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Old 03-27-2012, 09:34 PM   #1
Victoria
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Very satisfied with Pottermore experience

I have just purchased the full set of Harry Potter books, and it is my first experience buying ebooks that I'm completely satisfied with.

There have been excellent posts about the length of time for the books to come out, needing to go to yet another site, with another password, etc. All great points.

However, speaking personally, J K Rowling just delivered exactly what I've wanted for several years. I can access the books on all my devices, in both kindle and epub, without stripping DRM, to shift formats.

My biggest worry about ebooks has been that I would lose my $ investment if my device maker went belly up - hundreds - probably thousands - over time. Pottermore has completely eliminated that problem.

It will soon be illegal to strip DRM in Canada, putting readers who want to protect their purchases in a very difficult spot. I'm thrilled that Rowling has had the brains and the pluck to bypass all the industry created dilemma of multiple formats. Way to go JK!

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Old 03-27-2012, 10:55 PM   #2
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However, speaking personally, J K Rowling just delivered exactly what I've wanted for several years. I can access the books on all my devices, in both kindle and epub, without stripping DRM, to shift formats.
Having not really followed Pottermore past it being announced way back when... THAT sounds like a great idea.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:26 PM   #3
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Yes - let's hope other venders follow suit.
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:39 AM   #4
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The Pottermore books use some "watermarking". Have you taken a look inside the epub to see what they're actually doing? Run it through calibre conversion epub-to-epub and see what happens?

I much prefer watermarking over DRM. It's the right evolution of the market, as seen previously with digital audio, and I don't really want to discourage this approach since we all know DRM sucks. I'm just really curious how the watermark ended up being done.

Edit: Never mind. Found the discussion in the News forum. I'm apparently very late to this news

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Old 03-28-2012, 03:06 AM   #5
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Huzzah! I was starting to feel like the only person on the internet who's been completely satisfied with the whole Pottermore experience, both from a beta-testing perspective and from a book-buying perspective. The books were cheaper than I thought they'd be, buying the out-of-region versions ended up being relatively simple, and having them sync across my various devices despite being a third-party vendor is just amazing. I'd happily buy direct from most of my favorite authors if they had this sort of service for their ebooks.
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:31 AM   #6
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The Pottermore books use some "watermarking". Have you taken a look inside the epub to see what they're actually doing? Run it through calibre conversion epub-to-epub and see what happens?

I much prefer watermarking over DRM. It's the right evolution of the market, as seen previously with digital audio, and I don't really want to discourage this approach since we all know DRM sucks. I'm just really curious how the watermark ended up being done.

Edit: Never mind. Found the discussion in the News forum. I'm apparently very late to this news
Yes, at the beginning of the book, I saw a "book is watermaked and was downloaded by user followed by some ID. The watermark don't seam to intrusive.
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:55 AM   #7
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Although if the watermarking is cracked, there can be some entertaining shenanigans - people must just release pirate copies with say, the names of corporate executives in there instead.
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Old 03-28-2012, 06:04 AM   #8
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Although if the watermarking is cracked, there can be some entertaining shenanigans - people must just release pirate copies with say, the names of corporate executives in there instead.
I very much hope that people don't pirate books which have been released with such an extremely sensible selling strategy. People complain about restrictive DRM - we should be supporting an author who sells in such a user-friendly way.
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Old 03-28-2012, 06:38 AM   #9
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Pretty much the only issue I had with the pottermore experience was the insistence on a password that was "strong" and the type in the two words that you may or may not be able to figure out bit. I'm not sure what they are trying to protect here.

The amazon version did seem to have DRM set, at least the deDrm program said it was set. I doubt people will be pirating the version they get from pottermore. After all, the books were pirated long ago. Heck, the last one was pirated before the book was available in the stores.

I'm going to be very interested to see what sort of business they do. I've already bought mine, of course. We will see if all those parents with iPads loaded with games to keep the kids amused will buy ebooks that the kids might read.
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Old 03-28-2012, 06:41 AM   #10
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Am I the only one that finds it strange the J.K.R. gets praised to the heavens for something (not using DRM) that shops like Baen, Smashwords and others have been doing for years?
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Old 03-28-2012, 06:50 AM   #11
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Am I the only one that finds it strange the J.K.R. gets praised to the heavens for something (not using DRM) that shops like Baen, Smashwords and others have been doing for years?
As far as I can see, JKR isn't praised only for the lack of Adobe/Amazon DRM but also for the way the Pottermore account can be linked to the buyer's primary/preferred shop or device account, enabling device syncing, additional backup on the preferred shop's system and all that, which Baen or Smashwords don't have in quite the same way.

And another reason is that JKR is, well, a mega-star, an author whom everyone knows and whose decisions and choices make the news and can make even the least tech-aware person take notice.

What Baen and Smashwords do is awesome and deserves praise - and those who buy books from Baen or Smashwords have been aware of it and praising those publishers for a long time. But as awesome as the approach of Baen and Smashwords are, they're still niche publishers - Baen is only of interest to those who are into epic fantasy and sci-fi, and Smashwords is by and large only of interest to those who are into self-published books (although I know some smaller publishers use Smashwords for their ebook distribution, too). JKR is as mainstream as it gets and when she does something, even big publishers might take notice and pay attention.

I wouldn't be surprised if big publishers followed the Pottermore watermarking / social DRM experiment with interest, even if they aren't going to speak out about it. Some European e-publishers have been using watermarking for a while now but that's also not quite as relevant on a global scale as the Pottermore experiment may be.
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:51 AM   #12
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Baen and other stores won't have had the same power that Rowling has though. Amazon, b&n and the rest _want_ the potter books on their store and have been willing to compromise with a buy and link setup.

I doubt they'll do that for anyone other than the top selling authors though unless they decide to offer an api that ensures customers who find the books on amazon are tracked through the purchase on an outside store to ensure amazon get their %. Whether that's in place now or whether amazon and the other stores are getting nothing out of it other than the ability to say look we have HP, who knows.

That said, even without the account linking, I'm glad a top selling author has taken this step. Baen and others may have been doing DRM free (or watermarked) for some time, but there's been a huge lack of what some consider the "mainstream" authors from following.

Perhaps if they see the light that selling DRM free works, it will remove the publisher insistence on other stores to apply DRM which then makes it very apparent that any remaining stores are only applying it as a means of control and vendor lock-in.

I really don't think they could have done much better with the setup. Price is always going to be an issue regardless of DRM.

Perhaps my only gripe is why they didn't allow anyone to buy any language version they want. Might be a rights issue, but it's a shame they didn't solve it to allow people in the US who want the UK version the ability to do so without hoop jumping and vice-versa. In a way I wish it was more like games and movies where you buy once then get to change the language setting
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:53 AM   #13
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The number of downloads is generous and the process was painless (from home)

Other then that, I have major problems with the situation.

1) The books are here now but there was no reason for the delay. It was unnecessary, led to greater pirating, and was generally annoying to fans. JKR was the rights holder and free to do what she wants. She still angered fans by delaying the release and toying with her fans.

2) I don't want to go from store to store to buy e-books. Sell them at Pottermore if you want but allow me the choice of buying them there or buying them from Amazon (or Sony or BN or Kobo) I am sorry but I do not want to remember passwords, logins, and accounts at a ton of different locations. If I want the benefit of the DRM free version, I'll go to Pottermore. If I want convience, let me buy it from Amazon. I can strip DRM easily enough so I don't really care about that. Not to mention, not many folks actually have the slightest clue about DRM and the like so they just don't care.

3) The last thing I want to see are bookstores opened by Publishing houses, individual authors, collectives of authors, and the like that make my book buying experience a pain in the butt because I have to go from store to store. Call me lazy but that will drive me nuts.

4) I do not like the control freak nature of this situation. Supposidly, one of the reasons for releasing the books this way was so everyone would have the same e-book experience, yet the UK books do not have the illustrations that the US books have. How is that the same experience? The language differences I get, well not really, suck it up and figure out the British slang from the context, not a big deal, but why leave out the illustrations?

5) There are geographic restrictions on the books, you have to gift the UK books to yourself if you are not living in the UK. That is silly. She controls the rights but does not allow people to decide that they want the UK version if they live in the US? What?

6) The password was silly but easily dealt with. One capitol letter and one number and you were good to go. No problems there really. I have a feeling that is more to protect accounts in the Pottermore sight that one day will open to the public.

7) And what do you do with all of your downloads when the Pottermore site closes? How long do you think Pottermore is going to be a huge hit for? It is not going to take folks all that long to do what they want on the site, get bored, and leave. What happens when they decide it is no longer profitable to maintain the shop and they close it? I hav emore faith that Amazon is going to be around for the next 20 years or so then I do Pottermore. Yes, I have backed my books up but how many folks do that? What happens if we see more of this type of thing and then the smaller stores fold because there is not enough business? People have lost books at Smashwords and other smaller stores when books were pulled by Publishers. What is the response going to be when smaller bookstores close down?

There was no reason to go this route. The books could have been distributed without DRM through the major stores. All of the major stores sell e-books without DRM. I have a feeling that all of the bookstores would have worked with JKR to get the watermark she wanted in there.

Nevermind the fact that the watermark is going to do little because there are already professional grade pirated versions available on the web. No one really needs to pirate the new release since that has already been done.

I am glad that I could legitimatly buy the e-books. I promised I would after I pirated them years ago so I did. I will do my best to not buy from another store front like this because I think they are a bad idea and I do not like the inconvience.
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:57 AM   #14
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What happens when they decide it is no longer profitable to maintain the shop and they close it? I hav emore faith that Amazon is going to be around for the next 20 years or so then I do Pottermore. Yes, I have backed my books up but how many folks do that?
Anyone with a modicum of common sense. Believing that any bookstore is going to store your books for you forever is naive. Your purchase, your responsibility.
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Old 03-28-2012, 12:01 PM   #15
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ProfCrash: I agree about the delay. It was silly.

As for the separate account, it will be very annoying if you've to do that for every author you want to buy, however, that's the advantage retailers have, a one stop shop. If they offered watermarking as an alternative form of DRM, perhaps HP would have been available via those stores too? Maybe in time we'll have the option to buy direct from some authors or from a one stop shop and still get exactly the same rights over the book.

The other issue though is perhaps retail stores take away too much control from the author? Do they get access to customer lists? Options to sign customers up to news letters if they want? and do they take too much of a % of the book price?

Authors should have their own direct sales method in place, then consider one-stop stores only when they can get terms they're happy with, which will be where the % they lose is worth it for the additional customers and/or exposure they're going to get.

One thing that bugs me price wise though, is since they're selling direct and not losing out x% to a store, they could have listed the books for less imo. But we can argue about pricing all day long and never get everyone to agree

Last edited by JoeD; 03-28-2012 at 12:06 PM.
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