Sunday, 26 August 2012

Growing, not exploding: DRM is the problem.

DRM.infoThe ebook market is steadily growing—see here, or here, for instance. However, it is not really exploding: instead, its growth is slowing. Nothing alarming, of course: but it is not merely a matter of reaching market maturity—too early for that, indeed.
There are also quite evident issues that would need to be addressed before ebooks can really take huge momentum. And the main one is: an average ebook consumer/reader cannot buy an ebook and use it in the same ways as a regular printed book. Just for technical/legal reasons.
For instance, if you buy an ebook from Apple's iBookStore, you will be able to read it only on your iPhone/iPad—not even on your Mac. So if for any reason you decide to leave the cozy iOS environment, you are done: no way to read your ebook any more. The same happens if you get Adobe-DRM protected ebooks, from other ebook sources: you would need Adobe Digital Editions, or other specialised tools like BlueFire Reader, in order to access and read your ebooks. You cannot simply get whatever device you choose (or, you have available), and just open there your ebook and read it.
Even the promise of the Cloud gets tampered: how great would it be to have all of your books in the Cloud, to browse them wherever you are, and read them whenever you like? But, no: DRM (Digital Rights Management) is there to deny you the vision of your Ebook Heaven.
DRM are harmful for ebook users, dangerous for publishers and writers, and, I would dare to say, bad for mankind—whatever prevents a book to spread worldwide is bad for mankind. The only way out is removing DRM from your books: but, this is not an option for the average user (I will soon post an entry on this subject, anyway).
It took literally years for Steve Jobs to persuade big music companies to remove DRM from digital music: how long will it take for book publishers to understand they are just annoying their customers, and prevent them to buy all the ebooks they would like to read?


  1. "whatever prevents a book to spread worldwide is bad for mankind" couldn't be explained with better words, nice "welcome-post"!

  2. The concept could be made broader, extending it to knowledge, ideas... and thus patents, "pay-per-view" scientific literature could be considered harmful as well.

    1. I think the concept can be stretched to cover all the stuff which can "help an individual to develop its own thoughts" as well as "help mankind to grow as a co-operating and co-thinking ensemble"...(now I'm gonna think hard about what I've just wrote ;D)

  3. Maybe a better formulation for the concept would be possible, but I totally agree with its substance :)

  4. we cannot read ebooks from Amazon Kindle directly, because of the DRM protections.
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