Sunday, May 5, 2013

Piracy not an issue after one year of selling DRM-free ebooks, says Tor Books

Piracy not an issue after one year of selling DRM-free ebooks, says Tor Books, article.
After nearly a year of selling ebooks free of DRM copy protection, Macmillan subsidiary Tor Books UK said that it has seen no increase in piracy on any of its properties. The company's editorial director elaborated in an extensive reflection on the decision earlier this week, writing, "The move has been a hugely positive one for us, [...] we’re still pleased that we took this step."

(Big article here.)

I am very pleased indeed to see this report, since DRM is a plaque upon the land, and simply based on fear rather than data. And especially since Tor is far from an insignificant publisher, so this should have a positive effect on other publishers considering the move, this might nudge the snowball further along, and eventually we may actually arrive in a world where, gasp!, you will not lose your book collection if you decide you want to use a Kobo instead of a Kindle, and where your books are safe from even the demise of Amazon or server crashes or whatnot.

Admittedly the situation is complicated a bit by Amazon's 'delightful' decision to use and stick to a proprietary format (.mobi), and I would guess that other device makers would need their permission to enable their readers to read the Kindle books, even with no DRM. I'm not sure where that would go. Amazon already allow their books to be read on other devices (virtually all of them), but that is happening in an app made by Amazon, which means that Amazon still have control over the whole thing and could remove the app, remove books, and whatnot.
"Control" is a central button, probably even more important than money in this whole thing. People and especially corporations, have deep, morbid fear of letting anything get out of their control.

I've just bought a Tor book (Halo Silentium) to try this. But it's not really obvious how to download the file so I can transfer it to my host of devices. On the Google Play Book store, the book opens in the web browser, there's no Download button that I can see.

Update: I found a button which claims to download an ePub file, but typically, though it's supposedly DRM free, it download a .acsm (Adobe Digital Editions) file, which is like a ticket permitting you to download the book. And like usual (I hate Adobe's update processes) ADE won't let me run it without updating it, and when I click update, for some reason it just starts my HTML editor app!! So I'm stuck there and I give up. (Maybe I can get it via my Kobo or Kindle and get it to the computer that way. But really, the computer should be the most direct and flexible option, shouldn't it?)


Len Edgerly said...

You can use Calibe to convert the Tor title to .mobi and read it on a Kindle, Eolake. I've also converted a Tor Kindle file to ePub to read on my Kobo.

ttl said...

Adobe is the Microsoft of the 2000's (and 2010's). If you even so much as contemplate using one of their products, you immediately find yourself in some kind of a DRM/Adobe-phone-home hell. I've long ago given up with that company.

Adobe Digital Editions? Just say no.

ttl said...

Coming back to the main topic, piracy definitely continues to be an issue even after Tor Books have gone DRM-free. This is undisputed, I think.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Yes, real piracy is a dirty, dirty business (a friend of mine was on a refugee boat as a child, they got pirated... the pirates, when they left, *poured gasoline over the food*!! That's evil fuckers.)

It's hard to believe it's that hard to do something about it. But I guess traders are not allowed to mount cannons on their ships.

ttl said...

But I guess traders are not allowed to mount cannons on their ships.

That is the reason. But Abramovitch reportedly has a missile defense system on his Eclipse yacht.