EditionGuard Adds Social DRM Option to Its eBookstore Platform

12958306063_869b83e83a_hIn 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

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. Bill Rosenblatt6 October, 2016

    Watermarking is not DRM. Period.

    1. Hayden7 October, 2016

      Anything personal of mine (credit card number, email address, whatever) that is added to an ebook I purchase is done to manage the digital rights of my purchase. DRM. A watermark is a lesser evil than the type of DRM that locks my ebook to a particular retailer’s reading apps but it is still DRM.

      In all the years that I bought a pbook, there was never any need to add a stamp to any of the pages of the books I bought. I could easily share the book with friends, I could give it away, I could trade it, re-sell it, etc. Never heard anyone tell me that this was wrong.

      The reasoning behind DRM is to stop ‘piracy’. The big time pirates can easily remove any DRM added to an ebook. If an average person with no knowledge of computer programming can get to discover a certain apprentice that helps remove DRM, then what can the real professional ‘pirates’ achieve?

      DRM is now an industry that fools the publishers and authors to part with their monies. The traditional DRM that locks a reader into a retailer’s reading apps hurts the reader who cannot choose the best reading app for them.

      All types of DRM, including watermarking, is done because the publisher assumes the buyer is dishonest.

      The music industry realised that DRM was a waste of money. In the book industry it seems that many authors and some publishers have also realised that DRM has no use. Lets see how long the bigger publishers take to come to the same conclusion, or perhaps they expect ebooks to be a passing fade and vanish one day

  2. James6 October, 2016

    Don’t get caught up in semantic games. It doesn’t add anything new to the article.

  3. Bill Rosenblatt6 October, 2016

    Perhaps not, but it rekindles an old argument I’ve been making here and am sad to see that I have to make again. Since you have the bad taste to censure me for expressing my opinion, I will have the equally bad taste to link to my own blog. See https://copyrightandtechnology.com/2016/10/05/e-book-retail-platform-offers-choice-of-watermarking-or-drm/.

  4. Xavier Davis7 October, 2016

    Thanks so much for the write up. One thing to note, we did add two Social DRM only plans that start as low as $24/mo. If customers only have a couple of books these plans are quite affordable.


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