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Old 11-06-2012, 02:57 PM   #61
BearMountainBooks
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Originally Posted by DarkScribe View Post
I really doubt that this is so. All books, eBooks or print have very clear conditions regarding copyright and what you may or may not do with the copy you have purchased.



DRM will only keep technophobe from re-distributing your books, and there really is no way of determining how many who purchase eBook are technophobes. I believe that there are far more such purchasers than many on these forums imagine. Too many here assume that most buyers have a similar level of expertise and understanding as those who contribute here. This much at least is highly unlikely. What such people - those among them determined to cheat - can and will do is locate sources of software, music and eBooks that someone with more skill has removed protection from. Torrents. There are programs that the most technically naive among them can easily download and install. Programs that will allow them to search torrents as easily as doing a Google search.

The upshot is that you have the satisfaction of preventing simple distribution of your copyright material; you have added one extra step in the process. Hardly a stumbling block. DRM will stop Aunt Mabel from giving a copy of her purchases to Uncle Harold, but that is about it. (Until fourteen year old nephew Michael steps in and solves their problem.) Even Apple, one of the most savagely and determinedly self-protective companies in modern society has removed the DRM from iTunes store. Why do you think that they did that? It was damaging their sales.



If they devised a DRM system that would prevent copying but still work on all platforms, I would agree with you. Until then, I feel that DRM has become such a dirty word that even those who do not understand what it is will avoid it.
I sell into two different audiences, but my cozies sell to a lot of Aunt Mabels. I am on several groups and technophobes describes many of them pretty accurately. What it stops is incidental giving away when people mistakenly try to email files thinking it's okay.

The person who wishes to strip DRM is going to do it anyway. It's just a step for them.

My biggest concern is whether having it would hurt sales. Since the bulk of my sales are on Amazon, for ME, that answer is "No, it doesn't noticeably hurt them." I do sell on Smashwords with no DRM, but the bulk of my sales are at Kobo and B&N. I recently stopped uploading to those two retails VIA smashwords. I can choose to apply DRM at those retailers.

My point is that I think most purchasers are loyal to where they want to shop--they aren't overly concerned about DRM. They have a nook--they shop at B&N. They understand the lending program there.

I don't know. I go back and forth on it, but ultimately I don't see a reason NOT to implement DRM.


P.S. I don't even mind Aunt Mabel giving a copy to Uncle Harold. It's the 8 people in her reading group that I mind if she emails them copies...without even understanding it is not hers to 'give.'
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Old 11-06-2012, 03:22 PM   #62
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I don't know. I go back and forth on it, but ultimately I don't see a reason NOT to implement DRM.
You can sell your books with whatever restrictions you like of course, but I would suggest that a better policy would be restricting files only where there's evidence that it will benefit sales, not where no one has complained.

It just seems like bad business to restrict every buyer when you're really just trying to get at a small number of book clubbers; given the small number of "bad eggs" you're dealing with, I have to wonder how much of the extra money you're capturing with DRM is offset by people avoiding your books because of DRM.
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Old 11-06-2012, 03:57 PM   #63
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You can sell your books with whatever restrictions you like of course, but I would suggest that a better policy would be restricting files only where there's evidence that it will benefit sales, not where no one has complained.

It just seems like bad business to restrict every buyer when you're really just trying to get at a small number of book clubbers; given the small number of "bad eggs" you're dealing with, I have to wonder how much of the extra money you're capturing with DRM is offset by people avoiding your books because of DRM.
What I wonder is whether there would actually BE ANYONE who avoided my books because of the DRM? I have seen no evidence there would be. A very few people on mobileread have said they avoid books with it, but I have no evidence they are my audience (they could be or not. No one has ever written to ask about DRM or to complain one way or the other.) I guess I don't see any evidence from those writers who have DRM that it has kept buyers away. None. Zero.

While it's a hot topic here, I don't see it as nearly the hot-button in other places. People ask about it because they don't understand what it is and when it is explained, that is usually the end of it (Oh. That is why I can't copy the book or give it away.)

The readers here know what it is, but largely when polled, they say, "I strip it and don't worry about it." They rarely say, "I won't buy it."

I do sell copies of my work on my own website without DRM (there's a possible wrong assumption on my part that those who hunt out my work and are willing to pay me for it on my own site will also respect my copyright.) That's not to say that others don't, but again, it's more an argument of "I see zero reason to not apply DRM on the major retailer sites."

Now, if someone from here were to write me and say, 'I buy all your books, but I'd be very disappointed if you started putting DRM on them and I don't want to buy from your site" I would probably rethink it. I just think in the end, most people decide where to shop based on their reader or their typical habit than actually looking at or considering DRM.
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:12 PM   #64
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When I struggled with the DRM question releasing my first book it finally came down to this...

1)Putting DRM on the books MIGHT reduce sales, but likely will have no impact on piracy.
2)Leaving DRM off the books MIGHT increase sales, but will have no impact on piracy.

With no clear reason to think either statement was wrong I went with "MIGHT increase" over "MIGHT reduce."

So I decided to leave it off. PERSONALLY I buy books with DRM on them all the time, so does not bother me either way.
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:13 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by BearMountainBooks View Post
What I wonder is whether there would actually BE ANYONE who avoided my books because of the DRM? I have seen no evidence there would be. ----
Good luck selling that here on Mobileread.

the strangest thing about this anti-DRM Mobileread group is that most think that the great majority of book buyers think exactly as they do and also are as fanatic about it so as to take action. There is no real sense of proportion. I would guess that the real fervent anti-DRM attitudes, habits and actions account for no more than 5% of eBook customers and probably is much closer to 1%. Even less.

DRM allows us the luxury where 95 to 99% of people cannot email their books to their friends.

Now I understand some authors, who feel the same way as we do, not standing up and being counted because they might also get pounded.
I don't give out my personal information for that reason. I don't want to become a "cause celebre" I don't want to chance even a 1/4 percent reduction in the bottom line.
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:39 PM   #66
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DRM allows us the luxury where 95 to 99% of people cannot email their books to their friends.
Enjoy it while it lasts.

I don't buy DRM. My children don't buy DRM. Their friends are oblivious to ebooks... and what information they get about them, comes from my kids, which comes through me. They'll figure out pirating on their own; the info they get about legit ebooks is that DRM is nothing but a form of vendor lock-in.

Right now, teenagers don't buy ebooks. They can't; they don't have credit cards. They can have PayPal accounts with adult oversight; the majority of their parents aren't going to deal with it. Ten years from now, those teenagers will be adult buyers of ebooks.

Maybe. More likely, they'll be adult piraters of ebooks, because after 3-10 years practice with acquiring books without paying for them, they aren't going to switch to a system that costs more, is harder to use, and lacks the customizability they've come to expect.

Right now, most readers put up with DRM because "carry 500 books in your pocket" is an amazing liberation of former reading restrictions. For the next generation, "500 books in your pocket, and 200 albums, and a dozen movies, and 50 games of my choice" will be standard fare. They'll ask what DRM does for them, and give blank looks when publishers insist "without DRM, you wouldn't have books to read." They've *had* books without DRM for years.

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I don't give out my personal information for that reason. I don't want to become a "cause celebre" I don't want to chance even a 1/4 percent reduction in the bottom line.
Always nice to hear, "if my customers knew what I believed, they wouldn't buy from me." So I take it you're a strong supporter of internet anonymity, or at least pseudonymity? That you disagree with Google+ requirements to link one's "real" name across all their services?

I have no problem figuring out how not to buy from you: I don't buy DRM. I don't download freebies with DRM. It's not like I have any shortage of excellent and educational reading material lined up.

I assume that I'm not your target audience anyway. The interesting part is the assumption that none of my family and close friends are, either; the ebook evangelists in any small community are the ones who set the common habits for that group. My friends know I'm "an ebook person," and when they're interested in getting an ereader or buying books, they ask me how it's done.

I don't tell them "Don't buy DRM." I do tell them, "if you're going to buy DRM, learn to strip it so you keep access to your purchases." And I also say, "this is maybe illegal; vendors, publishers and some authors have all worked together to try to make it illegal for you to read ebooks easily. The technology supports a lot of options that the sellers want to take away from you." And, since most of my friends are techie-geek types, or at least techie-geek friendly, they're prone to ignoring laws and licenses and using the tools to their utmost.

And in another five years when book-DRM goes the way of music-DRM, they'll have useful ebook collections. In twenty years when their kids are going off to college, they'll pop in a flash drive and give them a collection of "great books from the early 21st century."
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:41 PM   #67
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I have a feeling that my last response as to altering my stance against being totally anti-DRM got lost in the thread. I have seen that there are a few instances where DRM can be useful. I still do not support DRM, but I am not as baffled by why people support the use of DRM as I was yesterday. Both sides in this debate can learn to admit that there are pros to both arguments. An open mind is the most important part of debate, if you only have an open mind to variations of your own side's arguments then there is no point to any debate.
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:42 PM   #68
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Good luck selling that here on Mobileread.

the strangest thing about this anti-DRM Mobileread group is that most think that the great majority of book buyers think exactly as they do and also are as fanatic about it so as to take action. There is no real sense of proportion. I would guess that the real fervent anti-DRM attitudes, habits and actions account for no more than 5% of eBook customers and probably is much closer to 1%. Even less.

DRM allows us the luxury where 95 to 99% of people cannot email their books to their friends.

Now I understand some authors, who feel the same way as we do, not standing up and being counted because they might also get pounded.
I don't give out my personal information for that reason. I don't want to become a "cause celebre" I don't want to chance even a 1/4 percent reduction in the bottom line.
I'm not trying to sell my point of view (just my books really) but I agree--despite the rather large number of people here who post about DRM... actual people who don't buy books with DRM is very, very small. Actual people who are even CONCERNED about DRM is small from what I've seen in practice and in other forums. I took a lot of the advice to heart here when I first read and joined, but that doesn't mean I shut my eyes. I watched other authors, sales, trends and so on. The vast majority of people (and some of the other forums have very educated, techie participants) don't care about DRM. It doesn't stop them from buying. They don't even regard it as a nuisance.

I've never bought the argument that pirating help exposure and I've read all kinds of things about that topic too. After observation, it appears to me that pirating helps the pirate sites gain an audience and helps those who download free stuff get free stuff. It doesn't result in word of mouth sales, reviews or very many future purchases (some people may buy other books from that author, others will just download the next from the pirate site.) Again I come back to--there is simply no reason to leave off DRM and there is no reason for me to want my books to be pirated.

I've talked to enough people who pirate music to glean that the vast majority of them who download pirated music do it on a regular basis. It becomes a habit. They may also purchase music, but the music they buy versus just "grab a copy to see if I like it" does not usually mean they then go buy the legit copy.

But again, I'm not really trying to convince anyone. Just noting that the patterns I've seen have not convinced me that avoiding DRM on my books has helped sales in any way. Those authors who applied it and always have--they're selling based on the work and it doesn't seem to have hurt their sales. The ONLY complaint any of them report is when they are Amazon exclusive--and that has little to do with DRM--the buyer wants to be able to buy it right from B&N or whichever retailer. DRM is not mentioned because usually the buyer doesn't know whether it has been applied or not.

So in the end, when it comes to buying a work...it seems to me the actual product matters (do I want that book), where it is sold (whether it is sold where that person shops) and the price matter far more than DRM to the vast majority of buyers.
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:47 PM   #69
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I have a feeling that my last response as to altering my stance against being totally anti-DRM got lost in the thread. I have seen that there are a few instances where DRM can be useful. I still do not support DRM, but I am not as baffled by why people support the use of DRM as I was yesterday. Both sides in this debate can learn to admit that there are pros to both arguments. An open mind is the most important part of debate, if you only have an open mind to variations of your own side's arguments then there is no point to any debate.

I do agree there are pros and cons, which is why I continue to even read these threads on the subject. I am constantly monitoring what people think of DRM and how it impacts their buying habits--and also whether it interferes with their enjoyment of owning the book (because there are readers who love to sort, keep lists, put books on more than one device and so on and DRM can make that more difficult.)
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:08 PM   #70
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The biggest reason that more people are not concerned by DRM is that most folks have only owned one device or one type of device. I didn't much care about DRM either until I went from using mobi books on my computer to using a Sony ebook reader and then I suddenly lost the use of a couple dozen ebooks. Give it a couple of years and folks will be just as up in arms about ebook DRM as they were about music DRM not too long ago. People want their media to be easy to use and buy, which is why they mostly stick with one retailer and don't notice DRM. We should all be striving for high quality products which can stand the test of time. Devices advance, file formats change, companies go out of business, but the content of the books should last.

As for right now, I agree something has to be done to protect the rights of the authors and publishers, I also think that we need someone to work on something better than DRM rather than having this round and round argument.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:31 AM   #71
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Much as I hate to admit it I'm afraid the pro DRM people have a point about casual sharing, you essentially have 2 different types of method to "Get a book for free that you were meant to pay for" (And let's see the symantics police argue with that definition)

1. Torrents, mass sharing sites etc
- I get the feeling that most people do not use these sites to avoid DRM, it is easier to learn how to strip DRM than it is to find the correct book you are after on a torrent site and download it. I suspect they use this method because they don't want to pay (Whether it's because they have no money, won't pay agency prices, like free stuff or any other reason is pretty irrelevant at this point), possibly some of these are lost sales (someone might pay for the book if they had no other choice) but, I suspect, in the main these people are not your customers, you can make the book DRM free and the bulk of people using torrents etc won't care, they will continue to torrent.

2. Casual sharers (Book groups, facebook groups, etc.)
- These are the people generally stopped by DRM (Not all of them, obviously, but a largish percent). In the main these are people who share books without realising that it is not "what the publisher intended" (Again carefully worded to stop the "ebooks should have the same rights as pbooks crowd"). These people probably are your customers (potentially at least) and may actually buy your book if a member of there group can't just give it to you, it stops word of mouth advertising to quite a large extent as they can't lend just one book as with a pbook.

On this basis (and I could be way off track here) DRM probably does create more sales.

This is of course affected by genre.
The staunchest anti-DRM folks are normally us techies. And as techies we are best placed to ignore the entire DRM problem anyway - Which would explain why MacMillan have made the science fiction based Tor imprint DRM-free, but have not done the same for any other imprint (No point, coupled with the image that all sci-fi reading techie types sit in darkened rooms and don't talk to anyone, making social network sharing a moot point ).

So until the public understands that they are not meant to share books around like paper books on steroids DRM will probably get you more paying readers in the short term.

In the long term you need a plan for what happens when people move platform / file type and want to re-read a book (again this will be more/less of an issue depending on genre).

So, to sum up
Short term - DRM good for stopping casual sharers (Probably giving a boost to sales)

Long term - Annoyed customers who have changed ereader platform (although from the author/publisher point of view the customer is much more likely to blame the shop), some/most? people may just see this the same as something like the VHS-DVD-BluRay constant upgrade path and may, grudgingly, be ok with it.

Long term - less readers from "word of mouth" sharing of books, a lot of people may be willing to read a book based on someone's recommendation if they hand them the book - but less will read it if they have to go out and buy it themselves. How much this can be offset by offering one of your books as permanently free from amazon/kobo/your site I don't know (although if you offer a permanent free book I would mention it on the also by page in your ebook)

Essentially I think going with DRM will be less harmfull (depending on your genre) than going without at the moment, but I would keep your ear to the ground and be ready to go DRM-free the moment it seems like the way to go. MacMillan will be a good publisher to watch as they will have the only real world large scale data about DRM v DRM-free soon, if the Tor imprint gets DRM'd again then go DRM if they expand the DRM-free policy to all imprints (or even just for an imprint that matches your genre) then go DRM-free.

It's an uncertain world, everything could eventually end up either DRM-free (like music) or DRM'd 3 ways to sunday (like video), but either way it will take a while to sort out.
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:02 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by MikeB1972 View Post
Much as I hate to admit it I'm afraid the pro DRM people have a point about casual sharing, you essentially have 2 different types of method to "Get a book for free that you were meant to pay for" (And let's see the symantics police argue with that definition)

1. Torrents, mass sharing sites etc
- I get the feeling that most people do not use these sites to avoid DRM, it is easier to learn how to strip DRM than it is to find the correct book you are after on a torrent site and download it. I suspect they use this method because they don't want to pay (Whether it's because they have no money, won't pay agency prices, like free stuff or any other reason is pretty irrelevant at this point), possibly some of these are lost sales (someone might pay for the book if they had no other choice) but, I suspect, in the main these people are not your customers, you can make the book DRM free and the bulk of people using torrents etc won't care, they will continue to torrent.

2. Casual sharers (Book groups, facebook groups, etc.)
- These are the people generally stopped by DRM (Not all of them, obviously, but a largish percent). In the main these are people who share books without realising that it is not "what the publisher intended" (Again carefully worded to stop the "ebooks should have the same rights as pbooks crowd"). These people probably are your customers (potentially at least) and may actually buy your book if a member of there group can't just give it to you, it stops word of mouth advertising to quite a large extent as they can't lend just one book as with a pbook.

On this basis (and I could be way off track here) DRM probably does create more sales.

This is of course affected by genre.
The staunchest anti-DRM folks are normally us techies. And as techies we are best placed to ignore the entire DRM problem anyway - Which would explain why MacMillan have made the science fiction based Tor imprint DRM-free, but have not done the same for any other imprint (No point, coupled with the image that all sci-fi reading techie types sit in darkened rooms and don't talk to anyone, making social network sharing a moot point ).

So until the public understands that they are not meant to share books around like paper books on steroids DRM will probably get you more paying readers in the short term.

In the long term you need a plan for what happens when people move platform / file type and want to re-read a book (again this will be more/less of an issue depending on genre).

So, to sum up
Short term - DRM good for stopping casual sharers (Probably giving a boost to sales)

Long term - Annoyed customers who have changed ereader platform (although from the author/publisher point of view the customer is much more likely to blame the shop), some/most? people may just see this the same as something like the VHS-DVD-BluRay constant upgrade path and may, grudgingly, be ok with it.

Long term - less readers from "word of mouth" sharing of books, a lot of people may be willing to read a book based on someone's recommendation if they hand them the book - but less will read it if they have to go out and buy it themselves. How much this can be offset by offering one of your books as permanently free from amazon/kobo/your site I don't know (although if you offer a permanent free book I would mention it on the also by page in your ebook)

Essentially I think going with DRM will be less harmfull (depending on your genre) than going without at the moment, but I would keep your ear to the ground and be ready to go DRM-free the moment it seems like the way to go. MacMillan will be a good publisher to watch as they will have the only real world large scale data about DRM v DRM-free soon, if the Tor imprint gets DRM'd again then go DRM if they expand the DRM-free policy to all imprints (or even just for an imprint that matches your genre) then go DRM-free.

It's an uncertain world, everything could eventually end up either DRM-free (like music) or DRM'd 3 ways to sunday (like video), but either way it will take a while to sort out.
I pretty much agree with all of this. It is dependent on genre and on whether people re-read books--which can depend on the genre. The vast majority of books are NOT going to be reread even by those who do re-read. Those who do re-read are only going to do so for a select few.

I've also studied watched a lot of the paperback swap sites and people who borrow books. There is a subset of readers who NEVER buy a book. They may love a series or books, but they simply don't buy. They get them free from their church, senior center, libraries, friends. They happily swap books.

There is also a subset of readers who ALWAYS buy used. They simply don't bother with new books and enjoy the treasure hunt of finding what they want in dusty shop or for a bargain in a library sale.

There's nothing wrong with this method; translate it over to ebooks and they are the people who ONLY download freebies.

An author and/or publisher need not target this group BUT it is this group that tends to be on a lot of forums/groups and they often ASK to borrow ebooks. Now, because they never buy, you aren't losing a sale--however, if a person casually figures out a book can be emailed...in a large forum or book group, that book is toast. The second Amy says she has it and can send it, five other people say, "Oh, can you send it to me as well?" You can call that word of mouth, but it's not entirely effective. Making the book lendable once gets you the same mileage. That policy is easily understood (once only) and you still get word of mouth.

As for the future, well the only thing we can do is keep an eye on things. I don't tend to see the typical complaints on reader groups that I see here such as "How can I pass along my book to my kids..." or "What if I change readers?"

Many of the cozy readers are happy to share info--and many of them are very loyal to their ereader. Several own more than one reader, but these are usually bloggers/reviewer. They don't complain about not being able to copy books from one to the other. They just use both and go on about their way.

I have less of an understanding of the urban fantasy crowd, but I can say I don't see complaints about DRM from that crowd. I also don't see it from the romance crowd, but I do see a LOT more lending in the romance crowd than any other genre, hands down (most of it legal--the one time lending, but there is some of the, "I got this for free so I think I can pass it along." --and depending on where/how they got it...emailing might work.)

Ah well. It's all very interesting. I appreciate the posts in this discussion. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:32 AM   #73
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I can't believe I'm stepping into a DRM discussion, but...

I know a few of those Aunt Mabels who might try to share a book with DRM and not know WHY it doesn't work; just that it doesn't. Unfortunately they are the same ones who might then just google the title, end up on a torrent site, and download it illegally. Because "it must be okay if I can just click on it and get it." Just saying, clueless people are clueless. And that works in both directions.
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Old 11-07-2012, 11:03 AM   #74
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The real problem here is we are arguing with out hard facts. "I think that most people do ZXY" is followed by "no I think most people do ABC"

With out hard facts, every opinion is equally valid. So I declare everyone is right!
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Old 11-07-2012, 11:52 AM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjones6416 View Post
I can't believe I'm stepping into a DRM discussion, but...

I know a few of those Aunt Mabels who might try to share a book with DRM and not know WHY it doesn't work; just that it doesn't. Unfortunately they are the same ones who might then just google the title, end up on a torrent site, and download it illegally. Because "it must be okay if I can just click on it and get it." Just saying, clueless people are clueless. And that works in both directions.
For the most part I agree--only in my cozy groups, most Aunt Mabels know better than to download from strange sites because they have learned the hard way about viruses and are actually paranoid about going to just about any new site. They are also some of the most loyal shoppers I've ever seen. They take great comfort in going to the same sites and buying where they always have (and this holds true for physical sites. My mother still shops at Sears because she has always shopped for certain items at Sears. And in the case of at least one type of item, they haven't carried it in YEARS, but she still looks there for it when she is there.)

To be honest, most of the Aunt Mabels don't even do all that well with side-loading their e-readers. I know this because I've tried to walk them through it with books from Smashwords that were free. They get very impatient quickly and don't want to bother. Some of them will email it to their Kindle address and pay the 15 cents before they will side load. And not all of them are willing/able to do that step either.

And I am NOT in any way putting down this group of lovely ladies. They just do not want to expend the energy. But if someone mails them a file without DRM (they have no idea what DRM is, don't care and don't want to learn) and they know how to email it to their kindle they will not only do so, they will often give the others in the group the kindle email to have the file mailed directly to the kindle. All without questioning whether it is legal or will work.

One of the reasons Kindle is so successful is because it is one click and delivery is there with a minimum of learning. Lending is a slightly different step. Some of the ladies do know how to email files and do so regularly. Only a subset of them will take the time to learn to side-load.

All of this is not to say I am spending my nights worried about a lost sale over DRM one way or the other. It's more to say I have decided there is no real reason NOT to apply it.
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