Publishers Not Paying Attention at All


Adobe Digital Editions (used by KCLS Library) is the best format I've experienced. Superb look and feel, high quality typeface, complete DRM solution.
Apple began selling non-drm music files the moment the record industry allowed them to. Apple doesn't care about DRM except tp please publishers.
@1: Note that ADE supports both PDF and EPUB formats. If you were pleased with the appearance my bet is you're looking at an EPUB text.
Where's my week two of launch paperback?
FIVE years ago? This is a conversation that needed to happen fifteen years ago when it became apparent more books were going to be electronic.
@1 ADE is not a "format" but a DRM scheme. As @3 pointed out, it supports both PDF and EPUB, and many devices use the ADE mobile engine to read and render ADE-protected books. Also, ADEPT (the name of the DRM used by ADE) is a relatively weak protection method that has been cracked for some time. Adobe doesn't seem to care, which is great because it means I can get books from libraries, crack off the DRM, and then convert them to whatever reader format I want using Calibre.

Paul, your "five years ago" comment is a little off. While e-reading has been around for nearly 2 decades, only in the past 4-5 years has it picked up steam (much thanks to Kindle, though Sony and others had eInk-based readers as early as 2004). What Apple, Amazon, and others learned during the digital music era about DRM, current ebook publishers will eventually learn about ebooks. Given significant investment in ebooks from Apple (iPad/iBooks is a shit reader, but I won't begrudge Apple's support of EPUB even if they do currently wrap it in FairPlay), Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo/Borders, Sony, and more, we're probably looking at 2-5 years before we get to the point of DRM-free ebook sales like we see DRM-free mp3 sales now.

In the meantime, every ebook DRM scheme besides Fairplay has already been cracked (Mobi used by Amazon's Kindle, ADEPT, Microsoft's DRM on the ancient and all-but-dead LIT format, etc) and most format besides PDF (die, PDF! Die! You are not an ebook format!) convert easily between each other. With Python, a little bit of internet searching, and your favorite online bookstore (except iBookstore), any ebook you buy today can be yours to own rather than lease, and can be format-shifted to whatever device you like.

Personally, my biggest gripe is not the DRM (as mentioned above, that's handled), but the price stores want for ebooks. They used to be well-priced, at or below paperback prices. That was still high for what you're getting (DRM-laden, filled with typos and layout mistakes), but it was at least palatable. With the introduction of agency pricing and collusion-like requirements that books be priced the same across various stores (thus driving up Kindle prices because Apple doesn't support any price that doesn't end in .99), prices have gotten insane. Until that gets sorted out, or we start getting free ebooks with the purchase of a paper book, I'm seriously cutting back on my ebook spend and will instead use services like Overdrive (KCLS is a member, though with a shitty selection that tends too much towards vampire novels) or the "darknet" (which is still the only place to find some books that have not yet and probably never will make their way into official ebook editions).
Here's what really pisses me off, I'm researching for a paper and I find a source either through google books or any other website with books on it, find that it's relevant to what I'm researching and I'd love to include it as a source. Well, maybe the book preview doesn't have everything, oh and no college library and only one library an hour away has it. I could spend all afternoon looking at used book stores or I could spend a few bucks and rent, or even own a copy of the book all from my computer, if only someone would sell me an ebook without having to download apple or amazon software. If publishers would have taken half the money I would have given to book formats like this I'm willing to bet they wouldn't care about DRM. I absolutely refuse to download programs and strange formats I'm not allowed to put on my blackberry, it's not just a worthy investment as a consumer. I'd much rather find the content elsewhere, or just say fuck it and make shit up. While they argue over how much DRM they want on their ebooks they're decimating their chances at capturing what will be the fastest growing book market on the planet. Because you know what my alternative is? Piracy, and if the choice comes down to supporting Apple or breaking the law, I'm breaking the fucking law.
Apple and amazon would like nothing more than to go DRM free. Look at their handling of DRM in music and it becomes obvious. The only reason each of them do DRM is because the publishers won't play ball otherwise.

Insisting on DRM is so short sited of the publishers. DRM is a hurdle to legit fair use by consumers, and is very annoying and limiting. Yet DRM is totally innefective against more savvy, industrial scale pirates and file sharers. The music industry finally learned that, and Apple and Amazon music is now DRM free. When will the movie, tv, and book industries learn? I think it will be a long time, to their own detriment.