One Post, Two Things

14 Dec

Some days ago, I read a post on Dear Author about the pricing of ebooks. I actually don’t want to write anything about the stupidity to set a higher price on an ebook than on a mmp. It’s so self-evident that it’s a VERY BAD IDEA, I don’t know what to say further.

Just: I don’t have an ebook-reader and I won’t have one for a very long time if the prices don’t come down and the DRM business is solved. I’m much too scared of the possibility that I’ll have to flush my library of ebooks down the drain in a few years time because I can no longer read the books.

But the post made me think about two other, slightly connected things.

1. The price decides if I buy a book not exactly on my wish list

Examples? Recently, I bought Deanna Raybourn’s Silent in the Grave and Jo Beverley’s Christmas Angel because I could get them for much less than their usual price. Raybourn is a historical mystery and I seldom buy mysteries. I buy Jo Beverley’s books when the story sounds interesting. But with a Christmas-related title, I wasn’t so sure. Right or wrong, my impression of Christmas-related stories is that they tend to be too sugary and sweet for me.

I now have both books and I know I won’t regret buying them even if I end up not liking them. Heck, because of the price, I very nearly bought Nalini Singh’s Hostage to Pleasure even though I’m not a fan of this series. I appreciate and like the world Singh has created, but the first three books I read didn’t convince me to stay with the series.

The slight connection to the post on Dear Author?

The obvious conclusion is that pricing ebooks higher than the print editions will never get me to buy them even if I had an ebook reader. But that’s just me.

2. Reminder of a draft I wrote about DRM in games back in October

Angie’s comment (number 18) on that post reminded me of a draft I wrote in October about DRM in games. Until then, I thought I was a somewhat educated buyer of PC games. I knew about copy protection. I didn’t buy games I wanted because I knew of the heavy restrictions they came with. Spore, the game Angie wrote about in a post on her blog, is the most famous, I think.

So, I thought I was informed. I thought I did my duty by not buying games like BioShock, Mass Effect or Sacred 2. I’m not sure what I thought the copy protection on other games did, check for a not copied disk in the player probably. I never bothered to think about how they do that. I found out.

In October, I stumbled upon a blog post about DRM in Fallout 3 (sorry, no link). There I learned some interesting things about copy protection and SecuRom and followed a link to Reclaim your Game, a website informing about games with SecuRom.

SecuRom is basically a third program that comes with installing SecuRom protected games on your PC. There are different versions of it according to the restrictions imposed on the use of the game (see Spore) and I don’t pretend to understand it all, but:
I don’t want software installed on my PC WITHOUT ASKING ME before.
Which is exactly what SecuRom protected games do. Not all of them want to “call home,” but all install unwanted and sometimes even invasive software. ME DON’T WANT!

Currently, there are over 100 games listed on the website. Of course, my PC has SecuRom on it. It came with the very first game I installed on it when it was new: Jade Empire: Special Edition (which has a lesser version of SecuRom).

The slight connection to the post on Dear Author?

The advice on the website what to tell the publishers:

“I am a customer, not a pirate. Don’t treat me like one!”

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