August 2012. Why DRM + epub is junk:
I never tried until today to use the features of digital bookreading, because it simply was not necessary. I prefer a printed book because it does not need a battery, and its weight is below most digital readers. Most of the time I also will only read only one book at a time, no need to carry my library with me. I can sit on a paperback and, it will still be readable after this. It will accept heavy sunlight, arctic temperatures, and to some extent even rain. So, why should I use a digital book ?
But today, I had the choice to either wait for 10 days and not having my desired vacation literature, or buy this as an "epub" book from my local bookstore. Why not, less paper waste, and 5 Euros less.
The actual checkout was easy, since I already have a customer account there. 9.90Euros vanished within a few seconds.
Next step. How will I get it ?
Fortunately 30 seconds later I discovered that using a link on the bookstore page, I will be able up to 3 times to download the book. Thats ok, 3 times should be more then enough to get the item. But, any other Software I buy can be either downloaded for lifetime or I can get a backup copy for a reasonable amount of money. Adobe does things different for epubs.
After clicking the link the only thing I got was a white window. Ok, first try used, I make a second. This time I was
sucessful so far as a file called "URLLink.acsm" appeared in my downloads folder.
My equipment is rather mainstream, but, not old, MacOSX, 10.6, this is still a supported configuration in most cases, but I did not find anything usable to open this file.
Examined the .acsm file with a text editor, I found a downloadlink to an "epub" file. Ok, fine, I download this.
Another minute later I tried opening this using calibre, but, calibre tells me, that this file is DRM protected, and it is not possible to open it.
another 3 minutes later, and a little googling for "epub licenseToken hmac", I found, that "adobe digital edition" will
be able to open that book. Went to the adobe page and found a download link. However, download was not possible, because
Adobe Flash is needed (why ?). Launched a browser which is flash enabled.
Again clicked the link. Now, Adobe warns me that downloads might harm my computer. Ok, close browser and think twice, what to do, but, finally I thought I will trust adobe, and grabbed the program from the adobe website.
Adobe digital editions is a very simple program. But it asks for administrator rights for installation, which I granted. It also requests to register with adobe, then I will be able to
use my (!) book on up to 6 computers.
Thank you Adobe for your care. As an alternative I am able to authorize one computer without registration, which I did.
I bought a book and payed some money, why should I register for getting SPAM or newsletters ?
Now, it turns out, I cannot open the previously downloaded .epub file with adobe digital editions, because it tells me, it is corrupted. Google told me, I have to open the ".acsm" with adobe digital editions. Did that, and now, on the third and maybe last try I got my book.
Lucky me, Adobe even grants me the right to read it, but, will only allow me to print 110 pages (out of a total of 500). Copy text is forbidden. The application itself is sluggish on my 8 core Xeon Mac. I dont like it very much.
The next step for preparing the book to carry it to vacation since I could not print it, was, to convert it somehow for my blackberry or my playbook. The learning process I made until here convinced
me not to look any more for a legal method. The original paperback would have been Euro 15. I already spent Euro 10 + some amount of time.
This is enough.
My educated guess about DRM, blackberry and playbook told me, there will be no Software, which will open this encrypted junk on my devices.
10 Minutes later I converted this DRM bullshit to a pdf, which I now can read on my devices of choice.
Dear Adobe Marketing and R&D specialists:
If you sell something with DRM, you should warn, that this will work only under special circumstances, and, that somone without knowledge of IT will be unable to read your encrypted files.
The price of 9.90Euros is simply not acceptable. It takes about 15 to 30 minutes to make your junk readble. The complete price of an epub like this comes to 40 Euros compared to the printed edition.
Adobe, plase, either make something which is usable by anyone on any major platform by one click, or, just stop selling encrypted junk.
This was the first and also the last epub I ever bought. Also, I really cannot recommend buying an epub for anyone who just wants to read a book.
your valued customer.