Lulu Says Goodbye to DRM

Lulu was founded on the philosophy of breaking down barriers that prevent talented authors from sharing their knowledge and telling their stories. Our goal is to help authors reach the broadest possible audience by providing tools to create, publish, market and sell their remarkable work. In an ongoing commitment to our founding philosophy, we continue to remove barriers when we see them, which brings us to the subject of Digital Rights Management (DRM)…

Effective January 15, 2013, Lulu will no longer offer Adobe’s Digital Editions DRM as an option when publishing or revising eBook content in EPUB and PDF formats. DRM works best when administered by those who control how content is purchased and viewed. Companies like Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble integrate a reader’s experience from purchasing to downloading and finally to reading. These companies do a fantastic job in this area, and eBooks published through Lulu and distributed through these retail sites will continue to have the same rights management applied as they do today.

For readers who download eBooks directly from Lulu.com to the device of their choice, removing DRM on EPUBs and PDFs will remove their need to create an Adobe account, authorize the purchase in Digital Editions or install a third-party application. This creates possibilities for the growing number of readers who want to shop, purchase and download books to their eReaders from sites other than large corporate providers. And we see that as a step towards helping authors reach the broadest audience possible.

Lulu authors with DRM-protected content available today will soon receive an email with additional information about how this change affects their DRM-protected eBooks and the steps required to ensure continued availability of these titles in the Lulu Marketplace. You can also find additional – and more detailed – information about the change here: Announcement: DRM and eBooks Published on the Lulu Marketplace.

We realize that any mention of support for or opposition to DRM in a public blog post, forum, or article will spark a heated debate between publishers and consumers. In the spirit of open communication, we welcome your comments and will respond to your concerns as needed.

Thank you for choosing Lulu to tell your story. We wish you great success in the coming year.

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157 Comments

  1. Thanks, this is an excellent idea. Now if I could only sell ePUBs and mobs through you with embedded fonts. I’ve been selling them through my website, but only Kindle KDP will accept Kindle KF8 files with embedded fonts and none of the ePUB distributors, yet.

  2. I don’t know if any of my books are affected by this. How can I tell which books are affected and which are not?

  3. Morgan, Lulu

    @Arthur – Hi Arthur, all DRM protected projects on your My Projects page will be labeled to indicate they must be revised and republished before March 12, 2013 to remain available for sale on the Lulu Marketplace. There are other helpful details here: http://ar.gy/30Sz

  4. It’s all well and good that Lulu would like to help authors ‘share their knowledge and tell their stories’ by breaking down barriers (while Lulu makes a profit.).

    However…I think many authors would like to ‘sell’ and make money from it as well. It seems like this opens things up for more illegal file sharing. It’s a loss of protection for those who would want it by denying them the option of DRM protection.

    It also smacks of the usual attitude, that online sites that exist solely from the content users provide, that they are exempt from any responsibility for the content or obligated to protect the users who provide it, while they are profiting off it.

  5. David

    Absolutely right, Michael B. I’ve got copies of my non-DRM ebooks all over the torrent sites and thousands of downloads registered, for which I haven’t received a cent. As soon as you push for them to be taken down, they’re posted up again.

    This is a seriously retrograde step by Lulu, which clearly seems to value only its own profile, displaying no concern whatsoever for its content creators. Lulu should be aware that professional authors don’t write to satisfy their egos – they need money to make a living, and develop a career.

    At the very least, Lulu should have canvassed the views of those most affected – ie its content creators – before taking this step, instead of being totally disinterested in our views.

    PLUS they should now give us an option as to whether we want to continue DRM protection or not. After all, it’s our content – and will Lulu be pursuing the torrent sites to protect our non- DRM work? I think not ….

  6. Michael and Davis are exactly right! Theft is so rife on the internet that Lulu should NOT be removing DRM. I was relieved when they added it, the removal is a retrograde step that will see me moving any new content straight to Kindle.

  7. Ian

    Agree with the above of course. They are DRM’d for a reason. Torrents, File Sharing, Usenet are all profit killers.

    I’d like to ask Lulu why is there no option to just leave the book live and untouched if desired when the DRM is removed. I really can’t be bothered faffing about uploading and all that again, its painful.

  8. Morgan, Lulu

    @Michael B, David, Lisa G & Ian – Thanks for the comments. To address your concerns, the approach we recommend is to put your eBooks in Private Access status on Lulu.com, which means they will not be available at Lulu.com, but that they will continue to be available through distribution partners (like Apple and Barnes & Noble). Those distribution partners provide their own versions of DRM protection. There is more information provided here: http://ar.gy/30Sz

  9. David

    Thanks, Morgan. But we had a choice before, as to whether to have DRM on Lulu titles or not – so why remove the option? Plus we’ve already paid for DRM on existing titles, which you’re now not honoring.

    These aspects haven’t been explained at all. Perhaps Tom would do us the courtesy of providing a proper explanation?

  10. Donny Brusca

    Horrible move! I’ve just added a DRM version of my physical textbook as a free REVIEW COPY (ie, no profit — Lulu’s $1.24 charge). This allows faculty to review the entire book without my having to worry about copies printed for class, with the hope that they actually PURCHASE the physical textbooks (BULK) through Lulu. I can’t afford to send a free physical copy to every potential reviewer.

    Thoughts on how Lulu will allow reviewers to get free REVIEW COPIES, standard in the education industry, without the author footing the bill ???

  11. As an author and an editor who has worked with Lulu for years, I have to say that I am impressed with this decision. Down with DRM! Go Lulu!

  12. Annoyed

    I would rather keep DRM to deter copyright theft, my opinion is that any gate even if it be rusty is better than nothing. The ability to use DRM with LULU is the reason I have used your company and not Smashwords. Now I need to concider if I wish to continue to work with you. I am very annoyed at your decision

  13. A great idea! DRM is a big bullshit! Congratulations!

  14. So this means I need to be done with Lulu then. – correct? Not allowing my books any other way sorry – it is just a dumb move. Nice knowing you Lulu.

  15. Grant

    Well, so long and thanks for all the fish then Lulu. If you cannot help me protect my profits, I see no reason why I should contribute to yours.

  16. Barbara

    I have not used DRM myself so far for any of my books. After reading up on it a bit after seeing this announcement, I support Lulu in what they are doing. The world of publishing is changing rapidly and it’s nice to know that Lulu is constantly evaluating its services in that light.
    For those who desire to keep DRM, Lulu has offered options and alternatives.

  17. Morgan, Lulu

    @Grant, @Jennifer – Thanks for the comments. To ensure that your books are only available with DRM protection, our recommended approach is this: Put your eBooks in Private Access status on Lulu.com. This means they will not be available at Lulu.com. If your books are in distribution, then they will continue to be available through distribution partners (like Apple and Barnes & Noble). Those distribution partners provide their own versions of DRM protection. There is more information provided here: http://ar.gy/30Sz

  18. john

    Very bad move. You are not focusing on your real customers – the authors.

    Good bye, Lulu.

    Tell your CEO, he/she is really stupid.

  19. Phil

    Too bad. As some have noted, selling digital books without DRM makes them de facto public domain. I’ve done this before, and even though you put up a payment link for people who obtain it illegally to use (if they have a conscience), it doesn’t work.

    I will probably be removing my Lulu digital works and publishing them elsewhere. I hope other authors do the same.

  20. Barbara S

    Does this mean that eBooks published using Lulu will be available on Kindle (in addition to iBooks and Nook)? I was planning to create an eBook this year so it seems I need to learn about DRM and weigh my options. Thanks!

  21. Morgan, Lulu

    @Barbara – Hi Barbara. This change does not affect our current distribution. For a list of distribution channels and additional information, please see here: http://ar.gy/31Lu

  22. Olivia Cates

    I am both a writer and a purchaser of ebooks, and I fully support the movement to get rid of DRM. As a reader, I like to back up my nook books on my hard drive in case something happens to B&N. It’s much less of a hassle to do this with my DRM-free books. I can still do it with books that contain DRM; all I need to do is use a nifty little program that my techie brother showed me. It would only be one more step for me to upload the files onto a torrent site. And all it takes is ONE DRM-free copy to make its way to a torrent site, and bam, it’s out there for anyone to grab. And guess what? The pirated version is more user-friendly than the legitimate one.

    As a writer, I don’t approve of piracy, but I’m also a pragmatist. DRM does not work. If people are paying any attention to your work at all, it will show up on torrent sites regardless of whether or not you use DRM. All it does is create a hassle for legitimate consumers.

    More and more authors are choosing to go DRM-free, and I thank them for it.

  23. Barbara S

    Thanks, Morgan. I hope that is in the works in the near future. I am a fan of Lulu and it seems this DRM change will open up more possibilities (while still leaving creators the option to keep it if they wish, seems reasonable enough).

  24. hgmenco

    So,if I put my eBooks in Private Access status on Lulu.com. What will happen with my spotlight?

  25. Kurt Brandle

    I just self-published an eBook on architecture with over 300 mostly colored photos which does not lend itself to successful ePub conversion and small tablet viewing. I was glad to find the possibility of DRM protected PDF distribution through Lulu at a reasonable price, especially for students. Selling unprotected opens the way to extensive copying. Lulu’s decision does not, as they state, “help authors reach the broadest possible audience by providing tools to create, publish, market and sell their remarkable work”. It is extremely unfair. Considering the mostly negative comments about their decision, I ask Lulu to reconsider it.
    Does anybody know an other place which uses DRM protected PDF distribution? Please let me know, here is my e-mail address: kbrandle@umich.edu

    Kurt Brandle

  26. David

    Lulu still refuse to answer my earlier point that a number of authors – myself included – have paid for DRM, and now the company is reneging on these contracts with us, having taken our money.

    Is this money going to be credited back to our accounts?

    Perhaps CEO Tom will post here and tell us, as Morgan clearly isn’t intending to do so!

  27. Thanks for the heads up. But you’ll lose my business as an author and a publisher for ebooks… I have contractual obligations to some of my authors I publish to use DRM. If Lulu won’t give me the freedom to comply with my contractual obligations as a publisher, then I’ll go elsewhere.

  28. Sjaak Laan

    I understand that books set to private will still be available through iTunes and Nook. Will this also apply to new ebooks that I might publish? Is there a way to sell them through the secured distribution channels, but not through the unsecured Lulu marketplace?

  29. I’ve read the email about DRM and perhaps Morgan would be good enough to answer two questions.

    1)The email says ‘On March 12, 2013 all remaining DRM-protected eBooks will be set to Private Access, temporarily removing them from the Lulu marketplace until placed back into General or Direct Access by the author’

    So, if I don’t revise my book and wait until Lulu does this, and then I place my ebooks back into general access, does that save me the faff of having to revise them?

    2)I’ve been in a quandry over DRM ever since a friend of mine said they would not purchase my book from iTunes because they had to download an app to get round the DRM! Not all iBooks are DRM so the fact that mine was appeared to follow through from it being DRM on Lulu. As Lulu distribute to iTunes on my behalf how will I get to make that option if I’m not uploading direct to iTunes?

    Thanks

  30. Seems like a step backward to me. Writing is my livelihood. I protect my work the same as I protect other personal property. I offer it for sale with the expectation I can protect it from resale or piracy. Any serious author would understand that DRM protects them. If the “ease of backing up files” is more important than ensure you get paid for your intellectual property, maybe authors who support this move by LuLu should keep their day job and let those of us serious about making it in this business have at it. Personally, I’ll just upload to B&N and whatever directly so to cut out another chunk of my income (LuLu’s cut.) got no problem with that.

  31. Jackson Mumey

    You say goodbye to DRM and we say goodbye to Lulu.

  32. LaMar

    I have used Lulu for over 4 years and in that time they have done nothing but try to hurt the authors that have made the company profits.

    This looks like another example and I will bet they are in cahoots with apple and amazon to force authors to only sell books through those channels if you want protection.

    I say screw Lulu and sell them your self through those outlets and that is what I am now doing and through my own websites.

    Why pay Lulu to do nothing but transfer the file- Enough is enough!

  33. I now wait for something like : lulu is proud to offer new lulu DRM protection…

  34. Simple …when something is stopped…it is becaue thay are not making profit…and it is OVER…the details do not matter …the reality is the DRM choice is gone. And it is not and has nothing to do with what is Best for us. Just like the day they Cut out DVD Film uploads for sale…cost VS Profit…so they can or we can talk about this or that but when something that is OBVIOUSLY GOOD and VALUABLE for us is gone…it is because they are no longer interested in losing MONEY or not Making enough Money…it’s the BOTTOM LINE…so no matter what we or they say…it is about COST VS Profit period. And I wish they would have just posted a Reality CHECK for everyone saying we really wanted to do this forever but our budget and Profit to LOSS ratio shows us it will no longer be possible…WE FAILED to find ways to continue this VERY VAluable service…but it is Costing us to much MONEY to include the service. And then we simply stay or move on… all the best…PS My wife and I just got one way tickets for PLANET ZARKON…it’s my Home…we really enjoyed PLANET LULU but ZARKON has DRM as LAW…so blessings…LOLOLO

  35. It’s important to distinguish between “sales lost” and “copies obtained for free”. They are not the same thing. The one book I have details on which is published through Lulu is, quite intentionally, 100% accessible for free, with no DRM. It’s sold, if not exactly millions, certainly way more than the majority of “self-published” books I hear of — including hundreds of people who have bought the $25 paperback after reading it for free.

    Underneath it all, the fact is: Every attempt to collect real data confirms that DRM-free stuff makes more money than stuff with DRM. Unauthorized copies aren’t lost sales; they’re free advertising.

    Meanwhile, as a consumer, I have lost hundreds and hundreds of dollars of stuff that I legitimately purchased to DRM schemes, and gotten in the habit of avoiding anything with any hint of DRM on it, because all it means to me is that I get a worse product if I pay for it than the people who copy it without permission or payment. DRM-free stuff doesn’t confront me with that uncomfortable choice, and I buy a lot more DRM-free stuff.

    Glad to see this happening.

  36. Wolf Windshadow

    since my book is out already and I cannot afford to lose revenue on it, will lulu pay for the copies that get pirated due to this change?

  37. Morgan, Lulu

    @Sjaak – Yes, that is exactly right.

  38. Morgan, Lulu

    @David – Hi David, Thank you for bringing this concern to our attention. I will work on getting a response for you from the team tomorrow when our offices open back up.

  39. Bryce

    I never really got why authors opted for DRM in the first place. This is a great move for Lulu, since I want my readers to read on any device using any software they like.

    For those that are worrying about their profits, you guys just do not get how either piracy works, nor the truth about encryption. If you do not trust your customer, you do not deserve any payment because DRM can and will be cracked. Not only that but ebooks are not physical goods. Most of the cost that goes into them is already covered by making a print edition (editing, cover design, etc.), so the only real cost is formatting, if you hire another third party, and distribution costs, though one can get on Google Play, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon without paying cent.

  40. Moe

    No PLEASE!!!! This is the worst thing LULU can do! My customers will be sharing my books for free and my revenues will be severed. I eagrly discourage LULU from taking this step. My customers never had an issue with DRM files.

  41. This looks as the end of lulu..

    Well..the real solution would be to let authors choose.
    Or propose an alternative or improved qualité on paper book, such as covers.
    Otherwise, why stay on lulu? Really why ?
    Who know the other upcomming options?

  42. Guys, guys. People “sharing” books DOES NOT REDUCE YOUR REVENUE. This has been tested out, extensively, by multiple people. Free copies of books INCREASE sales of those books.

    Go look at the background of the Baen Free Library.

    http://www.baen.com/library/intro.asp

    Seriously. This is not rocket science. It’s been tried, and tested, and people have done head-to-head comparisons, and they’ve done tests, and they’ve done longitudinal studies, and it stays true: DRM is not actually helping sales for anyone who’s yet published their data.

    Think!

    If your goal is to get income, then all you should be counting is income. Don’t worry about copies; just count your sales. If Book A sells 100 copies, and no one gets free copies, and Book B sells 5,000 copies, and 50,000 people got free copies, who made more money? Hint: Book B.

    If this were 10 years ago, and we hadn’t done these tests over and over with books, movies, music, video games, and everything else we’ve been able to try, it might make sense to be freaked out about it, but these days… Really, no. The fact is, the net effect is a solid positive, and you’ll be better off if you roll with it.

  43. I am looking at this with very mixed feelings I have to say. I am not really a fan of DRM, the technical problems it brings are just ridicolous, but on the other hand killing DRM fully (because it can be cracked anyway as somebody already mentioned…) is like leaving your house unlocked just because the lock can be cracked anyway…
    Will the decision change my attitude towards Lulu? No… My main market for ebooks is Amazon anyway, so loosing the people that buy via Lulu doesn’t really matter to me.
    Will it bring me to publish DRM free? Maybe in some cases, but not in many.

  44. Nick

    Lulu could perhaps list the Lulu market place as a distribution option just like Barnes & Noble and Apple.

    I write tech books for Apple programmers. 99% of my sales come through the Apple iBookStore. About 0.9% come from B&N and about 0.1% from Lulu. I think Lulu provides a great service as portal to publishing on the iBookStore, but I will not miss sales on Lulu or B&N. They are pretty much nonexistant …

    The Apple iBookStore provides its own copy protection once the book goes live. If I MUST distribute through Lulu with no DRM, then LULU will be the source of piracy of my titles.

    Can vi opt out of listing our books on Lulu?

  45. As someone who sells significant numbers of specialists books, I am not impressed with the removal of DRM for lulu e-books.

    Allowing easy copying means that one’s work is straight into the public domain.

  46. Si, ma come la mettiamo con la protezione dei copyright? Se basta scaricare un ebook per poi distribuirlo liberamente anche via email che fine fa il nostro diritto d’autore? Posso installare i file ebook con la protezione da copia e stampa di adobe acrobat? Altrimenti preferisco rinunciare alla distribuzione via ebook.

  47. David

    How can Seebs claim that pirating increases sales? Believe me, from the sharp end as a professional author, it doesn’t! In fact, it’s totally wrong to suggest that giving access to entire books (as distinct from a sample) increases sales of them – quite the contrary, as commonsense dictates. Who is going to pay for something if they can get it for free?

    Also, why should people expect to be able to read content on every device under the sun, and think that they somehow ‘own’ the copyright of their purchase? Sorry, but if you buy a physical book, you don’t expect it to morph into several copies, so why should it be different with an ebook? If you want a copy for another device, buy one …. ebooks are generally cheaper anyway than hard copies.

  48. Derrick

    I recently tried to “borrow” a book from my local library which requires an Adobe Digital Editions account. The instructions on how to do this came with my Nook. There were simply too many steps to complete. I was frustrated with the process of actually getting the book onto my reader. It would have almost been faster to simply go to the library or the used bookstore to purchase a copy. As a consumer, I want to browse, purchase, download, and start reading – hence the reason for purchasing an eReader.

    Maybe it is just me, but if you are offering a product that is meant to be read and enjoyed, why would you make the experience of obtaining your product anything less than easy to complete? After my library experience, I now avoid all eBooks that require use of Digital Editions.

    As a proud Nook owner and avid reader, I am tickled to death to see this change. It cannot happen fast enough.

  49. Morgan, Lulu

    @Nick – Yes. Simply switch the status of your book so that it says “Private Access.” This will make your book unavailable on Lulu.com, but will not affect its availability in B&N or iBookstore.

  50. Lisa Selvidge

    This sounds very suspicious to me. I don’t have time to go over publications and re-publish. I have published with Lulu since 2005 and used to be a big fan but these sudden dictatorial changes are beginning to irritate me. The beginning of the end for me was the wiping out of my addresses where I had between 50-100 addresses of reviewers, editors and other publishers stored. I probably did receive a warning like the one I’ve received just now about DRM, but, like now, I don’t have time to do anything about it.

    Disappointed,

    Lisa

  51. Morgan, Lulu

    @David – Thank you for your patience in waiting for a response on your question from 6:26pm EST yesterday. We have followed up internally and are emailing you directly at the email address that you used to post the comment. Thanks :)

  52. Mindy

    @Morgan – I, too, would like to receive the email David received explaining if the money is going to be credited back to my account. Please provide this information to the email address used to post this comment.

  53. Kurt Brandle

    Much of the discussion about Lulu’s removal of DRM does not go to the essence. The question is not whether access is easier (and sales are perhaps more) without DRM. The question is whether authors should have the choice to protect their product. And Lulu says in effect: “we take this protection away and you have to sell through sales channels which have their own DRM”.
    My just self-published book (with many illustrations) requires PDF for proper viewing and cannot go through these channels. So, I am forced to sell unprotected in a textbook environment where pirating is game.

  54. Shirelle

    This is in response to Bryce’s comments and Lulu’s decision. As an ebook author I understand the time, effort, sweat etc. that goes into writing a story. Most ebook authors don’t make a living doing this, they have other jobs, they have families who need their time, some barely make enough on their books to cover the cost of filing a tax return on their earnings. Yet, I get the feeling, you’re discounting everything that goes into the book to make it enjoyable for the reader. Editing costs money, but it makes the experience better for the reader, so the money is spent on it. Cover art costs money, but most readers want to have that picture to look at, to get a feel for the story before they make a decision to spend their hard earned money on it, so the money is spent on it. Most ebook authors are just that. Ebook authors. There aren’t any print copies of their work available because there simply isn’t enough money left to be spent on it. And for the authors who do have print copies, they’re making very little from those sales because they cost so much more to produce. I understand that DRM, like everything else, will and can be cracked. However, I don’t understand the thought that a writer should be thought less of for using it to protect their work. Or made out to look like we don’t trust our customers. In a a perfect world we could trust everyone, but that’s not the world we live in and most of us understand that. We have the right to protect our home, property, family etc. We have the right to minimum wage when go out to work, but most authors are only making mere cents for every hour they spend creating an outlet for others. It’s not just about how fast they can type. The words and ideas have to be thought out, worlds created, loose ends need to be tied up, time has to be spent on research. And we would condemn them for trying to protect their work any way they see fit? We would condemn them for trying to protect those cents an hour they make?

  55. Nobody’s made a comment on the question I raised yesterday so I thought I’d repost.
    If I don’t revise my book and wait until Lulu does this, and then I place my ebooks back into general access, does that save me the faff of having to revise them?

    When I considered removing DRM I was told that I’d have to revise my project and it would be assigned a new ISBN. I’ve already put out advertising with the currrent ISBN. So, what will happen re ISBNs?

  56. Glenn, Lulu

    @Toni – if you choose not to revise and republish your work to immediately remove DRM from your eBook, you can wait until March 12 when all you will have to do is reset the eBook status to General Access.

    No revising, no republishing, no new ISBN, no faff – just a few mouse clicks and you’re done.

    I hope this answers your question.

  57. Morgan, Lulu

    @Antonino – Grazie per la domanda. La protezione dei copyright comunque rimane sempre valido e quindi l’eBook è sempre considerato protetto da copyright anche senza il DRM. Il nostro wizard della pubblicazione degli eBook non è in grado di accettare un file con la protezione da copia e stampa di Adobe Acrobat. Se hai bisogno di ulteriore assistenza, ti chiediamo gentilmente di mandarci una email nella pagina di Aiuto. Grazie mille!

  58. Is it possible to delete the footnotes and endnotes in my ebook, if there’s not DRM? In my books I have extensive footnotes and endnotes which makes the book valuable. If these are hidden or not accessible then piracy doesn’t matter, the content is secondary for professional scholarship in the medical/ scientific/ nutritional field my books are written for. Thanks.

  59. Using DRM was never compulsory – if you disagreed with it, you could simply not use it.

    Why are we no longer being given the choice? I do not believe I can risk my book being available without DRM due to the level of piracy – also, companies that might have bought multiple licenses under DRM would now just buy one and copy.

    Whether you agree with the use of DRM or not, surely we (as authors) should be able to make our own choice (just as consumers can choose not to purchase DRM-encumbered works)? What is the real reason for removing the option – I suspect it is to save Lulu money somehow…

    Steve

  60. What is not 100% clear to me: I see we can re-issue our book in January or wait until March and place it from private to public. If I re-issue, is this only a change in the DMR setting? Or does my book become a new edition with a new ISBN? I hope it remains same edition and ISBN. All my promotion and information has the current ISBN and I’d like to keep it that way and available on Lulu market place. I don’t care if it has DMR or not from Adobe.

  61. Duncan

    I am very unhappy with this announcement. In my view Lulu should leave things as they are in regards to DRM. Authors should always have the option to have their books under DRM protection. For those who may wish to opt out that is fine but I would have preferred to have left things as they are. This move does not make any sense to me as an author.

  62. Good move.

    DRM chases away consumers because it puts big hurdles in place for the general consumer to enjoy the book, while putting almost no hurdles in place for the dedicated pirate to share the book.

    DRM chases away consumers.

  63. Nick

    @Morgan – excellent news. I’ll be staying with Lulu then. I’m very happy with the service so far, and Apple and the iBookStore are notoriously difficult to deal with.

  64. Cyril

    Agree with the view expressed so far… Without DRM what’s the point to charge for an eBook ? and what happen to my ISBN , does it remains unaffected can i re-use it freely on other eBook store myself? thx

  65. Will I be reimbursed for the DRM I have already paid for? Why are you answering this question privately instead of online? Please email me the answer, as you did with David.

  66. Glenn, Lulu

    @ Carolyn Gage – At Lulu, Authors have never had to pay any fees for publishing their work – including the application of DRM to their work. All DRM fees are paid by the consumer when they purchase a DRM protected title.

    Consumers who purchased a DRM protected title will continue to have access to the titles they purchased and authorized through Adobe Digital Editions.

  67. Glenn, Lulu

    @Cyril – If you only republish to remove DRM, you are not changing the contents of your book. Your current ISBN will be unaffected as long as the eBook is republished as essentially the same work.

  68. Adin Burroughs

    This is beyond awesome; thanks, thanks, thanks for not locking your customers down anymore!

    ::off to go buy some books::

  69. Ted Orland

    If the self published (and self important) authors who are commenting on this article honestly believe they LOSE sales due to piracy they are hopelessly ill-informed. If someone walks into Wal-Mart to steal a CD or something, they had no intention of paying for it. If someone goes to a torrent website to steal your book, they aren’t going to go to iBooks to buy it if it isn’t there.

    All DRM does is keep honest, paying customers from buying your books and doing what they want with them. Customers who want to print a chapter to highlight, annotate, etc., are prohibited from it (unless they know how to download a Python script from a website) because the self-published author believes they’re thieves in hiding. Give me a break.

  70. What about the comments readers posted on the stories we’ve published? We will lose those won’t we?

  71. Plenty of media with DRM is shared illicitly because DRM doesn’t stop anyone who really wants to make copies that work in whatever reader the user wants to use. DRM, therefore, isn’t really about stopping illicit copying and sharing. DRM is about control over the reader, an undeserved control that pushes people like me to not buy DRMed copies of any work. I’d rather do without than have digital restrictions management control what I can see, hear, or read. That way DRM publishers don’t get my money nor do they get control over how, when, and where I read.

    DRM chiefly works against the readers who pay — they have to live with the undesirable consequences of having paid for a copy of a restricted work. Users deserve to make a copy of the work knowing their copy will function properly in their reader of choice. This is particularly useful when the user’s first copy fails for any reason. But if the DRM is also in the backup copy, the backup copy is equally useless. DRM, depending on the implementation details, can also be used to find out when or where they’re reading the work (also known as spying on the reader). One should question whose interests are being “protected” (as some on this thread have said) with DRM; that’s the point of the word “rights” in DRM — see things from the view of those that impose the limits, not those whom the limits are imposed upon.

  72. Joe feely

    Good move Lulu.

  73. I find really disappointing to read authors claiming for DRM! It is really incredible that such persons could really believe that DRM protected their works!
    In a simple way, the DRM works like this: companies put locks (DRM) in content and put the keys that open up that content in the devices where it will be played (otherwise nobody could see a movie or read an ebook). Then they sell all of this to the public.
    But the people who want to break those locks (DRM) *are* part of the public.
    The only thing they have to do is to see how the key opens the lock!
    Can you really believe DRM is a secured system, that could protected something?
    Why do you think that any new DRM system is broken within days, most of the time within hours?
    The only people that are annoyed and frustrated by DRM are the readers who want comply with the law.
    You know… the ones that *buy your* books.

    I must say I stopped to give money to companies or authors that use DRM, a long time ago. I’m boycotting several publishers and authors.
    Still, I buy lots of books! Books from authors that don’t lock me up!

  74. Rochelle

    I’m not too keen on this as all of my books have fancy fonts for the titles and that is how I plan to keep them. So, I plan to start looking for a new self-publishing company. As an Author, I should have the right to use fancy monts in my work. Who is Lulu to tell me I can’t? You guys don’t own my work, i do!

  75. Matteo Settenvini

    DRM offers little protection in practice. Look at DRM protected music or movies: you can easily find them on torrent sites anyways. Even videogames, which are meant to have state-of-the-art copy protection, are cracked within days. DRM is NOT the answer for solving the problem of lost revenue.

    The only thing DRM does, is making harder for legitimate, paying customers to handle and read your work. For instance, I have some music bought from a store that I cannot play in one of my players because of copy protection. And I cannot even get a refund. Compare with the recent success of the Story Bundle, which does not have *any* DRM: clearly the “DRM == money for the author” equation is not a good assumption.

    I am disappointed that authors are not better informed about the problems DRM causes, without providing any good protection.

  76. Thanks Lulu, since I do NOT take into any consideration DRM protected content for my purchases (that’s my policy), now I can have a look at what Lulu has to offer.

    P.S. the actual customers are readers, not writers

  77. Patrice Salsa

    French writters are less fortunated (if it’s possible) the the others:
    Here the mail I’have receveid from Lulu :
    “Important notice regarding your DRM-protected eBook
    Starting January 15th, we will no longer be adding new or revised French language eBooks to the iBookstore and B&N.”
    The choice left for the authors between DRM and no DRM was just perfect. MY book, MY work, MY rights: SO My CHOICE.
    I have choosed Lulu (vs smashwords and other) because of the DRM. No more longer DRM ? = Bye bye Lulu.
    And I said that it’s not fair at all to change rules of the game now you have, managing DRM, attracted thousands of authors and have millions of books in your database.
    I’m a little angry, considering hours I have lost (now it’s a lost) to prepare, following the rules OF Lulul, the ebook version of my novels FOR Lulu.
    Sorry for my poor english, I’m just a little stupid French trapped by Lulu the mermaid: Nice outside, a beautiful voice singing attractive songs, but evil inside.

  78. Great move by Lulu!

  79. Godsword

    My question is this: If I change all my titles to be devoid of DRM, will the ibookstore & Barnes and Noble Nook also sell all of them without DRM protection, since Lulu sends all my works to them?

  80. Ian

    Lots of good questions remain unanswered. It would be nice if someone from Lulu could respond as you’ve requested the comments for UGC and the guys have obliged.

    To the commenters that say DRM doesn’t work. It does in my experience. My book is for sale all over the place including Amazon, Apple, Lulu (using ADE) and a PDF version available directly via my website which uses Electronic Dead Bolt software. I check often on the torrent, file sharing and usenet sites and nothing. Only V1 of my book which wasn’t protected.

    I don’t think the Adobe license is cheap though which is probably a deciding factor in its removal.

    Personally as a reader, I can say that Adobe Digital Editions hasn’t been designed with good usability in mind, its frustrating to use for me. So I can understand both views. The reading experience has to be good for the reader or what’s the point in publishing.

    It’s a tough one really!

  81. Looks the philosophy an author could choose,

    ‘Lulu was founded on the philosophy of breaking down barriers that prevent talented authors from sharing their knowledge and telling their stories.’

    How do authors get enhanced with DRM removal?

    Teresa

  82. Fantastic news — for both readers and authors (and speaking as a member of both groups, for what it’s worth). Bravo, Lulu!

  83. Fantastic news! Long overdue. A positive step forward in supporting sharing, collaboration, and innovation. Tear down those walls!

  84. I just got my first e-reader and am getting into the world of electronic books. I’m quickly realizing how frustrating it would be to have books restricted to one device, one kind of device, or locking me into an ongoing relationship with a specific publisher or vendor. I’m so happy to learn that Lulu is steering away from DRM. I’m looking forward to exploring your collection!

  85. I’m finally getting some very nice comments from readers. What about the comments readers posted on the stories we’ve published? We will lose those won’t we?

  86. Well, this is unfortunate. I was about to spend thousands of dollars on the Laureate package for my latest novel but now, I may have to choose another way to publish. I’m very disappointed in Lulu. Puts me on the fence. Thanks a lot…

  87. Rochelle

    Ok so, can someone fill me in on what exactly is happenening? I see everyone all for the change, but I thought it meant being unable to upload/sell things in PDF format which Lulu has told me is the ONLY way to use cool fonts.

  88. Morgan, Lulu

    @Jim Tibbetts – Hi Jim. You will continue to have all the same freedoms to edit, delete and revise your content. You can control what content you include in which versions of your book. You can have one version that you make available without DRM through Lulu.com and another version that you put in private access on Lulu and only sell through DRM-protected distribution partners such as NOOK and iBookstore.

  89. Godsword

    Please, answer the question I had asked earlier. My question is this: If I change all my titles’ contents to be devoid of DRM, will the ibookstore & Barnes and Noble Nook also sell all of them without DRM protection, since Lulu sends all my works to them?

  90. Morgan, Lulu

    @Rochelle – You will still be able to upload and sell using the PDF format.

  91. Morgan, Lulu

    @Godsword Not at this time. Our retailer partners will continue to apply DRM specific to their business requirements and proprietary eReader devices. Perhaps one day in the future we will be able to offer our authors this option.

  92. Kurt Brandle

    As Lulu does not provide protection through Adobe Digital Editions anymore, I suggest that Adobe provide this service and distribution directly, and charge interested authors accordingly. Or, at least provide interested authors leads to companies who apply ADE protected distribution.
    Kurt

  93. Gaby

    i don’t understand your decision. I’m a french author on Lulu.com. My work, my creation doesn’t protect against copies any more why? Being author, I would like to have the choice. I don’t seal a lot, so if YOU let them cope my book between them, where is my gain?

  94. Thank you for the notice. I will remove all my books from Lulu.

  95. Godsword Onu

    From your answer to my question, that means that the ebooks will be sold in two kinds: one with DRM (protected) and the other without DRM (unprotected). There have been mixed reactions over this development, both from the writers and from the readers. Please, from Lulu’s point of view, what will be the gain or advantage to us, authors?

  96. Rochelle

    Thank you Morgan, I will be staying with Lulu then. :)

  97. Patrick Cloutier

    At first glance, it seemed that LULU’s decision on DRM was an abandonment of author rights; but after reading through this thread, I think that LULU demonstrated it is meeting authors half way. As Morgan explained, we will still have DRM on Amazon and BN, and the unprotected LULU version will be pulled from circulation on March 12, so they are not leaving it unexposed.

    As a publishing business, LULU offers the most democratic venue out there for authors who want to publish their work. When I first looked around for a publisher, one thing that I found common among them were high-priced services that were out of my reach. Moreover, since I do not leave editing to anyone other than myself, I considered those services unnecessary. LULU, on the other hand, offers the “do-it-yourself kit”, at a very affordable cost. I have not sold 1,000 books yet on LULU, but I am getting there. Thanks to LULU’s self-publishing kit, the money I have earned has long since exceeded the money I put into publishing. Other organizations did not have “the kit” option, which means I would have lost money. It would have taken me far longer to make up the costs, with sales.

    I make almost no e-book sales from LULU, so the DRM issue is little relevant – Amazon accounts for the lion’s share of my sales, and as Morgan pointed out, DRM remains unchanged. If LULU dropped DRM, IMHO it was done in order to remain competitive. LULU’s practices put publishing and free speech within everyone’s reach. I think this decision will help them remain competitive and maintain that ideal.

    BTW, the new layout of the revenue page looks great.

  98. Patrick Cloutier

    Hey guys, can you add an “edit” feature for our comments? I meant to write ” they are not leaving it exposed”, but was unable to edit my comment…

  99. Tom D.

    Lulu is being innovative and thinking beyond the “control the sheep consumer” box.

    anti-DRM isnt pro-stealing, the suggestions of that are biting a classic false dichotomy. Just do a 10 sec web search: http://www.defectivebydesign.org/ for here a top ten against DRM http://goo.gl/gX1fi

    I will not use Netflix or Audible beacuse of the DRM, but do pay for other services that do not use DRM and will be looking at Lulu’s not DRM catalog too.

  100. This is outrageous! If I am understanding this correctly, this move will not only expose an author’s work to unlimited file sharing, but will also make copyright infringement all that much easier to commit. If LuLu follows through with this, I will simply not list my book for sale in the LuLu market place; it will remain on “private access” and people will have to go to Barns and Noble or Amazon to purchase it. I will also no longer promote LuLu in any way on my website. Disappointing, LuLu! Very disappointing that you would make a move like this that gives such clear advantages to readers and none that I can see to the authors. Greater exposure is all well and good, but when there is no limit to the sharing and passing around of files, whose going to choose to pay for them?

  101. Ian

    Just out of interest SJK what percentage of your monthly sales come via the Lulu site?

    My Lulu sales account for less than 0.3% each month. The big 2 being Amazon and Apple. I’d be interested to see if your numbers swamp mine.

  102. @Ian, I can tell you my numbers definitely don’t swamp yours. What income I get from my book is modest to say the least, even in the Amazon arena, so in and of itself refusing to place it in the LuLu Market Place is not much of a threat to LuLu. Then again if enough authors do that, and I can see from other responses that there are others who will, LuLu will not have any books to sell. To be honest, for months ALL my sales have come through Amazon and I made more of them before my book entered distribution through LuLu, so I could cut LuLu out of the picture entirely and not have it affect my revenue. To me, that’s part of the point. If I am not making any money now off of LuLu Market Place sales, I do not see how that would change by allowing people to just pass my book around for free if they do buy it. If I wanted it to to be a free story, I would just post it on my website. As someone else pointed out DRM was always an optional service,one that you had to pay for I might add (however minimal the fee, it was still a fee). Those people who did not want that protection were free not to purchase it. It is therefore galling that those of us who do want it should now, after paying for it, be forced to do without. As I said in my previous post, if LuLu follows through with this action, I will simply not sell my e-books in the LuLu Market Place. Maybe that doesn’t matter to LuLu. From a sales perspective, as you were kind enough to imply, it certainly does not matter to me. It’s just that I have always been fond of LuLu, a big fan of the service they provide for those of us who just want to see our book in print, and maybe make a little pocket money, and so I feel really let down by this decision. It benefits Lulu readers, no doubt. I suppose it could benefit LuLu; they certainly seem to think it will, but I cannot see any way in which this decision to remove DRM benefits LuLu authors.

  103. “Please keep in mind that if your eBooks are also available through distribution outlets such as the iBookstore and Barnes & Noble they include encryption applied by the retailer. If your eBook is set to Private Access status, it will continue to be available for purchase on the retail sites you selected when submitting your eBook for distribution.”

    Lulu: We had just begun revising 8 ePub titles and any new revision now offers distribution outlets to iBookstore, Barnes & Noble and Lulu – NO DRM. If we tick this box can we then set to ‘Private Access’ NO DRM titles (thereby removing from Lulu storefront) while Distribution continues to outlets which, as stated, include their own DRM?

  104. Morgan, Lulu

    @SJK Thanks for the thought-out comment here. As a point of clarification, authors / creators have never paid for DRM. DRM fees were covered by buyers / readers. It has always been free to publish on Lulu. Also, this change to DRM does not affect print books, so you can still offer your books in print without any changes to how they are published or purchased. I hope this helps.

  105. Morgan, Lulu

    @Linden – Yes, if the eBook includes an ISBN, then it will proceed into the distribution process for distribution into the channels selected by the creator, even when it’s in Private Status. It’s the ISBN that does it. Great question.

  106. You are right about that, I guess. It’s been a long time since I went through the publication process, so I had forgotten. I just remembered seeing that there was a fee for the DRM, but I do recall now that the readers are the ones who technically pay for it. Then again, the price of the DRM forces authors to set the cost of their book higher than they might otherwise choose to do, so in a way authors pay for it too. I will keep the printed version of my book with LuLu, but I am still disappointed by this decision and I will not publish my e-books without some sort of copyright protection. Perhaps I just wish there had been more warning and a little more effort to find out how authors would feel about this decision before it was announced as a certain course of action. It would have been nice to at least have some sense that our input was valued. After all, at this stage of the game, it’s pretty clear LuLu is going forward with this no matter what people have to say about it. That fact is in and of itself a little dispiriting.

  107. Morgan, Lulu

    @SJK – First let me say how much I appreciate the thoughtfulness of your comments. We do appreciate and value your feedback. Many decisions we make here at Lulu are based on years worth of feedback from authors and readers who let us know what’s working for them and what’s not working for them via our forums, our support cases, our online chat and our social networks. We understand your desire to ensure that your eBooks are only available in DRM-protected forms. Our recommended approach to this is to change the status of your eBooks on Lulu.com to “Private Access Only” rather than “General Access.” This will remove your eBooks from being made available without DRM in the Lulu Marketplace. Changing them to private access does not, however, remove them from distribution channels that you have elected, which means that your books will still be available on NOOK and iBookstore with the DRM that those formats provide. I hope this helps.

  108. Thank you for your response. I do understand what you’re saying, and that is the course of action I intend to take. It seems a number of other authors will as well which again makes me question how this will benefit LuLu’s Market Place if so many authors keep their books on “private access”. However, maybe those among our number are not as plentiful as it currently seems to me, and perhaps readers will be more willing to buy the books that don’t have the DRM protection. I do understand that the e-books being sold through other retailers via LuLu’s distribution process will not be impacted. I do wish you all well, and hope this move works out in LuLu’s best interest. Now that I am past the shock of the initial e-mails, no hard feelings. Best wishes and hope it all works out!

  109. Christian Steudtner

    Dropping DRM is the right move.

    For all worried about piracy: DRM does not stop piracy – it only stops customers using the books they have buyed in the ways they want to use them [If I buy a paperback, I can make with it all the stuff I want to do with it].

    This being said: I will not buy ANY book with DRM – if I can’t get a DRM-free version I will try a normal book (paperback/hardcover). If there is only DRM’ed versions available I will not buy this book. (Example: as long as there is DRM at Amazon-ebooks, I will not buy ebooks from there, I doesn’t even want the free ones from there)

    So: Thanks Lulu for dropping DRM – I have never really heard about Lulu, but having heared they dropped DRM, I will look if there are books that I’m interested in.

  110. Annette

    Hello Everyone,
    Many of you have posed the question – why is Lulu doing this? Well fellow bloggers, I’m afraid it is you yourselves who provided the answer. Indeed, Lulu itself posted an answer, (see blog 66, Glenn, Lulu). Although his response was couched in simplistic terms, judging from the posted comments, many of you missed the underlying inference.

    As numerous bloggers stated, works with DRM applied, are cumbersome and awkward to access, and therefore a ‘turn off’ for potential customers. This translates into lost sales and revenue for both Lulu and the author, and let’s be honest, we would all like to make a little money from our work.

    However, having said that, Lulu’s attempt to promote this premise as benevolent to the author, is cynical at best, and an insult to our intelligence. We are still losing our security. We are still losing that level of comfort that DRM affords us, and quite frankly, no phraseology sprouted by Lulu’s media machine, can justify it.

    As someone said in a blog, in a perfect world, we would all like to believe that people are honest and above board. But this is the Internet where, regrettably, a potential predator hides behind every web page, and the removal of our protection for the sake of company profit, is not only abominably arrogant in both practise and perception, but exposes our work to unwarranted risk.

    Annette

  111. former pirate

    Great news, finally a site where I can buy ebooks and read them however and when ever I want. I used to get them from a torrent site, now I can support the authors that respect my right to read!

  112. Wayne Moore

    @Christian Steudtner you hit the nail squarely on the head. All DRM does is interfere with how legitimate purchasers of content use it. I want to read on my computer, my tablet and my phone, depending on where I am. DRM does not allow this. So if I buy a DRM’d book, I’ve bought a pup. If it’s DRM free, I am free to access it however, wherever. I won’t buy a DRM’d book but I’m also not a pirate.

  113. I just heard about this via http://www.defectivebydesign.org/ and wanted to be one of many to applaud Lulu.com for this move. I’ll be looking over the site with the intent to purchase several titles in the near future to put my $ where my mouth is.

    Customers want to purchase books hassle-free and offering ebooks with multiple formats and none of the hassles DRM introduces. With Lulu looking to follow in the footsteps of Tor Books, O’Reilly Media and many others, they’re only making it easier for customers to buy content without the concern that DRM is going to make their products disappear from their virtual bookshelves (ala Amazon.com’s 1984 incident).

    For those that cite the numbers of books shared on torrent sites and file sharing hubs the thing to keep in mind is that those were wrapped in DRM to begin with. It was a non-issue for the DRM to be stripped then the resulting DRM-Free title shared with the world.

    This is nothing but good news in the eyes of the customer. For author’s, I can see how this will be an uncomfortable growing pain, but it really is for the best.

  114. Bruce L Erasmus

    Well now, in what universe do Lulu’s management live. Free stock is never supplied to any retailer. Barnes and Noble wouldn’t expect physical copies for free, and I would not supply them if they did. As a writer, there is no way in hell that I will support Lulu anymore. DRM may not be perfect, but it is proof that I own my own ideas, and that I, as a writer, value the years of work that I put into every book on bio-sociology that I write; and that I expect to be rewarded.

  115. sk

    I’m LMAO at the pro-DRM arguments above. I keep picturing the authors of these statements being approached by major publishers, and turning them down because accepting would mean a copy of their book would be freely available in libraries all over the country, and then who will pay to read it?

    Seriously, your arguments and misunderstanding of how these technologies work, not to mention how human society works, is so poor it’s like listening to someone from the 19th century.

  116. Ryan Northrup

    As someone who purchases and reads books – both digital and physical – I’m generally more inclined to purchase books *without* DRM.

    For one, the authors above who have their jimmies rustled over not having DRM through Lulu are making it clear that their only goal is to make money. If given the choice between a book that was written solely to make money and a book that was written to actually enrich knowledge or exist artistically, then I’ll almost always choose the latter, since the latter will – in all likelihood – be a more fulfilling read, given that it was written to serve a purpose outside of simply making money for the author. Thus, those authors are now authors whose books I probably won’t bother purchasing.

    Second, DRM doesn’t accomplish anything besides making it harder for legitimate readers – those who purchased their copy of the book through official and authorized channels – to actually use what they purchased. DRM – especially for e-books – is very much dependent on specific software utilities. I use GNU/Linux at home. It’s a great operating system, and it doesn’t cost me nearly as much to use as Windows (since it’s “free as in freedom” and, in my cases, “free as in free beer”). Problem is, most of the DRM-compatible e-reader software is for either Windows or Mac OS X. Is my purchase therefore illegitimate simply because I don’t use a nonfree operating system? Conversely, the illegitimate readers – those who didn’t buy the book – don’t have to worry about that, since the torrent they’re using to get their copy is going to – in all likelihood – be stripped of DRM restrictions. It would therefore be more useful for me to illegally download a book I can actually read than to legally purchase a book that I *can’t* read without buying a Windows license.

    Related to the above, DRM restricts how many of *my* devices I can read a book on. If I have a desktop, a laptop, a tablet, and a smartphone – all with e-book reading software – why should I be disallowed from choosing which device I read a book on? Many DRM schemes disallow reading on a device that’s different from the one used to originally download the book. As I mentioned above, it would be more practical for me to just illegally download a book and be able to read it on whatever device I want than to legally purchase it and have to purchase it *again* just to read it on a different device.

    So, to summarize rather succinctly: if you – as an author – use DRM in your books, then I – as a prospective customer – will pass you over and buy from a better author. They’ll get my money, I’ll get my book, and we’ll both be happy. Or, if somehow your book really *is* worth getting, I’ll just bypass DRM and go torrent it; I’ll get my book, and you’ll lose revenue for insisting on placing needless restrictions on how I use my copy. I’d rather give my money to authors who value their readers than to authors who only value their bottom line.

  117. Matt

    I think the fact that lulu.com is doing away with Digital Restrictions Management(DRM) is a very good thing. I will probably become a customer and I will look into having my wife try to publish through lulu.com.

    For everyone that is worried about “piracy”, I think you should read what Cory Doctorow has to say about ebooks and Digital Restrictions Management.

    It’s important to note that just because someone downloads a copy of your work without paying for it, doesn’t mean that they were going to pay for it if they had to in the first place. I downloaded, at no cost, a book that Cory Doctorow wrote and because it was freely available, I bought two hard-cover books. Sampling the book first was important to me. Reading it on ANY device was as important to me.

    There are people that will pay you for your work even if they could easily have taken it for nothing. There are people that will avoid paying you for your work no matter how hard they have to try. There is no changing that fact and restricting a users’ rights is no way to get around it.

    What you need to see is the forest and not the trees. Digital Restrictions management creates more problems than it attempts to solve. Thank you Lulu.com for getting rid of DRM.

  118. I realize there are a lot of people here who fear this change. However it is something that should have happened a long time ago. It is not just going to benefit users. What most people don’t understand here is “Digital Rights Management” technology is really just an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of businesses and authors alike. It is promoted by those who wish to electronically distribution the content of others. The goal is to reduce the fears of the producers and copyright owners over the ease at which content can be easily copied by users.

    The question is why are digital restrictions bad for the producers? It all goes back to the ease at which content can be copied. Digital restriction technology doesn’t actually work. There is always a way to rip the hand cuffs off. And it only requires one technically savvy individual to do so before it is readily, the available to be copied. If you produce content of any value it will be pirated. There is no question about it. The only question is where the consumers go first.

    Digital restrictions management tech prevents users from perusing content in a manor that is comfortable. Be it on a plane, the big screen, or tablet device. DRM negatively impacts the user experience and creates barriers many otherwise paying consumers won’t tolerate. The solution to this problem is to price content that reflects the medium and make it easily and readily available in whatever form is most convenient to the largest population.

    A book that might cost $20 at retail should cost no more than half that online and the wise man would price it even lower still. This is for a number of reasons. For one it encourages people to purchase directly from the author and/or through other channels which are less expensive. Publishing and distribution through traditional retail channels is significantly more expensive. Online these costs are nil to almost non-existent. The less content costs the more sales you’ll see.

    By reducing the price of digital content and eliminating ineffective expensive digital restrictions technology that create barriers to users access your effectively making it easier for the masses to get a hold of your content. People will pay a premium for ease of access. The trick is to increasing sales and reducing piracy is to stop putting up barriers that make it harder to legally get your content.

    To conclude: One well designed portal which makes it easy to find content, sign-up, and buy content at better prices than traditionally available (costs are less and thus it makes sense to reduce the price so do it!) without having to enter credit card numbers repeatedly will draw users and increase profits.

    What I’d suggest in fact is to charge exclusively for downloads of DRM free content and then provide an online version that is advertising focused. Then let users choose to opt out of the advertising for a small sum. Many people can’t stand advertising. This takes advantages of a demand for off-line content and advertising-free content. All of this would make it significantly easier to get content legally than through the pirate web sites.

  119. Georg

    Hello,

    as a pure customer I wanted to share my point of view:

    Simply put, if Adobe holds the accessability technology (DRM) under control, I would *never* buy one of your now wept for DRM ebooks unless forced by external control (boss, …). Adobe has already discontinued AdobeAir for Linux, why would they not be capable of taking away my access to DRMd books without any way out for me?

    Books are very, very dear to me. I grew up with many of them.
    That is why I can’t spend tons of money and then let them rip out part of my heart AND weasel away with my money (which is then represented by access to the books).

    Does Adobe support the OpenPhoenux platform? If they would, who could make sure they will as long as I’m capable of reading or being read to?

    BTW, when I heard the news of Lula dropping DRM my FIRST thought was: coool, I need to up my (self)allowance for ebooks next month and go on a shopping spree!

    ps: regarding piracy: whenever I “got” music from a friend, if I didn’t like it I’d delete it; if I liked it I’d try hard to get the (*gasp*) CD. One I even had to have shipped around half the globe. For some songs I even bought multiple copies (mostly on different CDs by mistake because I thought: I still need this).
    Thank for internet commerce – where it not for “oh, it’s DRMd :-( can’t let them get to my heart”!

    Sincerely,
    Georg

  120. Earlier this morning, I had no idea what Lulu.com was. Now, It is one of my favorite online bookstores. Great move!

    Last christmas my father bought me an e-book. He was not aware of what DRM was or how it worked so when he received the copy in e-mail he opened it up to test if everything was working like it should. Needless to say the book locked itself to that computer and his account and I was unable to read it on my devices. I e-mailed the bookstore and the reply I got back was simply “we can’t do anything about that. Sorry”.

    It took me less than 5 minutes to break the Adobe DRM and it did not involve any fancy computer know-how. Downloaded one program. Opened it, dropped the file in, pressed one button. Done.

    Now I can read this great book on any device of mine, with a program of my choice (instead of just the adobe one)!

  121. JuanPi

    Hi,
    It is sad to read so many aggressive comments against Lulu.
    If the authors who complained took the time to read analyses about DRM they will see that it is mostly just a hassle. For example you could read this extensive essay
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1496058

    Also, there are examples where DRM-free (and pay-what-you-want) give excellent results.

  122. Gerald

    Excellent move. The concept of DRM should disappear entirely, it hurts everyone. The tidal wave of technological advances in the last 50-100 years has given us unique problems and opportunities to look forward to. We’re still on the doorstep of what is to come. Today’s efforts to protect that which is misleadingly called “intellectual property” are a shameful episode in our history and will be frowned upon by our successors.

    We as a civilization are still stubbornly holding on to some medieval notions that hinder us from openly meeting the world without fear.
    Grow up, humans, and start behaving like adults!

  123. EscapeGoat

    As both a file-sharer and customer I applaud this decision. I habitually both file-share and buy physical books, but have never and would never buy files with DRM. I don’t want to register with Big Brother to read books, I don’t want big companies deciding what I do with content that I’ve purchased and I don’t want to jump through hoops to move files from one device to another. That is the primary reason I file-share rather than buy. I, like most users of file sharing use it as a risk free way to discover new material and, like most people, file sharers reward the creators of content they like. In fact some studies show that file sharing results in more sales rather than fewer. Just because someone bittorrents your book doesn’t mean they won’t buy it. This is not about money, it is about control of information.

  124. George Soulis

    I do not have the answer on the DRM vs profit debate, but I can offer a couple of examples from my own experiens.
    1. I have downloaded «Little Brother» from the author’s site, where all (or almost all) of his books are available for free. This has obviously not prevented Corry Doctorow from being published all over the world and making a living as a writer. It worked fine for him in my case also, because I liked his book and gave it as a gift to several friends. I also recomened it to others and some sales may have come out of this as well.

    The point is -as Corry Doctorow puts it- «the problem is obscurity, not piracy» (the word brings chills down my spine).

    2. I’ve always hesitated buying music CDs and movie DVDs at 10 and 20€ unless I KNEW I would get my money’s worth, but I’ve often bought newspapers accompanied with CDs or DVDs for 2 to 5€, because it «seemed like something I might enjoy listening to or seeing at some time».

    Looking back I think I’ve spent hunderds of euros for music and movies I never heard or saw.

    Especially for digital media, I think that if the price went down, the volume of sales would go up, more than enough to compensate.

  125. really really a bad move, I’ll expect some better news about..

  126. Thank-you Lulu.com for taking this positive stand against DRM. When I first published my e-book in 2009, I used Smashwords because of their DRM-free policy [http://www.smashwords.com/about/supportfaq#drm -- DRM and piracy>Smashwords Support Center FAQ] and I used Lulu.com because I was allowed to publish my e-book DRM-free. When I republish my e-book I will be using Lulu.com and Smashwords due to their DRM-free policies. Keep up the great work Lulu.com!

  127. Yonassan Gershom

    I support dumping this, too. One of the reasons I have not done a Kindle version is because I do not like the monopoly that Amazon has on Kindle-formatted books. (The other reason is that it doesn’t handle footnotes and charts very well. Neither does ePubs, which is why I sell PDFs.)

    What surprised me is that when I checked my projects list, I discovered that I actually HAVE Lulu books with DRM — something I did not choose. Am wondering if this happened automatically when converted to iPad & Nook format?

    As for pirating, I’ve had people email me asking where to get the print version of some of my books (especially ones that would become too expensive if sent to distribution) — a good reason to include a contact address in the book. And you should consider that once a library buys a print copy, lots of people (hopefully) will read that same copy.

  128. Bob C

    Great move. I don’t support digital restrictions management and won’t buy anything that tries to stop me from moving media between devices or requires me to use proprietary operating systems and application software.

    I buy lots of books, but would much rather buy a dead tree version of a book than an e-book with DRM.

  129. fantastic issues altogether, you just won a logo new reader.

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  130. richard

    For the moment, I won’t enter the current philosophical debate about the issue of DRM. I’m too stupid, which is why I’m asking a really simple question about methodology: IF one wishes to make the change from DRM, how does one do it exactly? I’m getting vague buzz, for example,” 1.After January 15, 2013 open your My Projects page.
    2.DRM protected eBooks will be labeled in your project list.
    3.Simply wait until March 13 when all you need to do is change the project status from Private to General Access allowing you to by-pass the eBook Distribution QA process.”
    posted by Glenn H. Do we really just wait until 13th March?
    Help me out here,

    Stupid.

  131. richard

    Okay,
    Then please answer me this: Does one have to re-enter an entire book from the beginning of the process?

    Thank you for any answer.

  132. I enjoy the protection DRM affords in preventing purchasers of my dozen or so ebooks from making numerous copies and sending them to friends and family for free or even selling them to third parties. I welcome wide distribution, too, but I don’t want to see my stuff being given away for free without my consent or knowledge. I think my only option is to leave the Lulu marketplace rather than to risk that any of my titles , which have a hard enough time selling in the first place, end up being reproduced or worse yet pirated, because they no longer have DRM protection. So it is a big “Thanks! Bye!” to Lulu after five years. —-Ed Augusts

  133. Confused Author

    Congrats, Lulu. You’ve succeeded in making yourself less attractive than Smashwords. Let me explain. Smashwords doesn’t allow authorsto use DRM, but they distribute to Sony, Kobo, Diesel, Ibooks, B&N… They don’t distribute to Amazon, but they produce a mobi file that Kindle users can download. Lulu has more limited distribution, and no mobi, but at least they allow DRM… oh, wait…

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  137. Thank you for ditching DRM.

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  140. David

    Thank You for removing DRM.

    This gives the readers the freedom to read their purchased books on the device that they choose without having to purchase the same book multiple times.

    David

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  1. [...] authorize the purchase in Digital Editions or install a third-party application,” Lulu writes in a blog post. “This creates possibilities for the growing number of readers who want to shop, purchase and [...]

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