e-book with or without DRM

bodsham: I suspect we agree far more than we disagree. I won’t labour the point about DRM and geographic rights. It seems we are not talking about the same thing or perhaps I have misremembered my experiences when trying to purchase e-books as it’s been a while now (I gave up in frustration).

As for your short story, I was trying to say that I think 99p for a short story written by you is good value. By “Kindle books”, I meant anything on the Kindle. A lesson for me in clarity of language. I apologise for the confusion as I do not expect to buy your books for 99p and would think it a travesty if I saw them at that price. As I said, I want authors to make a profit from their books, royalties from a one dollar sale won’t do it.

It is not the security of storage I was referring to but security of format. Yes, Kindle books are in the cloud and yes there is security in that. As long as there are Kindle readers. My experience with other formats (not having a Kindle reader) has been that, if the format changes (or your new device doesn’t read that format, or the file was “locked” to your old device, or… ) there goes your book (music, movie, whatever). I have experienced such format change, hence my caution (and one reason I won’t buy books in Adobe’s “digital editions” format).

In Australia, at least in my experience, e-books are not significantly cheaper than paper. That, at the heart of it, is my problem with them.

I’m very glad that others have not reported similar problems to you. It seems that, in the UK at least, e-books and e-readers are more advanced than in Australia. I look forward to experiencing this for myself.

Finally, in my own defence, I was was laying out my thoughts about DRM and e-books in response to a query. I want e-books to succeed and I want authors to make money from their books and I am definitely prepared to pay for them.

Like you, I will now step out of this discussion. Apologies to juh for the diversion.

When contemplating the averages, remember that J.K. Rowling, the world’s most successful author, lives in the UK.


Ever try reading data from a first generation PC? Quite a bit of the data from the early days of space exploration is essentially “lost” because the formats are obsolete. Open, widely used formats are much less vulnerable to this kind of loss than proprietary and DRM formats, simply because the user base invested in preserving the data is so much larger.


Given that everything that goes to ebook, drm or not, gets ripped off, cracked and uploaded to the torrents as everything from mobi to pdf I don’t think there’s any great worry about losing stuff. As long as Amazon’s around Kindle books will clearly be fine. I don’t think you can really compare the world of thirty years ago when PCs were first invented with the world of today.

Why not? Paper books from the dawn of the printing press era are still readable, after all.

Amazon has already shown that they are both able and willing to purge “unapproved” content from both the Kindle store and customer libraries. Who knows what decisions a future CEO might make in the face of some future technological shift? Or might be forced to make by the next evolution of digital licensing laws?


Very few. Most have disappeared, lost, burned, turned into pulp or otherwise destroyed. I don’t have books I bought ten years ago because they’re a pain to store when you have as many as I’ve got and have to be junked to make way for new ones. I will have anything bought on Kindle (though there are still some books I much prefer on paper).

The fact you can’t read a file from a long-abandoned word processor from thirty years ago isn’t reason to believe formats used by many millions of people around the world will somehow disappear overnight. You can still read a .doc file from 1984 because everyone uses .doc files. Same with jpeg.

It’s a real stretch of the imagination to think that technology will somehow destroy, for its own reasons or those of the law, the ebooks we have.

It only takes a quick search for “can’t open old .doc files” to disprove your assertion that even the most ubiquitous of file formats renders your documents permanently accessible. Here is just one example of the sad truth about .doc files from years past: answers.microsoft.com/en-us/offi … f881ef93dd

And while Amazon is a wildly successful company today there is no guarantee that in 20 years, it will continue to be in the e-book business, or in business period. You seem very invested in the idea that the electronic world of today being somehow stable; but besides pure ASCII, and to a lesser extent HTML and similarly open formats, there are no specialized formats of electronic texts that can easily be opened in modern readers. The Amazon Kindle format will change, as will the methods and strengths of it’s DRM, and at some point, Kindle and Nook/Adobe books purchased today will not be accessible, whereas the paper equivalents will continue to be. Experience has taught me to believe that as firmly as I believe that a 1-terabyte “hard-drive” will seem ridiculously small in ten year’s time.

Really? Have you actually tried it? Backwards compatibility of even the “universal” .doc format is a huge issue. Usually you can read files from the previous Word version – at least if you install the special format converter – but anything older than that is really hit or miss.

And if you’re talking about passing books on to your children, that’s not a matter of 10-20 years, but of 50 or more. Fifty years from now, I think it’s pretty likely that every single electronic device in use today will be seen as a primitive kludge, of interest only to museums.


You mean a bit like cassette players and vinyl record both of which can be played today and the music has survived. Do you really think those paperbacks on your shelves will be around 50 years from now?
For most people books are inexpensive disposable items. They’re actually more robust as ebooks because they’re harder to lose. I prefer paper personally. But clearly huge numbers of happy people with ereaders disagree


I learnt to love books by reading my parents’ old books (some of which they inherited from their parents). I still reread and enjoy their ancient copy of The Three Musketeers. My nephews have also read many of those same books and I argue with my siblings over who will inherit the library. All of us have bought other books by the authors we liked, and we have all gone on to buy books from more contemporary authors.

Note: I can’t listen to music on cassette or vinyl and know only a few people who still can. I have never been able to listen to 8-track cartridges. My dad had a reel-reel player when I was very young, but when it died, so did his tapes. However, I can still sing along to the sheet music my grandmother had when she was a girl. Format matters.

guardian.co.uk/books/2011/ma … book-sales :open_mouth:

Hi all,

thanks for all your comments. They were very helpful. This is a great community!

I just want to let you know that my novel is now available in the Kindle-Store.


If you live in the US or the UK you can now purchase my novel – if you can read German. :slight_smile:

I appreciate all comments.