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Tuesday News: Rabih Alameddine loves his characters, Adobe hates you, Tech...

Interview: Rabih Alameddine, Author Of ‘An Unnecessary Woman’ – Alameddine’s novel features a heroine who works in a bookstore in Beirut and translates her favorite stories into Arabic, never to be sold or published. Despite the title and Aaliyah’s circumstances, she is happy and fulfilled. I adore Alameddine’s response to a question about “writing lovable characters:”

“In my opinion once you do a character fully, and if the writer — and this is me in this case — actually loves the character, it comes through. The character becomes lovable. Because the truth is it is rare to find a human being fully before us that you can’t fall in love with. You might want to kill them at times, you might want to smack them and throw them off the roof, but it’s also a love affair. And that’s what, in my opinion, a good novel does.” NPR

Adobe to Require New Epub DRM in July, Expects to Abandon Existing Users – Me: Readers just want to be able to read all the ebooks I’ve lawfully purchased and used. Adobe: Screw you and all your dollars spent, too. Me: Go Team Kindle!

“The tl;dr version is that Adobe is going to start pushing for ebook vendors to provide support for the new DRM in March, and when July rolls Adobe is going to force the ebook vendors to stop supporting the older DRM. (Hadrien Gardeur, Paul Durrant, and Martyn Daniels concur on this interpretation.)

This means that any app or device which still uses the older Adobe DRM will be cut off. Luckily for many users, that penalty probably will not affect readers who use Kobo or Google reading apps or devices; to the best of my knowledge neither uses the Adobe DRM internally. And of course Kindle and Apple customers won’t even notice, thanks to those companies’ wise decision to use their own DRM.” The Digital Reader

Major Tech Companies Disclose Secret Court Orders for First Time – Reports for Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and LinkedIn are all available via link in this story, which details the new terms for tech companies to, in the words of a Google blog post, let the public “better understand how surveillance laws work and decide whether or not they serve the public interest.” Sure a lot of these disclosures are in tech’s own best interests, but sometimes those interests intersect with our own:

“Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and LinkedIn have all provided statistics on government requests for user data issued through National Security Letters (NSLs) and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court orders. Internet communications companies were previously forbidden to release such data, until the U.S. government reached an agreement with several of the aforementioned companies, which was announced last week.” Mashable

Book thieves are shrinking the Brooklyn Public Library’s collection – Perhaps librarians can weigh in on how widespread a problem this is. Note that these books are not being outright stolen, but checked out and never returned. High on the list of potential targets are professional and test preparation guides and graphic novels. More digital books? Not sure what the solution is here.

“Reuven Blau reports for the New York Daily News that, while 2013 numbers are not yet available, 70,144 books were stolen from the Brooklyn Public Library in 2012 — and that this is indicative of a trend that started with staff cuts a few years ago. Library workers point out that after the staff was reduced, thefts spiked from 61,543, a 14% increase. The Brooklyn Heights branch has gone from 30 employees to 20, and one anonymous staffer points out, “We don’t have the staff to watch as much.”” MobyLives

Can couples really get stuck together during sex? – How about this for a romantic challenge? A little nookie, followed by a trip to the emergency room:

“‘Its not the most romantic ending a couple can imagine,’ says Dr Aristomenis Exadaktylos, author of a study of 11 years of admissions to his hospital in Bern, Switzerland.

He and his co-authors found plenty of patients who had experienced problems after sex – migraines, heart problems, even amnesia. But asked on the BBCs Health Check radio programme if he had come across a case of the womans vagina clamping on to the mans penis, he said ‘No’ – and added that the idea was probably an urban myth.

Two listeners, however, wrote in to dispute this.” BBC News

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!

31 Comments

  1. library addict
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 04:45:55

    Well, boo! I was under the impression that so long as we downloaded the ePub and only opened it with the older ADE version it would still be readable on my Sony, etc. Only books initially unlocked with ADE 3.0 would be incompatible with older devices. But that won’t be the case if they indeed force stores to use only ADE 3.0 :(

    Even though I have a Kobo mini, I do not use it to buy books because I like being able to read them on all my devices. Plus the kepub formatting is horrid.

    I don’t want to buy my digital books from Amazon (Kobo is often cheaper with coupons). But I will if I have to. Why don’t the Big 5 publishers get that DRM does nothing to stop piracy and only hurts paying customers? Grr!

    The bad part is that Kobo sometimes adds DRM to Samhain and Carina Press books, too. So I guess those will have to be purchased directly from the publisher. Which means I will buy less because again Kobo coupons stretch my book budget.

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  2. mari
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 05:23:01

    I am confused. (Normal for me but damn you Adobe anyway!) Will I still be able to read my ebooks on my Kobo, Nook, and Sony apps? I read every thing on my Android phone and my Nook HD.
    If not, anything,I can do?

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  3. Ros
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 05:41:27

    So, I think my takeaway from the Adobe story is that I need to strip the DRM from all my epub files before July and from then on, I’ll only be buying from Amazon.

    They can’t be that stupid, can they? Apparently so. I wonder if they’ve talked to a single reader in this whole process.

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  4. sandyl
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 06:21:06

    Sheesh. Is this another nail in the nook coffin? I had made the decision last year to switch to the Kindle. Amazon usually has the better deals, but I have a lot of books on my nook.

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  5. JANE
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 06:38:19

    Nook uses a different DRM scheme so it shouldn’t be affected but Sony, Overdrive, and Other retailers dependent on Adobe Digital Editions will be. I think Ros is right and it behooves readers who have old libraries to learn how to crack their DRM so as to preserve access.

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  6. Mikaela
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 07:00:19

    Unless Amazon drops the whispernet fees, this means I’ll read DRM free e-books only, and go back to paper for some of my autobuy authors. Oh. And this should affect the libraries as well, since Overdrive will probably start updating their servers soon.

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  7. cecilia
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 07:26:58

    @library addict: @library addict: I have a Sony reader and I used to buy books from Kobo to read on it all the time. They’re perfectly compatible.

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  8. Brie
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 07:35:40

    I guess this is the end of me buying Harlequin books directly through their site. I’ll just have to wait and buy them on Kindle.

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  9. library addict
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 07:40:11

    @cecilia: I do too. But if Lobo changes the download DRM that may not be the case in the future. the thing about the new DRM as I understand it is that it won’t have a static key to unlock. The key will change every time you open or download a book. There is even speculation it could change while reading the book hence the you’ll have to be connected to the internet all the time scenario.

    One can only hope Alf and friends devise a solution…

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  10. Lisa J
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 07:40:41

    Until someone figures put how to crack the new DRM, I’ll be buying all my books from Amazon or BN. I don’t turn my wifi on on my reader and I don’t always have wifi available. What happens to the people who want to read on a plane, train, or bus? You’ve cut them off and forced them to go to Amazon. Not smart publishers.

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  11. library addict
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 07:41:28

    Kobo not Lobo. I still don’t know how to type on my tablet :p

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  12. MelissaG
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 07:51:23

    And this is why I liberate my books from DRM. Because I trust none of these companies to keep the books I lawfully purchase accessible in the way that I want to read them. I spend too much money to let them yank me around.

    Adobe just lost all of my future business. And not just with ebooks….

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  13. Liz Mc2
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 08:49:18

    I read a very appealing review of that Alameddine book, and now I think I’m sold. What a great point of view on characters (and other people).

    I almost abandoned ePub (which I have because those readers were available to me before Amazon condescended to sell Kindles here) the last time I upgraded my reader. FU, Adobe. Time to get around to stripping DRM where I haven’t yet bothered. It would be great if retailers rebelled at treating their customers this way, but I’m not holding my breath.

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  14. SAO
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 08:57:39

    @Ros
    Thank you for explaining it so well. Of course Adobe didn’t talk to readers. They’re not a bookseller, they are a software company. So they made the software with the most secure anti-piracy security and expected the market to reward them.

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  15. Lostshadows
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 09:30:32

    Maybe I missed something, can Adobe actually do anything if the various vendors go, “That sounds like a terrible idea, we think we’ll continue to support the old DRM.”?

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  16. Karenmc
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 09:36:20

    People who work in graphic design have also been done wrong by. Adobe’s Creative Suite, which includes Photoshop and InDesign, won’t be available to buy on disk after version 6. You want to get the newest version? Just start paying a monthly fee and use their Cloud software. A monthly fee that never, ever ends.

    Most of my ebooks are from Amazon, so I don’t have an immediate concern about my library. I will, at some point, want to run ebooks purchased at Fictionwise through Calibre.

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  17. Lada
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 09:50:36

    Thank God Jane was kind enough to post easy instructions on how to use Calibre and create my own ebook library so the hundreds of books I’ve purchased remain mine and I can continue to access them any time. I highly recommend taking the time to figure this out for anyone with ebook libraries. I don’t trust that any vendor may someday try and limit my access, Amazon and BnN included.

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  18. Jane
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 10:12:20

    If you want to preserve access to your older Adobe books, then download Calibre, Read this post on how to add plugins (http://dearauthor.com/ebooks/dear-jane-ebooks/how-to-add-a-plugin-to-calibre/) and then google Apprentice Alf.

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  19. azteclady
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 10:59:59

    I’ve resisted for a long time the appeal of ebooks because of all the issues with technology. I’m old enough and uninterested in technology enough that all I want is to buy and be able to read without having to contort and slither through hoops. Since, regardless of my resistance (it’s like the Borg) I do have a number of eARCs etc (prizes, what have you) in my computer, now I have to slither and contort anyway.

    Yeah, I’ll be sticking to print books more than ever from now on.

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  20. Lynn Pauley
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 12:37:33

    Since I work in a public library (and have for over 25+ years), I will tackle both the disappearing book collection and what I consider the “Adobe problem”.

    I can tell you that books being checked out and not returned is a large problem for most libraries. Going out and likely not coming back — GED study guides; ASVAB (Armed Forces) study guides; Nursing exams and other job related exam study guides; Chilton and other auto repair guides; books on witchcraft, ghosts, and tattoos; and, in our area, books on the Mothman (local monster sighted for years in the area). The previous library I worked at finally instituted a deposit policy at least on the study and exam guides and the auto repair manuals — a cash deposit equal to the cost of the book — you brought it back, you got your money back, you didn’t bring it back and we at least had the money to purchase a new one. For some of the other books, we just finally gave up and stopped buying those subjects — our response was, sorry we got tired of replacing all the overdue, “lost” and “missing” books — we can’t afford to keep buying them over and over again.
    Many libraries, including the one that I work at now, have now switched to online databases (a large expense) for some of the problem books — Learning Express database has GED, ASVAB and career exam study guides and tests, Chilton Library and Auto Repair Reference Center take care of the auto repair guides. Yes, a patron must have a computer to use these (either at home or at the library) but at least the information is there for them instead of 6 months to a year overdue and likely not to come back.
    Yes, we do notify patrons about their overdues (and in a timely manner) but when the phone turns out to be disconnected, the e-mail bounces, and the mail comes back as addressee unknown, what do you do?
    Re: the “Adobe situation” — we have been pushing our e-book checkouts for awhile now — we feel that this is one more nice service that we can offer our patrons. But, we spend almost as much, if not more, time showing patrons how to use their e-readers versus how to just use Overdrive to download our loanable e-books — but, it is something you have to do because if they do not know how to use the e-reader then you can forget about them checking out the e-books. In our area, we have many patrons who have older e-readers that have been passed on to them from family and friends and who do not have the money to upgrade to a newer version — I can just here them now “YOU told me this was such a wonderful service — NO overdues and NO fines — SO, YOU want to tell ME why I can’t read a book downloaded from YOUR site on my reader? What a time consuming and PR nightmare this is going to be!!!!
    And you can forget about having to be connected to be able to read the book — most of our patrons come to the library in order to download their e-books because they have no internet service where they live (we are in the rural and poor Appalachian part of Ohio) — I just spent the past year or so explaining to patrons that they did not have to have internet service at their house once they downloaded the book — that they could read it off line — now, am I going to have to try to explain to them that they DO have to have internet to read the book they want? — BOY, WILL THAT BE FUN!!!
    Sometimes, I think that publishers and retailers wished that libraries would just go away, considering all the roadblocks they place in our way of being able to provide books and other information for all of our patrons.

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  21. cleo
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 12:37:45

    Ok, about that article about couples getting stuck together after sex. I vividly remember reading an 80s bonk a thon where that happened (Hollywood Wives, maybe) and omg did that traumatize my teenage self. Ugh.

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  22. Moriah Jovan
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 13:10:06

    @Lisa J:

    Until someone figures put how to crack the new DRM

    It’ll be done and scripts posted within 24 hours.

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  23. Janine
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 13:33:57

    I love that Rabih Alameddine quote! Thanks for sharing it.

    I switched to the kindle a long time ago but I still have a library of DRM’d books I purchased at the Sony store lo these many years ago. Thanks a lot, Adobe!

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  24. Lisa J
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 15:44:19

    @Moriah Jovan: I hope so.

    @Janine – Time to strip the DRM and convert the library.

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  25. Jenny
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 15:44:28

    Adobe is really just encouraging people to break the DRM on the books they buy.

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  26. txvoodoo
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 15:47:33

    @Mikaela: I’m confused – what does Amazon’s whispernet have to do with Adobe’s new DRM?

    Also, fees?

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  27. farmwifetwo
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 15:53:11

    Finished my 2013 paperwork today… Tomorrow’s project during the snow storm… Figure out calibre. I only buy from Kobo – cheaper with coupons – and rarely on amazon. But that can change since I read on my tablet.

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  28. library addict
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 17:35:04

    It looks like Adobe is at least delaying the mandatory roll-out The Digital Reader

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  29. SAO
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 23:26:25

    @Lynn P

    You might want to think about an address in the library book. I used to find I had books from my hometown library in college and books from my college town library at home. I’d mail them back. I think you’d get more books back if people knew what to do if they ended up with a library book when they were far from home.

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  30. Kaetrin
    Feb 05, 2014 @ 19:55:25

    Nate at the Digital Reader seems to think the likelihood of “always on” DRM is slim. It is certainly not in the new Adobe DRM. There are of course lots of other problems with it but you won’t have to be always online to read the books. Not yet at least and Nate seems to think not ever – http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2014/02/03/adobe-require-new-epub-drm-july-expects-abandon-existing-users/#comment-287095

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  31. De
    Feb 07, 2014 @ 13:23:37

    @SAO:
    “You might want to think about an address in the library book.”

    We have our address stamp in each book at least twice, mostly inside front and back cover, and on the title page. It doesn’t help. You assume that people care about getting library books back to the libraries.

    Mostly, either people care and they get their books back before they reach billed status, or they don’t care and we don’t get them back. For us, those people are stopped from using the library for at least 5 years, and then we delete the items and the patrons. Which then allows them to get a new library card all clear like it never happened. But a lot of them have moved and they’re in some other town in some other state so they really don’t care about if they can’t use a library here.

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