM.

But I don't think Baen is concerned.

I believe this is true. Non-free Baen books are indeed available in pirate ebook collections & torrents, and Baen has been, AFAIK, profoundly unconcerned about this.

Baen has some awareness how many of its would-be paying customers are scouring the torrent sites looking for freebies instead of paying the occasional $6 for a choice book or $15/month for a bundle. And aware how many poverty-stricken college students are going to read books (and listen to music) they can get for free, and ten years from now, will have jobs that let them pay for their entertainment.

Baen's statement: "Online piracy while it is definitely illegal and immoral is, as a practical problem, nothing more than (at most) a nuisance. We're talking brats stealing chewing gum, here, not the Barbary Pirates."

Should movie theatres lock their back doors to keep kids from sneaking in without paying? Sure. Should they post armed guards at those doors to prevent a kid's friend from buying a ticket and letting four of his friends in for free? Of course not.

Baen has an idea how much money they're actually losing to "pirates:" less than they'd lose by treating their customers all as potential thieves. Baen is also aware that, for the time being, ebook freebies increase paper sales. Eventually, that'll probably change & they may have to rethink their policies--but they've been working for a decade, and that's plenty long enough for any business plan that deals with cutting-edge technology.

pdurrant
04-20-2010, 01:33 PM
My preferred option was not in your poll. 'I will only buy books with DRM if they can easily be stripped and converted.' So for example I will buy epubs with DRM but not Topaz In a perfect world, I would prefer no DRM (or else for Amazon to adopt ADE support so at least everyone is using it). But in the present, I will buy it if it is in a format I can strip.

My position too. I'll buy DRMed Mobipocket or Adobe ePub or even eReader. But I won't be buying books from Apple unless/until someone comes up with a way to remove the DRM.

So I voted "I prefer my books without DRM"

DMcCunney
04-20-2010, 01:35 PM
Baen has an idea how much money they're actually losing to "pirates:" less than they'd lose by treating their customers all as potential thieves. Baen is also aware that, for the time being, ebook freebies increase paper sales. Eventually, that'll probably change & they may have to rethink their policies--but they've been working for a decade, and that's plenty long enough for any business plan that deals with cutting-edge technology.
The Free Library began as promotion for the dead tree editions. Jim Baen stated in an email that he didn't see opportunities for profit in pure electronic publishing at the time.

But that was years ago, and electronic publishing is a source of profit for them now. The last I heard, the Webscriptions operation brings in more revenue than all foreign sales. Arnold Bailey set up and runs the Webscriptions service for Baen for a cut of the take, and I believe he's doing very nicely, thank you.

It's possible their policies might change if paper books wither and die (which I don't expect to happen), but I doubt it. No DRM is an intrinsic part of Baen's identity. I expect any attempt to change that would cause far more problems than it would solve.
______
Dennis

Shaggy
04-20-2010, 03:36 PM
I don't really see the point of it, either from a writer/publisher perspecive or from a reader perspective. All it does is make pirated books more convenient and easy to use, and punishes people who decide to support the publishers financially.


It eliminates fair use, which can generate more revenue from a certain segment of their market. You're probably right though, in that overall it looses them money.

dmaul1114
04-20-2010, 03:45 PM
Well I think publishers are aware it doesn't stop pirates.

What I think they hope to do with it is kill the used book market, keep people from giving/loaning books to friends etc. and potentially costing them sales.

They have to know the real pirates won't even be slowed down by DRM, but if they can lose less sales to the second hand market, people borrowing from friends etc., they'll ride DRM as long as they can and use piracy as their excuse/justification as it would be terrible PR to just come out and say they want to kill the used stores etc.

Whether this costs them more money is hard to know, as there's no way to know how much DRM drives people to pirate who aren't people who would have pirated it anyway even if it was sold without DRM.

So we just can't compare money lost from creating pirates vs. money gained by stopping some used sales/borrowing, so we can't tell whether they come out ahead or behind.

MerLock
04-20-2010, 04:00 PM
Here's my big problem with DRM. I'm sitting here with a Droid in my pocket and my Sony Reader on my desk and while both "support" DRM, they don't "support" the same DRM. Thus if I buy an ebook with DRM I have to pick which device to read it on because there's no DRM scheme that lets me read one book on either device.

The sad thing is that while neither DRM scheme locks the book to a single device, they may as well have that effect because neither device supports the other's DRM scheme. (For purposes of the discussion the Android's DRM scheme is eReader because that's the only DRM format currently supported on Android devices.)

This is the real problem with DRM - it effectively prevents usage that should be allowed, and is theoretically allowed even by its own terms of usage.

Both can read DRM-free ePub - but the only way to get the majority of current bestsellers in that is to either strip the DRM from an existing file (and convert if necessary) or from the Darknet.

It just gets in the way and penalizes honest consumers.

I feel exactly the sameway about DRM.

DMcCunney
04-20-2010, 10:56 PM
Well I think publishers are aware it doesn't stop pirates.

What I think they hope to do with it is kill the used book market, keep people from giving/loaning books to friends etc. and potentially costing them sales.
I doubt it. There has been a used book market for many years, and an assortment of specialty stores which only sell used books. I can't think of any attempts to curtail it.

What publishers have made attempts to stop is sale of remaindered copies.

One of the problems for publishing is that it has traditionally had a 100% returns policy. If books don't sell they can be returned for credit.

Other industries aren't so liberal, and the retailer will be expected to assume some of the risk, and won't be able to simply return any unsold merchandise. It's on them to accurately guess how many of what they will sell and order accordingly, because they may be stuck with the stuff that doesn't sell. That's why you get things like "overstock" and "clearance" sales: the retailer guessed wrong.

If a bookstore doesn't sell all copies of the book, the unsold ones are returned for credit. If it's a hardcover, the actual book is shipped back (and may reappear on someone's sale table down the road when publishers release them at a fraction of the original price to clear the inventory.) If it's a paperback, the covers are stripped off and returned. The bodies of the books are supposed to be destroyed, but an awful lot found their way into sales at really cheap prices. These were costing sales, as many folks just wanted to read the book and then toss it, and weren't concerned by the lack of a cover. And the publisher had already issued a credit for the unsold book. No surprise they were peeved.

Books sold by used bookstores generally have covers. Those books were already sold once, so it isn't a dead loss for the publisher, and books tend not to hit the used book store till sometime after release. By the time they do, chance are the book is no longer available new, and the publisher isn't losing a sale because there is no new edition to buy.

They have to know the real pirates won't even be slowed down by DRM, but if they can lose less sales to the second hand market, people borrowing from friends etc., they'll ride DRM as long as they can and use piracy as their excuse/justification as it would be terrible PR to just come out and say they want to kill the used stores etc.
Sorry, but this doesn't compute. How does DRM on a ebook help curtail sales on a used pbook? If anything, I'd expect the reverse - instead of dealing with DRM restrictions on a ebook, look for a used pbook copy. You get to read the book at a cheap price, and the publisher isn't getting the money you might have given them if they hadn't applied DRM.

Whether this costs them more money is hard to know, as there's no way to know how much DRM drives people to pirate who aren't people who would have pirated it anyway even if it was sold without DRM.

So we just can't compare money lost from creating pirates vs. money gained by stopping some used sales/borrowing, so we can't tell whether they come out ahead or behind.
I'm assuming piracy costs some sales, but I don't think the losses are significant.

Ebooks are a relatively new phenomenon. While they are growing in sales and importance, they are still essentially a niche market catering to early adopters. The majority of the book market is still paper. And I strongly suspect the majority of ebook readers don't get pirate copies. It's a mistake to assume your own experience is general and applicable to everybody else.

Folks who hang out here tend to be more savvy about such things. It's why we are here in the first place. We are aware of different ebook formats, know that DRM can be removed and can find out how, and know that formats can be shifted into things we can read if the device we use doesn't happen to support the format in which a particular title is issued, and can find out how to do it or where to get it done. We are aware that pirate editions exist and know how to find those.

Do you assume that all ebook readers are likewise? I don't, especially as the ebook market rapidly grows, and folks like Amazon and Barnes and Noble push their respective ebook readers and offer instant gratification. Why bother to worry about DRM or search for a pirate edition if, for instance, you are a Kindle user, and anything you want is probably available on Amazon at the touch of a button? The limiting factor will be time to read, not money to buy.
______
Dennis

Worldwalker
04-21-2010, 12:08 AM
If the publishers managed to kill the used book stores, friends lending books to friends, libraries, etc., they'd be cutting their own throats.

Reading for pleasure (perhaps reading at all), like smoking, is an addiction most effectively established when the consumer is young. Very few people pick up either habit late in life. So making their products affordable to people who might become lifelong customers is not only in their own best interest, but it keeps their companies (book or tobacco) in business. I have no doubt that every tobacco company, if it was legal, would cheerfully give any teenager who wanted them a good starter supply of smokes. It would be a cheap price to pay for having that person as a customer for fifty years. If the publishers were smart, thinking "how can we make the market for our products as large as possible for the next couple of decades?" instead of "how can we squeeze the most blood out of the existing stones?" they'd see it that way too.

When I was a kid, my town had a wonderful used SF bookstore. They got most of my allowance and any other money I could scrape up. I discovered Isaac Asimov and Roger Zelazny, Andre Norton and Marion Zimmer Bradley, and all the rest of the world of science fiction and fantasy. I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on, half-off. The result? Today, my expenditures on books (e- and otherwise) exceed my expenditures on all other forms of entertainment. If those figures you see about half of people not reading a single book in the past year are just done by dividing number of books sold by population, they're way off, thanks to me; I probably read more books than everyone on my block combined. There's a bookshelf in my bathroom and books in my bed, magazines in my mailbox and ebooks on my Sony Reader.

If I'd had to buy those books new, at full (current) cover price instead of half the (old) cover price, I could have afforded maybe a fifth as many as I bought used. Without those books to fill my time, I would have found something else to entertain me. Maybe, like most of my peers, I would have committed to that for my entertainment, instead of reading. Maybe I would, like many people, never read a single book for pleasure in my adult life. Maybe, in other words, the publishing industry would have lost out on the tens of thousands of dollars it's gotten from me, and more in the future.

If a friend hadn't handed me "Hunt for Red October" and told me to read it, Tom Clancy would have lost a lot of sales, because not only did I buy all of his books (until they started to suck hard), usually in both HC and MM, but I got several other friends reading them too. If my upstairs neighbor hadn't loaned me the first couple of Harry Potter books when her son finished them, I probably would have just dismissed it as some kids' fad, and not bought them all in HC, not to mention the movies, the spin-off books, and even the occasional action figure. I could go on, but why? Probably all of us could tell exactly the same story, with just the book titles changed.

The publishing industry used to understand they were in the business of selling books, not readings-of-books, so as long as they sold a book, they were happy about it -- they didn't care if you read it, and gave it to your mother-in-law, and when she read it she gave it to her church rummage sale, where someone else bought it, and so on. They'd sold a book, just like a furniture store might sell a bookshelf. Where that book or that bookshelf went afterwards was no concern of theirs.

Now, I'm expecting any day to see dead-trees books with something in them like "This book is licensed to the original purchaser only. Reading by any person other than the purchaser named on the receipt is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison." Given that the US has a government "of the people, by the politicians, for the corporations" that's not just a possibility but a probability.

And when the next generation grows up without reading ... without buying books ... the publishers will blame everybody but themselves.

(I should point out, by the way, that I am not defending the sales of "stripped" books. Lying about having destroyed something, getting a refund of what you've paid for it, then selling it out the back door, is theft, plain and simple)

Shaggy
04-21-2010, 09:39 AM
I doubt it. There has been a used book market for many years, and an assortment of specialty stores which only sell used books. I can't think of any attempts to curtail it.

Really? How many used eBook stores have you seen?


Sorry, but this doesn't compute. How does DRM on a ebook help curtail sales on a used pbook?

I think you missed the point. It curtails sales on used eBooks.

mr ploppy
04-21-2010, 10:51 AM
I think you missed the point. It curtails sales on used eBooks.

There's lots of "used" ebooks for sale on ebay. :chinscratch:

DMcCunney
04-21-2010, 10:51 AM
Really? How many used eBook stores have you seen?
None. I'm talking about used pBooks. How many "used ebooks" have you seen for sale?

I think you missed the point. It curtails sales on used eBooks.
I'm not sure how you think that's possible.

What, exactly, is a "used ebook?"

I can buy an ebook. Depending upon DRM or lack of, I can copy and share it with others.

I suppose I could theoretically sell it, if I could find someone willing to buy, but I've never heard of it being done.

A pBook is a physical product I can sell and transfer. Once transferred, *I* no longer have it. An ebook is a different animal.
______
Dennis

DMcCunney
04-21-2010, 10:54 AM
There's lots of "used" ebooks for sale on ebay. :chinscratch:
I'll have to go look. The concept is intriguing. I wonder how many sales they get?

I've seen the odd offering of ebooks that are pirate editions and tend not to last long, but I've never seen them described as "used".
______
Dennis

Elfwreck
04-21-2010, 01:29 PM
What, exactly, is a "used ebook?"
I can buy an ebook. Depending upon DRM or lack of, I can copy and share it with others.

I suppose I could theoretically sell it, if I could find someone willing to buy, but I've never heard of it being done.

People sell used Kindles & Sonys loaded with ebooks, and mention them as part of what's being sold.

dmaul1114
04-21-2010, 01:42 PM
I doubt it. There has been a used book market for many years, and an assortment of specialty stores which only sell used books. I can't think of any attempts to curtail it.


Well they haven't had much of a way. If they can move on to a fully digital world and have everything DRMd, they can kill the used market.

In the video game industry we're seeing efforts to curtail used game sales by including codes for access to extra content that can only be used once etc.

For instance, in Mass Effect 2 new copies come with codes for access to the online "Cerberus Network" and so far that's granted a new playable character, new weapons and armor, one short mission, and one pack of five vehicle missions etc.

If you buy used, you have to pay $15 to sign up for that network.

Then you have all the download only games in the Xbox Live Arcade and Play Station Network that can't be resold etc.

So I think movie studios, book publishers etc. are also drooling over ways that moving digital can cut down on sales they lose to used stores etc.

Currently, DRM on books doesn't stop any second hand sales. But from the publishers standpoint at least someone who buys a DRM'd e-book can't easily sell it, loan it to 5 different friends over a few months etc. like they could if they bought a paper copy.



Sorry, but this doesn't compute. How does DRM on a ebook help curtail sales on a used pbook?

It doesn't until say 50-100 years in the future when there's super high speed wireless internet in every corner of the world and books, music, movies, games etc. have gone nearly 100% to digital versions.

Then they'll have near total control of their product as they can just charge fees to access their content vs. allowing downloads etc.

Pirates will still get it, but most will just pay for access like they do for cable TV etc. now, and the content providers will get more money from using a subscription model, killing the second hand market etc.

Will it happen? Way too soon to say. But as I said in another thread, I think that's the dream world of publishers, movie studies, record labels etc.

DMcCunney
04-21-2010, 01:53 PM
People sell used Kindles & Sonys loaded with ebooks, and mention them as part of what's being sold.
Okay, but that's a different matter. They are selling to hardware, with the ebooks as an incentive. They aren't selling the ebooks alone.
______
Dennis

dmaul1114
04-21-2010, 02:21 PM
Okay, but that's a different matter. They are selling to hardware, with the ebooks as an incentive. They aren't selling the ebooks alone.
______
Dennis

True, to flesh out what I just editted in my post above....


Publishers would prefer to sell a DRM'd e-book than a paper book because the paper book can easily be sold, loaned to a bunch of friends etc.

I by a book on my Kindle, and it's tied to the device. I could strip DRM and all that jazz. But that's too much hassle and I don't have any friends or family who read e-books currently anyway. Well my girlfriend very lightly, but she can just read my Kindle books on her iPad since I put my account on their.

But still, that's one person, vs. passing a paper copy of a book I buy around to 5-10 people over the course of a year.

So that's how DRM on e-books can cut down on the used market. It has no impact on people who still buy and sell/trade/loan paper books of course. But at least for the people who buy the e-book instead--most of those will only go to one person.

Of course, the balance to that is it's much easier for pirates to strip DRM and make it available to a limitless number of people than it is for them to scan the paper book etc.

davidhburton
04-21-2010, 04:24 PM
Have any of you ever read Joe Konrath's blog (http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/)? He's posted a lot about DRM and the lack of vision of the large publishers. I highly recommend reading it. It's aimed at writers, but what he says makes a pile of sense.

TallMomof2
04-21-2010, 06:13 PM
After losing a dozen DRMed ebooks because of content servers permanently shutting down I now make sure that I can disinfect any DRMed ebooks I purchase. I will not repurchase an ebook.

My preference is buy ebooks without DRM and 95% of my ebooks are DRM-free.

I never purchased music with DRM, much rather purchase a CD and rip.

Shaggy
04-22-2010, 12:20 PM
There's lots of "used" ebooks for sale on ebay. :chinscratch:

Legal ones? Or are you talking about non-DRM or public domain eBooks?

Shaggy
04-22-2010, 12:21 PM
I can buy an ebook. Depending upon DRM or lack of, I can copy and share it with others.

I suppose I could theoretically sell it, if I could find someone willing to buy, but I've never heard of it being done.


I believe you're making our point. No, you don't really hear of it being done. Why? Because the DRM won't allow it.

Publishers have used DRM to prevent the reselling of commercial eBooks.

dmaul1114
04-22-2010, 01:00 PM
I believe you're making our point. No, you don't really hear of it being done. Why? Because the DRM won't allow it.

Publishers have used DRM to prevent the reselling of commercial eBooks.

To be fair, even without DRM there wouldn't be much reselling. People would just give it away. Not much incentive for the average person to sell an e-book when they can keep a copy. Unlike paperbooks where they're getting rid of their only copy and thus there are more people that would like to at least get a couple bucks for it etc.

The only way well see a lot of sales of e-books is if there's DRM systems that allow sells/trades by transferring licenses. i.e. can sell or trade to someone else, and the book is deleted from your account and can't be re-downloaded unless you purchase a new one.

I doubt they'll go that route, so we'll eventually just have no DRM on books and there won't be any real sales of used e-books. People will either just keep their copy and not give it away, or keep their copy and give it to others as it common with MP3s with music.

Shaggy
04-22-2010, 01:11 PM
The only way well see a lot of sales of e-books is if there's DRM systems that allow sells/trades by transferring licenses. i.e. can sell or trade to someone else, and the book is deleted from your account and can't be re-downloaded unless you purchase a new one.

I doubt they'll go that route

I doubt they ever will either, that's the point. Could DRM allow for selling eBooks, sure. Does it, nope. Whose decision is it... the publishers.

It's not surprising that the publishers are using DRM to eliminate the "used" market. The real question is, why was the system allowed to get to a state where it is the publishers decision whether or not consumers are allowed to exercise their legal right of "first sale".

Shaggy
04-22-2010, 01:14 PM
To be fair, even without DRM there wouldn't be much reselling. People would just give it away. Not much incentive for the average person to sell an e-book when they can keep a copy. Unlike paperbooks where they're getting rid of their only copy and thus there are more people that would like to at least get a couple bucks for it etc.


So you're saying that there's no point in designing a system where people are allowed to exercise their legal rights, because everyone is a criminal.

Sounds like a self fulfilling prophecy to me.

dmaul1114
04-22-2010, 01:20 PM
So you're saying that there's no point in designing a system where people are allowed to exercise their legal rights, because everyone is a criminal.

Sounds like a self fulfilling prophecy to me.

That's not what I meant.

I meant that I don't think the system will come around as the publishers don't want second hand sales. The biggest boon of digital content for them is the death of the 2nd hand stores when decades down the road all content is digital only.

They'll stick with DRM as long as they can, and eventually drop it and just deal with piracy like the Music industry has. And at least be happy that used book stores are a thing of the past once paper books are largely gone (again, decades away).

I do think that such a system wouldn't be widely used if they did design it as people don't have much incentive to sell digital goods as there's no tangible product involved. But I don't think that's the reason we won't get a system for selling e-book legally. The reason is publishers don't want fair use and used sales, so they aren't going to build such a system.

forcheville
04-22-2010, 07:21 PM
I interpreted "I will not buy a book with DRM" as "I will not buy a book with DRM that I can't remove."
I have no objection to DRM otherwise, but this is my rule - even if on some occasions I need to buy one book from a site before finding out that I can't remove the DRM.

The motive for this is that I buy books to build a library, and therefore the ebooks must be device independent.

tompe
04-23-2010, 05:02 AM
I interpreted "I will not buy a book with DRM" as "I will not buy a book with DRM that I can't remove."


That was not my interpretation. I do not want to support the system with DRM so I do not buy books with DRM. If everybody stopped buying DRM:ed books and then removing the DRM we might get rid of DRM faster.

WT Sharpe
04-24-2010, 09:13 PM
As of late, I have made it a point to visit Amazon every day and type into their search engine some variation on the theme, "DRM sucks."

I don't know if complaining does any good, but I'm sure they pay attention to what people are looking to buy, and maybe, just maybe, if enough people do that and they began to realize the lengths to which people will go to avoid buying DRM encrypted books, something will change.

pepak
04-25-2010, 03:32 AM
I find the system of "never buy anything that contains DRM, no matter what" a lot more reliable in driving the point home.

GeoffC
04-25-2010, 04:50 AM
not too convinced the "powers that decide" are caring !

mr ploppy
04-25-2010, 09:38 AM
I find the system of "never buy anything that contains DRM, no matter what" a lot more reliable in driving the point home.

Only if they knew you existed and knew your reason for not buying.

Lemurion
04-25-2010, 10:56 AM
Only if they knew you existed and knew your reason for not buying.

This is the reason for my sig: it's not enough to refuse to buy DRM content, one has to also buy non-DRM content.

WT Sharpe
04-25-2010, 11:05 AM
I would assume Amazon monitors those requests. It only makes sense that they would wish to stock what people are asking for.

Worldwalker
04-25-2010, 03:35 PM
I've noticed people -- even here -- using the publishers' terminology, namely saying that books are "protected" by DRM. Changing perceptions starts with language: be sure to say they're "restricted" by DRM.

It's a calculated, cynical choice of words on the publishers' part. People are used to having things that are protected in some way being to the buyer's advantage: a carpet "protected by Scotchgard", for instance, is more stain-resistant then one that isn't. So "protected" sounds good to the uninformed, disguising the fact it's massively to the buyer's disadvantage. Plus it portrays all us customers as scum from whom books need to be protected. If the publishers won't tell the truth and say "restricted", we have to.

hokie
04-28-2010, 10:24 PM
Are you assuming everyone knows what "trade paperback" means? Not sure this is common knowledge.

Blue Tyson
04-29-2010, 03:06 AM
Definitely Reduced Monies

aagstn
04-29-2010, 09:44 AM
As long as I can keep removing it I think it is fine.,

Robertb
04-29-2010, 01:55 PM
The results of my book buying poll are posted at my site. I have a new poll up on what people think of DRM.

Please drop by and vote at http://davidhburton.com

Cheers!
David

David:

Beautifully designed and professional website.

I know you are up on Kindle and I would like to get you onto www.EZread.com also. We are new but growing rapidly and we are Adobe Digital Editions.

Please send me a PM with your email. I would like to start a dialogue.

Worldwalker
04-29-2010, 07:27 PM
As long as I can keep removing it I think it is fine.,
The problem is that paying for DRM-restricted content encourages publishers to keep selling it, and pays for their lobbyists to push governments to make removing it a crime. If nobody bought it, they wouldn't sell it.