DRM on eBooks

wbookA great post on TechDirt about an ebook publisher that hasn’t seen any significant increase in piracy since they stopped using DRM (Digital Rights Management, or copy-protection) on their titles.

If anything, the number of copies purchased increased. I always thought this would happen if you sell your digital products that are more aligned to what the market wants – i.e. a very good price and with no restrictions on where you can make use of them – you will always be better off.

If you have heavy copyright restrictions on a song, TV show, movie or ebook, the pirated version is actually better than the legit version. And you’ve just created a kind of moral hazard – there is now an almost valid reason or motivation to remove that copy-protection and once you’ve done that, why not just add it to a file sharing site or torrent? Where as if you just have it available cheaply, and copyright-free, people just buy it, use it, and – generally at least – have less motivation to share it. Just buy it yourself dude, and use it however you’d like.

Now let’s be clear, I’m a hypocrite. All of my books are available on the Nook, Kindle iPad, etc. And all of them have DRM. But that’s seldom a decision that’s made by the author. That’s a publisher/distributor issue. And I’d love to have no DRM on my books. In fact, DRM-free pdf versions of most of my books are available and as far as I’m aware, it hasn’t increased piracy on my books one jot.


The Highs (and lows) of Writing

I’m a writer. It’s what I do. Even when I’m a radio broadcaster, I’m a writer (that show prep and pre-production material is mostly written by me beforehand). When I’m a filmmaker, I’m a writer (those film scripts don’t write themselves). And when I write my books, well, I’m a writer.

Book number four is nearly finished, and I won’t lie, it’s been really tough. Easily the the most challenging book to date, but also possibly the most rewarding. However, while there’s lots of reasons for this, I think there’s only one big reason that has put Book Four so far behind schedule:

I told everyone about it.

I only mention this so that any budding writers out there can possibly avoid my mistake. Unlike books 1-3, I decided to tell the world and his mother about this one: friends, family, random strangers, everyone. So what happened? Every day, at least three people would stop and ask me “Hey, how’s the book coming along?”, “It’s been ages since you’ve started the new book, why haven’t you finished it yet?”

Before, I’ve said nothing. People would ask “Are you writing a book at the moment?”, and I’d just say something like “I don’t know, I’ve got ideas, I’m always thinking about things, we’ll see” (or something of that nature), and that would be that. No further questioning, and I’d be allowed to carry on in relative secret. By the way, when people ask you what your new book is about, just say “I’m not sure yet, it’s still taking shape” or something like that. Telling people what your book is about in such a tentative state is going to unravel it in a soul-destroying way.

Telling people what you’re doing puts needless pressure on you. And it will slow you down faster than a nasty dose of writers block. Or at least, that’s how it seemed to me. Maybe telling everyone works for you, but it slows me doooown.

So lesson learnt. Heed the gypsy’s warning, etc.

But in happier news, the first draft of the new book is 90% there. So I’ve overcome. I just hope you end up finding it worthwhile. More news as and when it comes.

But what is it about, I hear you ask?

I’m not sure yet. It’s still taking shape….. 😉