Bookshelf | Reports | Community | KDP Select

Home » Amazon KDP Support » Ask the Community » General Questions

Thread: DRM Option


This question is answered. Helpful answers available: 2. Correct answers available: 1.

Reply to this Thread Reply to this Thread Search Forum Search Forum Back to Thread List Back to Thread List

Permlink Replies: 26 - Pages: 2 [ Previous | 1 2 ] - Last Post: Jun 20, 2012 8:30 PM Last Post By: ancientmusic
booknookbiz

Posts: 2,041
Registered: 03/04/10
Re: DRM Option
Posted: Jun 19, 2012 9:15 PM   in response to: ancientmusic in response to: ancientmusic
 
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
If I may put in my $.02:

The one aspect of DRM that nobody ever really analyzes, in their "in shan't stop pirates and just pisses off 'honest' anti-DRM users" argument is the problem of "casual theft." As the shareware poster mentioned (in a different thread, I believe), his experience with shareware was many downloads to "try," very little "buy."

For those old enough to recall when software came on floppies, back in THE day (Lotus 1-2-3, etc.), you will also recall that it was commonplace for people to take their floppies home, install the software on their home computer, their neighbor's home computer, their Dad's home computer, etc., UNTIL licensing was put in place that limited the number of copies that could be made. The casual theft rate was horrifying, which is the DIRECT cause of software licensing practices today, keycodes, etc. It wasn't that the software biz decided to be "uptight" about theft FIRST, and implemented anti-theft measures, and then the wee people decided to "stick it to The Man" and start stealing software; nay, the cause and effect was theft first, locking the door as a direct result, later.

I have a client that has been the victim of "casual theft" amongst teens, costing him not dimes, but THOUSANDS of dollars, because one girl liked a story he wrote, so her "heroic" boyfriend cracked the DRM, so she could send it to her friend on her friend's cellphone...who sent it to her other friends, who sent it to their friends...some 28K copies later...well, gosh, they were just kids, right?

The "I want to be able to read it on multiple devices" argument to me, is just spoiled. When you buy a paper book, do you expect to read it on your computer, too? On your television screen? Projected on the ceiling of your house? Through the speakers in your car? Of course you don't, and, FWIW, I think the multi-device argument is an excuse.

Try these statistics on for size [1i]Digital Serial Numbers and Piracy Deterrence, Digital Watermarking Alliance[/i]:

1. More than four in five consumers who download content do so illegally at least some of the time. http://p.2
2. A pre-release version of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was posted to a file-sharing site on the internet from which it was downloaded an estimated 100,000 times. (BBC)
3. There are 3 types of downloaders: Legal-only DL'ers aquire media strictly legally; Hybrid Downloaders acquire media both legally and illegally; and File-Sharers acquire media only through illegal downloading and file-sharing. http://pg.5
4. Legal-only downloaders are a small minority of all downloaders--fewer than one in five. Hybrid downloaders make up fewer than 2 in 5. So, file-sharers--illegal downloaders--constitute nearly HALF of all downloaders. http://pg.5

For those of you that don't understand the reality of how much "casual theft" there is on non-DRM'ed material, you may wish to read this whitepaper:

http://www.digitalwatermarkingalliance.org/docs/papers/DWA_WhitePaper_PiracyDeterrence.pdf

The problem isn't with overt pirates, per se. It isn't that DRM will stop a nefarious thief from sharing your content. A far larger problem is the casual theft issue, which is not only not deterred, but encouraged by cavalierly not putting DRM on your files. If you don't care if your stuff gets stolen, hey, that's your right--it's YOUR money, not anyone else's. But don't confuse a determined Pirate with the housewife down the street who wants to give a copy of the great new book she just read to her sister, or to the teen who wants to show her buddy the cool new vampire novel she just read. And don't underestimate what that does to your sales.

It's true that genres that appeal to teenage boys are those that are most at-risk for bit-torrenting (the most-torrented "books" are copies of Playboy, Game cheats and Excel Macro books), but if you think that Suzie down the block won't share your super romance novel with her sis--think again. It's your work, and your money. I don't earn or lose a dime based on DRM: but my experience, as a business owner, with theft, has been so egregious that I have NO reason to think that the DWA.org's numbers are wrong. We had to change our own business model to pay in advance for 2012, due to massive theft last year--from authors, mind you. So, when you see that box when uploading...at least think about it.

Hitch
We produce ebooks
Listed as an Amazon Professional Conversion Service: http://bit.ly/uFwMwb
An INScribe Preferred Conversion Partner
http://www.booknook.biz/
Follow me on Twitter: @BookNookBiz
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
  • Red Adair
ancientmusic

Posts: 68
Registered: 05/27/12
Re: DRM Option
Posted: Jun 19, 2012 10:34 PM   in response to: booknookbiz in response to: booknookbiz
 
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
Hitch,

I'm the shareware author who started this thread, because I couldn't get a good enough handle from around the web. For me, yours is the [b]definitive post[/b] on the subject, anywhere.

Oddly enough, a family member who knows nothing about any of this already knew that her relatives would start sending off copies to everyone they knew, then those would do the same. You never saw anyone take such a sudden interest in Digital Rights Management! Most of these people would gladly buy the e-book, by the way, unless of course they hadn't already received a free copy from 'Aunt whats-her-name' .

I started off with an Apple ][, and most software had the sync bytes shifted right on the media (without which they'd have made about two sales per community). Without some sort of DRM, I feel like I'm sending a message that it’s actually a NICE idea to share it around. To me, its just a gentle nudge in the "buy it" direction, and away from the "If its free, why bother?" direction.

Thanks for the top-notch post. I enabled DRM.
booknookbiz

Posts: 2,041
Registered: 03/04/10
Re: DRM Option
Posted: Jun 20, 2012 12:57 AM   in response to: ancientmusic in response to: ancientmusic
 
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
You are most welcome, ancientmusic:

If I have been of use to you or anyone else on this topic, I'm glad. I like opinions as much as the next guy--but I like mine with a dollop of facts. I'm just daft that way. ;-)

I hope you sell a zillion LEGAL copies of whatever you're selling. Best of luck to you!

Hitch
We produce ebooks
Listed as an Amazon Professional Conversion Service: http://bit.ly/uFwMwb
An INScribe Preferred Conversion Partner
http://www.booknook.biz/
Follow me on Twitter: @BookNookBiz
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
  • Red Adair
diamondlifestyle

Posts: 4,193
Registered: 07/02/11
Re: DRM Option
Posted: Jun 20, 2012 2:06 AM   in response to: booknookbiz in response to: booknookbiz
 
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
Hitch - while I agree with the points you make, you've defeated your own argument with your client's example:

[i]one girl liked a story he wrote, [u]so her "heroic" boyfriend cracked the DRM[/u], so she could send it to her friend on her friend's cellphone...[/i]

So your client did use DRM, and we see how effective it was. So what's the point?

Personally I too have been irritated by being blocked from opening the same book on my kindle and on my computer. DRM is an inconvenience and an irritant and that's about the only contact your average consumer will have with it - that it's annoyed them. When they google "why can't I open the book I've bought?" or asked Amazon what the problem is, they find out how to break it - therefore DRM actually draws negative attention, it isn't benign.
booknookbiz

Posts: 2,041
Registered: 03/04/10
Re: DRM Option
Posted: Jun 20, 2012 3:41 AM   in response to: diamondlifestyle in response to: diamondlifestyle
 
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
Hitch - while I agree with the points you make,
you've defeated your own argument with your client's
example:

[i]one girl liked a story he wrote, [u]so her
"heroic" boyfriend cracked the DRM[/u], so she could
send it to her friend on her friend's
cellphone...[/i]

So your client did use DRM, and we see how effective
it was. So what's the point?

Personally I too have been irritated by being blocked
from opening the same book on my kindle and on my
computer. DRM is an inconvenience and an irritant and
that's about the only contact your average consumer
will have with it - that it's annoyed them. When they
google "why can't I open the book I've bought?" or
asked Amazon what the problem is, they find out how
to break it - therefore DRM actually draws negative
attention, it isn't benign.


Because, DiamondLifestyle,

The people who want to hack their own, do-it-in-one-minute DRM, for their own usage, who are honest, are perfectly welcome to do so. The thieves who do it for malice and profit will steal the book in EITHER event.

What it does do is stop Suzie, in large part, who doesn't have an heroic teenage boyfriend, from copying it and giving it to her friend next door, or her sister, etc. What YOU are not seeing is that the vast majority of users who buy books from Amazon and B&N don't KNOW how to hack DRM and won't do it. It's that "casual theft" that I'm talking about.

Of course, if the argument you're making is that, oh, heck, it's just too bad that that author lost his house, instead of being paid for those 28K copies, tsk tsk, so then let's forget DRM entirely...sorry, can't go there with you.

You know WHY people steal electronic media? Because they can. Because they know it's unlikely they'll be caught and prosecuted. If you ask them if they'll walk into a store and shoplift the same exact material, they'll say NO, because there are real consequences. Theft is theft, whether the material is ephemera or physical; whether someone is stealing a printed copy of the book, or "simply" stealing the sale BEFORE the author has a chance to make it. If Suzie's 28,000 friends really wanted that book, at $0.99, they could have afforded it.

So, the bottom line is: horrifyingly, 50% of the population are thieves all the time. Another 2/5ths are "sometime" thieves with situational ethics; if they can EASILY give a copy to a friend, or the sister-in-law can just copy a file, they'll do it. Since we're all agreed that the 50% will steal regardless, then it's the remaining 50% that we're attempting to deter from that sort of "casual" theft. (BTW: I don't consider 28K copies "casual theft," and neither does the DA in the jurisdiction in which the "hero" resides, BTW...I doubt he'll feel that heroic when he and his parents get done paying all the lost royalties AND he gets PROSECUTED, criminally, because his "thefts" went over Petty Larceny levels.)

I've never been "blocked" from opening a book on my Kindles and my computer. You can read a Kindle book, OR a Nook book, on any device you own that's registered; you can even have them all open at the same time (I've done it: I have 5 Kindle "devices.") Your "average customer" never even moves the book from his/her device--it's only advanced users that bitch about DRM, the very same users that claim that they should be able to read it on 50 different devices, which frankly to me is bushwah. I have more devices than digits on my hands and feet, and I don't move books from one device to another like a dropbox file, EXCEPT when testing. I read books on the Fire, on the NookColor; I read other things on the iBooks app on my iPad; I read classics (for some odd reason) on my K2. I don't run around moving my latest Simon Green from my Nook to my Kindle to my...I mean, it's daft, what the hell FOR? I can see someone who wants to read on their cellphone in, say, the subway, and then on their device at home--that I can see, or something similar, but really...I have yet to read a really decent "reason" why people are allegedly, in large quantities, moving mobi files to ePUB readers, ePUBs to Kindles, yadda-yadda. Like I said earlier: they don't expect their print book to come with a DVD that they can watch on the TV or a CD that they can listen to in the car, or a magic ceiling projector...why the big damn deal about how their lives are RUINED if they can't read the book on the device for which it's not intended?

Sorry...I cannot speak rationally about this. The casual acceptance of the levels of thievery in the digital age is horrifying to me, and why more is not being done to prosecute it, I do not know. I can tell you this, though: there are ways to catch thieves, and ways to find them, that can be digitally implemented by those who make the effort. I fully expect that Amazon, along with DRM, will implement DW (Digital Watermarking), and I'm all for it. It's not perfect, but it's better than cavalierly accepting, if not encouraging, moral bankruptcy on a massive scale.

Hitch
We produce ebooks
Listed as an Amazon Professional Conversion Service: http://bit.ly/uFwMwb
An INScribe Preferred Conversion Partner
http://www.booknook.biz/
Follow me on Twitter: @BookNookBiz
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
  • Red Adair
diamondlifestyle

Posts: 4,193
Registered: 07/02/11
Re: DRM Option
Posted: Jun 20, 2012 5:44 AM   in response to: booknookbiz in response to: booknookbiz
 
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
Essentially I agree with you, but actually in your client's case the fact that the DRM was hacked and the book pirated was a good thing because ultimately they're going to profit from it now the idiot's been dragged through the courts. Could you have guaranteed those 28k sales??? Doubtful. Now you've been paid for speculative sales - not a bad day's work.

One of my books found its way onto a torrent site within a week of publication. You know what those sites are like, I get a link took down and there's another there within half an hour. At this point the monster is probably uncontainable. I continue to send the DMCA notices because I believe in defending my copyright, but I don't really expect to ever get it completely removed from the torrents. Guess what, it still sells. Yes it's galling to see the download counter whizzing through four figures, but actually my paid sales aren't that far behind. Could I "technicallly" be doubling my money if people weren't torrenting it? Possibly. But isn't it more likely that the actual increase in legitimate sales would only be slight, people would just torrent something else instead.

There's also the point about the great unknown - word of mouth advertising. I, fool that I am, sent one of my best friends a copy of one of my new books after publication. I emailed him the file. Next thing I know I'm getting random mutual aquaintances messaging me to say the loved it. When I confronted him, he said he only sent it to his boyfriend and one other friend. Who each sent it to "only" two other people...and so on. Quelle surprise there were hardly any UK sales!

[i]But[/i]...I was out on Saturday in the village in Manchester with that friend, the original two he sent it to, and a group of 10-15 other acquaintances. Most had read the book. Most had sent it on to others that they knew. That book was published last August, and when they asked if I'd written anything else I directed them to my new baby on Amazon and iTunes. A lot downloaded it on the phones etc there and then. Randoms walking past and seeing us all involved in avid discussion with phones and god-knows-what-gadgets waving about came up to see what was going on and got roped into learning all about my new book. I woke up the next day to the #1 book in the entire gay & lesbian category in the UK on Amazon, and the #5 book in the same category on iTunes, and the ranks are holding pretty steady since. I'll happily take that as payback for him sharing copies of my $0.99 short story, because the book that's #1 is $3.99. I think I've been compensated for the "losses" I suffered. And, incidentally, the story that started it all is now my second best seller after the #1 book. So it took a while, but it got there!

Although, he has been threatened with a slow and painful death if he ever again shares one of my books!

Message was edited by: diamondlifestyle
cjeasyaspie

Posts: 2,358
Registered: 05/28/09
Re: DRM Option
Posted: Jun 20, 2012 7:17 AM   in response to: diamondlifestyle in response to: diamondlifestyle
 
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
Personally I too have been irritated by being blocked
from opening the same book on my kindle and on my
computer

Something's wrong here...maybe your computer or your Kindle isn't properly registered to you.

I have three Kindles... K2, K3, and Fire... plus an Android cellphone... plus Kindle for PC.

I have the same DRM protected books on all of them... and read on all of them with no problems at all.

In fact, that's the way it's supposed to work... Kindle software keeps track of where I am in a book... if I open a book on my Fire, for example, it starts up right where I stopped reading on my K2, K3... or any other Kindle device registered to me.

I'm no expert on the subject... but this much I do know...

Happy Kindling,

CJ, at CJ's Easy as Pie Kindle Tutorials
http://www.cjs-easy-as-pie.com/
cj-01@cjs-easy-as-pie.com
diamondlifestyle

Posts: 4,193
Registered: 07/02/11
Re: DRM Option
Posted: Jun 20, 2012 9:13 AM   in response to: cjeasyaspie in response to: cjeasyaspie
 
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
I had a book on my Kindle (read and stored in a folder rather than archived) and I wanted to open it on my computer to get a quote for it for a forum thread (I'm sad like that...) it wouldn't open, it said I needed to delete it from the other device first. Nothing wrong with my kindle, nothing wrong with my amazon account, but the file wasn't supported on multiple devices
jtbigtoad

Posts: 9,227
Registered: 08/01/10
Re: DRM Option
Posted: Jun 20, 2012 1:12 PM   in response to: diamondlifestyle in response to: diamondlifestyle
 
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
Usually the device limit is 5

This may have been a book that was intended for another device...

DRM is specific to your Device

if you download a DRM book for USB Transfer to your kindle, you cannot also open it on you Kindle for PC or another of your Kindles if you have more than 1.

You have to go throufh the Manage my Kindle Page!

JT

;)
diamondlifestyle

Posts: 4,193
Registered: 07/02/11
Re: DRM Option
Posted: Jun 20, 2012 1:35 PM   in response to: jtbigtoad in response to: jtbigtoad
 
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
Yeah, this is my point, it's irritating! I downloaded it via whispernet to my kindle, then I downloaded a copy to my computer. I couldn't open the one on my computer (Kindle for PC) until I deleted it from my kindle. And I wouldn't mind, it was a [i]terrible[/i] book. It was a quote for a discussion that became part of a blog series on bad sex (http://scatteredthoughtsandroguewords.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/destination-anus-or-where-no-starfish-has-gone-before-vocabulary-gone-bad-2/ -- [b]NOT[/b] PG13!). Ultimately it was decided it was just too bad...

But it was irritating, and that's the point. The only time your average user experiences DRM is when it annoys them. They're not (usually) attempting to do anything dishonest, but they're blocked from accessing a file they legitimately own. What DRM says, in essence, is that everyone's a thief, or would be given a chance.
sharidale

Posts: 489
Registered: 07/24/10
Re: DRM Option
Posted: Jun 20, 2012 7:03 PM   in response to: booknookbiz in response to: booknookbiz
 
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
bkhitch,

I'll double your $.02 and raise you .01 more! I totally agree with your post as a fellow shareware author who's been down that road for more than a decade. Having tried multiple methods of presenting the software, the ONLY method that worked for me involved restrictions. If they could get it for free, I didn't get paid. Period. Plain. Simple.

The moment I added restrictions, the sales started coming in. My ordering system has a question asking how people found out about the software, with a pull-down list of answers such as "Download.com, Tucows.com, Shareware CD, Friend..." etc. Every time someone answers "Friend" I know that it was a sale that would have been lost without the restrictions. Many of the others would have been, too.

People might mean well, but nobody believes that sharing with a friend is harmful to the author. Everyone has a couple of friends worthy of sharing with, and as you said, those friends have two friends, etc. etc.

I have a friend who kills me when she talks about her Kindle. She's in her fifties, and wouldn't steal from a store or someone's home. However, she boasts long and loud that she "doesn't buy books." She LOVES her Kindle for the ability to get free books, and she NEVER buys books. She either downloads books made free by the authors, or she gets pay-for books by friends sharing with her.

She earns a good living, and can easily afford to buy books. She scares me.
ancientmusic

Posts: 68
Registered: 05/27/12
Re: DRM Option
Posted: Jun 20, 2012 8:30 PM   in response to: sharidale in response to: sharidale
 
Click to report abuse...   Click to reply to this thread Reply
sharidale,

Hi! I'm the shareware author who began this thread, and your comments ring true every time. When I did shareware for DOS, it was easy to say "Register and receive these cool utilities," and that worked pretty well. There also seemed to be a much stronger ethical sense back then, but that could just be me.

Its so easy to get free stuff everywhere now that I included DRM as a gentle "nudge" to remind people that I'd rather they didn't share it around. If the book can be easily sent to others and read, then that's the message I'm inadvertently sending by excluding DRM. It's not to prevent hackers, whose output wouldn't be visible to most potential customers anyway. And those downloading hacked versions probably wouldn't buy it anyway.

Your friend reminds me of the relatives I mentioned a few posts up!

Best, am
Legend
Helpful Answer
Correct Answer

Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in all forums