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Old 02-24-2011, 02:30 PM   #1
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Ebook stores and their DRM

I think I have a handle on the various Ebook stores and the way each of their DRM works, but I wanted to write a quick summary to make sure that I am not missing anything important before I start actually spending money and purchasing a lot of content. I have both a Kindle3 Wi-fi from last October and a Nook Wi-fi that I recently purchased. I would really appreciate being corrected if I am misunderstanding something about the various stores.

I've used the following, but so far only for free books:

Amazon.com- The books from their store are essentially mobi format with a proprietary DRM. Books purchased from them will only work on the Kindle and the various devices that now have software "Kindle Apps."

EDIT: starrigger notes that "[A]uthors direct-publishing to Amazon and B&N have the option to make their books DRM-free, and many do." ATDrake adds, "[T]he way to tell if an Amazon book is DRM-free is to look for "Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited" in the Product Details on the book's description page. If it has a number listed or omits that field entirely, then it's DRM."

Barnes & Noble- The books from their store are epub with their own proprietary DRM using your credit card number. Books purchased from them will only work on the Nook and the various devices that now have software "Nook Apps."

EDIT: ATDrake's post below adds that the JetBook Lite, the Pandigital Novel, and possibly a 3rd party iDevice App (Bluefire) can also currently read books with B & N's DRM. Additionally, he reports that the ability to read epub with B & N DRM may be incorporated into future updates of Adobe Digital Editions potentially enabling many more devices to read the format. ATDrake also adds that Mac users are "able to download our purchases in either the older original .pdb or newer standard ePub format, depending on whether we do it directly from our My NOOK Library account page at the website, or via the NookStudy app."

starrigger also notes that "[A]uthors direct-publishing to Amazon and B&N have the option to make their books DRM-free, and many do." Unfortunately, ATDrake reports that there is no indication on B & N which books are DRM-free.


Sony Reader store- The books from this store are epub with Adobe DRM. You must use downloaded Sony Reader software to purchase the books, but once on your PC you can transfer them to any ereader that supports Adobe DRM. (including the Nook, the Sony eReaders, Kobo and a bunch of others)

Overdrive- Not so much a store, but the company/service that many libraries use to lend ebooks. Uses epub or pdf with Adobe DRM. You can then use Adobe Digital Editions to transfer the ebook to any ereader that supports Adobe DRM. (including the Nook, the Sony eReaders, Kobo and a bunch of others) EDIT: Per Poppaea's response below you can also use the Sony Reader Library software instead of Adobe Digital Editions to download and authorize overdrive library materials. Also, per abookreader's response below some libraries also provide some material in the mobi format via Overdrive using your PID to authorize your device.

Netlibrary- Another library service somewhat like Overdrive, it works pretty much the same way.

I have not used the following but BELIEVE that they work as described. PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong.

Google Books- sells epub with Adobe DRM. You can then use Adobe Digital Editions to transfer the ebook to any ereader that supports Adobe DRM. (including the Nook, the Sony Readers, Kobo and a bunch of others) Additionally google has apps for idevices and android devices to read books bought in their store.

Kobo- sells epub with Adobe DRM. You can then use Adobe Digital Editions to transfer the ebook to any ereader that supports Adobe DRM. (including the Nook, the Sony Readers, Kobo and a bunch of others) Additionally Kobo appears to have apps to read their books on idevices, android devices, Blackberry devices, and Palm devices. EDIT: Per CWatkinsNash post below books purchased through the Kobo apps instead of from the Kobo website are stored in a database in the app instead of as epub files. So in order to transfer them to other Adobe DRM compatible devices you must redownload them from the Kobo website as Epubs first.

Smashwords- sells ebooks in multiple DRM free formats including mobi, epub, pdf, and html.

Webscription.net (Baen)- My understanding is that they sell both standalone books and monthly compilations of partial books of science fiction material in multiple formats including both mobi & epub. As far as I can tell from the description it is DRM free. EDIT: Worldwalker confirms in his post below that the purchased books are DRM free and available in pretty much any format you could want. He also pointed out that according to the Webscription FAQ- "Purchase of an individual month will deliver that months complete books whether other months are purchased or not."

Webscription.net also hosts the Baen free library with a number of books in multiple formats and DRM-free.

Apple ibooks- as far as I can tell this store sells ebooks in the epub format with a proprietary DRM that only works on iDevices.

EDIT:from the helpful posts below I've added the following stores:

Fictionwise offers most of its selections in the .pdb with eReader DRM format. eReader software to read this format looks to be available at ereader.com for many phones, Android, iDevices, Palm, and PCs/Macs/Linux. Per ATDrake's post below it also works on the Nook (classic only). Additionally, Fictionwise sells some of its selections without DRM. These selections are marked as "Multiformat" in the store with a multitude of available formats available including epub, mobi, pdf, html, and many others.

whsmith- sells epub with Adobe DRM. You can then use Adobe Digital Editions to transfer the ebook to any ereader that supports Adobe DRM. (including the Nook, the Sony Readers, Kobo and a bunch of others)

waterstones sells epub with Adobe DRM. You can then use Adobe Digital Editions to transfer the ebook to any ereader that supports Adobe DRM. (including the Nook, the Sony Readers, Kobo and a bunch of others)

eharlequin.com sells epub with Adobe DRM. You can then use Adobe Digital Editions to transfer the ebook to any ereader that supports Adobe DRM. (including the Nook, the Sony Readers, Kobo and a bunch of others)

millsandboon.co.uk sells epub with Adobe DRM. You can then use Adobe Digital Editions to transfer the ebook to any ereader that supports Adobe DRM. (including the Nook, the Sony Readers, Kobo and a bunch of others)

Lazy Day Books sells epub with Adobe DRM. You can then use Adobe Digital Editions to transfer the ebook to any ereader that supports Adobe DRM. (including the Nook, the Sony Readers, Kobo and a bunch of others)

In her post below Hatgirl also provides a list of smaller e-stores that sell their books in various DRM-free formats including:

Book View Cafe
Wizard's Tower
Carina Press
Samhain Publishing


neilmarr adds that additional sources of DRM-free books can be tracked down in the new 'Open Books' section of the Calibre site (www.calibre-ebook.com). The site includes a list of publishers who resist DRM, their titles, and websites where their work is downloadable DRM-free.

For those of you with more details or anything important that I may have missed or simply may be flat wrong about, please correct me (be gentle, I'm new). For those whom have not looked in depth into the various stores and formats yet, hopefully this helps a bit.

EDIT: Thanks to everyone who has supplied additional information and pointed out inaccuracies so far. I will continue to update this post as further information is provided, but will likely not be available to update over the weekend.

Last edited by Jasonofindy; 02-25-2011 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 02-24-2011, 02:54 PM   #2
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That's a great summary that will help a lot of readers!

I would like to add Lazy Day Books to the list of ebookstores. LDB sells epubs with Adobe DRM that you can transfer to any ereader that supports Adobe DRM, including Nook, Sony, Kobo and many others.
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Old 02-24-2011, 03:07 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasonofindy View Post
I think I have a handle on the various Ebook stores and the way each of their DRM works, but I wanted to write a quick summary to make sure that I am not missing anything important before I start actually spending money and purchasing a lot of content. I have both a Kindle3 Wi-fi from last October and a Nook Wi-fi that I recently purchased. I would really appreciate being corrected if I am misunderstanding something about the various stores.

I've used the following, but so far only for free books:

Amazon.com- The books from their store are essentially mobi format with a proprietary DRM. Books purchased from them will only work on the Kindle and the various devices that now have software "Kindle Apps."

Right

Barnes & Noble- The books from their store are epub with their own proprietary DRM using your credit card number that will only work on the Nook and the various devices that now have software "Nook Apps."

Right

Sony Reader store- The books from this store are epub with Adobe DRM. You must use downloaded Sony Reader software to purchase the books, but once on your PC you can transfer them to any ereader that supports Adobe DRM. (including the Nook, the Sony eReaders, and a bunch of others)

Right
Overdrive- Not so much a store, but the company/service that many libraries use to lend ebooks. Uses epub or pdf with Adobe DRM. You can then use Adobe Digital Editions to transfer the ebook to any ereader that supports Adobe DRM. (including the Nook, the Sony eReaders, and a bunch of others)

Or you can use the Sony Reader Library and forgo ADE.

Netlibrary- Another library service somewhat like Overdrive, it works pretty much the same way.

I have not used the following but BELIEVE that they work as described. PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong.

Google Books- sells epub/pdf with Adobe DRM. You can then use Adobe Digital Editions to transfer the ebook to any ereader that supports Adobe DRM. (including the Nook, the Sony Readers, and a bunch of others) Additionally google has apps for idevices and android devices to read books bought in their store.

Kobo- sells epub with Adobe DRM. You can then use Adobe Digital Editions to transfer the ebook to any ereader that supports Adobe DRM. (including the Nook, the Sony Readers, and a bunch of others) Additionally Kobo appears to have apps to read their books on idevices, android devices, Blackberry devices, and Palm devices.

Smashwords- sells ebooks in multiple DRM free formats including mobi, epub, pdf, and html.

Websubscription.net (Baen)- My understanding is that they sell both standalone books and monthly compilations of partial books of sci-fi material in multiple formats including both mobi & epub. As far as I can tell from the description it is DRM free. They also host the Baen free library with a number of books in multiple formats DRM-free. (I have used the latter)

Apple ibooks- as far as I can tell this store sells ebooks in the epub format with a proprietary DRM that only works on iDevices.


For those of you with more details or anything important that I may have missed or simply may be flat wrong about, please correct me (be gentle, I'm new). For those whom have not looked in depth into the various stores and formats yet, hopefully this helps a bit.


So far, so good

Last edited by Poppaea; 02-25-2011 at 03:46 AM. Reason: Mistake fixed
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Old 02-24-2011, 03:10 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Jasonofindy View Post
Websubscription.net (Baen)- My understanding is that they sell both standalone books and monthly compilations of partial books of sci-fi material in multiple formats including both mobi & epub. As far as I can tell from the description it is DRM free. They also host the Baen free library with a number of books in multiple formats DRM-free.
Webscriptions sells SF, not "sci-fi".

Their books are all DRM-free.

The books are available in just about every format known to man, woman, or dog, and since they're DRM-free, you can convert them to just about anything else in the unlikely circumstance that they don't have your preferred format.

They sell Baen's entire line as ebooks, plus books from some publishers. Also, to quote their FAQ about the monthly compilations, "Purchase of an individual month will deliver that months complete books whether other months are purchased or not." They often have books available as ordinary ebooks weeks before the pbooks are in the stores, and of course there are the ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) which are essentially galleys, which are available months before other formats, for those people who really can't wait.

The ebooks are cheaper than the pbook paperbacks (and out weeks sooner). The ARCs are cheaper than the pbook hardcovers (and out months sooner).
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Old 02-24-2011, 03:12 PM   #5
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pretty good

A couple of comments.

The only thing that caught my eye is Overdrive. Most libraries aren't adding new titles in the format anymore but they also have Mobi books. You need to input a PID number into your Account Profile and it DRMs it to that device.
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Old 02-24-2011, 03:53 PM   #6
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Hya Jason. If you visit the new 'Open Books' section of the Calibre site (www.calibre-ebook.com) you'll see that they're developing a list of publishers who resist DRM and also list their titles and where they can be downloaded. Cheers. Neil
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Old 02-24-2011, 03:57 PM   #7
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@ldbooks - Thanks for the info about your store

@Poppaea - Thanks for the corrections regarding the Reader store and the Reader software. I was just going by my experience yesterday. I already had Adobe Digital Editions installed from my previous library use, but the Sony store wouldn't give me a "Buy" button in my browser. It would only let me "buy" once I had clicked the "Want this Ebook?" link and downloaded their software.

@Worldwalker Thanks for the additional information regarding webscription.net. I was aware that they sold complete books, and that they offered a monthly subscription that gave you parts of multiple upcoming books. I missed that you could then download the entire books from that subscription later on without repurchasing.

Additionally, no disparagement of Baen's work was meant when I described it as sci-fi instead of SF. Science fiction is a genre I enjoy. Until you mentioned it and I googled it, I actually had no idea that some considered the term "sci-fi" disparaging to the genre.

@abookreader Thanks for the additional information regarding Overdrive and mobi. My library only had pdf, epub, and audiobooks through the service so I was unaware mobi through Overdrive was even an option.

@Neilmarr Thanks for the info.

Last edited by Jasonofindy; 02-24-2011 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 02-24-2011, 04:01 PM   #8
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One thing about Kobo:

If you buy directly from the Kobo website, you can get ePubs for that work with ADE as you stated. However, if you use the Kobo apps (PC, devices, etc), and buy the books through the apps, they are not stored as ePub files. They are instead stored in a database that the app uses. This will be transparent to those who use readers or devices that utilize the Kobo store and never need or want to transfer them, but anyone who wants to use the books on a device without the Kobo app will have to re-download the books as ePubs.

Fortunately, when this happened to me and I figured out what was going on, I was able to go to the Kobo site and download my purchases from there as ePubs without having to buy them again.

Hope all that made sense. Rainy days make my brain fuzzy.
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Old 02-24-2011, 05:02 PM   #9
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@CWatkinsNash Thanks for the additional information about Kobo purchases.


I have now updated the original post with the corrections provided in the thread so far. Thanks to everyone for their comments and corrections.
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Old 02-24-2011, 07:32 PM   #10
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You don't have to use the Sony Reader Library. You use either ADE or Sony RL.
How do you buy a Sony book thru ADE? I really don't like the Sony RL. I don't like ADE much either, but it would be good to know I have a choice.
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:31 PM   #11
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That is a really great summary!

You seem to have all of the current DRM formats covered, bar Fictionwise's bizarre "secure eReader" format. However they also sell some ebooks in Multiformat, which is basically the same as Baen's Every Format Under The Sun method.

I can think of a few more e-stores that sell ADE DRM epubs (the UK's WHSmith and Waterstones, Romance publishers like Mills & Boon and Harlequin) and a lot of small e-stores that sell various DRM-free formats (Book View Cafe, Wizard's Tower, Carina Press, Samhain Publishing etc.), but you have covered the main players and their formats.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasonofindy View Post
Additionally, no disparagement of Baen's work was meant when I described it as sci-fi instead of SF. Science fiction is a genre I enjoy. Until you mentioned it and I googled it, I actually had no idea that some considered the term "sci-fi" disparaging to the genre.
Yeah, the SciFi vs SF thing isn't really relevant anymore. Not since the advent of Skiffy and SyFy
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:43 PM   #12
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A few additions:

B&N's DRM can actually be read by readers such as the JetBook Lite and Pandigital Novel which have licensed it, so it's not solely limited to B&N devices and apps. It's supposed to have been incorporated into the next generation of ADE so hypothetically all future ADE-supporting devices could use it, but so far none have really popped up.

Kobo also has a proprietary format for which no download option will show itself on the book description page. It'll only work on their devices and apps and is what you get when you sync your Kobo Desktop Reader to your account.

Fictionwise's eReader DRM-ed format is actually what B&N's name/credit-card based DRM is based upon (they bought Fictionwise to obtain it, and Mac users can still download their B&N books as eReader .pdb off the website). It used to be supported by a number of devices (Nook classic-not-colour still does it, and there are apps for various smartphones & palmtops) but is on the decline.
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Old 02-25-2011, 03:45 AM   #13
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How do you buy a Sony book thru ADE? I really don't like the Sony RL. I don't like ADE much either, but it would be good to know I have a choice.
Sorry, I made a mistake. It seems you are right and one has to use RL if one wants to shop the Sony store. I will edit my post accordingly.
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Old 02-25-2011, 03:56 AM   #14
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A very good list. But it's worth noting that authors direct-publishing to Amazon and B&N have the option to make their books DRM-free, and many do. The trick is deciphering from the book's listings whether they're DRM-free or not.
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Old 02-25-2011, 04:33 AM   #15
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Good work Jason

Can you build on this with the addition of other stores as people comment and then perhaps we can get this set up as a sticky somewhere for all to use as a reference ....
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Stores offering books without DRM GA Russell Deals, Freebies, and Resources (No Self-Promotion) 12 03-09-2010 09:40 PM
most popular non DRM eBook stores Kris777 Reading Recommendations 9 01-27-2009 11:05 PM


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