Romance Publishing Giant Offering Ebooks Without DRM; Reporter Upset By This

from the how-dare-you-give-customers-what-they-want dept

Kevin Cummings writes in with the news that romance novel publishing giant Harlequin is setting up a new ebook division to offer digital books directly from the company's own websites, as well as via various online retailers. That, by itself, isn't a huge surprise these days, but the article does note that the publisher decided to go without DRM on the books. Now, that seems like a smart, consumer-friendly move that should be applauded. However, the reporter who covered the announcement claims this move is "troubling," which seems like an odd statement. How could treating customers with respect be "troubling"?


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  1.  
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    Pirate My Music (profile), Nov 12th, 2009 @ 1:21am

    Harlequin Always Innovating

    This publishing company has always had a good handle of where the trends and markets are heading, so it's not surprising to see them going ahead without DRM.

    Perhaps the reporter thinks it's troubling because it's not what everyone else is doing. There never really used to be a romance novel market before Harlequin. Would this reporter have considered it troubling that some company was publishing "racy" content back when Harlequin first appeared?

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2009 @ 1:35am

    ... the reporter who covered the announcement ...

    is troubling. What an ID10T!

     

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  3.  
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    Matt, Nov 12th, 2009 @ 1:59am

    Puff... it's gone

    Mike,

    The link you've posted is already gone. There is a new one, but, unsurprisingly, the part with the "troubling" is not there anymore. Also, it seems that Google didn't get to index the original page, so there's no Google cached version either.

    Looks like someone wants their reporter's mess swept right under the carpet.

     

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  4.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Nov 12th, 2009 @ 2:01am

    Link is wrong

    Link leads to a 404 page. There is an "f" too many in the url.

    I think this is the right URL:
    http://www.examiner.com/x-12973-Long-Island-Books-Examiner~y2009m11d9-Harlequin-announces-new- digital-only-Carina-Press

     

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  5.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Nov 12th, 2009 @ 2:04am

    Re: Link is wrong

    Oddly enough they had 2 reporters on the same story:
    http://www.examiner.com/x-4981-Romance-Novel-Examiner~y2009m11d10-Harlequin-creates-digitalo nly-publisher-Carina-Press

    I thought the newspaper industry was struggling? Why then put two different reporters on the same story for the same newspaper?

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2009 @ 2:15am

    Re: Re: Link is wrong

    troubling

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Kazi, Nov 12th, 2009 @ 2:40am

    Re: Puff... it's gone

     

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  8.  
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    Michael Ho (profile), Nov 12th, 2009 @ 2:45am

    Re: Link is wrong

    Thanks for the catch. fixed.

     

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  9.  
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    Blatant Coward (profile), Nov 12th, 2009 @ 2:49am

    29 to go

    29 more reporters and this story will be as big as The World Series!

     

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  10.  
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    Fletcher, Nov 12th, 2009 @ 3:06am

    The reporter is also a lawyer and novelist

    From the reporters bio:

    "Lauren J. Walter is a writer, novelist and lawyer. She’s a lawyer by day, writer by night. She’s actively seeking publication."

     

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  11.  
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    harbingerofdoom (profile), Nov 12th, 2009 @ 3:19am

    of course its troubling!

    any time something new and scary comes along its troubling. like that big bad technologies stuff... and computers OMG those are the most troubling of all.



    ya know, if we just got rid of computers we wouldnt have to worry about all this crazy DRM stuff...

     

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  12.  
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    Cixelsid (profile), Nov 12th, 2009 @ 4:18am

    Re: The reporter is also a lawyer and novelist

    Mystery Solved!

     

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  13.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Nov 12th, 2009 @ 4:34am

    Mike, giving customers what they want is wrong. You have to make sure the big corporations are happy. I mean, imagine if you didn't have drm on something like music. It would be super easy to move your music around and make backups of it. Nobody wants that. Well maybe the consumers, but we all know pandering to them is the wrong way to go, just look at what 60 minutes said. Consumers are bad people. We should all just sit back and make sure everything is nice and impossible for people to do what they want with the infinite goods they purchase over the big bad interwebs.

    Isn't there a saying that business would be great without the customers? I think i heard and RIAA exec say that at some point.

    (sarcasm)

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2009 @ 4:58am

    Re: Re: Link is wrong

    examiner is not a newspaper.

    what they do is you "try out" to write for a column that is "local" to you and for a specific field of science/art. you get paid based on the page views of your article. the problem with this is that most local areas dont have enough going on in any specific field of science/art for people to write articles regularly, so writers stretch beyond that... a lot, and many times, people write on the same events.

    lots of people who have written for examiner complain about the "newspaper" not paying what they advertise. somewhere in the fine print, they basically say your articles must meet some ridiculously high threshold before you get paid a decent rate, which you'll never meet from people just wandering into the article from the "newspaper's" site. this means you have to do promotion for your own article too. and if that's the case, why not just put it on your own blog and get 100% of the ad income?

     

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  15.  
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    RCB, Nov 12th, 2009 @ 5:02am

    The context of the statement is:

    "Those submitting to Carina Press should be aware that no advances are being offered and more troubling, there will be no DRM protection."

    A publisher that does not - by policy - pay advances is always bad news for authors and thus, troubling.

    Additonally, this particular reporter seems to share the misguided idea that DRM is meant to protect the interests (and profits) of authors rather than the publishers'/distributors', which is silly but hardly uncommon.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2009 @ 5:12am

    You sir, are prohibited from criticizing ANYONE for using the word "troubling".

     

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  17.  
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    KGWagner (profile), Nov 12th, 2009 @ 5:42am

    Comment are unwelcome

    I tried posting a comment on the Examiner site, and it appears to have fallen into a black hole. Apparently, they only want to give the impression that they care what you have to say. They don't actually want to expose it.

     

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  18.  
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    Comboman (profile), Nov 12th, 2009 @ 6:19am

    Re:

    Yes, the Walter article is clearly written from a writer's point-of-view (it also points out the publisher is actively seeking submissions, something only potential authors would be interested in).

    While the no-DRM policy is certainly good news for consumers, it sounds like the eBook arm of Harlequin (Carina Press) will be separate from the main publisher and use a separate pool of (mostly unknown) authors. Kinda like the big record companies that set up 'indy' labels on the side; always a good strategy to keep your eggs in more than one basket.

     

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  19.  
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    alternatives(), Nov 12th, 2009 @ 6:39am

    The key is the examiner as business model

    examiner is not a newspaper.

    Its a regional blog that tries to look like news.

    Look at the 'Glen Beck may have raped a woman' event. At least 5 examiner pieces on that. From all over the nation. While the event was worthy of analysis - go read the various pieces - at least 2 were no better than blog comments.

    As a way to sell ads/eyeballs wrapped up in a package of 'its citizen journalism' - wish I'd thought of it.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2009 @ 6:59am

    Re:

    He usually uses the word troubling correctly. Sure he makes a mountain out of a mole hill form time to time but to call something "troubling" when someone is doing something WITH THEIR OWN STUFF is more than a little odd.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Simon, Nov 12th, 2009 @ 7:30am

    This blog is worthless...

    ...because if it was worth anything, it would need DRM.

     

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  22.  
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    sehlat (profile), Nov 12th, 2009 @ 8:55am

    Lack of advances is troubling...

    Lack of DRM (to say the least), not so much. It's as if Harlequin/Carina is trying to lay the (perceived) risk of DRM-free encouraging piracy off on the authors.

    In any event, here's my reply to the lady:

    Geoffrey Kidd says:

    DRM translates to "You don't OWN the things you've bought." Period.

    My favorite publisher, Baen Books, started selling DRM-free books from their website(webscriptions.net) back in late 1999. Their prices have always been reasonable, and the loyalty of their customers is unshakable.

    If Carina and Harlequin go down that road, they'll find the same results for the same reasons. Forcing people to jailbreak what they've bought just so that they can choose HOW, WHEN, and WHERE to read what they've paid for is very poor marketing practice.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Poster, Nov 12th, 2009 @ 10:00am

    That "reporter" is a short-sighted idiot.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Stephen S. Power, Nov 12th, 2009 @ 10:32am

    RWA

    You're missing the larger story here, which is laid out if you follow the link back to the Smart Bitches Trashy Books site that discusses the new Harlequin line. The Romance Writers of America could, theoretically, delist Harlequin for paying no advances, something they've used to screw other epublishers, although commentators on the site suggest that readers could care less. Like the Author's Guild taking control of the Google books business, here's another group (one far more important than the AG) that could conceivable try to horn in on a business model. Will they? They'd be fools to do so. I can't wait to see.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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