eBook Format-Shifting Goes Legit

I violate my semi-hard policy of not linking to HuffPo or Konrath — and because I’m double-teamed by them and must link.

eBooks And The Ease Of Self-Publishing

“Draculas” will be exclusive on Kindle for a year, as a favor to Amazon since they’ve been so helpful. But those with other brands of ereaders will be able to buy “Draculas” from Amazon and convert it to the format of their choice with free ebook software like Calibre or Stanza. We have instructions for doing this on our website, www.draculasthebook.com.

That is exactly why people strip DRM.

Buy cheap at Amazon, strip the DRM, convert to ePub for your ePub device of choice: Kobo Reader, Nook, Sony Reader, whatever (iPad even!).

Here, a writer who has made himself well-known (I bite my tongue otherwise), is openly endorsing the concept of format-shifting.

Does Amazon care?

Hell no. They get the money.

Remember, if Bezos is to be believed, The Kindle Store and Kindle hardware are separate “companies” within Amazon with separate P&L and separate goals. If Amazon was strictly interested in selling hardware (as, say, Sony must be), we’d have never seen the release of any Kindle-platform software for other devices.

I wonder how many other writers publishing directly through Amazon will catch on to this idea and remove the DRM from their books?

Think of it: A writer simply has to create a Kindle file. Let the buyer convert it to what they want it to be.

That’s a strategy for increased sales.

And for fewer headaches: one payment statement, from Amazon, not eBookstores A-Z.

Amazon would never have to support ePub. Just make it possible for its buyers to do so.

reposted with permission from Mike Cane’s Xblog


  1. Alexander Inglis17 October, 2010

    I’d expect the Amazon end-user agreement actually prohibits you changing the file-format … something Konrath fails to mention. So it’s a bit of a stretch to call this post “eBook Format-Shifting Goes Legit”.

    Nonetheless, the envelope is being pushed. But this still lands in the camp of the geeks, doesn’t it? Is someone really going to buy a DRM-dree edition from Amazon and then install python and Calibre and generate the ePub of choice and upload it to their Bookeen? The answer is, of course, well, *someone* will — but not the mainstream consumer.

    So, it’s another novelty on this e-book evolution highway but certainly not the harbinger of a mainstream trend.

    1. fjtorres17 October, 2010

      Uh, the Konrath book is *DRM-FREE*. Calibre by itself can convert it. And its a pretty simple thing to do especially as the authors *themselves* tell you how to convert to any format, not just the miraculous superformat that raises the dead. 😉

  2. Chris Meadows17 October, 2010

    The instructions on the site don’t say anything about breaking the DRM, so I would assume that the book is being sold DRM-free.

  3. Alexander Inglis18 October, 2010

    Yes, the new book is sold DRM-free (which is exactly what I said although I typed DRM-dree).

    However the Amazon agreement does not condone mucking about with the files — DRM free or not. This is not “legit”.

    Plus, most consumers do not have calibre installed — that’s quite a hurdle to buy books that are known not to work on one’s e-reader, have to install calibre and figure it out, all to produce your own copy of something to transfer for your non-Amazon e-reader. Sure, someone will do it — but most consumers never will.


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