Stross on DRM and ebooks

Many interesting thoughts from Charles Stross following Tor’s announcement that they are dropping DRM from their ebooks.

It’s my belief that today’s e-ink ebook readers are doomed to obsolescence within a short period — 2-3 years possibly, 5 years probably. This is because the power consumption of LCD displays is dropping and their quality is rising. e-ink devices are inherently incapable of displaying video, are lousy as web browsers due to the screen refresh time, and if you use them to play audio or do any intensive processing (such as running apps) their battery life drops towards that of a regular LCD-equipped tablet. They’re essentially single-purpose devices, competing in a market with general-purpose devices. Their only advantages are battery life and readability in direct sunlight, both of which are under threat. So it’s my belief that general purpose tablets (and big-screen smartphones) will drive e-ink readers out of the mass market within 2-5 years, just as smartphones killed off your 2003 Palm Pilot.

Secondly, the software:

The two current tablet/smartphone market incumbents are iOS (Apple) and Android (Google). (Microsoft is making a come-back attempt with Windows 8 Mobile, but is fighting an uphill battle.) These are essentially competing software platforms, like MacOS and Windows in the late 1980s. However, just five years ago, none of these platforms existed; the market was dominated by PalmOS, Symbian, and Microsoft’s dead PocketPC platform. I therefore conclude that it is a really bad idea to make assumptions about the devices customers will own in even 3 years’ time.

More on DRM and ebooks

Plus One – a short story

In an effort to write more short stories, to deadlines, I’ve been publishing the results in ebook formats on Amazon and Smashwords. Not everybody has an ebook reader or a ebook phone app, so I figured I’d put them up here for free.

I actually wrote Plus One before the The Earth Invasion Budget Cuts. It’s science fiction themed again, but has more to do with getting stuck in a relationship. If you wish to buy and download it, here are the links. The entire story is below the cut.

Amazon Kindle (UK)         Multiple Formats          Amazon Kindle (US)

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The Earth Invasion Budget Cuts – a short story

[EDIT: The entire story can now be read in this post, below the “Read More” cut]

A friend and I, having watched a sci-fi film where the aliens’ decision to invade Earth was highly questionable, began imagining the conversations that must have occurred between the aliens before the start of the movie.

I thought it was a fun idea for a short story, so here it is. I’ve released it online for those of you with ebook readers or phone apps. It’s titled The Earth Invasion Budget Cuts and you can download it at Smashwords by clicking the logo below.


Or, if you have a kindle you can download it direct from Amazon.



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