In early 2013 EditionGuard launched an ebookstore platform where anyone could sell ebooks encumbered by Adobe DE DRM. The service cost $39 and up at the time, and there was no DRM-free option.
It's close to four years later, and there's still no DRM-free option, but this week EditionGuard added a second DRM option called EditionGuard Social DRM.
EditionGuard now lets you create an ebookstore, including embedding it on your site, and use digital watermark DRM in place of Adobe DE DRM.
Digital watermarks are a lighter form of DRM which don't restrict what buyers can do with a file. Instead, a digital watermark is simply a way to invisibly mark up a file with data can be used to indicate who bought the file, and where and when.
A number of companies, including Pottermore, distributor Aer.io, most Dutch ebook retailers, and publishers like Verso Books, use this type of DRM to varying degrees.
Pottermore uses what is essentially serial numbers to identify an ebook's buyer without naming them, but Verso Books names the buyer inside the ebook, and lists the buyer's email address. EditionGuard goes one step further; they list the buyer's phone number as well.
EditionGuard offers this DRM option on all of its service tiers, and social DRM is the only option for the $60 a month tier (10 ebooks, 500MB storage). That tier had previously come with Adobe DE DRM and cost $69, plus $.45 per download.
Given that DRM has proven ineffective at stopping piracy, that's rather a lot of money to pay for what is nothing more than a fig leaf. A more cost-effective option would be competing services like Gumroad or e-Junkie, neither of which offer DRM. The latter costs as little as $5 a month, and Gumroad costs even less.
After all, if you can't prove that paying for DRM boosts sales, why keep paying for it?
image by Catablogger