Damn DRM

Last week, David Pogue Q_mark.jpgwrote a column about eBooks and DRM, and eBookNewser asked readers what they thought about DRM and an issue Pogue raised about whether book people are being too quiet about their problems with DRM. A handful of impassioned readers weighed in, mostly against DRM, and mostly making familiar arguments that are nonetheless unresolved as corporate execs–like Sony’s Steve Haber–continue to speak out in favor of DRM.

A reader posting as mrjeffrivera was frustrated: “I recently bought an eBook reading device and bought my first two eBooks and let me tell you how obnoxious it is that the DRM allowed me only to read on my computer and not the convenience of putting it on my eReading device. There’s got to be a better way, publishers.” Similarly, gregorymose got made at his Kindle, on which, he said, “you can only download books a few times, and you don’t know when you buy how many times that will be because it varies from publisher to publisher. That means that after a few upgrades, or if you want to read a book using the Kindle app for the iphone, etc., you need to repurchase the book.” (Not sure that’s really quite how it works–and another reader wrote in to clarify–but the point that DRM gets in the way of easy reading still comes through loud and clear.)

Readers also weighed in on why book people are making less of a stink about DRM than music fans did a few years ago about protected MP3s. Toke Rils Ebbesen said, “even though the ebook market is on the rise, ebooks in general is still a tiny part of the overall market – and supposedly 2/3 of that market is not the general consumer/bestseller market, but educational or scientific publishings comprised of lots of smaller, segmented niches with different needs and wants.” If eReaders are as popular as they say this holiday season, though, that’s about to change.