Do any of you understand the contortions two of the major eBook players undergo in order to avoid Adobe DRM?
Kobo’s eReader does not download an ePub file to the device. It downloads a file into an SQLite database.
Barnes & Noble’s Nook devices hide the eBook partition from the user. It cannot be seen by plugging into a PC.
Why do these two companies do this?
After all, with a Sony Reader you get an ePub file that you can see on your PC when you plug in the Reader. It’s all simple and straightforward.
Both Kobo and Barnes & Noble aren’t up to something nefarious.
They’re trying to cut Adobe out of the loop.
Kobo’s SQLite scheme does that.
Barnes & Noble’s scheme does that too.
Every time someone buys an ePub drenched in Adobe DRM, Adobe gets a fee.
This makes Adobe a partner in any eBook business the way a Mafia protection racket makes itself a partner in any other business.
Would you want to run a business where you can control almost any cost you need to — except the vig to Adobe?
Both Kobo and Barnes & Noble don’t want such a permanent partner.
That’s why they do what they do. The books are in a Kobo database file or in a Nook invisible partition so they don’t have to use Adobe DRM and give Adobe a fee.
And I think they’re in the right to do this, even if customers find it confusing. Because it’s ultimately in the best interest of customers.
But I want to go further with this.
I think it’s in everyone’s best interest for the smart programmers at Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Sony to get together and devise a DRM scheme they can share royalty-free.
There have been precedents for such cooperation.
In fact, the best precedent was one that also screwed Adobe.
Apple and Microsoft got tired of Adobe being their partner through font licensing fees. So they got together and devised TrueType.
John Warnock of Adobe openly and publicly wept at that announcement.
It’s time to make Adobe shed some tears again.
Get together and create a better DRM scheme for eBooks.
Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Sony all have their own desktop programs.
No one in their right mind needs Adobe Digital Editions now.
ADE horns in due to the DRM scheme.
Cut it out of the eBook market like the cancerous tumor that it is.
J.K. Rowling won’t be using Adobe DRM on her Harry Potter books.
Apple doesn’t use Adobe DRM. It uses its own FairPlay.
So why should anyone else?
It’s time to end this.
Previously at Mike Cane 2008:
Previously at The eBook Test: