This has never been a question in my mind so I’m really shocked to see posts around wondering if the ePub eBooks sold through the iBookstore will have DRM.
Of course they will!
And even though this Wikipedia entry describing Apple’s DRM system — called FairPlay — is all about media, the method for DRMing ePub files is likely to be similar: invisible to the end user, just as it is with iPhone apps.
The current widespread method of ePub DRM is from Adobe. It uses Adobe’s Content Servers.
Hello, Apple has it own damn content servers. Why would they want Adobe’s?
Will this mean a further fracturing of “universal” ePub, coming right after Barnes & Noble doing it with the Nook?
Does this mean you won’t be able to transfer your current Sony Reader ePubs to the iPad?
Apple’s iBooks application was done in-house. It doesn’t use Adobe’s ePub rendering engine. This right off the bat means it also lacks the bits to handle Adobe’s ePub DRM. If any part of Adobe was inside the iBooks app, you can be certain Adobe would be braying about it just as intensely as they’ve been whining about Flash not being in the iPad!
So … DRM bites eBook buyers once again.
This isn’t Apple’s fault.
Most of the book publishers have wanted DRM.
Your choices are:
1) taking what I think is a perfectly acceptable though illegal step: stripping off the Adobe DRM on your legally-purchased copies, or
2) lobbying for a change in the laws to allow DRM transfer.
You bought the words. You already paid Hachette or Random House for those words. You should be able to tell them, Yo, I’m switching to the iPad, now give me those books again without me having to pay for them a second time.
Chances of that happening are zero, unless you raise a very big stink with our lawmakers. I’d start at the FTC.
Steve Jobs has come out against DRM. I don’t know how true his stance was because Amazon was the first to offer DRM-free audio files. Whether record labels allowed Amazon to do that as a move against Apple (the labels wanted “variable pricing” at the time) or Jobs’ anti-DRM stance was a ploy, I don’t know. But if Steve Jobs’ anti-DRM stance is what he believes, at some point he’ll have to confront book publishers about it. However, don’t expect that to happen any time soon. They’re all afraid of going out of business as it is.
Look, eBooks via the iBookstore are going to have ridiculous prices. The publishers will set them and Apple will have to obey. That’s the agreement that’s been cut.
I won’t be buying any eCrap ePub priced above US$5.00. None of them are worth more than that to me. Especially with DRM on them.
And right now I already have a ton of free (legally so) ePubs from Smashwords to read. I’ll finally be able to do that when I have an iPad. I look forward to discovering some really good new writers too.
Don’t buy. That’s the solution to all this. Refuse the DRM, refuse the exorbitant prices. Give some back to the publishers.
And there’s another choice you have: Use the Kindle app or the Kobo app and buy from them instead of the iBookstore. That’s if Apple allows those apps on the iPad. With the iPhone, Apple disallowed apps that “duplicated functionality.” Wouldn’t those apps duplicate the functionality of iBooks?
If Apple disallows them, then you can go after Apple and the book publishers.