Author Topic: Mike on DRM  (Read 4745 times)


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Mike on DRM
« on: March 28, 2009, 06:30:46 am »
I recently read your posting on DRM and I have to agree for the most part.  However, the comparison you have made to borrowing is perhaps more appropriate than you know.  I think authors and all content authors receive more revenue from piracy and borrowing than they do from any other source.  I first started reading Patricia Briggs novels because a friend loaned me her copy of Raven's Shadow.  I can now say that I have read every book since with the exception of Cry Wolf, which is just so new that I haven't gotten to it yet, and The Hob's Bargain for what reason I don't know.  I even read her story in "On The Prowl".  Now how many have I purchased?

Nearly all of them.

A friend let me borrow a couple of books from the Hurog series and I bought every other one.  I am currently listening to an Audible edition of Bone Crossed because I simply have too much to read and in all honestly I got that one for free for trying out Audible but I think it still counts.

My point is that I will freely admit to borrowing books or even occasionally downloading a book but if I like it, enough to read it all and not get disinterested, then I will buy the book and probably all of the subsequent books as well.  If not then I'll delete it.

I don't like reading books, or nearly anything, on a computer screen.  I might think differently if I had a electronic book reader but at the moment an ebook doesn't hold as much value for me as does the real thing.  If anything, its only value is as an extended preview.

I like to have something for my library.  I keep every book I buy and when I meet people who share my interest I offer to let them borrow any of the books.  Most are paperbacks and not too expensive to replace should they never bring it back.

I think this behavior is representative of most people, at least most people that are technically inclined enough to know that it is even possible to obtain the books without paying for them.



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Re: Mike on DRM
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2009, 08:46:17 am »
I say I must totally agree with Mark's post.  I'm a SciFi/fantasy fan and I have several friends that are also into it.  AND, we all have kindles.  With the DRM restrictions from Amazon, it is impossible for us to share books, to see if we are even interested in what the others are reading. 

As it turns out, I ran across Baen Publishing.  They DO post free books online from many of their authors.  They usually put one or two books up from a multibook series.  This has led to me purchasing about 20 books I normally would not have.  The first free book got me into the series, and I purchased the rest.

I'm not suggesting every author should give away their books, though I do think giving the first in a series away is a great marketing ploy, but I don't think it hurts them to pressure E-publishers to remove the DRM.  If I like a series, I will buy it.  If I can read my friends copy, I am more likely to take a chance on reading a new author since its free.  Any subsequent books in the series, I would buy myself.

The real question is, how do you stop the unscrupulous from sticking your book on torrent for the world to grab.  I am in total agreement with the author there.  Maybe they code the DRM to allow for x number of shared copies, I don't know. 

Anyways, there's my two cents.  Mike, I really think you should check out, and see what they are doing.  You have a dedicated audience, but everyone loves free.  By putting the first book out there for free from the older series, I think you'll attract a whole new group of fans.  T.A. Pratt worked a simialr deal with for his Marla Mason series.  I got the first book free, and have bought the last three.  Just an idea.

Mike Briggs

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Re: Mike on DRM
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2009, 06:59:49 pm »
Actually, I'm a big fan of Baen.   Using free books to allow new readers to 'catch up' on a series is a great idea.  I'm also very supportive of the fact that they DON'T cripple things with DRM.  Go Baen!

  As an aside, I get a lot of people who assume I don't know about Baen, which is kind of strange.  Oddly enough, I'm also familiar with Radiohead, Trent Reznor, Cory Doctorow (whom I disagree with) and other free content supporters.  The whole debate is too big (and controversial) for me to go into further, but I'm reasonably well-read  :)

I've said several times that I'm not a big fan of DRM -- it's not stopping the pirates and it's hurting the honest customer.  If the choice were up to us, Patty's ebooks would be DRM free.   However, publishers take a greater financial risk than the authors, and ultimately the electronic rights clause in Patty's contracts leaves that decision to the publishers. 

When I hear people whining about DRM,  I have to say I also understand WHY the publishers are generally leery about releasing a book (that they've invested a great deal of money in) in an unprotected format.   While DRM is an imperfect defense, it's the only tool publishers have to try to combat rampant piracy.    If publishers could trust readers to share books with family and friends, they'd probably be delighted to remove the DRM and get the free advertising-- when people insist on uploading to torrent sites, the publishers are understandably gun-shy.   I happen to disagree with the decision to include DRM, but I think it's important to recognize that 1) they certainly have that right, and 2) they have very good reason to be frightened.

One thing is certain, whichever side of this debate you happen to be in, the next few years are going to be very exciting for anybody who makes their living in a creative endeavor.   Changes are coming, but it's anybody's guess what the future will look like.  Somehow, I don't think it's going to include DRM!   :)

Where's my super-suit?