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Digital Rights Moratorium (or How We Learned To Mom-Proof E-Books)

You cannot prove that the pirate is a bona fide customer

It will become known as the night the moms finally killed off Digital Rights Management. Or how publishers learned to feel the fear but did it anyway.

The first ever broadcast of The Naked Book heard from two big names in the e-book business explaining why that bit of code that prevents readers from sharing their e-books is also preventing moms from downloading e-books. And it is the moms that are important.

Kobo‘s director of merchandising Nathan Maharaj, speaking from the company’s HQ in Canada, explained that a DRM-centric model puts DRM first, and enjoyment of content second. But a switch to a cloud-based platform that syncs across devices will mean moms are reading ebooks unaided.

Anobii chief executive Matteo Berlucchi called for publishers to move towards the “universal” e-book: anytime, anywhere, any device, telling the audience that publishers worries over piracy were “overstated”. How much easier can you make piracy than a Google search and one click, he said, but these were not readers publishers should be fretting about. “You cannot prove that the pirate is a bona fide customer.”

Meanwhile, the author of Angelmaker Nick Harkaway explained that he had given up trying to convince his own publisher to sweeten DRM. At some point, he said, you just have to trust that they will do the job they are supposed to do.

Wise words, Nick. But have they met Nathan’s mom?

Presented by Philip Jones, deputy editor of The Bookseller aided and abetted by Sam Missingham and Catherine Neilan corralling the chat room.

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