Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Two Cent Tuesday: DRM a Little DRM of Me

Last week I talked about the problem with dots when I was loading books.  Here's another little niggling publishing problem I hadn't really considered before:  DRM or Digital Rights Management.  When I was loading my books, it didn't really seem like a big deal to me.  I wasn't that sure what it was, so I clicked on Amazon's "What's This?" button.  It defines it as:

DRM (Digital Rights Management) is intended to inhibit unauthorized distribution of the Kindle file of your book. Some authors want to encourage readers to share their work, and choose not to have DRM applied to their book. If you choose DRM, customers will still be able to lend the book to another user for a short period, and can also purchase the book as a gift for another user from the Kindle store.

And I thought, "Well that seems like a good thing.  I don't want people pirating my book."

Not DRM-Free, Freeloaders
Well silly me, I found out last month it is a big deal to some people.  Someone posted an article about how TOR books is going DRM-free.  (Because I guess they want people to steal their books.) and in the comments someone said, "I never buy books if they have DRM!"

My first thought was "Really?"  Seconded by "How do you even know if the book has DRM?"  I've never really paid attention to that because it obviously wasn't an issue.  But then other than giving out a free copy for promotions, I never loan books to anyone else.  I don't see on the product page on Amazon or B&N where it lists whether it has DRM or not.  Amazon has a category for "Lending" but that's not exactly the same because my books equipped with DRM say they have lending too.  The thing is, once your book is published (at least on Amazon) you can't turn the DRM off.  So if I want to get rid of it I'd have to unpublish them and reload them or some damned thing.  Seems like a lot of work.

So maybe someone can educate me on what the big deal is and how you know if it has DRM and how much I should be worried about that.  I have gotten a couple of books returned in the past, so maybe that was the reason--except for those that were just blatant cases of theft.  Though I'd say if you bought my book so you could give it away to all your friends to read, then maybe I'm better off if you don't buy it.  But I suppose I'm looking at this through the corporate glasses of "I don't want a bunch of freeloaders distributing my book!" instead of the artsy, "I just want people to read my book!" rose-colored glasses.  Well, since I'm in debt up to my eyeballs, freeloaders don't do me much good.

I tend to side more with Helen Fielding on a Simpsons episode where someone at a book club says, "You didn't even read the book!" and she says, "As long as she bought a copy of it I still get the money."  That's my attitude.  I don't care so much if you READ the book, so long as I get PAID for the book.  I know that's shameful behavior for an "artist" but if you saw my bank account you'd probably understand why.

So stop whining about DRM and give me money!


  1. I remember seeing that DRM thing when I uploaded my books, but I can't recall if I selected it or not. I just went and checked and it appears I did not choose the DRM thing. Probably because I didn't know what it was and didn't want to screw something up. I can understand your frustration over feeling like you are losing dollars that you desperately need. I had no idea that the DRM thing was such a big deal either. I am guessing that it is a small demographic of cheapskates who are the ones with the issue. I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.

  2. I would never choose to not have DRM. If you choose not to have it, that means anyone else can pick up your book and distribute it freely, even charge for it, and there's nothing that you can do about it. You have basically given them permission. So, let's say you have a very popular book website from which you sell books. You get a lot of traffic. You could go around and pick non-DRM books and offer them through your site and charge for them. You wouldn't have to pay any kind of royalty or anything.

    For someone that's just trying to become known or for some kind of special promotional story, you might want to go with a non-DRM title, but, if you are actually trying to get paid for your work, it's not the best way to go.

  3. This is all new information to me, information I'll need to know when I get around to publishing a book of my own. I'll be paying attention to the comments you receive to further my education on publishing. Thanks.

  4. When I published my porn story I didn't have DRM. I could care less if it is pirated a billion times and I get no money. It's a porn story. Lulz.

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  7. I never buy music with DRM, but all my eBooks are DRM. I'm not sure why it would make a difference unless you want to read it offline I guess. Maybe you could do a few chapters DRM free and lock down the rest? Goods quotation Pat.



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