Overdrive Drops DRM on Audiobooks

English: Librarians against DRM

English: Librarians against DRM (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I said earlier, I have decided to not buy more than one book a month for the first six months of 2014.  This is to force me to read some of the books I have already purchased, catch up on books that I said I would review months ago and to save a little bit of money.

Included in that book buying fast is not renewing my subscription to Audible.com.  I have been a continuous member of Audible since 2003 until now.  I am still a big fan of Audible, especially their software.  But it is good to actually use some free options. (And I will sign up for Audible again later.)

Overdrive, the system that provides most libraries in the US with their ebooks and digital audiobooks announced today that they are moving to all MP3 formats and dropping the WMA.  This is good news not only because DRM is a pain in the neck.  But also because WMA is a windows only format.  So Mac users like myself were unable to access a significant portion of the audiobook library.

The timeline for the switch is not in the press release, and it sounds like at least part of the problem is that not all publishers have agreed to offer their audiobooks in MP3 format.  The problem from the publishers perspective is that it makes the audiobooks easier to copy and distribute.  But of course it is fairly easy to crack the WMA DRM if you want to.

Image representing Adobe Systems as depicted i...

Image via CrunchBase

At the same time Adobe announced it is doing the opposite and enhancing its DRM system for ebooks.  This system sounds like its DRM system requires nearly continuous contact with the internet.  My position has never been against DRM for being against DRM.  Instead I am against DRM because it doesn’t work.  People who want to share digital media still will break DRM and share digital media.  And people that do not know how to break DRM probably won’t be interested in sharing digital media any more now than they were before.  There have been a number of studies that show that moving to DRM free formats (as Apple and virtually all music has done) has not hindered sales.

h/t: goodereader, liliputing and boingboing

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