2.28.2013

A Word on Ebooks, DRM, and Me Killing Your Family

I loathe DRM.

In fact, nothing is as detrimental to the success of digital media and the people selling it as DRM and proprietary platforms that limit certain files to one type of device (e.g. iPods and Kindles).

This opinion seems counter-intuitive at first. "But DRM prevents piracy! They're gonna steal all ur stuff!" And to that I say "Bool Sheet."

People who are particularly versed at stealing aren't thwarted by DRM. There are ways around it if you're smart enough, and professional thieves have found ways to crack the code. Pirates can also easily convert your printed book into a PDF and have it online within minutes. So DRM does nothing to stop piracy. Really, all DRM does is hurt honest consumers.

It tells them you don't trust them. It tells them they're fucked if the platform for the file they downloaded from you goes tits up, or if they decide they don't much like their Kindles but want to try a Kobo or a Sony or some other e-reader, only to find that they can't take the books they bought on one device and transfer them to another.

It tells them the good money they paid you is not for ownership. It's for lease. At which point they might just decide it isn't worth paying for their content, and maybe they'll just go ahead and visit some of those nifty torrent sites. Because what's the point of paying for something if it's not going to be any good to them in a few years anyway?

This is why I don't put DRM on any of my ebooks. Sure, I sell through Amazon, and you still have to deal with their proprietary format, but it's my hope that by refusing to put that extra set of chains on my material that it will make life somewhat easier for you down the road. If it were up to me, you'd be able to buy books for your Kindle anywhere. Or you'd be able to take the ebooks you bought on Amazon and put them on any device you like. That you could treat an electronic book with every bit as much freedom and flexibility as you could a paper one. Several of the books I own, I didn't buy. They were given to me by friends. In turn, I gave them some of my favorite books, and because of their help in discovering a new author, I have gone on to purchase other books by these people. That's the beauty of how sharing both increases the pleasure of reading and encourages commerce.

It's why I also like libraries. It's why I like to give a lot of my work away.

However, if given all of my generosity in trying to do whatever I can to make my work as accessible to readers as possible I find out you're stealing from me, if I find my book on TorrentSlutz.com or some other two-bit pirating site... Well, let's just say, I will kill you and your family.

I have her on standby...
Okay, not really.

But maybe.

Don't fucking steal from me. Like ever. In fact, if you want some of my work and can't afford to buy it, contact me and I will see about emailing you a file or two. Maybe in exchange you can tell your friends about it or leave an honest review somewhere. It isn't just about the money to me. It's about acting in good faith. It's about not being a dick.

So, in short, e-books are awesome. DRM sucks. Piracy sucks the worst. And I'll kill your family if you steal from me. That's easy enough to remember, right?