DRM. It is fading.

Dear reader,

As of January 18th of this year, most Dutch e-books will be sold without DRM. This may not affect you directly, after all not everyone buys and reads Dutch books.

However, also world-wide publisher lulu.com has decided to say farewell to DRM. And this might be quite good news for you. If you didn’t know, lulu.com also sells e-books.

We may yet see more DRM-related farewells soon. Let’s hope so.

 

The best places for DRM-free e-books – part 2 of 2

By Joanna Cabot

From Part 1: I love DRM-free books! I know that for most people, DRM is an issue they might not think about often; if their books work, they’re happy. But for many more experienced e-book users, it’s an issue to care about. Unless, that is, you buy and read books that are DRM-free.

Smashwords logoThe books referenced and linked to below can be kept forever, converted using free software such as Calibre, and read on any device you might own. But where to get them? Here are some of my favorite sources:

3. SMASHWORDS

This is the Amazon of self-published books. Some genres are better represented than others, and quality can vary, but it’s a polished-looking ecosystem. You can view online (or download for later) generous samples, and read reviews and comments by other users.

For authors, it’s a one-stop shop; if you format your work correctly, Smashwords can get it into the Kobo, Kindle, Sony and Nook stores for you. There is also a growing sub-group of authors publishing via this platform whose books started their life with mainstream publishers and are being re-released by their authors, who have gotten back the rights.

Many free books are available, as well as for-purchase titles. Once you buy, you can re-download, in any format you choose, any time you need a fresh copy.

Five to get you started:

♦ Soul Identity by Dennis Batchelder (free): A computer hacker is asked to investigate a mysterious group that promises to transfer your wealth to your next life by tracking your soul into its next incarnation. A great suspense read.

♦ Alien Murders by Stephen Goldin ($2.99): Three sci-fi stories featuring a ‘literary broker’ who travels to alien worlds via virtual reality, and represents Earth’s cultural property to alien buyers.

Still Life with Murder by Patricia Ryan, writing as P.B. Ryan♦ Deadly Gamble by Connie Shelton ($0.99): The first in a series of mystery novels featuring Charlie Parker, an accountant-turned-detective.

♦ Radium Halos by Shelley Stout ($2.99): An excellent historical novel based on the true events of the Radium Girls, female factory workers who contracted radiation poisoning in the 1920s from painting luminous watch and clock dials with radium paint.

♦ Still Life with Murder by Patricia Ryan (free): The first in Patricia Ryan’s historical mystery series featuring Nell Sweeney. Originally published by Berkeley Books.

4. FICTIONWISE

Fictionwise was once the e-book destination. Their sale to Barnes & Noble, followed soon after by the agency pricing fiasco, left them a shell of their former self. But they did—and still do—offer a good selection of DRM-free e-books. (Look for the word ‘multiformat’ when you’re browsing, to tip you off.) You can also select a genre and then use a drop down to filter your choices to only this type of book.

One drawback: Sampling is primitive, and often not available, and you’ll need to look elsewhere for reviews. But if you know what you’re looking for, you can get some good deals here. I won’t list prices for the following titles; if you’re a club member and wait for a coupon code, you can do much better than the list price.

Five good ones:

♦ Masters of Noir: Volume One by Ed McBain: The first in a series, edited by crime great Ed McBain and others, collecting classics from the crime noir genre into one omnibus volume.

♦ 3rd World Products: Book 1 by Ed Howdershelt: A fun and clever little sci-fi tale about alien first contact with Earth. They see our planet as a business opportunity! Try book one, and if you like it, go to Howdershelt’s website to get the rest of them in a much cheaper bundle.

♦ Fellowship of Fear by Aaron Elkins: The first in a well-regarded series featuring an archaeologist detective.

3rd World Products Book 1 by Ed Howdershelt♦ Rx for Murder by Renee Horowitz: Another creative take on the detective genre, this cozy read features a pharmacist sleuth.

♦ Dell Fiction MagazinesAsimov’sEllery Queen and other Dell magazines, both current issues and a few months’ worth of past issues. These don’t expire, either. They’re treated like an e-book, and once you have one, it stays in your shelf.

5. AUTHOR WEBSITES

If you find an author you like and his or her work is DRM-free, chances are they own the rights to the work, and control their own collections. This means it’s highly likely the author has a website, where you can frequently get series books in a bundle at a significant discount.

Some to try:

♦ Cory Doctorow: Doctorow gives away the downloads to all his books for free. Most of them have short ads at the beginning; you can find links on his website to vendors for purchasing a clean copy, or you can purchase a print copy to donate to a school or library.

♦ Simon Haynes: This author writes the popular comedic space opera ‘Hal Spacejock.’ He is self-pubbing his new Hal Jr. series, and you can buy the first four volumes of the classic series in a bundle for $9.99.

♦ Diane Duane: This author of the children’s series So You Want to be a Wizard sells both the original published version and a new updated version which is only available at her site.

♦ J.A. Konrath: He writes detective novels, suspense novels and blogs that are revered by aspiring authors. You can get autographed or inscribed print books, as well as e-books—including a bundle of every book he sells, for $43.99.

♦ Blake Crouch: A suspense writer and sometime-collaborator with Konrath. Alas, no bundles, but all the books are there with links to vendors for purchasing, and bonus features such as reviews and excerpts.

So, is that enough to get you all started? Happy reading!

The best places for DRM-free e-books – part 1 of 2

As found on Teleread:

By Joanna Cabot

Project GutenbergI love DRM-free books! I know that for most people, DRM is an issue they might not think about often; if their books work, they’re happy. But for many more experienced e-book users, it’s an issue to care about.

If you acquire 100 Amazon e-books and then you buy a Kobo, how are you going to read those books? If you spend years as a loyal Sony customer and then buy a Kindle, what will you do with the books you’ve bought and loved? Unless you are blessed with some technical skills—and either a country whose laws permit format-shifting, or a moral compass that doesn’t care as much about the letter of the law—you’re stuck.

Unless, that is, you buy and read books that are DRM-free. These books can be kept forever, converted using free software such as Calibre, and read on any device you might own. But where to get them? Here are some of my favorite sources:

1. PROJECT GUTENBERG

This is the oldest e-book repository on the Web. It has over 40,000 free books, with more available through affiliates like Project Gutenberg Canada and Project Gutenberg Australia. These books are all public domain titles, but you would be shocked at what’s in the public domain these days. It’s not just Shakespeare and the Bible anymore—there arepulp sci-fi and mystery titles from the Golden Age, early issues of Scientific American andAstounding Stories, cookbooks, children’s classics (including books for very young readers, such as the complete works of Beatrix Potter) and more. Many are illustrated. Some have audio book versions. Most of the newer ones were prepared through Gutenberg’s Distributed Proofreaders program to ensure they are error-free. New books are added very frequently

Browsing can be a bit of a chore—some of the books are sorted into topical bookshelves, others are not. But if you know what you’re looking for, or stick to the ‘new release’ or ‘most-downloaded’ RSS feeds, you’re sure to find something good. And the scope of this project—their goal is to have every public domain book ever published—is incredible. This is truly an unparalleled resource, and one of the great gifts the Internet has given us.

Here are five books to get you started; I suggest downloading the HTML, as it seems to convert the cleanest.

Harvard Classics♦ The Harvard Classics: The vast majority of the works in Dr. Eliot’s famous ‘five-foot shelf,’ a collection designed to give a reader a complete classical education with only the books which might fit in a single shelf.

♦ The Best Short Stories: A collection of themed short story collections such as ‘The Best American Humorous Short Stories’ and ‘The Best Russian Shirt Stories,’ sorted by country or origin.

♦ The Golden Treasury, edited by Francis Turner Palgrave: One of the best poetry anthologies ever published. The poetry bookshelf has some other good ones listed.

♦ Legends of the Jews by Louis Ginzberg: This series draws together Jewish myth and folklore from a variety of sources, similar to how the Brothers Grimm synthesized fairy tales from multiple sources.

♦ Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte: My all-time favorite novel. A gothic story of the forbidden love between the beautiful Catherine and the mysterious Heathcliff.

2. DELPHI CLASSICS 

Interested in reading the great classics but don’t want to take the time to download two dozen Dickens books, or seek out individual volumes of Sherlock Holmes stories? Do you want to read Andrew Lang’s popular Fairy Books as they first appeared with complete illustrations? Do you want to learn more about the great artists or poets, but don’t know where to start? Delphi Classics is for you!

This store is known for their lavishly illustrated complete works collections (complete works of Dickens, complete works of Austen, and so on) but lately has branched out into two new series: Masters of Art and Masters of Poetry, which, as their titles imply, present the complete works of artists and poets. These books are very well-done, withDelphi Classics D.H. Lawrence numerous illustrations, biographical information and other goodies it would take a long time to track down on your own. They’re also updated frequently—with corrections as well, with new works, as they become available.

If you buy from Delphi’s website as opposed to the Amazon store, you can download the free updates at any time from your account. Two drawbacks:

a. Some of the files are very large, which may slow down a less robust reader.

b. Also, you have to pay separately for the .mobi and .epub versions. I tried converting a mobi version using Calibre and after 30 minutes of trying, Calibre crashed. I don’t relish paying again for an epub if I move to a Kobo Reader down the road, and I think Delphi Classics should amalgamate their editions and let their customers download a purchased title in whatever format they choose.

My five favorites:

♦ Delphi Poets: Emily Dickinson ($1.99) – Dickinson’s complete works, with bonus biographical material including Dickinson’s letters, as well as photographs and illustrations.

♦ Dickens eVolume Collection ($3.99) – The complete works of Dickens, plus biographical materials and extras, in a zipped file of 20 volumes.

♦ The Brontes – Complete Works ($2.99): The complete vollected works of all the Brontes, including their childhood writing and work by their lesser-known artist brother. Illustrated with photographs and reproductions and all the usual bonus features.

♦ Andrew Lang- Complete Works ($2.99): The complete fairy tales books, in order, plus his other short story collections, poetry, other writing and so on. As usual, illustrated with all the usual bonus features.

♦ Masters of Art – Leonardo da Vinci ($2.99): Da Vinci’s paintings in full colour, zoom-able, with bonus details. I reviewed this unique series for TeleRead earlier this year.

DRM

Dear reader,

As you may know, DRM stands for “Digital Rights Management.” It’s a copy protection scheme designed to prevent piracy. While few would disagree that authors deserve compensation for their hard work, the problem with DRM is that it treats law-abiding customers like criminals. DRM controls how, where and when a reader reads books. Oh, and then there’s the small matter that DRM doesn’t work.

Five Reasons to Say No to DRM:

  1. Readers (who know about DRM) don’t like DRM
  2. DRM adds expense to books
  3. DRM makes books complex
  4. DRM limits accessibility to books, especially for those with vision disabilities who require Text-to-Speach (TTS)
  5. DRM does not prevent piracy

For more information, visit http://readersbillofrights.info/ or http://www.defectivebydesign.org/

DRM-free ebooks

Perhaps, dear reader, you sometimes wonder where you can find DRM-free ebooks.

Baen Books (link to Google+) sells only DRM free ebooks. This might be very interesting for some of you, so I decided to share this knowledge wit you. I, for one, am looking forward to a DRM free world!

Baen Ebooks

Baen’s eBook marketplace. eBooks with no DRM, in every major format–for the Kindle, iPad, Nook, and more.

(Found via Ebook Friendly)