Re: e-publishing fiction

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Mon Apr 10 2000 - 06:44:19 MDT

On Mon, Apr 10, 2000 at 05:29:13AM -0700, Zero Powers wrote:
> Wouldn't this plan basically require you to "customize" the book for every
> single person who downloaded it? In effect giving everybody a slightly
> different version of the story?
Yes. It's not difficult; Peanut Press do it today. (Their approach is to
use a proprietary reader and encrypt the files. To stop you passing 'em
out, the encryption key is the credit card number and name you paid with.
Very sneaky; trouble is, it's a pain to enter a 16-digit number, and
what if you card expires or is replaced by a new one? I suspect they didn't
talk to Visa or MC about this scheme ...)

> How much bite do you think there would be in the collection agency threat?
> That's pretty much the same threat that software vendors use to prevent
> piracy. Lotta good its done them.

Actually, it works "well enough". There isn't enough money in ripping off
someone's e-fiction for it to be a moneyspinner, like, say, selling fake
Windows 2000 CD's for $200 a pop. (I mean, I'm sure Damien's book _is_
worth $200 a copy, but they might not see it that way ;-) All you're
really worried about is idiots with web servers, and the threat alone
should be sufficient in 95% of cases. In those where it isn't, well,
debt collection agencies shut down the US junk fax business, didn't
they? Give 'em 50% of the fee in return for collecting it and they'll
hassle the idiots until they take the book off their server. (Which is
the reason for the $2 download fee -- it clicks up the amount they owe
you the longer they do it.)

-- Charlie

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