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Old 01-26-2009, 08:04 AM   #1
tibiafry
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Hello everybody. Somebody to help me a bit?

Hello, I'll introduce myself.

I have picked up the nickname of Fry, because I like Futurama a lot.

I work on a publishing company from Spain. My english is not very fluent but I think I can defend myself to comunicate.

Well, I'd like to ask for a little bit of help from all of you. I need to learn fast about all the ebook technologies, and I've been aware that most of the time there are not clear things. But I need to know a lot of things.

Especially, I'm searching around for format types (pros and cons) and DRM systems.

Thanks a lot everybody that's willing me to show me some links, etc about these subjects.
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Old 01-26-2009, 08:11 AM   #2
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Hi, tibiafry - welcome aboard! Your English is excellent (certainly better than my Spanish ).

A great place to start looking for info is the Wiki - there's always a link to it at the top of the page.

You'll find stuff on formats and DRM there.

You can also use the Search function to look for previous threads that may have discussed particular topics.
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Old 01-26-2009, 08:20 AM   #3
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Hello tibiafry and welcome. there are a lot of very knowledgeable and helpful people here who can give you so much information you will soon be drowning in it.

probably to best help you it would be useful to know more about your reasons for learning about ebooks (personal use ? publishing ? archive ? reference ?).

to give you a first answer, the new industry standard format is epub and i recommend anyone starting out in ebooks turn in that direction. it is an open format based on xhtml and css, already very robust and complete, and is still being defined, so will continue to improve, as will the viewers for epub files. it can be used as a source or end format (meaning, you can use it to archive your files, it can easily be converted to other popular formats, and it can also be read natively on more and more devices : the sony 505 and 700, iphone using stanza, and any browser). i recommend you read at least the first page of this thread about epub.

as for drm, if you mean to create drm books, you should know that the overwhelming majority of ebook readers agree that it is preferable to avoid it ; it does not actually securise any files, and will do nothing to prevent copyright infringement, however it does cause significant inconvenience and prejudice to legitimate, paying customers, and in fact in some cases it can be argued that it actually encourages piracy. just as the music industry has finally caught on and is abandoning drm, so the publishing industry will in the end stop using it too i'm sure (hopefully sooner than later). if you are asking about which kind of drm files to buy, many people buy Lit format (microsoft windows) books, because the drm can easily be removed, and the book can then be converted to another format for your personal use.

take a look around the forums and the wiki (link at the top left of the page) ; i'm sure you will find a lot of information here ! and don't hesitate to ask questions.
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Old 01-26-2009, 08:55 AM   #4
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Other DRM formats to consider are ereader and Mobipocket. Drm can be removed from ereader using ereader2html.py, and Mobipocket DRm can be removed using mobidedrm.py. Check here for them. Since these are Python scripts you will also need Python. You can download it free from here.

Please check your local laws to determine whether such DRM removal is legal where you live. And welcome to the forum.
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Old 01-26-2009, 10:29 AM   #5
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Welcome, tibiafry.

You will find much information here, and many helpful people.

If you have specific questions, you can ask them under the proper threads, (ie "Which one should I buy", "reading software," "epub", etc) and get faster help.

Enjoy!
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Old 01-26-2009, 12:35 PM   #6
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Hi fry and welcome to the Forum
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Old 01-30-2009, 06:37 AM   #7
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Wow, thanks for the warm wellcome. I'm going to read a lot of the wiki. I'll do some searches too.

About the DRM, in fact, I work for a publishing company and we intend to publish with DRM altough I already said that it can be removed easilly. I must inform myself on the security of DRM before we invest a lot of money in a protection tecnology that has no practical use. That's what I need to know about DRM: is it really effective?

Thanks everybody for your answers.
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Old 01-30-2009, 09:29 AM   #8
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tibiafry, have you taken part in our "What Part of the World are You From?" poll?

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=37241
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Old 01-30-2009, 10:07 AM   #9
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Welcome Fry! I think maybe my friends would consider me more of a Leela. I exist in order to organize things and make people behave kindly to each other, even if I have to kick and shoot to make them behave correctly!

Please, for the love of all things good and just, DO NOT USE DRM. I promise, it will be a huge marketing advantage over anything Amazon, Sony, etc are doing. They restrict and exclude sales by using proprietary DRM. Just offer DRM-free content and the reading world will beat a path to your bookstore.
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Old 01-30-2009, 12:45 PM   #10
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Welcome Fry! I think maybe my friends would consider me more of a Leela. I exist in order to organize things and make people behave kindly to each other, even if I have to kick and shoot to make them behave correctly!

Please, for the love of all things good and just, DO NOT USE DRM. I promise, it will be a huge marketing advantage over anything Amazon, Sony, etc are doing. They restrict and exclude sales by using proprietary DRM. Just offer DRM-free content and the reading world will beat a path to your bookstore.
I'm aware (and have informed everyone) of DRM problems. But this is a company, and people want to protect their futures. I must study it very well.
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Old 01-30-2009, 09:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tibiafry View Post
Wow, thanks for the warm wellcome. I'm going to read a lot of the wiki. I'll do some searches too.

About the DRM, in fact, I work for a publishing company and we intend to publish with DRM altough I already said that it can be removed easilly. I must inform myself on the security of DRM before we invest a lot of money in a protection tecnology that has no practical use. That's what I need to know about DRM: is it really effective?

Thanks everybody for your answers.
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I'm aware (and have informed everyone) of DRM problems. But this is a company, and people want to protect their futures. I must study it very well.
i think it's great you are investigating the question before jumping in. i understand that people want to protect their futures. experience is showing more and more that the best way to gain customer loyalty and ensure honesty on the part of your customers, is to behave this way to them.

As a publisher, you can help educate the authors you publish. If you take a look at some of the discussions around here you'll find that the majority of readers are very happy to pay for their books, and will be very loyal to publishers which are perceived as "fair dealers" ; publishers selling for reasonable prices with no drm will make a lot of friends.

as for the effectiveness question, drm is not really effective. as you've no doubt seen, it can always be circumvented one way or another, and most people don't hesitate to do it if they need to because they often see it as a rather unfair (even underhanded) way of preventing them from fairly using content they have legally purchased.

for example, sometimes they want to read a book on a device which may require a format shift, or they have lost access because of computer problem. i recently had to reinstall the operating system on my computer and discovered that i could no longer download my (legally purchased) lit format books from my account at the online bookseller where i had purchased them, because my newly re-installed microsoft reader had a different id code (or something).

i wasn't bothered enough to try to find a solution, since i had previously downloaded them and immediately removed the drm from my purchases for precisely this sort of reason (and also because i wanted to read them on my eb1150, which can only read the proprietary .imp format, so i *always* had to shift the format), but still, it's a problem if my hard drive crashes, say, and i lose my drm-free copies, and on principle alone i don't appreciate the extra hoops i have to jump through. i paid for those books, and all i want to do is read them myself, on the device of my choice ; it seems unfair that the publisher should try to prevent me from doing that.

there are more extreme examples ; recently, fictionwise was forced to remove some titles in certain formats, because one of the drm-management companies stopped abruptly doing business with them. as a result, customers who had bought books whose drm was managed by that company no longer have access to them in the format they purchased, at all. fictionwise is a very decent company, so they did their best to ensure that the books were replaced in their own e-reader format. but if you don't have a device which reads that format (no currently available e-ink device does...), you're faced with the problem of having the shift the format, which means... removing the drm, whether you like doing that or not. that is not a unique situation, either ; there have been many cases of people losing access to media they have legitimately purchased because of drm problems. you'll find plenty of stories in this forum.

for some successful models of drm-free publishing, take a look at Baen books, O'Reilly, and PanMacmillan.

more and more publishers are abandoning drm as they recognize that it's expensive, ineffective, and tends to alienate customers. the same thing happened previously with the music industry and the film industry. i hope that publishers will be able to learn from their experiences, and not follow the same long path. one of the best things that could happen to ebooks would be for all publishers to stop using drm completely, tomorrow. i hope your research will lead you to be one of the enlightened early adopters of drm-free publishing.
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Old 02-02-2009, 02:44 AM   #12
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Thanks for your long reply, zelda_pinwheel. Well, at this state of the process of digitalization, we're already in contact with mobipocked DRM, wich I have already seen that can be deprotected, and another DRM from Adobe, that protects epub files and pdf files.

I have seen that you can use mobidedrm.py to unprotect MOBIPOCKET files, but can you use something with PDF/epub DRM files?

The thing is that I can argue something to the group if there is some way to circumvent the DRM of PDF/EPUB files, I think they'll understand quickly that there's no real reason to spend over 10000 € (yes, you have read well!) in those protection systems.

On the other hand, I would like to hear a sincere tought from all of you. Let's put it simple. Think you are working for a publishing company. You like your job, you like helping people to access the universal culture, art, literature, etc. You need to pay your food, your house, your kids... And then this whole thing of the ebooks pops out. You see music and film industry that is really (excuse me for this word) fucked up, and you just don't want to end without job. My tought is, I have to protect my business, because why would somebody pay for something that can be downloaded from free? (P2P, rapidshare, megaupload,... you know the thing, I'm sure). I'd like you to think from this point of view a little.

Thanks again for your valuable help
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Old 02-02-2009, 03:26 AM   #13
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- - - because why would somebody pay for something that can be downloaded from free? (P2P, rapidshare, megaupload,... you know the thing, I'm sure). I'd like you to think from this point of view a little. - - -
That one is easy:
- because I want to have good quality books
- because I want the author/publicist to be able to live and put out more books
- because it's easy to buy from reputable e-book-stores
- because I am against pirated/illegal books on principle

Or all in all: "Loyalty towards the authors and bookstores" (and that means I only buy from e-bookstores that I feel are treating me fairly)

And also I am happy to buy ebooks because it is easy to remove DRM from the books I buy, I always do that so I can store them safely and use them in the future too (I've had harddisks break and computers crash so many times, I am not willing to tie my books to specific devices).
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Old 02-02-2009, 10:40 AM   #14
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I have seen that you can use mobidedrm.py to unprotect MOBIPOCKET files, but can you use something with PDF/epub DRM files?
Not as of yet. But, if you plan to ONLY publish using Adobe DRM then you are cutting off a huge market share that mobipocket has due to its platform proliferation. But, there are programs that read the text while it is displayed in Digital Editions and copys it off. So, in that case it is circumventable.

Also, look around on the "darknet" you can easily find the Harry Potter books which were NEVER released as ebooks. So, they only way for me to get an ebook of Harry Potter (or others) is to d/l it... since there is no one to pay, then no one gets the money for it.

DRM only affects the legitamate customers, locking them into certain devices or formats. The hackers and traders won't be put off by it at all.

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Old 02-02-2009, 11:49 AM   #15
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well other people have already made many of the points i would mention, so no need to repeat them.

i think, tibiafry, that the biggest thing the music and film industries have neglected to realise, is that the majority of people 1. are honest and 2. understand that if they don't support the artists / authors / publishers they enjoy by purchasing the content they want, these people will stop producing new content. that is not in anybody's interest. on the other hand there is a minority who will continue to get their content by filesharing etc. they will not be dissuaded by drm (they are not even dissuaded by the lack of ebooks ! look at the Harry Potter example, as PilotBob has said), and in fact some people say that the bigger the challenge, the higher the esteem for managing to provide the pirate copy. they are not lost sales, since they wouldn't buy the books, and they aren't stopped by drm. so why even worry about them ?

i think the best way for a publisher to succeed in ebooks is to concentrate on giving the best possible experience to their paying customers : that means reasonable prices and no drm. customers really do appreciate this and will go out of their way to support it. June's comment in this thread is a very good example and it is far from unique. Baen books, which i mentioned earlier as have other people, is an excellent example of a publisher who is widely perceived as understanding the right way to approach epublishing ; they have such a huge following from readers who appreciate their philosophy that there are people who actually purchase everything they publish, even though they might not have time to read it all, and even though they could easily get it for free (some of it is available for free directly on baen's website ; they also have cds of their books which they distribute with paper copies and from what i've heard these cds are full of free content which they encourage you to share : they realise that this is a great way for them to get free publicity and gain new readers, who in turn will buy new books).

no drm also means you can much more easily propose more formats : epub is the industry standard, you should definitely start with that. but as bob has pointed out, a lot of people already use mobipocket format. if you skip drm, you can develop a workflow to make good quality epub books ; since you have no drm, converting those to drm-free mobipocket is trivial and free, so you can make that format available at no or minimal extra cost to you : instantly you have a huge additional customer base, for free (to you, the publisher).

10000 € to pay for DRM which is pointless (because it can be circumvented, if only by copying out the text) and which is hated by customers because it causes the honest and legitimate people much trouble and aggravation, and which also means you are obliged to charge more for your books to recoup your costs (the other big problem with current ebook offers is they are often sold for prices which are considered unreasonably high by readers, partly because publishers are spending ridiculous sums of money on DRM schemes and want to make us pay for it !), well, it seems to me a very easy calculation to make ! think of how you could invest that money in more productive ways to improve your business and at the same time earn happy, loyal customers. i can't understand why any publisher would hesitate, if they really examine the question from the standpoint of the customer.
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