Toke Makinwa’s famous book, “On Becoming” is the most recent and relatable example of the ways piracy can eat into an author’s profit margin. The author is popular on the Nigerian media scene; therefore, it is understandable that so many people wanted to know the details of her short-lived marriage to her long-time boyfriend, Maje Ayida. That sounds like a money-spinner, right? Wrong.
The book leaked within 24 hours of its launch; the PDF COPY was shared for free all over some blog sites, WhatsApp, Facebook and some other medium. It was a huge ‘copyfest’. I initially thought she did not activate DRM Restriction when she uploaded her book to Okadabooks but Okechukwu Ofili, the founder of okadabooks.com, debunked that here when he explained that the book was not even on their platform before it got out. The truth is that books (and eBooks), music, videos and other copyrighted material leak every day and it is an author’s (and the publisher) duty to protect their investment and prosecute offenders.
Some think it is easier to leak eBooks and authors should stick to print copies, but this is not true. Any book format can be pirated, as the sold-in-traffic-the-following-week copies of books by popular authors have shown. You only need one unfaithful person in your team to help out the other (evil) side, and you will have to wave goodbye to your dreams of a fat profit margin. One way of keeping your books off the hands of non-paying readers is to activate DRM Restriction when you upload to sell it as an eBook.
DRM Restriction stands for Digital Rights Management, and it is a feature that keeps your book locked to the device with which the reader bought it. Meaning if I buy your book, I cannot just send it to my family and friends wholesale nor can I keep it in different storage spaces apart from the device or app with which I bought it. Some online bookstores allow book buyers access their books from more than one device, yes, but the spirit of the law remains the same – there’s no indiscriminate sharing with eBooks that have DRM Restriction activated.
Why should you bother to use DRM Restriction? Simple, to protect your eventual profit and monitor sales figures as realistically as possible.
Yes, it is still possible to give my friend my Kindle or Nook to read your book, dear author. What I cannot do, is save it and start sharing widely or worse, print it out and start selling. Yes, I recommend DRM Restriction for that book that you spent uncounted hours visualising and writing. Writers deserve a comfortable life earning from their creative endeavours.
Complaints about it
Complaints surrounding DRM Restriction always surround the buyer’s ability to do with your book as they like and while some buyers will never consider commercialising your book, the few that will do so will do it with such enthusiasm and speed that you may never recover from the bitterness that will ensue.
Ask producers in the Nollywood space.