…For the nearly 8 million people in the US with some degree of vision impairment, the advent of ebooks and e-readers has been both a blessing and a burden. A blessing, because a digital library—everything from academic textbooks, to venerated classics, to romance novels—is never further away than your fingertips. A burden, because the explosion of ebooks has served as a reminder of how inaccessible technology really can be…
You Can Access 15,000 Marvel Comics Right Now For a Buck | Gizmodo As we all prepare our brains and Twitter feeds for the unstoppable flood of comics and entertainment news that will pour out of San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel announced some news in the quiet before the storm. Now, for 99 cents, readers can gain access to Marvel Unlimited, the publisher’s treasure trove of 15,000 issues from current series (well, at least six months old) and classic golden- and silver-age titles. You can also store up to 12 issues offline so you can read without a reliable Wi-Fi connection. As long as you have a Mac, PC, iOS, or Android device, you’re in business.
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — If you’ve ever bought a digital comic book, your experience probably went something like this: You opened up an app like ComiXology, paid around $1.99 to $3.99 — likely, the same price as a print issue — but never downloaded the file for the comic to your hard drive. That’s because you don’t really own it — you’ve simply licensed the right to look at it in someone else’s library.
It’s a digital sales model that has been adopted by every major U.S. comics publisher and was inspired by fears that piracy of digital copies could hurt not just digital but also print sales. It has also essentially prevented the comic book readership (or at least, the legal comic book readership) from truly owning any of the books they buy. At least until this morning, when comic book publisher Image Comics announced that it will now sell all of its digital comics as downloadable via its website for both desktop and mobile users, making it the first major U.S. publisher to offer DRM-free digital versions of comics.
The next e-book you buy might not exactly match the printed version. And those changes are there to make sure you’re not a pirate.
German researchers have created a new DRM feature that changes the text and punctuation of an e-book ever so slightly. Called SiDiM, which Google translates to “secure documents by individual marking,” the changes are unique to each e-book sold. These alterations serve as a digital watermark that can be used to track books that have had any other DRM layers stripped out of them before being shared online. The researchers are hoping the new DRM feature will curb digital piracy by simply making consumers paranoid that they’ll be caught if they share an e-book illicitly.
It will be interesting to see if those publishers who have recently moved to open access on ebooks reverse their stance due to this new technology. I’m sure libraries will be having many discussions about the implications of this new technology on ebook lending and relationships with publishers.
The relationship between publishers and libraries on the issue of DRM and eBooks is of particular interest to me. My final paper in my Publishing class was on this very topic, with the issues varied and complex – licensing, pricing & ownership; access, availability & usability; DRM format and the many ways to add restrictions; privacy & confidentiality of user data; consortiums; and, preserving digital content (My reference list was 4 1/2 pages long!). The publishing industry is in such a state of flux right now with daily announcements from the library and publishing camps – its been fascinating to follow.