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Old 11-08-2012, 09:15 AM   #91
BearMountainBooks
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Originally Posted by gmw View Post
Being social and sharing has always been an issue when selling books. Yes, people can now share their copy and read it at the same time, but exactly how much impact this has over the old serial form of sharing is really hard to tell. Most avid readers tend to have a fairly large TBR list, waiting for a copy was generally not much of a problem.

Generally I think that people sharing within their small group is usual and to be expected - and I mean this both ways. The writer should expect it to happen and the readers expect to be able to do it, but this is where DRM steps in and - in some instances - makes things awkward and annoys the reader. You may well say that that's as it should be, but remember that if you sell your ebook for a buck or two of profit you are still doing just as well when the same happened to authors selling paper books.

Large scale piracy - sharing (or selling on) to anyone/everyone around the 'net - is a different kettle of very smelly fish all together. Here it may be possible to argue that new/unknown authors could actually benefit from such distribution channels (at least they're being read/discovered). I find it less easy to argue that well known authors would receive the same benefit, I suspect there are only downsides for them. BUT I don't think that existing DRM methods make much of an impact on this form of piracy.
DRM doesn't really stop word of mouth. Several of my books have been 'recommended' on discussions where readers don't even have an e-reader. One in particular I follow has had them rec'd several times to a woman without an e-reader--but she doesn't want to buy hard copy unless she can find them very cheap. She keeps asking around now and then, but so far the used copies haven't gone under 6 dollars.

Discussion is discussion. If people like the books they talk about them or they come up because of some related discussion "books like."

I do expect some sharing in groups--that is why there is lending. My books have been lent within some of these groups (by myself as well as others.) But remarkably, the "lend once" works. When a new group member wants to read the books and they aren't available by lending, they will often buy the book.

It's the never ending lock/key/safe/burglar problem. Authors want to get paid. Readers want to read for free or as little as possible. Some restraint is required on both sides. It's more about what the reader perceives as "fair." In my groups, the ladies are actually thrilled to be able to lend once--across the internet. In the old days some of them were in online swap groups and that meant no lending without at least paying postage--and they didn't get the book back. One-time lending handled by Kindle or Nook is actually a convenience for them. Most of them are quite happy with it.

I would also like to say that I have read/started MANY, MANY series (most) and new authors (Most) without first getting a free book. Sure, I've purchased a lot of used books and I do use the library, but it is only lately with the free ebooks that I am finding authors to try for free. And it is a TIME CONSUMING method. I sample/try probably 5 to 8 books for every one that I actually bother to finish.

Last edited by BearMountainBooks; 11-08-2012 at 09:16 AM. Reason: correct a word
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:46 AM   #92
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....

2) If one MUST use DRM, which one would you recommend?

...
Read aloud your book personally to everyone of your readers in a sound-proofed room after having them passed through a body scanner to prevent them to sneak in recording devices.

That should work, I suppose...

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Old 11-08-2012, 10:59 AM   #93
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Read aloud your book personally to everyone of your readers in a sound-proofed room after having them passed through a body scanner to prevent them to sneak in recording devices.

That should work, I suppose...

Nope, because those with perfect memory could/would write it down later.

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Old 11-08-2012, 01:41 PM   #94
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The best bet in your scheme is simply using something that hasn't been hacked yet. If your topic is esoteric, it will be difficult to engage the help of hackers to break it. Besides, you can't keep needed information 'secret' for very long.
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Old 11-08-2012, 01:45 PM   #95
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Kenny, now where did I hear that one before? Oh yeah, the Book of Eli (movie).
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:32 PM   #96
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Nope, because those with perfect memory could/would write it down later.

Your assuming they will be let out again.
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:27 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by frahse View Post
You see the final fallback argument many ofl these anti-DRM types use is something like "Don't make them mad. You can't stop them. "

Well, it is true I can't stop a thief with a gun, a knife or a brick from taking my money if he gets the chance, but I can sure make it as difficult as possible. And if he complains "Why don't you just give me the money and save me all this trouble?" I will laugh at him just like I do with the Anti-DRM types.

A thief is a thief.
A thug is a thug.
Wow, this statement is so blatantly ignorant and argumentative that I actually had to read it twice to make sure that it wasn't some sort of subtle sarcasm. This is the sort of attack that turns people on the fence completely against anything intelligent that you might have had to say. You say "anti-DRM types" as if anyone who is against DRM is an ignorant thug bent on spreading piracy and taking money out of the pockets of authors. The truth is that most of us "anti-DRM types" want to be able to read our books without worrying about weather the file type will become extinct, or the DRM will be supported by our next device, or whatever.

I have said over and over again that I am 100% in support of some way other than relying on the honor of the reader to protect intellectual property rights, but that DRM is not the right answer. I have said that piracy, even casual file sharing, is a bad thing. I have never said that authors and publishers should just turn a blind eye to piracy and hope for the best. Many of the folks on here have agreed with me or made similar statements. I find it amazing that during this extended, and slightly off topic, debate that while several people have expressed a willingness to at least consider an alternative to completely unprotected books that you could come up with a statement that is almost guaranteed to entrench people in their beliefs.

As I have said before there are pros to DRM (the prevention of casual file sharing, creation of enforceable customer loyalty, etc.) and there are cons (the inability to use a book on any chosen device, the very real possibility of a DRM scheme no longer being supported, etc.). Those of us in the anti-DRM crowd feel that the cons greatly outweigh the pros, but we are in no way advocating a surrender of the market.

An open dialogue is important to the advancement of any technology or cause, but if you just piss off the people who are in opposition to your ideas then nothing changes. Intentional or not, your statement comes across as if you are saying that anyone who is against DRM is a fool who believes that piracy and theft are inevitable. I've never had anyone change my mind by telling me that I am a fool.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:21 PM   #98
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I think he was just being cute in his example, but your point is taken and valid. Without readers we have no audience at all and I think most of us understand that a real problem with DRM is being able to port it to other devices (either newer ones or different formats). When I sell from my online store, I sell both formats in one bundle--because many readers do have both an epub and a kindle. (Amazon, you'd be doing us all a favor if you supported epub...)

You're right the open dialogue helps a lot. I watch these threads for that very reason. I want to see which way the wind is blowing and how things and attitudes are changing.
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:23 AM   #99
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It's been pointed out to me that a previous comment of mine was inappropriate and I'd like to take the opportunity to publicly apologise to frayse. It was wrong of me to say what I said, when I clearly have only the flimsiest of exposure to frehse's real character.

Taking exception to frahes' unpleasant opinions does not, in any way give me the right to blithely characterize him, personally, in a broad stereotypical manner, the way he characterizes readers who dislike DRM.

Again, I can only humbly beg his forgiveness, while reiterating my intention to never knowingly pay for any of his "opinions".

Thank you for your time.
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:31 PM   #100
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,,,

Thank you for your time.
I missed that, but apology accepted.

I stopped in the discussion anyway because it appeared that the expression of my opinions and those of my book sellers were causing some people on the forum great difficulty.
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Old 11-22-2012, 06:43 PM   #101
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Here's my perspective as a someone who writes about computer security. DRM is a hopeless concept. With real computer security, encryption is used to hide information from people who don't have the decryption key. With DRM, by contrast, Eve and Alice are the same person—you have the data, and to be able to view it, you also must have the key, and the only thing between you and the unencrypted data is software that tries to hide the key where you won't find it. It is a fundamentally unsolvable problem—what we in tech call "security through obscurity".

Worse, DRM causes significant harm to consumers. Ask anyone who bought music protected by Microsoft's PlaysForSure DRM whether they will ever buy DRMed content again. It's not just about being unable to change platforms. Eventually, every DRM scheme gets replaced by a different one, and for server-based DRM, this poses a serious problem: the company eventually shuts down the servers. When they do, you're no longer able to authorize the content on a new machine, or worse, are unable to play the content even on existing machines.

As the software industry mostly learned back in the 80s, copy protection is a hopeless cause. The only copy protection that typically goes uncracked for more than a couple of weeks involves hardware dongles, and even that isn't particularly effective long-term. And that's for software, which you can't copy by just photographing it.... With the exception of a few very specific situations where almost all of your sales happen in the first two weeks (mostly games), DRM rarely pays for itself in practice.

The main effect of DRM is to piss off your paying customers. The pirates will pirate no matter what you do. Your DRM will never affect them significantly, because except for that first person who cracks the DRM, the pirates never encounter it. And it isn't even all that effective against the first person. In the worst case, I could run your book through an OCR program and get a "good enough" copy in ten minutes, or a few hours if you want pictures. The entire notion of using copy protection for text is beyond absurd. And that's reality.

Last edited by dgatwood; 11-22-2012 at 06:53 PM.
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Old 11-23-2012, 12:43 AM   #102
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dgatwood, as someone who reads widely about computer security, I can only agree with most of what you wrote.

Note however that the main (potentially useful) counter argument goes something like: DRM stops users who don't know any better from casually sharing what they bought. With consumer products like books and music this is likely to be a significant proportion of purchasers. (In the past I've even, partly tongue-in-cheek, suggested that DRM "protects" such users from accidentally breaking the law when they don't know any better.) Obscurity is indeed all that is required for those that don't know how to look deeper.

The second argument, specific to books, is that a significant proportion of readers buy a book and read it just once, so they're not going to care a lot if they can't get it back again. This doesn't cover everyone (it doesn't cover me), but it does mean that the problem of disappearing servers is less significant (statistically) than it may appear.

Note that the stuff about being able to scan and OCR a book is, I think, I bit of a furphy (or at least misleading). The ability to do this has existed for a long time, since well before ebooks became commonplace. (And, even before that, there were plenty of fast typists that could quickly reproduce the content of a book.) Indeed Project Gutenberg has operated on essentially this basis since 1971. It may be getting easier and easier, but there still remains considerable work involved in getting a good end-result, enough that most people are not going to do this just so they can pass a copy on to their friends and neighbours (professional pirates are a separate issue). For this reason I earlier suggested that print-only publication was still one of the more effective (and acceptable) forms of DRM.
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Old 11-23-2012, 03:01 AM   #103
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Note that the stuff about being able to scan and OCR a book is, I think, I bit of a furphy (or at least misleading). The ability to do this has existed for a long time, since well before ebooks became commonplace. (And, even before that, there were plenty of fast typists that could quickly reproduce the content of a book.) Indeed Project Gutenberg has operated on essentially this basis since 1971. It may be getting easier and easier, but there still remains considerable work involved in getting a good end-result, enough that most people are not going to do this just so they can pass a copy on to their friends and neighbours (professional pirates are a separate issue). For this reason I earlier suggested that print-only publication was still one of the more effective (and acceptable) forms of DRM.
The difference between OCRing a printed book and an ebook is that with an ebook the page image capture can be done automatically on computer, and the letter shapes are perfect. OCR from such images is very nearly perfect, IMO one in 10,000 error at worst, while OCR from scanned images is going to be 1 in 1,000 error at best.
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:46 AM   #104
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The difference between OCRing a printed book and an ebook is that with an ebook the page image capture can be done automatically on computer, and the letter shapes are perfect. OCR from such images is very nearly perfect, IMO one in 10,000 error at worst, while OCR from scanned images is going to be 1 in 1,000 error at best.
I imagine this is true enough, but then OCR off the computer screen is only for those circumstances where you'd rather avoid dealing with whatever the obscurity is protecting the underlying text/comms security. It's not the only way past the DRM, although it may be the simplest for some situations. Note however that trying to stop people from being able to do such things is why manufacturers like their proprietary devices (kindle and ipad etc.). Plenty of people can install what they want on their PC, it's not so easy on a device locked down by the manufacturer. Such work is, once again, beyond what most people are likely to do just to take copies for their friends and neighbours. As always, serious pirates are a different matter.
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:24 PM   #105
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dgatwood, --

The second argument, specific to books, is that a significant proportion of readers buy a book and read it just once, so they're not going to care a lot if they can't get it back again. This doesn't cover everyone (it doesn't cover me), but it does mean that the problem of disappearing servers is less significant (statistically) than it may appear. --
I will speak to that good point. I myself read books once 98% plus of the time. The other 2% of the time, I may read a portion and skip around or I am using the book for a reference. That is one reason I like to buy used paperbacks to mark up. I have some perfectly awful books, that had some unique way of expressing or describing something that impressed me and I have saved them. I put a tape on the spine and cover and write what the reference is.

Some verse I may read many times. Some verse I memorize.

Now I admit that over the years I didn't just as a matter of course toss books. Why would I do that? Then they piled up enough that I found a reason.

Now the above doesn't cover the books, I started, then skimmed, then skipped around in to begin with and finally, usually, tossed or gave away. And by the way, I seem to be doing TV series that way also. They just can't keep my interest.
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