Friday, January 16, 2015

What's The Deal with DRM? #writing

There are things indie authors tend to learn only as they go. Many books talk about craft and marketing. Blogs talk about how (and why) not to mutate into a lunatic when you encounter your first harsh review. Still, there are details that never come up in advance. DRM is one of them.

What the heck is DRM?

I didn't encounter Digital Rights Management until I uploaded my first book to Amazon. This innocuous little check box talked about a lock that keeps people from sharing your work without buying another copy. It seems logical, right? Why would you not check that box?

Several uploaded books later, I found an article about Amazon sales that spelled out why that box is useless and possibly detrimental. First, DRM is an ineffective encryption. It was developed to keep pirating under control and the workaround for it was probably discovered the next day. Pirating sites have no problem undoing the DRM encryption. It's like moving into a gated community. Security is an illusion.

Second, because DRM does not allow sharing between devices, it means people who buy your books can't move them from one device to another unless all devices are attached to the Amazon cloud. It doesn't sound like a big deal, but the article I read says otherwise. According to their research, authors who do NOT select DRM sell twice as many copies of their books.

I'm not saying their conclusions are accurate. As a reader, I have no idea which ebooks have DRM and which don't when I buy them. It's not something I research before I toss a book in my cart and I don't know that other readers do either. While I'm not convinced DRM hurts or helps sales, I do find it interesting that it doesn't do what it's intended to do: stop piracy. If it doesn't work, I doubt I'll bother adding it to anymore books.

What do you think? Do you use DRM or have you found compelling reasons not to? Tell me in the comments.

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  1. I hate DRM mostly because i dont own a kindle and use epub, which youd think would be ok as most are epub DRM but its a kindle lock, you cant uses it outside the kindleapp itself.

    Saying this ive downloaded and covereted the book i bought that way so i was able to read it. Which is your point, it didnt stop me from doing it so what was the point

    1. Exactly! It was nothing more than a temporary annoyance and since it doesn't work, why annoy your readers? Thanks for the comment, Bronwyn!