I just read this post about the publisher Hachette saying that DRM is “working very well” for them. How nice for them.
Here’s another in my recurring theme of rants about why DRM is awful, and why I think that even though I’m an author and authors are, apparently, supposed to want to limit how readers can enjoy their work.
I strip the DRM from all my ebooks because I’m a reader.
The answer above PLUS: Because I’m a passionate reader and I’m picky about how and where I read. I want to use the app I like best, and I want to be able to change my mind about which app I like best. I also want to be able to decide, at some point, to get a dedicated e-ink e-reader instead of using my phone or iPad for reading. Oh, right. And I want to take all my books with me to whichever app or e-reader I use. DRM doesn’t let you do that. DRM hobbles the user experience in the name of a publisher’s or an author’s fear of piracy. As a reader, I take personal offense to that. I feel untrusted, and I feel punished for something I didn’t do.
The above answers PLUS: Doing the things I want to do with my ebooks is fully within my rights, as my rights should be. This is the one way I think an ebook file is just like a print book. If I bought the file, I want to use it as I please. And for god’s sake, all I want to do is read it. But I want to read it using the iBooks app, which in my opinion has the best user interface of all the apps I’ve tried. But I want to buy my books from Kobo, because I like the way they do business. But their app is terrible. It’s slow to load, it’s bloated with social features that get in the way of me actually reading, and it’s not as pretty. But the only way to use the iBooks app to read books I buy from sources other than the iBookstore is to strip the DRM from the books I buy using scripts I don’t understand that I installed into a desktop book-management program following detailed instructions I found on some guy’s blog.
Take a breath.
Once I had all that code set up, though? Easy as pie. I add all my ebooks, DRM and all, into Calibre, which runs those scripts automatically, and then I connect Calibre to iTunes and transfer the stripped ebooks over, and then I read them in iBooks.
That’s all I do with ebooks. I read them. I don’t even lend them out. Why? Because it’s important to me to support authors and publishers by buying lots of books, and I can’t control what even my close friends might do with a digital file. It’s where I draw my line, with the understanding that I might move the line at some point in the future.
And as an author?
I’ve said before and I’ll say again that I do not, in any way, agree with the statements made on all authors’ behalves about this issue. I do not, in any way, want the ebooks of my books to be straight-jacketed with DRM. I do not want my readers to have to jump through any hoops to enjoy my books the way they want to enjoy them.
What about piracy? Screw piracy. We’re not going to stop it, and I don’t care if my books are pirated. Really, seriously, I don’t. Whenever anyone says that piracy = theft, they’re wrong. It’s flawed logic. It is far more important to me that the people who want to buy my books have clear and easy access to enjoy them than it is to prevent people – the likely majority of whom aren’t interested in ever spending money to acquire my books anyway – from pirating them.