The Pros and Cons of DRM

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digital-rights-management-locksWhat is DRM?  DRM stands for Digital Rights Management and according to KDP it is “intended to inhibit unauthorized access to or copying of digital content files.”

This is one of the decisions you must make when your first upload your Kindle book via the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) dashboard.  It is important to note that once you publish your book, this decision regarding DRM cannot be changed.

Now that we have covered the basics of what DRM is, let’s discuss the pros and cons of DRM and enabling it on your Kindle eBooks.

Pros of DRM

The main advantage to enabling DRM on your eBook is that is adds an extra layer of protection to prevent unauthorized sharing of your copyrighted work.  However, enabling DRM will not stop all piracy.

There are ways to strip the DRM from the eBook.  Therefore, the “bad guys” you are trying to keep out can still find a way to remove the DRM.

For some authors, enabling DRM on their eBooks is one way they can protect their copyrighted work.  They do not like the thought of someone stealing from them and will do anything they can to prevent it from happening.

Cons of DRM

drm-kindle-ebooksUnfortunately, what often happens with DRM is that it penalizes the customers of your book.  Many readers like to have access to their digital books on multiple devices.  However, DRM can prevent them from having access to the book they bought on non-Kindle devices.

This can be annoying to the customer and may even result in lost book sales as some readers will refuse to buy books that are DRM enabled.

I heard this analogy about DRM and thought it made the point well.  Enabling DRM is like placing a lock on your book.  However, this “lock” keeps the honest people out (i.e. paying customers).

It does cause anyone who is dishonest to work harder to remove the “lock.”  But in the end, it does not truly stop piracy. 

Other Considerations

Personally, I do not enable DRM on my Kindle eBooks.  I want to make it as easy as possible for my customers to access and read my books.   Choosing to not enable DRM may also help the messages of my books reach more people and positively impact more lives.

Obscurity is hard to monetize

[pullquote position=”right”]And ultimately, piracy is not the problem for most authors…obscurity is![/pullquote]  Therefore, if your book does get shared by your customers, consider it as one form of marketing.  Who knows….you may even develop some new readers and fans as a result.

Conclusion

Ultimately, as the author, the decision is up to you. 

You must do your own research and decide what options will work best for you and your books.  If enabling DRM helps you sleep better at night, go for it.  But ultimately, the disadvantages appear to outweigh the advantages.

What about you?  Do you enable DRM on your Kindle eBooks?  Why or why not?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Shelley Hitz
Shelley Hitz is an award-winning and internationally best-selling author. She is the owner of TrainingAuthors.com and is passionate about helping authors succeed in publishing and marketing their books. And she teaches from personal experience. Shelley has been writing and publishing books since 2008 and has published over 30 books including print, eBook and audio book formats. She consistently ranks in the top 100 authors for her category on Amazon.com.
Shelley Hitz
Shelley Hitz

Comments

  1. I’d go with the old adage: Your main concern should be obscurity, not piracy. This probably applies to 99,9% of all authors. It can only help you when your book “gets around” a bit. If people care, they’ll buy proper copies. Those that hoard pirated copies probably aren’t your target audience anyway.

    My ebook is on Amazon with DRM enabled, but that was my publisher’s decision. You can also get it without DRM via other (legal) channels. Which may actually be another option for those who are on the fence.

  2. I don’t enable DRM, either, because it increases the size of your book. Customers want to have more space for their e-readers, so the DRM isn’t good for that.

    Great article! 🙂

    • Another great point, Markee. I know I had to recently delete some books from my Kindle to clear up space so that can be an issue for readers.

      And thank you!

  3. It is so easy to remove DRM from a book, that it is really not worth harassing our legitimate customers over it.