Should I use DRM to protect my book? Does it work to prevent piracy? Are there downsides? In this video, I discuss why I don’t recommend DRM and don’t view piracy as a priority issue for most authors.
What’s up everybody this is Rob Archangel of Archangelink.com and in this video I want to talk to you about DRM.
Should you or should you not elect for DRM when you’re uploading your Kindle title? My short answer is no. Generally we do not use DRM, and we do not recommend that our clients use DRM. But I’ll go over a little bit of the pros and cons and talk about why that is.
What is DRM?
So, first off, what is DRM? DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. Theoretically it is a way to help add an extra layer of protection to your digital materials so that people will not be able to pirate it and you will prevent unauthorized access.
So in theory, that sounds nice but there are two problems with that. The first problem is, you as a creator, as an author, can’t actually fully prevent piracy. There are ways to get around the Digital Rights Management blocking and if you’re technically proficient, you can still pirate material if you are really set on doing so. So it’s not actually any guarantee that your book will not be pirated at all.
The second issue with it is: because of the way DRM is structured, occasionally it does present issues for authorized users, for people who actually buy your book, to access it on multiple devices. They might have a smartphone, and their tablet, and their E-reader and their home platform. And because the way DRM works, sometimes you have a hard time accessing it on all of those. And so there are some readers, who, on principle will not use and will not purchase any books that have DRM.
Why Finding Readers is More Important
So, let’s talk about the idea behind why you would use this. Theoretically, it’s because you want to make sure that anybody who’s accessing your material, is paying fairly for it. And that you’re compensated as a creator, and that is important, that’s valuable and that’s totally valid.
However I would say that the bigger issue, especially for starting out authors, is not widespread unauthorized use, but actually getting people interested in reading your book in the first place. This is why so many people have a hard time, even with free advance review copies, getting people to read their book, to spend time with it, because there’s so many books out there. There are so many free resources available and people have limited time. They don’t have access to it and the likelihood that they’re actually going to go out and search your book and read it pirated for free, as opposed to one of the gazillion other free resources that are completely legal out there to cover whatever topic that you’re covering, is relatively low.
So if you are in a position where you’re actually able to get people excited and interested in your book, chances are: you have some loyal followership and you’re actually being compensated on the aggregate fairly reasonably for the material.
So that’s a good thing. It is a problem of success if you have some piracy. And yeah it is on principle not great. Obviously, we want to be compensated, we want to not be taken advantage of it.
Our DRM Recommendation
So I totally understand the decision to use DRM, if that’s your inclination. However, I would say for the technical reasons outlined a moment ago and because generally it is a signal that you are successful and that you actually have a followership, it’s probably worth it to focus on that instead, and not worry about DRM.
Instead work on getting people really excited and interested in your work. And chances are if that’s happening, then your business will grow. And you’ll be closer to achieving whatever goals you have for your particular business.
But let me know down below what your thoughts are on DRM. Whether you use it, why or why not, what the experience that you’ve had with DRM is? And let me know if you have any other questions or comments on the matter.
This is Rob Archangel of archangelink.com and I will see you all next time.