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Old 05-25-2006, 09:28 AM   #1
Liviu_5
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another drm ebook publisher (embiid) bites the dust

Hi,

It is not quite fresh (early may) news but since no one seems to have posted this, Embiid is closing down (http://www.sfsite.com/columns/news01.htm). They do not have an official announcement on their site, just in their forums but it seems to come from the site owner.
I post this because they represent an example of how by offering drm'ed ebooks that can be read only on a pc/mac (but not on Ebookwise or Nokia, and the embiid format is so obscure that in the words of someone who studies closely the ebook scene, "nobody bothered to hack it") everyone directly involved loses (me as a reader,the author, the publisher).
Concretly, a 3bk series published there and in print sounded interesting, so a while ago I purchased the first book from Embiid (that was in the times I still believed I could read fiction consistently on the pc) for ~5$.
I liked it enough to read about 1/3 on my pc and to be interested to read it and the other 2 volumes, but since I cannot read it on my ereaders, I got the other two books in print as used books (new were not available) for ~8$ each total cost. Since these days my reading time is 10:1 e to print, they joined a long queue of books I like to read ( to be fair I have a lot of ebooks I want to read also in my queue, but if they were e I would probably at least started them). So I pay more (16 versus 10) and it's unclear when I will read them, the author and publisher got zero, 0, zip, only the sellers, Amazon as the used book store and the post office gain. And now the ebook publisher bites the dust. Way to go for drmed books!!

Liviu
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Old 05-25-2006, 09:35 AM   #2
Bob Russell
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That's a shame to hear that. But even worse, don't you think that the publishers and authors benefit from this in a way because they can resell the same book over and over in different forms? In the long run, it's got to be bad for sales, though, if people start to avoid content because of the DRM.
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Old 05-25-2006, 10:53 AM   #3
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Hi,

I think that the publishers and authors lose a lot from the drm. Nowadays the bookselling is bestseller driven, and for Harry Potter or Stephen King or the current hot book I agree that the drm protection may help since many people pick up those books just that it is fashionable, so for those I have nothing against drming them through the wazoo for a while at least. Though anyway they get pirated immediately, but since I very rarely read a book that makes a general bestseller list (recently just Judas Unchained and A Feast for Crows) I just do not care either way.
But for the majority of books, having a 5-6$ ebook drm free would increase the sales considerably I think. Right now for Baen books the estimate is 10-20% more bottom line for authors, though for some (especially now with 15$ earcs of which personally I have purchased about 10, and all except one also in print from the ones that are available as of now) it may be more. Also when they had the short lived Tor book program I purchased some books I would have not considered otherwise or at best I would have tried them first from the library. Conversely in the embiid example, I bought one book from them, and then I got used books (more expensive due to shipping) and on which the author and publisher gets nothing. So who wins?? Me?, no...The author/publisher?, no...
If the ebooks were availble at decent prices and drm free, who would pirate them? The people who would, most likely would anyway would not have bought them otherwise either because they could not afford it, or... but for me, why should do it, when I can afford to buy it, I want more books from the author so I have to encourage/compensate him/her, I want more books like that so I want to encourage/compensate the publisher...And also many people who cannot afford a book now, may do so later.
Just another personal example, in grad school I could not afford to buy The Economist which I find the best news magazine around, so I read it extensively from the library. The moment I could afford it I got a subscription, and even today when I would be happy with the online subscription only, I still keep the print subscription (for extra 50$ or so a year) in part to "repay" them for the years of library reading.
Sorry for the long rant, but when the whole "human" knowledge could be available so easily in digital form and is not due in large part to stupidity, it makes me quite upset...

Liviu





Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Russell
That's a shame to hear that. But even worse, don't you think that the publishers and authors benefit from this in a way because they can resell the same book over and over in different forms? In the long run, it's got to be bad for sales, though, if people start to avoid content because of the DRM.
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Old 05-25-2006, 05:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Russell
That's a shame to hear that. But even worse, don't you think that the publishers and authors benefit from this in a way because they can resell the same book over and over in different forms?
That's sort of like saying that the MPAA will benefit by forcing people to re-purchase their music if they want MP3s of the music instead of CDs.

We all know how well this went over.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Russell
In the long run, it's got to be bad for sales, though, if people start to avoid content because of the DRM.
Only if companies cling to the misconception that content needs to be locked down.
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Old 05-26-2006, 10:32 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liviu_5
I post this because they represent an example of how by offering drm'ed ebooks that can be read only on a pc/mac (but not on Ebookwise or Nokia, and the embiid format is so obscure that in the words of someone who studies closely the ebook scene, "nobody bothered to hack it") everyone directly involved loses (me as a reader,the author, the publisher).
Embiid books could be read on Palm PDAs too, though not PocketPC/WinCE/Windows Powered/whatever the heck they're calling it this week machines.

And it's not quite true that "nobody" bothered to hack it. There was someone who posted in the Embiid forum on SFFnet that he did, because he wanted to be able to read the books on a PocketPC and he had been spurned (he felt) by Embiid when he offered his help to make a PocketPC reader gratis. Apparently he did it rather easily, too. He came in for quite a tongue-lashing from Embiid's owners over it. Unfortunately, there's no longer any way to find out who he might have been in order to contact him about it, because the SFFnet discussion thread about it expired.

Sigh. And after I spent all that money on Liaden books from them, too...
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Old 05-26-2006, 01:45 PM   #6
Liviu_5
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Hi,

Anyway you still can read their books on a pc/laptop or Palm (since I've never owned a Palm I had no idea about embiid being readable there). About hacking, making a reader for .ebk on pocket pc is interesting, but getting the html file from the book would have been really useful since after all who knows what ereading device is going to come up tommorrow. Right now I use Ebookwise and Nokia 770 but I see myself getting an eink reader at some point too and so on... This is the main reason I just do not touch anything that I cannot get to an html/text file.

Liviu


Quote:
Originally Posted by Robotech_Master
Embiid books could be read on Palm PDAs too, though not PocketPC/WinCE/Windows Powered/whatever the heck they're calling it this week machines.

And it's not quite true that "nobody" bothered to hack it. There was someone who posted in the Embiid forum on SFFnet that he did, because he wanted to be able to read the books on a PocketPC and he had been spurned (he felt) by Embiid when he offered his help to make a PocketPC reader gratis. Apparently he did it rather easily, too. He came in for quite a tongue-lashing from Embiid's owners over it. Unfortunately, there's no longer any way to find out who he might have been in order to contact him about it, because the SFFnet discussion thread about it expired.

Sigh. And after I spent all that money on Liaden books from them, too...
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