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Old 06-05-2012, 12:28 PM   #16
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(Shrugs) I'll buy from Amazon, it is easier that way. Hopefully TOR allows DRM free books to be sold at the various bookstores.
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kali Yuga View Post
That depends on what one means by "work."

Tor is a genre publisher; as such, they have a much better chance of launching their own store than, say, a general interest publisher.

However, they do face a few challenges.
• The users will need to get the Tor ebooks onto their devices. In comparison, the big players (Amazon, B&N, Apple) all have free delivery directly to the devices.
• They need to execute at a very high level, or face irate and vocal complaints.
• This may deepen ties to their existing consumer base, but won't necessarily improve broader brand awareness.

In general it's a good thing, and I do expect we will see more of it. However, it's not a magic bullet, and I suspect that many consumers underestimate exactly how hard it is to run one's own store.
Agree there. Frankly, I think the store will fail unless they offer something extra to get consumers to come to their store, even if they execute well. My guess is that the only thing that they could offer is exclusivity- either that only Tor.com books are sold there or that Tor.com books are sold there for a limited initial period. In the end, that's where Tor.com will end up.

I think that Stross and the anti DRM crowd have a rosy tinged view of the future, whereby if you eliminate DRM, somehow a healthy, competive and diverse marketplace will naturally bloom and the small retailers will somehow be able to compete against Amazon and the big retailers absent DRM lock-in. Bollocks, in my view, but there it is.
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:35 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by ProfCrash View Post
(Shrugs) I'll buy from Amazon, it is easier that way. Hopefully TOR allows DRM free books to be sold at the various bookstores.
They're supposed to be DRM free everywhere I think.


Hopefully Tor will set it up so you can "link" your Kindle email to your Tor.com account and any purchases can then be automatically sent to your Amazon account.
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:35 PM   #19
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(Shrugs) I'll buy from Amazon, it is easier that way. Hopefully TOR allows DRM free books to be sold at the various bookstores.
Its likely most customers will do the same.
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:36 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by stonetools View Post
I think that Stross and the anti DRM crowd have a rosy tinged view of the future, whereby if you eliminate DRM, somehow a healthy, competive and diverse marketplace will naturally bloom and the small retailers will somehow be able to compete against Amazon and the big retailers absent DRM lock-in. Bollocks, in my view, but there it is.
Examples like Baen show that it's certainly possible for a small retailer or publisher to do well as an independent. However, that's probably only true in a specialist market sector; I doubt it would work in a more general market.
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:39 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by stonetools View Post
I think that Stross and the anti DRM crowd have a rosy tinged view of the future, whereby if you eliminate DRM, somehow a healthy, competive and diverse marketplace will naturally bloom and the small retailers will somehow be able to compete against Amazon and the big retailers absent DRM lock-in. Bollocks, in my view, but there it is.
It will certainly give others a chance, but it'll take a lot to pull off any major success. If they'd started out this way instead of doing it years later there would likely have been a better chance for market share.
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:42 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Much as I respect Mr Stross's views, I strongly disagree with him about that. I don't think the typical punter is even aware of DRM. They buy from Amazon because of their great bookstore and customer service.
Whether the average punter is aware of it or not, DRM is there, and prevents them from easily transferring their Kindle book to a nook or a Sony reader. And the ones who aren't aware of it have no idea how to get around it (or that it even can be gotten around). That's Stross' point, and while he may well be overstating it, it's a valid point.

(But what will kill Amazon's dominance, if anything does, is that consumers just don't like buying from them as much as they do other vendors. And while they do dominate the market, it's hardly a monopoly, and never really was.)
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:45 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Examples like Baen show that it's certainly possible for a small retailer or publisher to do well as an independent. However, that's probably only true in a specialist market sector; I doubt it would work in a more general market.
Aren't Baen's ebooks exclusive to Baen now, though? I know that once they sold through Amazon, but I don't think they do so now.
Despite much Baen (and Fictionwise ) love on MR, I doubt either had even one per cent of the Ebook market, combined.
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:49 PM   #24
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Aren't Baen's ebooks exclusive to Baen now, though? I know that once they sold through Amazon, but I don't think they do so now.
Despite much Baen (and Fictionwise ) love on MR, I doubt either had even one per cent of the Ebook market, combined.
Lois McMaster Bujold's stuff is there in Amazon for Kindle, including pre-orders for her next Vorkosiverse book. Looks like they're in Barnes & Noble's nook store, too. So not, they're apparently not exclusive to Baen.
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Old 06-05-2012, 01:36 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stonetools View Post
I think that Stross and the anti DRM crowd have a rosy tinged view of the future, whereby if you eliminate DRM, somehow a healthy, competive and diverse marketplace will naturally bloom and the small retailers will somehow be able to compete against Amazon and the big retailers absent DRM lock-in. Bollocks, in my view, but there it is.
Is that really the criteria for success as far as going DRM free on TOR's part though? I would think just showing that DRM free doesn't hurt their sales coupled with jettisoning whatever fees they have to pay for licensing a DRM scheme would be enough to consider it a success.
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Old 06-05-2012, 01:46 PM   #26
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Here is a thoughtful comment about Baen from the Idealog site:

Quote:
What's unusual about Baen Books isn't that they provide ebooks without DRM -- lots of publishers have done that. What distinguishes Baen is that they do not make their ebooks available through online retailers. The calculus seems to be that whatever they lose by not having a showcase at Amazon.com and elsewhere is more than made up by not having the retailers take a cut. It's a model that other publishers have moved away from. Ellora's Cave, for example, started out as an ebook-only publisher but later added printed editions. For a while -- as it was with Baen -- you needed to go to their website to download their ebooks but later decided to make them available at Amazon, B&N and other merchants.
Baen is a specialized imprint with a very narrow focus and a rather small number of titles, all but a few of which are mass market paperback originals. They were able to build up a fan base before ebooks were even popular, a fan base who knows how to get to their website and tech-savvy enough to download from a not especially user-friendly site.

What they're doing is very interesting, but it's not at all clear what lessons they can teach other publishers.

LINK

I think that the Tor.com store may well begin by offering their books everywhere, but economic logic is going to in the end dictate exclusivity -for at least ebooks.
Again, I may be wrong about this but what exactly else can they offer that other retailers can't match?
Another model may be Pottermore- Amazon refers you but the sale happens at the Pottermore site. Again, though Pottermore had exclusivity -as to not only books, but other content .
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:08 PM   #27
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How time changes things. This is exactly what I was hoping for in 2008 when they launched the Tor.com site. Now I don't even care.
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:09 PM   #28
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Is that really the criteria for success as far as going DRM free on TOR's part though? I would think just showing that DRM free doesn't hurt their sales coupled with jettisoning whatever fees they have to pay for licensing a DRM scheme would be enough to consider it a success.
Well, it remains to be seen whether they can show that. The anti DRM true believers certainly believe that-and now they get to demonstrate it.
Buried in the announcement abouthow wonderful DRM free is going to be is this little nugget:

Quote:
Fears about online piracy simply did not pan out: the books in question continued to sell just as well as before, if not better. This indicates that keeping e-books in DRM formats does not prevent piracy on its own, a publisher still needs an enforcement program.
Charles Stross is on record as being against DRM , but being in favor of watermarking, in order to track who bought the book (Some see watermarking as being another form of DRM).
His answer to the threat of filesharing is not to pretend that it will somehow disappear when DRM goes away , but this:

Quote:
. For folks who, despite 1 and 2, collect other people's books and run file sharing sites, the publishers have an answer: lawyers. It's not a good answer and it's a process rather than a goal, but it works. NB: Priority goes to people who not only distribute content they don't own, but who try and turn a buck that way. Make it unprofitable and the incentive for a lot of piracy goes away.
LINK

IOW, drop DRM: hire lawyers. Dropping DRM may be a good thing: but it will not be a money saver ( lawyers ain't cheap). And that will be show up in the price of the book. Ain't reality just grand?

Last edited by stonetools; 06-05-2012 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:10 PM   #29
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The reality is that Baen is not going to find a customer in me. I know about Baen. I have been to their website. I find it a pain in the butt and not worth the extra effort. If they had their books at Amazon, I might buy some of their books. But they don't so I don't bother looking.

I have a feeling that I am closer to the majority than the minority on this type of thing. I want things easy. That means make the books available were I shop. I get that some folks think that they are better off with a more closed model, personally I think all that they are saying is that they do not want my business.
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:50 PM   #30
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His answer to the threat of filesharing is not to pretend that it will somehow disappear when DRM goes away
I don't know of too many people who have ever claimed that file sharing will "somehow disappear" if/when DRM goes away. Rather... most proponents of DRM-free ebooks suggest that the volume of filesharing will remain consistent regardless of whether DRM is present or not. It's a cost of doing business that you simply cannot affect/change/reduce/alter without running the risk of pissing off some of your law-abiding customers.

However, on the current topic... I fully expect Tor's DRM-free store to fail. And then I expect it's failure to be trotted out as evidence that publishers responded to consumer cries for DRM-free books and then those same consumers wouldn't put their money where their mouth was.
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