Jumping on the DRM free bandwagon

If you’re a consumer of ebooks, you’ll be pleased to know that some publishers are now ditching DRM (Digital Rights Management) on their books.

Tor online store

The Tor online store proudly displays its intent to go DRM free

Tor/Forge Books in the US and Momentum (an imprint of Australia’s Pan Macmillan), have both recently announced that they no longer intend to restrict the use of their ebooks using DRM.

‘The problem,’ said Joel Naoum, Momentum’s publisher, ‘is that DRM restricts users from legitimate copying – such as between different e-reading devices. We feel strongly that Momentum’s goal is to make books as accessible as possible. Dropping these restrictions is in line with that goal.’

Speaking at Tor/Forge Books announcement, Charles Stross noted that

[restricting a consumer’s use of their purchase] “is at the heart of customer resentment against DRM: once you buy a hardback you are free to do whatever you like with it — read it, lend it, or sell it on…but…DRM e-Books don’t work like that.”

Tor/Forge plans to begin selling DRM free ebooks by July, Momentum by early August 2012.


Vale Michael Hart

Hart was best known for his 1971 invention of electronic books, or eBooks. He founded Project Gutenberg, which is recognized as one of the earliest and longest-lasting online literary projects. He often told this story of how he had the idea for eBooks. He had been granted access to significant computing power at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. On July 4 1971, after being inspired by a free printed copy of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, he decided to type the text into a computer, and to transmit it to other users on the computer network. From this beginning, the digitization and distribution of literature was to be Hart’s life’s work, spanning over 40 years.

– read the full obituary at http://www.gutenberg.org/w/index.php?title=Michael_S._Hart

Just so you know

Amazon announces that they are selling more Kindle e-books than paper books.

Paper books have now become the niche market.

Physical bookshops are closing everywhere, online booksellers are growing.

In 2 years time the only paper books to be mass produced will be romance/crime/biography titles for sale in supermarkets, all serious works will be print on demand only.

In 5 years time there will no longer be any worthwhile mass produced paper books to put on library shelves.

First sale doctrine – still important

Librarians must stand rock solid against any proposition that would imperil the libraries’ unlimited circulation of e-books.

The principle that has always applied to printed book purchases must be applied to e-books. There is no reason we can’t subject e-book licenses to that condition.

I urge all librarians to not enter into licenses with Harper-Collins or any other publisher that wants to limit the number of library circulations.

– fmr ALA President, Maurice J. Freedman on LIS News

Those pesky ebooks

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the relationship between ebook publishers and the terms of use that they are trying to enforce on purchasers of their materials, including libraries. Jacinda Woodhead, over at Mean Land, has pulled together a number of  threads in the ongoing discussion that is well worth a read.

I particularly liked her suggestion that publishers need not be looking for a technological solution to impose their terms and conditions on consumers, such as the automatic deletion of the copy of the ebook that has been purchased after it has been loaned by a library 26 times. Instead Woodhead suggests something akin to the scheme that currently exists in the performing arts world, and in the education field, whereby copyright holders are reimbursed an agreed amount or percentage for the use of their material. Arguably, for the majority of libraries, there isn’t a lot of spare money to go around these days, but a small per use or subscription fee for access to electronic material is certainly nothing new.

Expect to hear more, not less, about where to next for ebooks.

LIS News – ebook user’s bill of rights

From LIS News

Every eBook user should have the following rights:

the right to use eBooks under guidelines that favor access over proprietary limitations
the right to access eBooks on any technological platform, including the hardware and software the user chooses
the right to annotate, quote passages, print, and share eBook content within the spirit of fair use and copyright
the right of the first-sale doctrine extended to digital content, allowing the eBook owner the right to retain, archive, share, and re-sell purchased eBooks

Why thank you Mr Murdoch – once again

That lovable friend of libraries – the News Ltd empire – this time in the form of publisher Harper Collins, has sprung a new one on libraries and readers. Henceforward they state libraries may only lend out their ebooks 26 times before the book deletes itself from the library’s system. This new limitation is being enforced via OverDrive, who have no problem with it, and why should they.

There has obviously been an outcry about this further diminishment of lending rights, one of the best posts on the subject  being from the Librarian in Black.

Previous posts here have mentioned how every library and reader are being screwed by every publisher and vendor. Will this further insult stop libraries from throwing public money at them, no probably not.


There are many angry readers out there https://twitter.com/#search?q=%23hcod