to launch DRM-free ebookstore

The ebook developers at announced earlier this week that  they are launching a new ebookstore.  This is their second major digital project; earlier this year they launched eLinea, a magazine and newspaper platform.

The new ebookstore is starting small, with only 40 titles, and they will be adding more. Their ebookstore will only be selling DRM-free ebooks, which means you won’t have to pay the Adobe tax when you buy an ebook. Instead the ebooks will be marked with digital watermarks. Traceable user data will be encoded into each ebook at the time it is downloaded. This will enable to track down and punish just the person who who shared the ebook while leaving all the other customers unassailed.

See, this is the nice thing about watermarks as opposed to the other more restrictive types of DRM. When publishers apply most kinds of DRM to their ebooks they are punishing me because someone else _might_ pirate that ebook. And I am being punished even though the DRM doesn’t actually stop the pirates. But with watermarked ebooks publishers can pinpoint and go after just the pirates. This leaves me alone and makes me happy.




Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Claire17 August, 2011

    I love the idea of watermarks instead of DRM. It seems such a simple, elegant solution that means I don’t lose my digital licences whenever a content supplier updates their database/software (it has happened to me).

  2. Paulo Ney17 August, 2011

    Why is water-marking not a form of DRM??? I fail to see the difference. You say

    “Traceable user data will be encoded into each ebook at the time it is downloaded. ”

    and that is exactly one of the steps of DRM (Adobe or otherwise). In the end, if the “Management” of “Rights” and it is tracked “Digitally” – is DRM!

    1. Nate Hoffelder17 August, 2011

      I don’t see digital watermarks as DRM because DRM blocks me from doing things with my file and digital watermarks don’t.

      1. Logan Kennelly17 August, 2011

        Exactly! You said it yourself: ‘the “Management” of “Rights” and it is tracked “Digitally” – is DRM’. In the case of watermarking, there is no Management of Rights … any restrictions on what you can do with the book are political, not technical.

      2. Sweetpea18 August, 2011

        DRM = Digital Rights Management. And thus, watermarking is also a form of DRM. However, it’s much more friendly form of DRM. It doesn’t punish the innocent (like most other DRM forms will do), but the guilty (as you already said). But it’s still DRM.


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