Smashwords now on Stanza; ScrollMotion loses Christmas sales due to DRM; Spacejock to be released DRM-free

Stanza is certainly doing a good job of covering the e-book market. It has just been announced that Smashwords content will now be available through Stanza. This is a major outlet for independent authors to get their work published. You can read the Smashwords press release, in full, here. Given Stanza’s huge uptake this is an excellent outlet for new authors. You can also find an interesting interview with Smashsords’ Mike Coker at the Mercury News here.

Contrast this to the approach taken by ScrollMotion. In the name of DRM they lost the entire holiday season. According to Publisher’s Weekly, ScrollMotion found a flaw in its DRM encryption and pulled all its books. The article quotes ScrollMotion as saying: ” … security and DRM are among our highest priorities, we thought it important to take immediate action.” Given the open nature of Smashwords, and the closed nature of ScrollMotion, I am betting, and hoping, that Smashwords beats them by a mile. If I were ScrollMotion I would be trying to convince publishers that DRM should be their lowest priority – as proven by the fact that the publishers lost all that Christmas season revenue. This is truly an example of DRM being a sales toxin.

In another example directly contrary to the ScrollMotion experience, Australian author Simon Haynes is going to release (or more precisely his publisher will release) all the Spacejock series in low-priced, DRM-free e-books. As Haynes says in his blog:

I’m a strong believer in DRM-free ebooks, and I also believe the price point should reflect the fact there’s zero cost required to pump out each copy of an ebook. I put this to my publisher, and they were happy to go along.

You may not be aware that the first book in the Hal Spacejock series is available as a free download. It was released as a freebie when book 4 (Hal Spacejock No Free Lunch) hit the shops, and to date it’s been downloaded over 40,000 times.

Thanks to the excellent eBooks Just Published for this Spacejock heads up.

2 Comments on Smashwords now on Stanza; ScrollMotion loses Christmas sales due to DRM; Spacejock to be released DRM-free

  1. I was interested to read the following comment in the PubWeek article:

    It’s strange that they claim that they corrected the DRM problems, since, as has been already widely broadcasted across the internet, the books are still completely unprotected. For example, buy Twilight on the App Store via iTunes, go into your “/Music/iTunes/Mobile Applications/” folder, and unzip the “Twilight.ipa” file (which is just an insecure zip file). The book is stored in the file ending in .sqllite, which is an open source and unencrypted database. Just download any SQLLite client (from http://www.sqlite.org) and you can extract the book (and, if you were unethical, e-mail it to all your friends).

    The publishers probably should have reconsidered laying off all their staff that was capable of doing technical due diligence on vendors like ScrollMotion. Any high-school dropout could have seen that their claims of doing any sort of DRM were not to be trusted.

    I tried this out and it the content is, indeed, completely unprotected. On a Mac, you can extract the whole book with one long command entered from Terminal.app:


    mkdir ~/Desktop/UnprotectedBook && cd ~/Desktop/UnprotectedBook && curl http://www.sqlite.org/sqlite3-3.6.7-osx-x86.bin.gz | gunzip > sqlite && chmod +x sqlite && unzip -p ~/Music/iTunes/Mobile*Applications/Twilight.ipa Payload/*.app/*.sqlite > db.sqlite && ./sqlite db.sqlite "select c2paragraphText from ParagraphFTS_content" > UnprotectedBook.txt && open UnprotectedBook.txt

    Viola! Unprotected book!

  2. I want to clarify that I am not advocating copying the works. I just wanted to point out that not only did the publishers lose out on Christmas sales (as the original author of this post mentions), but they also remain unprotected by any kind of DRM as it stands, so it’s a lose-lose situation for them.

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