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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 07, 2014 05:51AM) (new)

Adobe Updates its ePub/PDF DRM, Drops Support for Older DRM

Last week Adobe announced it was updating its ePub & PDF DRM to "fight piracy".

This was reported a by hyperbolically as Adobe has Killed e-Readers, though in fact of the major retailers, only Sony uses Adobe's DRM (and calling Sony a major eBook retailer is being very expansive.) The gist is that without a software update, older Sony eReaders (and a few indies) won't be able to read new eBooks.

Adobe has amplified its statement in response to the criticism (without actually changing anything in their plans) by saying it's up to the retailers (e.g. Sony) to decide when to start using the new DRM.

The new W3C version of DRM requires an always on Internet connection (meaning you won't be able to read the e-book unless your e-reader is connected to the Internet, even if you've already downloaded the book, At least when you open the book for the day.) It sounds like a serious flaw in e-readers to me, And seems to buck the trend to remove DRM from e-books.


message 2: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2169 comments This is one of the main reasons I'm not a fan of DRM. A friend of mine bought several CDs & found she couldn't play them until she hacked them on her expensive stereo. Ridiculous!

Besides, it's a pain. When I first got my Sony PRS-505, I had a coupon for some books through the Sony store. I found that using Adobe DRM on my Sony was about impossible. I had to run both Adobe & Sony's stupid programs & they were so awfully written, big, & picky, they wouldn't work half the time. So I uninstalled both, installed Calibre & very rarely buy anything with DRM on it. When I do, I strip the DRM immediately & back it up.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Jim wrote: "very rarely buy anything with DRM on it. When I do, I strip the DRM immediately & back it up. ..."

I buy a lot of e-books from Amazon and audiobooks from Audible, but like you I routinely strip the DRM & backup, just for the insurance against obsolescence and device independence.


message 4: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 07, 2014 05:50AM) (new)

Sony Exits eBook Biz - Sells Sony Reader Business to Kobo

Interesting. Sony & Kobo did a joint Press Release today moving Sony to Kobo eBooks. Henceforth, Sony will preinstall the Kobo reader on all its tablets & eReaders from now on, and Kobo will sell e-books for both of them.

So, one less ebook retailer using Adobe DRM.


message 5: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2169 comments I just got my email from the Sony Reader Store saying they were closing. Well, I never supported them, so no loss to me.

I think people should vote with their dollars & not buy anything with DRM. Can you even tell if a Kindle book has DRM or not before you buy?


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Jim wrote: "I think people should vote with their dollars & not buy anything with DRM. Can you even tell if a Kindle book has DRM or not before you buy?...."

If you look carefully, you can find, "At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied," buried at the bottom of the description.

Easier is to remember that some publishers, such as Tor & Baen, don't use DRM.

I agree it would be best to reward those eschewing DRM, but books aren't fungible. (It's easy with Calibre to remove the DRM, anyway. Besides, whether the Kindle e-book has DRM or not, it will be in Amazon's .mobi format, so to use it on another e-reader you'd have to do a conversion, anyway.)


message 7: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Flynn Jim, I checked my own book, because I know I clicked the DRM-free box when I uploaded to Amazon. If a book is DRM-free, it will have the 'Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited' line in the info. I checked with another author who I know removed hers and it was the same, while the books I checked from big publishing houses don't have that line in their info. So seems completely up to the publisher/author. All these ereaders remind me of the VCR vs Beta brand wars in the 80s. Eventually VCR came out on top.

Print Length: 496 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1493767526
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00GA3H98W
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
X-Ray:
Enabled
Lending: Enabled


message 8: by Ben (new)

Ben Rowe (benwickens) | 429 comments I think that there are some benefits with DRM. I borrow ebooks from my library and publishers would only let their books be available for e-lending if they could both protect the DRM and also if the use could be controlled (2 weeks loan unless renewed in my case).

However I do think that these sorts of restrictions should be the exception rather than the rule and people who buy digital goods should be given plenty of freedom as to how they use them. Otherwise people will just work around the system and strip the DRM once bought.

The idea that you should need a wifi connection to be able to read a book is just stupid. Its the classic example of putting perverse type of use concerns over reader experience.

I think one of the downsides of this is it will push the market further towards Amazon and their kindle range and we would all benefit from their being more competition both for individual titles and for ereaders.


message 9: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2169 comments Thanks, all. Nice to know how to avoid it.

Ben wrote: "I think that there are some benefits with DRM. I borrow ebooks from my library and publishers would only let their books be available for e-lending if they could both protect the DRM and also if t..."

Some do, others don't, as G33z3r pointed out. My library has both. I agree with you that competition would be best & I think a lack of DRM would help.

I agree with Sabrina on the formats. It's a pain, but there are good reasons for multiple formats. Some are better suited to some operations than others especially over multiple devices. Still ereaders should support reading major formats natively without conversion. They probably could if they didn't have to support DRM.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

G33z3r wrote: "Sony & Kobo did a joint Press Release today moving Sony to Kobo eBooks. ..."

Talk about burying the lead... Sony passing its e-book business to Kobo was just a sidebar in what Sony did yesterday. Sony also sold off their entire computer (VAIO) business and spun off their TV division. Getting out of the e-book business was such small potatoes that most of the financial sites didn't even mention e-books in the news of Sony's restructuring.

The deal seems to be Sony e-book customers will find their e-book library available in Kobo format from the Kobo store (except for subscription magazines/newspapers, which always seems to be a sticking point with the E-readers.) A few owners of older Sony Readers will not get Kobo updates & discover they can't buy anymore books (after March) without buying a new e-reader (which will have to be a Kobo or Kobo-app'd tablet if they want to still want to read their previous Sony purchases without resorting to DRM-removal.)


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Sabrina wrote: "Jim, I checked my own book, because I know I clicked the DRM-free box when I uploaded to Amazon...."

Interesting. I didn't know individual authors publishing directly with Amazon have the option of going DRM free. (I always assumed Amazon tacked on DRM every chance they had.)

Sabrina wrote: "If a book is DRM-free, it will have the 'Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited' line in the info. ..."

That field seems to be hit or miss with book information. I see it with your book and a couple of Baen-published books, but the Tor (Mcmillian) books I checked don't mention that, but proclaim the DRM-free in the description text. Well, I guess I can't expect consistency from Amazon! :)


message 12: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Flynn That is odd, G33z3r. Must be a KDP option since Amazon is acting as publisher. That's really good to know about TOR removing their DRM.


message 13: by Kevis (last edited Feb 07, 2014 08:06AM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 44 comments G33z3r wrote: "Interesting. I didn't know individual authors publishing directly with Amazon have the option of going DRM free. (I always assumed Amazon tacked on DRM every chance they had.)"

When Amazon first launched the Kindle, we weren't given the option to sell our books without DRM, but eventually they gave us the option to choose to make our books DRM-Free. If a book is sold with DRM, it has to be unpublished and republished as a new book to get rid of the DRM. Unfortunately, the customer has to repurchase the book to get the DRM-FREE version.


message 14: by Kevis (last edited Feb 07, 2014 08:10AM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 44 comments G33z3r wrote: "A few owners of older Sony Readers will not get Kobo updates & discover they can't buy anymore books (after March) without buying a new e-reader (which will have to be a Kobo or Kobo-app'd tablet if they want to still want to read their previous Sony purchases without resorting to DRM-removal.)"

Talk about burying the lead... Sony passing its e-book business to Kobo was just a sidebar in what Sony ..."


That touches on another problem that Sony customers have to deal with. If an author has removed his or her book from the market and isn't distributing it anymore, that book will not be imported to Kobo and the customer will lose access to that book.


message 15: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 07, 2014 08:31AM) (new)

Kevis wrote: "That touches on another problem that Sony customers have to deal with. If an author has removed his or her book from the market and isn't distributing it anymore, that book will not be imported to Kobo and the customer will lose access to that book...."

I wondered about that.

I've purchased items from both Amazon and Audible that have since disappeared from their sale catalogue. However, in both cases, what I purchased is still in my Kindle/Audible "Library" and I can still re-download it to my E-reader / audio player. So even though those items have been withdrawn from sale, the e-retailer continues to make them available to past buyers.

It wasn't clear from the Sony/Kobo press release and FAQ whether Kobo would be able to maintain items no longer in E-publication for Sony customers.

* "No longer in E-publication". Blech. Desperately need new term for "out-of-print" in the electronic world.


message 16: by Kevis (last edited Feb 07, 2014 09:47AM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 44 comments G33z3r wrote: "It wasn't clear from the Sony/Kobo press release and FAQ whether Kobo would be able to maintain items no longer in E-publication for Sony customers."

I got the word yesterday from another author who sells his books through Smashwords. For self-published authors, Smashwords was the only way to sell books through Sony. So if those authors removed their books from Sony's sales channel, those books won't be sent over to Kobo.

I don't see how anyone can draw any other conclusion based on the fact that Smashwords is saying that "Sony customers will not lose their books." But they're also telling authors, "If your books are already listed at Sony, there's nothing you need to do. On or around March 20, your book's listing at Sony should disappear. Your customers at Sony will have ample opportunity to backup their purchases."

But what about books that aren't (currently) listed? There's the caveat.


message 17: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2169 comments This sort of mess is why I remove DRM & store my books on 2 hard drives at home. Amazon suddenly pulled "1984" from US customers when there was a goofed edition. IMO, I buy it, I own it. Cloud services & DRM both make that an iffy proposition.


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Kevis wrote: "I got the word yesterday from another author who sells his books through Smashwords...."

Smashwords books are DRM-free, though, right? So it's just a backup issue rather than a DRM-stripping exercise. (Not that I have the slightest idea how easy/hard it is to back up a Sony Reader file.)

In all these cases, backing up an eReader presupposes the customer also has a desktop computer, doesn't it?


message 19: by Kevis (last edited Feb 07, 2014 09:52AM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 44 comments G33z3r wrote: "Kevis wrote: "I got the word yesterday from another author who sells his books through Smashwords...."

Smashwords books are DRM-free, though, right? So it's just a backup issue rather than a DRM-..."


That's a great point. Smashwords books are DRM-Free, so that might be the wrinkle I missed. An obvious one too.


message 20: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2169 comments As I recall, Sony readers are about like Kindle's to back up. I just used Calibre, though.


message 21: by E.D. (new)

E.D. Lynnellen (EDLynnellen) | 126 comments The publisher (self, and traditional) makes the DRM decision. Smashwords, as a distributor, doesn't want to deal with DRM issues across formats and retailers. Eliminating DRM is consumer friendly. I don't have it on my work.., most indies don't.

Only businesspersons obsessed with being "robbed" would choose it over making their customers happy. Shows where their hearts are. :}


message 22: by Kevis (last edited Feb 07, 2014 09:14PM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 44 comments E.D. wrote: "Only businesspersons obsessed with being "robbed" would choose it over making their customers happy. Shows where their hearts are."

This is one of the principal reasons Sony is now out of the ebook business. Customers reward trust with loyalty. If you don't trust your customers, they take their money to businesses where they are trusted.


message 23: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2169 comments Sony's software was the pits. It was very slow even without the DRM. With it, it was impossible. One of my biggest gripes was that it didn't have any way to import anything save from their store - at least as I recall, but it's been a while & I had an early, no wifi version. Their library wasn't all that great from what I saw, pretty limited, in fact.

To make it, an ebook reader has to get the material on to the reader quickly & easily. That's where Amazon & B&N have shined. Lots to read. It's what everyone crows about. "I was sitting in the airport & wanted another book. Looked, found, got, & enjoyed it." No hassle, no knowledge, just quick & easy. Sony had neither the selection nor the ease.

Hardware seems to be a secondary consideration. I have thought of a dozen ways designs could be changed for the better, but they're all amazingly alike. Sony's hardware wasn't bad, but had nothing special about it. Just middling, not enough to overcome their software & selection issues.


message 24: by Dave (new)

Dave (dcr_writes) | 45 comments My first dedicated ebook reader was a Sony 505, and I think I have a couple of books in their store, but I'm not going to fret too much as I have so much to read on Kindle/Nook that it's no longer an issue for me.

As for KDP, as someone who's used the service a few times, I can say that the default for self-published books is no DRM.

I think Amazon's goal is to keep people in their garden not by using DRM, but through features. Once you have your content on Kindle, you have it on everything except the competition's dedicated E-Ink readers.


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

I was lucky....sort of...I tried the Sony...didn't like it, returned it....tried Nook, got a bad book (I.e, online e that would not open) the first week I haven't ad my nook, was introduced to some seriously poor customer support, switched to Amazon and have been a happy camper ever since. The whole DRM thing worries me as my collection grows...I haven't learned how to remove it yet. I belive Amazon will win the e-reader wars (they practically have already)...i'm more worried about a massive hack attack, someone managing to bring down the mighty cloud servers, or some wise monkey comeing out with the "next big thing" that puts the whole e-publishing modle in the mud and Amazon stops making e-readers...it can happen...


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

G33z3r wrote: "Sony Exits eBook Biz - Sells Sony Reader Business to Kobo ..."

Letting the other shoe drop, Sony is discontinuing its eReader.

Without revenue from an e-book store, it's hard to compete on price with Amazon Kindle; it's believed Amazon sells the Kindle at cost just to promote its e-book sales.

Sony's e-reader predated Amazon's, but a lack of available e-books stifled its early adoption. (Similar to how Sony lost its Walkman dominance to Apple's iPod/iTunes.)

Now that Sony is out and B&N has spun off their Nook in favor of partnership with branded tablets, that leaves only Kindle and the Canadian/Japanese Kobo eReader in the pure e-reader (non-tablet) market.


message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

DRM is evil


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Returning to the first story in this topic, Adobe's new DRM, apparently their new Reader software for this DRM (DE4) is also spyware: Adobe is Spying on Users, Collecting Data on Their eBook Libraries (that's Nate Hoffelder's headline, again).

This isn't just a "Kindle keeps track of where your reading" Apparently the new Adobe DE4 reader actually scans your hard drive for other EPUBs and reports metadata on each one it finds to Adobe, goddess knows why.

None of the major e-book retailers (Amazon, Apple, B&N, Kobo, Google) use Adobe software/format (Sony was the last). It is used for some textbooks services.


message 29: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 2169 comments This seems to be a trend. The user agreement for the new Windows 10 appears to give them the right to even log keystrokes within applications. I have a feeling this will get crushed as it can't pass for gov't use nor many enterprises. Might stick on the home front, though.
:(


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