Apple to offer publishers FairPlay DRM for iPad books - report

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Apple's FairPlay digital rights management will be an option for publishers who sell e-books the iBooks application on the forthcoming multi-touch iPad, according to a new report.



The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that Apple will use the DRM to prevent piracy of titles sold on the multimedia device. Apple abandoned restrictive DRM for music titles last year when it removed FairPlay from the iTunes Music Store.



FairPlay restricted the number of devices that could have access to purchased content. Its use was the subject of great debate and criticism until Apple removed it in 2009.



However, while the entire music store is now DRM-free, the Apple-created FairPlay technology remains in effect for movies and TV shows purchased through iTunes. Now, similar restrictions could reportedly be extended to some e-books sold for the iPad, though the article suggested publishers will have a choice.



"No doubt some publishers, including O'Reilly Media -- which has vociferously argued that digital locks are harmful to sales -- will opt not to deploy FairPlay. (O'Reilly, which puts out technical books, was not on the list of five publishers during Apple's announcement of the iPad, but is discussing a deal with Apple)," the Times noted.



"But the majority of publishers are expected to embrace FairPlay, along with other copy protection software such as Adobe's Content Server 4, as a means to squelch incipient book piracy as the e-book market begins to take off."



When it introduced the iPad last month, Apple highlighted five major publishers that will offer content for the device. The iBooks application includes the iBookstore, where bestsellers are expected to be priced between $12.99 and $14.99.



The price range has been the subject of debate for publishers, who were previously unhappy with the standard $9.99 price for new hardcover bestsellers sold on the Amazon Kindle e-reader. Amazon has reluctantly agreed to publisher demands, and higher e-book prices are expected to coincide with the release of the iPad in March.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    Hopefully there will be a race to the bottom and we will see lots of $.99 books. Considering how eBooks eliminates printing, packing, shipping and warehousing costs...they should be a lot cheaper.



    I doubt it will happen right away but over time as the addressable market expands prices should come down.
  • Reply 2 of 50
    I keep wondering how libraries are going to employ eBook technology? If they purchase one "copy" can any number of patrons download and read it at the same time?
  • Reply 3 of 50
    OK, I get it. Publishers want to protect their works. But proprietary DRM solutions like FairPlay only benefit Apple. They lock you into their platform. That means you can only read iBooks-purchased ebooks on Apple devices. Amazon is at least a little better - but not much. You can read Amazon-purchased ebooks on Kindle or on any other device to which Amazon has ported the Kindle reader application. I cannot read an Amazon purchased ebook with Apple's own ebook reader. Or vice-versa. This madness has to stop. We need an open DRM standard. We need publishers to insist that only that DRM solution is used.
  • Reply 4 of 50
    Simple as that.

    When iTunes still had DRM I only bought those songs I really could not buy elsewhere. Since songs are DRM free I have bought some 500+.

    And, yes, 12.99 or 14.99 is a bad joke.

    Let's see: The margin on a dead tree book is 50% for the dealer, if you buy 10, you get an eleventh for free, if you cannot sell them, you send them back to the publisher. Print them, keep them on stock, decide if to reprint etc ....



    There is NO way 14.99 can be perceived as a price that is justified.



    (Disclaimer: I own some 3500 books, paper, bought, most of them read)
  • Reply 5 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post


    We need an open DRM standard. We need publishers to insist that only that DRM solution is used.



    At least the DRM is optional. So you can't really blame Apple, it's the book publishers that will be locking their own titles to the iPad. And an open DRM solution is like a public key to a lock... it's useless. There might as well be no lock there at all to prevent you from reading it on any device.
  • Reply 6 of 50
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post


    I keep wondering how libraries are going to employ eBook technology? If they purchase one "copy" can any number of patrons download and read it at the same time?



    Libraries will reaming physical.
  • Reply 7 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post


    Hopefully there will be a race to the bottom and we will see lots of $.99 books. Considering how eBooks eliminates printing, packing, shipping and warehousing costs...they should be a lot cheaper.



    I doubt it will happen right away but over time as the addressable market expands prices should come down.



    You guys are way off. I write texts (educational) for the music industry. The actual cost for materials and printing for a book is well below $3. and educational books don't sell that well- so they are more expensive to produce. What you are paying for already is mostly content- to the author and publisher. Don't expect prices to come down that much.
  • Reply 8 of 50
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hauerg View Post


    DRM = no buy. Simple as that.



    Without DRM you'd still be tied to the iPad, right?



    Anyway, besides, if you expected no DRM on books your living in a world very different from this one. The main issues with iBooks won't be the DRM, but the cost of the books. $9.99 should be the maximum, not more-like the minimum. This will change hopefully, but expect it to take a few years at least. The right price and the reading bug would make these guys way more money.
  • Reply 9 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    Libraries will reaming physical.



    That doesn't appear to be the case:



    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/15/bo...libraries.html
  • Reply 10 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hauerg View Post


    Simple as that.

    When iTunes still had DRM I only bought those songs I really could not buy elsewhere. Since songs are DRM free I have bought some 500+.

    And, yes, 12.99 or 14.99 is a bad joke.

    Let's see: The margin on a dead tree book is 50% for the dealer, if you buy 10, you get an eleventh for free, if you cannot sell them, you send them back to the publisher. Print them, keep them on stock, decide if to reprint etc ....



    There is NO way 14.99 can be perceived as a price that is justified.



    (Disclaimer: I own some 3500 books, paper, bought, most of them read)



    Original article posted here, but I copied the content (it's mine) to here because it seemed awkward to provide only a link to a post on another Apple rumors site.



    ---



    I see you don't work with technology for a living, specifically IT. Let me illuminate you a bit, if possible.



    Here's a non-comprehensive list of some of the costs associated with producing anything digitally, including ebooks, but (hopefully) excluding the overlap with dead-tree versions of books (remember, this is not comprehensive or perfect):



    1. You need data center space. You either lease space in an existing facility or you own your own building, whichever is appropriate for your company's needs. Neither option is cheap. Owning your own building comes with extra expenses, such as property tax, zoning and inspection issues, facilities maintenance, insurance, and more.



    2. You need electricity. To run the servers, storage devices, air conditioning, lights (so the admins can see what they're fixing), network equipment inside the data center, network equipment connecting the data center to your ISP(s). For a large publishing house such as Macmillan, the yearly bill for electricity in their data centers (they probably have more than one) is likely somewhere between 6 digits and 7 digits long (in front of the decimal), assuming US dollars.



    3. You need people to keep the data center running for you. You're paying for them whether you're renting space or own it.



    4a. You need system administrators to keep the computers, namely the servers and storage devices, running.



    4b. You need network administrators to keep the networking gear running. In some cases, the system admin and network admin may be the same person or people but this doesn't scale terribly far so it won't last long.



    5. The servers. Servers needed to mediate access to the network-based storage devices (think Netapp or Hitachi SAN). Even if the storage devices are inside the servers, rather than network (ethernet) or SAN (fiberchannel) based. Enterprise servers are not cheap; even for the low-end servers, you may spend a small fortune on enterprise server-class RAM, especially if you need the new 8GB 1266MHz stuff.



    6a. The storage backend. This equipment, in the case of a large company such as Macmillan, will not come from any place like Newegg or Fry's. It's very likely that it's purchased from Netapp, Sun (nee, Oracle), HP, Dell, Hitachi, etc; basically, companies that sell stuff you can run a large business on 24x7 for years on end. This sort of storage is never cheap for anything you'd want to rely on, even for SATA drives; usually, it's based on SCSI or SAS disks. Although, the drives are really the cheap part compared with the infrastructure required to make them useful.



    6b. You will need someone (or several someones) to administer the storage backend, both logically and physically. This may be the same person as the system or network admin, or it may not be because it can get extremely complex and consume a lot of time to manage it.



    7a. You will be paying for throughput used between your servers and your ISP, definitely upstream and possibly downstream, generally by the megabit. Probably somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 and $30 per megabit, depending on too many variables to list here. Note: This is megabits, not megabytes. This includes data transferred between your data centers that doesn't go over a private WAN link. Some of the non-WAN costs can be mitigated by using content distribution networks, such as Akamai, but then of course you're also paying Akamai for their services.



    7b. The cost of private WAN links between data centers, if you have them. These are, however, almost always cheaper than paying by the megabit for traffic that transits the public Internet, but they're still a non-trivial cost.



    8. Support contracts for the hardware.



    9. Support contracts for the storage management, and other, software you will almost certainly be using for the petabytes or exabytes of storage space you're managing across all of your data centers.



    10. Backups for all that data. You don't think these guys sit around with one copy of everything, do you? They don't. Granted, backups may be worked into the storage systems linked across data centers but there's still whatever software is being used to manage those backups.



    11. Annual or bi-annual hardware upgrades to at least some gear; annual or bi-annual hardware replacement of outdated gear.



    12. Costs associated with disposing of that outdated gear.



    13. Periodic costs for software upgrades that fall outside the support contract. Also, costs for acquiring new software as becomes necessary.



    Data storage may cost next to nothing for you, the average end-user/consumer, but it is far from cheap for publishing businesses of the size we're discussing with respect to the iPad.
  • Reply 11 of 50
    I wish publishers would learn by now that DRM only hurts sales. Here's the simple truth:



    The people who don't know about DRM won't care whether its there or not. They'll just continue to buy books unknowingly, as they did with music.



    The people who *DO* care about DRM will obviously reject it, which causes would-be customers to move on and not buy, or in extreme cases to pirate the book.



    Its so stupid that publishers believe that by somehow not adding copy protection you're opening the floodgates to piracy. Its not true at all. The people who are sophisticated enough to use P2P to steal something will do so regardless, and you can't stop it. Period. There's no such thing as "casual" piracy anymore - its a myth. Everything is done online now, and people are smart enough and willing to pay for their content with the promise that they can view it on any device they want.



    These artificial barriers must die already.
  • Reply 12 of 50
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post


    I keep wondering how libraries are going to employ eBook technology? If they purchase one "copy" can any number of patrons download and read it at the same time?



    A Ireland states, they will remain physical, but that will eventually not be the only method or eventually libraries as we know them will disappear. Perhaps they'll use a DRM scheme similar to the way you rent movies from the iTS. Meaning, it will expire after a set time, like two weeks.



    Perhaps rented media will also come requirements that only allow for the media to transfer from user (device) to user (device) once that key has been returned to the library to loan out again. This would still make returning a book a requirement, so if you didn't log back on to have it pushed back to the library you would then be responsible for late fees and possibly the full cost of the eBook and publishers would know that a very limited number of copies are being distributed this way. Along with this, registering your eReader wouldn't be out of the question.



    Libraries would have to find alternative methods for loaning out material. At first this could be done through the libraries themselves as they will be used together the way libraries offer local residence internet. Latter they may allow you to do everything online just so long as you've verified your credentials. After all, these are local government funded services in most cases so outside user abuse can not be tolerated.
  • Reply 13 of 50
    tofinotofino Posts: 697member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    Without DRM you'd still be tied to the iPad, right?



    Anyway, besides, if you expected no DRM on books your living in a world very different from this one. The main issues with iBooks won't be the DRM, but the cost of the books. $9.99 should be the maximum, not more-like the minimum. This will change hopefully, but expect it to take a few years at least. The right price and the reading bug would make these guys way more money.



    i thought the ipad can read e-pub files? aren't there other readers that support that format? so a non-DRM'd book should be portable between devices, no?
  • Reply 14 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    Libraries will reaming physical.



    I download ebooks from our library. They have X copies of a title at a time, and the viewing times only lasts a set period of time. After I "return" the item, or the loan period expires, another person can download the same item.



    They also offer audiobooks the same way.



    The technology they're using is Overdrive. http://www.overdrive.com/
  • Reply 15 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    Without DRM you'd still be tied to the iPad, right?



    Anyway, besides, if you expected no DRM on books your living in a world very different from this one. The main issues with iBooks won't be the DRM, but the cost of the books. $9.99 should be the maximum, not more-like the minimum. This will change hopefully, but expect it to take a few years at least. The right price and the reading bug would make these guys way more money.



    Without DRM, you'd be free to read your book on your PC, Mac, Kindle, or any other e-reader of your choice. You wouldn't be tied down to the iPad since these books use the ePup format, the MP3 of ebooks.



    While consumers would obviously love a $9.99 price point, at some point a line has to be drawn. Its no longer worth it to both the publishers and the authors if they're getting next to nothing per-sale of the book. Look at Amazon's current model - Amazon takes 70% of the $9.99 purchase price for themselves, and the publishers take the remaining 30%. And since the author only makes around 10% of the publisher's gains, you're talking around $0.30 per copy of your book sold going into your pocket! Even if you sell millions of copies, that's not a whole lot of money. In many cases, you could be losing money for every copy sold.



    With Apple's model, Apple only takes 30% and lets the publisher set the price. This way, the publisher gets a fair deal, and the authors actually profit for their hard work. Sure, we pay more for the content, but if the authors ultimately can't make a living off the current model, they stop writing books. And that wouldn't be good for anyone.
  • Reply 16 of 50
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post


    That doesn't appear to be the case:



    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/15/bo...libraries.html



    Call me when they get rid of physical books.
  • Reply 17 of 50
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ltcompuser View Post


    I download ebooks from our library.



    I never said they won't have the digital option. I just mean books aren't going anywhere anytime soon.
  • Reply 18 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    Call me when they get rid of physical books.



    You misunderstood me. I never doubted that brick and mortar libraries would continue. I was only wondering how they would incorporate ebooks. No need to get snappish.
  • Reply 19 of 50
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by yuusharo View Post


    While consumers would obviously love a $9.99 price point, at some point a line has to be drawn. Its no longer worth it to both the publishers and the authors if they're getting next to nothing per-sale of the book.



    $10 at 70% (Apple split) give the publisher $7 per book in sales. The credit card fees come out of the Apple side. Give the writer €2.50, the publisher take €4 and €0.50c on unseen expenses. I think that's fair.
  • Reply 20 of 50
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post


    You misunderstood me. I never doubted that brick and mortar libraries would continue. I was only wondering how they would incorporate ebooks. No need to get snappish.



    I'm not being snappish, I was being sincere.
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