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Archived Author Help > DRM or No DRM?

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message 1: by Maurice (new)

Maurice Miller (mauricegmiller) | 116 comments Just curious how many fellow authors use Digital Rights Management (DRM)on eBooks? I have heard arguments for and against. Has anyone had an experience where DRM has caused issues with certain e-readers??

I guess I'm looking for a legit argument not to use DRM.

Thanks,
Maurice


message 2: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments Sorry, I can't help much here. I didn't use DRM (on Amazon) because I also published with Smashwords and they do not have the option.

Either way, it seems people who know much about computers can remove it easily. Knowing a hacker would then certainly know the tricks, what good is a DRM then if not to bug normal people who just want to read the books they bought the way the want?


message 3: by Maurice (new)

Maurice Miller (mauricegmiller) | 116 comments G.G. wrote: "Sorry, I can't help much here. I didn't use DRM (on Amazon) because I also published with Smashwords and they do not have the option.

Either way, it seems people who know much about computers can..."


Good point GG. I have heard this argument and it seems to make sense. You've convinced me!! Have you heard any stories of users having difficulty with e-readers on content that has DRM?


message 4: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) You bring up an argument I hear a lot but don't quite understand, GG. What is meant by reading the books they bought the way they want?

If you mean using a Kindle to read an epub or a Nook to read a mobi, I have to draw a comparison to other forms of media. You can't play a Nintendo game on an Xbox. Annoying, yes, but that's their right as a business owner to create proprietary content. The biggest difference here though is that Kindle and Nook, and the other ereaders all have free apps that work on a variety of devices.

Beyond that, the only other argument I hear is that ebooks can't be shared. On that point, I think we have to understand that sharing a file isn't the same as lending a physical book to a friend. You can lend them your ereader, but when you start sending copied book files, that would be similar to photocopying a book you bought and giving that out for free.

Or is there something else I'm not getting? Like I said, I don't actually understand that argument fully.


message 5: by Maurice (new)

Maurice Miller (mauricegmiller) | 116 comments Christina, do you use DRM?


message 6: by Maurice (new)

Maurice Miller (mauricegmiller) | 116 comments Rob wrote: "Having suffered the madness of DRM while using an old BeBook and running Linux on my home PC for the last two decades now, I am very much against any form of DRM. So much so that I've explicitly pu..."

Thanks Rob for the detailed info...


message 7: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments Maybe this article can answer your question better than I could.

http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/e...


message 8: by G.G. (last edited Apr 25, 2015 11:14AM) (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments Christina wrote: "You bring up an argument I hear a lot but don't quite understand, GG. What is meant by reading the books they bought the way they want?

If you mean using a Kindle to read an epub or a Nook to rea..."


I understand. To steal a quote from a famous company, "There's an app for that" so the problem isn't really there. And I'm not a that point where I encountered any problems mentioned on the link I posted either. Of course, I'm worried Amazon might delete some of the books I own, but then I have so many, it might take a while before I would notice the disappearance, especially if I have already read it.

For that reason, most books I buy, I try to read quickly before the others. (But I am often one-click happy, so I do have many bought books that I haven't read yet.) And there are many freebies that are oh so tempting...

On another note, that reminds me. A long time ago, there were talks about setting a maximum times you could play a DVD or a CD before it would erased itself and you'd need to buy another one. I'm guessing this might be what they came up with instead. If so, DRM is a lesser evil. :P


message 9: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Rob wrote: "Having suffered the madness of DRM while using an old BeBook and running Linux on my home PC for the last two decades now, I am very much against any form of DRM. So much so that I've explicitly pu..."

But what exactly do you mean when you say you suffered the madness of DRM? Did you have an issue with the book working properly on the device it was intended for?

I only read books on my Kindle or Kindle app. The only books I have ever had an issue with not opening properly were books I got from Smashwords, so clearly DRM was not the issue.

And Maurice, yes, I enable DRM. I know it isn't deterring pirates, but I don't see much point in encouraging it either.


message 10: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments Christina wrote: "yes, I enable DRM. I know it isn't deterring pirates, but I don't see much point in encouraging it either..."

I don't blame you. If I wouldn't have published with Smashwords, I would probably have opted for DRM. I didn't only because I thought it wouldn't be fair for Amazon customers.


message 11: by Maurice (new)

Maurice Miller (mauricegmiller) | 116 comments Thanks all for the comments.

My book will be on KDP select for the first 90 days so I think my strategy will be to enable DRM for the Kindle eBook, as it should be OK for Kindle readers. Then after the initial 90 days, when submitting to Smashwords or Draft2Digital the EPUB version for wider distribution, I'll leave the DRM off.

Does that make any sense?


message 12: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) You can. I just don't think it changes for books already sold.


message 13: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Rob wrote: "Do you feel OK with denying your readers the rights they would have if they had bought a paper version of your work? If I buy and read the paper version of your book, I can lend it to my friend for a while, but if I would do so with your eBook I would be a pirate according to DRM doctrine."

That's what I addressed above. You have the same right to let someone borrow your ereader. To make a copy of my ebook is the same as making a photocopy of my book, which is still a copyright violation.
I have a kindle device and two devices currently running the app. I have had two previous cell phones that also ran the app. I have not run into any issues with books that would not load on any of them including my own, which are DRM enabled. Perhaps this is different with other types of ebooks, but everyone always points to Amazon as being the big bad wolf and I've not had an issue with any of the books I've purchased over the last 5+ years.


message 14: by Jenycka (new)

Jenycka Wolfe (jenyckawolfe) | 301 comments I don't bother with DRM. I want people to be able to read my stuff across all their devices.

Pirates are gonna pirate. I check every so often to see if my stuff is on pirate sites and I file a complaint if it is, and that's about all I can do.


message 15: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Okay, that's what I thought. It is the issue of trying to use a book on a differently branded device.

For me, I'm exclusive with Amazon because that makes the most business sense for me at the moment. I'm aware that I am losing Nook & Kobo users and I may in the future change that, but no, I don't think anyone who buys my book from Amazon should expect to read it on a Nook anymore than I think my copy of Super Mario Brothers should work on a Playstation.

Anyone who buys my book may loan it to another Kindle user and while they have it, it is gone from the original device. That I have no issue with. Someone making a copy of said work, I do have an issue with. And for the record, I know we discussed this previously in a different group, but I am against the idea of reselling digital media for the same reason: it would be cost prohibitive to keep track of the original media, opening the doors to all kinds of piracy issues.


message 16: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments Christina wrote: "Okay, that's what I thought. It is the issue of trying to use a book on a differently branded device.

For me, I'm exclusive with Amazon because that makes the most business sense for me at the mo..."


That's not even a problem. For all I know all devices have their kindle app. I know Nook, Google tablets, and iPad have it. I believe Kobo has it too. Some people don't want to be bothered with apps though. Yet, they have only themselves to blame. I used my Kindle app on my iPads all the time. Even more then the iBook app and while I now own a kindle paper thing (with no back light) I never use it because it doesn't have no back light. You'll never see me complain that the book I want is only on Amazon, while I might if it weren't there. :P

As for the 5 reasons mentioned on the link I posted, they probably seldom happen anyway.

I'm certainly not in favor of reselling eBooks either. Sure, people resell paperbacks but don't forget that new, they cost a lot more than most eBooks. They also aren't eternal. Read often they might fall apart. They can be lost, and/or destroyed. EBooks have a longer life. Limiting their number of use by limiting the number of devices they can be downloaded to make sense to me.


message 17: by Anthony Deeney (new)

Anthony Deeney | 437 comments Just a thought. Piracy actually promotes your work. Like free book days. For J.K. Rowling a pirate copy is a lost sale. For me a pirate copy is another reader. If I could give away 10000 books tomorrow I would.


message 18: by Owen (last edited Apr 26, 2015 04:44AM) (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments We have never enabled DRM. Now I don't have a detailed technical understanding of it, but my professional experience suggests to me that DRM offers no meaningful protection and probably exacts a cost, so the consequences of using it are almost certainly negative. So we don't bother. (Nor do I feel like taking the time to dig more into the issue.)

I don't entirely agree that piracy getting me another reader is a benefit. Piracy is pretty much just piracy and may result in the pirates making money off our work, to which I object. (This has been discussed elsewhere.)

But I haven't been very diligent on this issue either. The one site I found one of our books pirated on (and had it removed from) said it had 67 downloads. If that was accurate, it is not much of a concern to us.

Edit: I'll add that (in principle) it is more important what prospective readers think about DRM than what we think about it. Everything we do sends a message. What message does enabling or disabling DRM send to your perspective reader? Maybe none. I have a feeling (basically unsupported) that mil-sci-fi readers, overall, don't much like it. That's part of the potential cost I mentioned above. I suggest checking the more popular books similar yours (especially indie authors) to see if there's a trend.


message 19: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Rob wrote: "Owen wrote: ".... said it had 67 downloads. If that was accurate, it is not much of a concern to us. "

Well, you had to rub it in now did you ? ;-)"


Oops? Was I indiscreet? (That was a total and the book could have been up there for over a year, for all we know.)


message 20: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) I've explained my reasons for keeping DRM, Rob. There are things about ebooks that are the same as paper books, such as the fact that they are legitimate books and one is not superior over the other, however, beyond that, they are not the same. Trying to hold on to old concepts instead of moving forward and adapting is already a big enough issue in publishing. Am I telling you to put DRM on your work? No. You do what you feel is best for your work and I'll do what I feel is best for mine.


message 21: by J.N. (new)

J.N. Bedout (jndebedout) | 115 comments For me, the DRM vs non-DRM question proved to be moot after some research. Having just published my first book, I opted for no DRM. Like somebody else pointed out: any reader is a good reader. Nothing will discourage piracy. And DRM tends to annoy customers anyways. But if you're a full-time writer, then perhaps you'd consider DRM despite that risk. Just my 2 cents' worth.


message 22: by Morris (new)

Morris Graham (morris_g) I offer DRM-free copies of my book to reviewers, but use DRM on Amazon, to discourage piracy.

Morris


message 23: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1042 comments No matter how you stand on piracy the fact is that DRM causes more problems for legit readers than pirates.

Same is true with any kind of DRM, books, music, video, whatever. If the bad guys want your stuff, they'll take your stuff.

So I strongly advise you don't put DRM on your work.

At the same time, I also advise that you periodically do a search for your work online.

I had a free short story show up on Amazon before I had done a Kindle version. They literally just copied my file, book cover w/my name on it and everything, and posted it on Amazon under their "editor" name. And charged $1.49 for it. They also had illegally taken some old Star Wars design sketch books, scanned them,
and posted them for sale as if they were new eBooks.

I contacted Amazon and they quickly pulled the illegal copy of my book...but left the rest of that "editor's" catalog alone, even though it was all pirated material.


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