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WHSmith Putting DRM In EBooks Without Permission From the Authors 88

Posted by timothy
from the don't-read-more dept.
sgroyle (author Simon Royle) writes with an excerpt from an article he wrote about discovering that publisher WHSmith has been adding DRM to books without their authors' permission, and against their intent: "DRM had, without my knowledge, been added to my book. I quickly checked my other books; same thing. Then I checked the books of authors who, because of their vocal and public opposition, I know are against DRM – Konrath, Howey, and Doctorow, to name a few – same result. ALL books on WHSmith have DRM in them. Rather than assume WHSmith where at fault, I checked with my distributor, Draft2Digital. They send my books to Kobo, who in turn send my books to WHSmith. D2D assured me the DRM was not being added by them and were distressed to hear that this was the case. Kobo haven't replied to any of the messages in this thread: 'WHSmith putting DRM in books distributed via Kobo'. I'm not holding my breath." Update: 03/22 21:02 GMT by T : Problem resolved. Hanno Liem of the Kobo team wrote with good news that the DRM notices that were appended were done so in error, and since corrected: "The original site has been updated – it was just a bug on our site, and was resolved within a day I think. We're all slashdot readers here at Kobo Operations, and this is kinda painful :p" Thanks, Hanno.
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WHSmith Putting DRM In EBooks Without Permission From the Authors

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  • Hmmm.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Luthair (847766) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @08:51AM (#43233231)
    I would have thought a writer would proof read submissions and avoid an error like "WHSmith where at fault"...
  • Due diligence (Score:5, Interesting)

    by abigsmurf (919188) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @09:06AM (#43233375)
    Did the author, or the distributors make it clear that they cannot put DRM on the books when supplying to WHSmiths or Kobo?

    Sure WHSmiths may suck for including DRM on all their books but, providing they didn't break any agreements or contract terms, it's frankly the author or the publisher to blame for blindly making their books available to them without checking.

    You can't sell your books to a company that only sells DRM encoded books then act outraged when your books feature DRM.
  • by ledow (319597) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @09:43AM (#43233727) Homepage

    WHSmith don't have a single ebook in their store without DRM, and deal with lots of the big-names and publishers.

    It's highly unlikely they wouldn't just have a standard contract that says they only publish DRM books (because that's ALL they do, and sell their own e-Reader devices because of precisely that). It's going to be someone agreeing to WHSmith's terms and not the other way around.

    (Hint: In the UK, WHSmith's is much bigger than you might think. My father-in-law (a well-published author across a variety of subjects from school textbooks - including some used as standard texts - to children's books to books for adults on grammar) was once refused publishing of a book because "WHSmith don't have a category for that". Literally, every agent he tried gave him the same answer for that book (and only that book) and it never got published because of it.

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