Thursday, May 14, 2009

No DRM, Readers for women, more at IDPF

The IDPF (International Digital Publishing Forum) annual show was May 11 & 12 in New York. The show and conference has a major impact on eBook Readers and eBooks. The IDPF represents the people who build, publish, and/or sell eBooks and eBook Readers.

This years show was very interesting as panels discussed trying to end DRM, what women want in the way of eBook Readers, and much more.

Three panelists showed examples of how they have done away with DRM and seen sales actually climb for eBooks without piracy climbing. True, these were smaller publishers with their own eBooks... but the point was made that just MAYBE doing away with DRM (Digital Rights Management) does NOT hurtsales or lead to increases in piracy (the supposed biggest roadblock to removing DRM).

What was really intersting is that IDPF devoted a busy day of presentations and panel discussions to this topic. It will spur more scrutinyand tests of possibly removing all DRM down the digital road.

Also discussed was how eBooks are becoming an important part of publishers profits. It was the ONLY bright spot for the publishing industry during 2008.

In 2008, eBook sales climbed by 171% while audio books and print fell sharply. The eBook industry on the whole will be a $500 Million business by 2010.

Also discussed was where people do their reading. Only 5% read digitally during travel. 50% read at HOME and 35% read at work. 60% of those polled say they use their eBook Readers principally in bed! The need for decent lighting to allow such reading is pretty clear.

There was a great women's panel at IDPF. Women have grown to be 50% of all eBook business! This is up 10% in one year. Yet, Sarah Wendell of "Smart Bitches Trashy Novels" and Malle Vallik of "Harlequin" both clearly stated that eBook Reader manufacturers like Amazon and Sony have heard from them for three years (at IDPF) that there are clearly things women want and these two have paid no attention. Sarah stated that North America spends $96 Billion a year on Electronics and $55 Billion of that is spent by WOMEN! Yet, such things as good reading lights and numerous font sizes and large screen sizes, lightness, simple set-up and loading, and durability have been largely overlooked by the Big 2. They also want an end to DRM! There are NO eBook Readers specifically designed for women. They like the idea of color bodies on eBook Readers; but see color bodies as only a start in designing for women.

S0... in short... many of the issues that people want on eBook Readers are largely NOT IN PLACE NOW! The IDPF is finally allowing these voices against DRM and supporting women's needs to be heard by the entire organization. Things ARE starting to change!!

Also at IDPF were representatives from the CES (Consumer Electronics Show). They were stating that the 2010 (early January) CES show has a special area named "eBook Pavillion". This will be the first time that the largest Trade Show on earth will spotlight eBooks, eBook Readers, publishers, and more.

In all, the show was fabulous. Adam Smith of Google spoke and we found out what Google is trying to do for eBooks. Adam is YOUNG. He is also charasmatic,passionate, smart, has a warm personality, and a good sense of humor!! Anybody that had the opinion that all powerful people seem stuffy and stand-offish is wrong. I was able to walk right up and talk plainly with Adam about the Agreement for Astak that will bring their eBooks to the masses. That agreement is coming within days and should help Astak spread the miracle of classic books to everyone without DRM.


  1. I'm so glad you went and reported back to us, Robert! Sounds fascinating, wish I could have gone, too.

  2. No offence, but the requirements you suggest women have don't seem even slightly woman-specific. Have you had men asking to buy smaller, more fragile ebook readers with more complicated setups and extra DRM?

    I've just broken the plastic end cap on my second sony reader in exactly the same way as I broke the first one so I'm becoming much more a fan of more rugged design. Or at least less stupid design (a metal case is good, but a metal case with protruding fragile plastic parts is problematic, and mounting essential controls on those plastic parts is just plain stupid... in Sony's case the on-off switch seems to be extra-vulerable)

    (thanks for re-enabling comments, Robert, much appreciated)

  3. Robert said to me that he's due to find out more, he's just repeating the IPDF conference... fair call :)

    As i get more experienced/addicted, I'm not finding my tastes change all that much. Between calibre and my Sony I can get the great majority of what I want. So I'm just going harp on about the obvious to me): library management, battery life and ruggedness. The Sony actually handles the latter pretty well with the mostly-metal case, there's no real screen flex and it handles wear and tear pretty well. It's just let down by the end caps. Those are the silver bits visible on the ends of the coloured versions that have all the sockets, the volume controls, card slots and on-off switch. Those are unreasonably fragile given that they're what take the impact of the device landing on one corner (the most likely outcome).

    Library management... 3.5GB of available storage in the Kindle is all very well, but please, for the love of sanity, YOU need to load that memory full of ebooks then use the thing. Someone else will, that's for sure. Current generation books all suck in this situation, and I'm not too sure of the UI design needed to get round it - definitely hard if you only have a four-way navigation button rather than a keyboard or the Sony 10 buttons down the side. In that respect Sony only buildng in 160MB of storage is smart... it discourages having too many books on board.

    Hmm, screen sketch for a menu drawn at two lines per entry in 16 or 8 point text:
    (it's in my url below as well)

  4. Any news on support for ereader DRM?


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