Posted on 2013-May-03
Personal Exposure to DRM Finally
If you are an author who is still caught between going DRM or non-DRM, here’s the testimony from a British publisher that weighs in what readers really want. As you may now know of, DRM is the anti-piracy system that limits the usage of a digital file e.g. music, eBook, etc. I heard of the term frequently but my direct disappointment with the file came in late last week. While shopping around the web for a new eBook catalog, I accidentally ran into a local website that said they would give free copies of Agatha Christie in EPUB format. Their only condition was the file being protected by DRM and would self-destruct within a certain period of time (40 days maybe). The actual reading required an Adobe ID account to unlock the locked file, which was a nuisance.
Inflexible Limitations on eBooks
The inflexibility started to sink in me when the activated file on PC could not be accessed on other mobile devices. For a non-DRM alternative, transferring files across my eReader, Android smartphone and tablet, and PCs was a breeze. Most eReading apps universally handle the technicality of reading regardless of the file format. There is no limit to where and how you read the preferred eBook of your choice. Incidentally, the late introduction to the restricted system leaves no impression for an end-user like me. The limitation of reading activation is the main obstacle to halt my reading of this book. Why? I activated the book on my own PC and there is no way get this thing out of a hard disk to be functional on my other devices. Others might recommend automatic conversion software to do the trick but I did not want to go extra miles just to access one locked eBook.
Decent Presentation to be Ignored
Consequently, the ACSM file sits buried deep within the office computer at BB eBooks to gather dust instead of being cherished and browsed. On-the-go reading was completely wiped out from my activity list. Admittedly, I once opened the file and the EPUB looked perfectly normal in compliance with other books on my shelf. The fonts, paragraph style, and spellings are on par with the universal eBook standard that tends to favor the non-DRM choice. This particular eBook stands shoulder and shoulder to its independent sibling and still appears to be incomplete within its ideology.
Tor Books Leaving DRM for Good?
Tor Books must have acknowledged such a frustration when they wrote this blog entry late last month. A year has gone by and they still disregard the DRM adoption. The publisher seems to realize how readers in general and authors “talk on the same page” about removing such a restriction. Even though they are well aware of the piracy concern, they make a bold statement that they “have seen no discernible increase in piracy or any of our DRM titles, despite them being DRM-free for nearly a year. Bestselling authors are not hesitant to give readers the freedom of choice when it comes to a personal property they purchased. To make such a daring decision was not rosy at first as the split public voted for and against the unrestricted access. Time and customer’s feedback instructed the publisher how they should proceed towards providing readers with accessibility. The tool to safeguard intellectual property is ironically seen as an ‘anti-customer’ and a “monopoly tightly controlled by the owners of the DRM software.” The Digital Reader refers to DRM as ‘bugaboo of this digital reader’.
eBook Growth Hits New High in UK
2012 was such a great year for digital books and the entire industry in the UK. The overall eBook fiction sales went ballistic over the moon north of £172 million. The Fifty Shades of Grey series has catapulted eBooks into stardom one way or another. Amazon and B&N did contribute their share of generous product lines of eReaders and eBooks to facilitate and entertain curious readers who are given freedom to shop for their favorite eBooks virtually instantaneously from anywhere in the country.
Publishers themselves witnessed first-hand the phenomenon according to the Publishers Association reported by The Telegraph. They can breathe a sigh a relief when the growth of digital content makes up the declining sales of print books. They gradually began to visualize what is in store for digital opportunities. Although it has remained a classical deadlocked situation to debate which reading medium is better, it seems irrational to convince readers to wait for their tangible book while the download button is just one click away—especially when they are expecting new releases from new faces of their favorite authors. The fair trade business model has also opened up new distributional channels for emerging authors to express their talent.
New Chapter of Reading
If you are an avid eBook reader, you know what the sensation of reading feels like when you digitally click your screen and wait for the wireless transfer of your book in a matter of seconds. eBooks break the boundary, restriction, and obstacles. The real interaction that actually takes place while reading is between your finger that slides through page transition and your device to display the content on the screen. The current manufacturers of eReaders seem to penetrate the market very dramatically as their technology is not a far-fetched, geeky toy for nerds any longer. For authors, it seems the farewell to unfavorable protection system is again a wake-up call to remind everyone in the industry that customer’s feedback must be taken seriously and wholeheartedly. Perhaps, two years from now the three-letter tech jargon DRM will have become obsolete among the futuristic readers. Welcome to the new chapter of reading and writing of digital history.
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