Feeds

Sony sparks digi book fireworks with ePub move

Giving Mills and Boon readers something to hide

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

Banging the DRM

Services such as WattPad are intended to provide hosting for user-generated texts, but only remove copyrighted content when requested to do so: authors whose publishers who can afford to keep checking get their stuff removed while others don't manage it in time - and readers are unlikely to buy a legit version of a book once they've read it.

Libraries also like DRM: with protected content, libraries such as Luton's can lend out electronic content to members with time restrictions included - borrow an eBook for free, with no fine to pay when the text disappears after seven days. More than 23,000 authors got paid for library loans last year, under the Public Lending Right (PLR) which includes electronic books, representing an important revenue stream for many.

DRM is also essential if an advertising-supported model can be viable. Amazon's Kindle platform can not only place adverts in the pages of a book, but it can also update those adverts and target them based on context or user: providing subsidised reading material for those willing to put up with the adverts.

But that's not enough to convince the IT-savvy crowd who early-adopted mobile music, and still refuse to buy anything unless it's completely unencumbered with DRM. But this time it's not that gang who will be dictating things: electronic books have found an audience that doesn't give a toss about DRM, but buys a hell of a lot of books:

Trashy Books

It won't be the IT Crowd calling the shots this time around

Romance publisher Mills & Boon are enthusiastic supporters of both ePub and Adobe's Electronic Editions software; unsurprising given that, according to the New York Times, 80 per cent of US fiction sales went to women, so a Mills & Boon endorsement could mean a lot more than Sony's. The publisher does support Mobipocket though its Harlequin brand, but the future of romance is clearly Adobe's. Women are buying a lot of ebooks, and they'll buy hardware to suit the content they want rather than finding a way to get content onto their chosen hardware.

Mills & Boon don't publish the kind of literature that looks good on a shelf: few people want to show off their collection of bodice-rippers that are less "literary tome" and more "extended magazine", with the disposability of the latter. While we might rant about the risk to long-term access that DRM presents, those buying Mills & Boon don't care about that - they want to read stories, backed by a brand they trust to ensure a level of quality, and with at least one rippling torso on the cover.

Device manufacturers will need to support that content, including the DRM that comes with it. When MP3 players launched there were a range of different DRM systems being proposed, confusing both users and manufacturers, but an Amazon/Adobe duopoly could simplify that.

Qualcomm, which provides chips for the Kindle 2 as well as Sony's Reader line, reckons there are 20 companies working on electronic books at the moment, with half of these scheduled to launch before CES in January. So we're about to experience an explosion of hardware from manufacturers whom Adobe will be actively courting in an attempt to turn a duopoly into a monopoly - and we've not even seen what Apple has in store for us yet. ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?
Google's app permissions far too lax – security firm survey
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
OpenWRT gets native IPv6 slurping in major refresh
Also faster init and a new packages system
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.