Indpub: DRM

What with one thing and another, I hadn’t run into DRM problems until a couple of weeks ago.

I bought a book I wanted to read that was only on Amazon at that point, downloaded it, and went to convert it to .epub so I could read it on my Nook.

No.  Calibre would NOT convert the file for me.

Now, I had previously thought that DRM was something I didn’t approve of, because I’d rather have my work read than not.  Someone steals a copy?  Considering how hard it is to increase my numbers at this point, I’m flattered.  You want to steal my work?  You’re very sweet.  Plus, I think it would be hypocritical of me:  when I first started reading manga, I read it using scanlations, or scanned versions that had been translated by volunteers into English.  When I started reading it, it was really hard to find any manga at bookstores – now there are tons of shelf space for them, even in used bookstores. Hundreds of dollars later, I can say that had I not read those pirated versions, I would not have spent anything on manga.  Eh.  Manga.

Plus, you know what’s a great way to get people to start reading your stuff?  By putting it up for $0 on Amazon.com.  Whether it’s officially free or pirated, it seems to have the same affect on my wallet:  I spend money.

So there I am, looking at the results of that file conversion.  I forget what the error message was, but “file protection” was involved, I think.  I saw red.

THAT BOOK WAS MINE.

I PAID FOR IT.

THERE WERE NO OTHER OPTIONS OTHER THAN TO BUY IT IN A FORMAT MY READER CAN’T READ OR TO NOT BUY IT AT ALL.

I will never read a book from that writer again.

Well, okay, it was good but not great (I ended up reading a novel on my phone, which was a pain and made my thumbs tired), so I probably wouldn’t have tracked the sequel down anyway.  But there are enough things for me to read out there that I don’t need to get tagged by someone else’s paranoia.

Yeah, I could have found a way to strip off the DRM.  But I don’t know where to look, I didn’t want to spend the time looking, and I didn’t want to risk going to a jerky site to get it.

Sure, there are cases where it gets forced upon you by your publisher, and there are cases where authors are systematically being ripped off (by people taking their files and publishing them under different names and titles, etc., and I’m pretty sure those bastards don’t care if they have to remove the DRM from your files, and they can).  Do I care?  No.  I can read something else.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Kari

    No real arguing here, but if you downloaded the book to your computer through Amazon’s Kindle for PC and you can’t convert it using Calibre, I’m pretty sure it’s Amazon’s DRM you’re coming up against.

    I’m also not quite sure that the DRM is put on the file because the publisher is afraid someone will come along and steal the work to publish as their own. I think it’s more because the work could be duplicated a thousand times and downloaded even more — and, without some sort of impetus for people to purchase the book, the author, publisher and distributor all lose money.

    I agree with you though — if I purchase an ebook, it IS mine and I should be able to do with it whatever I want, regardless of where I buy it. Tying ebooks up with DRM makes me choose which store I always want to purchase books from — in my case, I use Amazon’s Kindle for Android program on my Evo View. Which, you know, sounds great from a big company like Amazon’s point of view, but for Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Sony, it kinda sucks.

    However, Smashwords is rather cool because they give you a number of download options. 🙂

    • De

      The problem with the argument of “if we don’t DRM it, people might copy it!” is that the DRM can be hacked and removed. It doesn’t stop the serious offenders: it stops ME.

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