Monday, November 3, 2014

Digital Watermarks Take the Publishing World by Storm

Education Tablets

Major Publishers and Bookstores are staring to forgo Adobe DRM and instead embrace Digital Watermarking technology. They are doing this because it is easier for the customer to be able to load the eBooks they purchase onto their e-Reader, smartphone or tablet. Right now Watermarking is big in Europe and being the de'facto standard in the publishing arena, but now North Americans are starting to realize the potential.

A watermark or social DRM is imperceptible to the average book reader because the underlying technology is invisible to the naked eye. The way it handles data can take two distinctive forms: personal information about the user who purchased the eBook (such as an email address) or an ID number that the distributor can use to look up the user or transaction in a database and is otherwise meaningless.

There are a few major players in the Watermarking arena that have gained the most traction from publishers and have been adopted by some fairly big companies. The Dutch firm Booxtream has been providing social DRM since 2011 to its roster of Dutch bookstores and has recently spread their wings globally.  One of their biggest clients is Pottermore. JK Rowling's Harry Potter focused online community and ebookstore. They have been using the technology since the service first launched in 2012.

HarperColllins and ebook distributor LibreDigital decided to embrace a competitor; Guardian Watermarking for Publishing from Digimarc. It is a fairly new anti-piracy technology that not only embeds an invisible watermark into eBooks, but it also crawls the web 24×7 searching for watermarked content. When a watermark is detected, Digimarc provides the unique identifier to the publisher to match against its own transaction records. Digimarc Guardian Watermarks do not contain any personal or user information; the Digimarc Watermarks contain only anonymous digital IDs.

One of the ways publishers safeguard their watermarking technology is to turn towards companies that specialize in anti-piracy measures.  eBoekhuis is based in the Netherlands and has developed their own system of watermarking. Recently they signed an agreement with fellow countrymen BRIEN, to protect their assets from file sharing and Torrent websites. Any bookstore that sells eBooks with their proprietary system is mandated to share previously-private customer data directly with copyright holders and BREIN.  This basically gives BREIN a ton of power to be able to go directly after eBook pirates.  This sounds valid, I realize you have to protect your clients from unlawful activity, but things took a very dark twist. "We got a new contract that states that we must directly give information about the buyer if some anti-piracy agency (BREIN) finds an ebook file online," said Kurt Roeckx, who operates the Dutch ebook store E-webshops. "We must keep the information about the buyer for minimum of 2 years and maximum of 5 years. And if we don't sign the contract we won't be allowed to sell e-books with watermark anymore."

Some companies actually take watermarking technology too far and are making their readers feel like criminals. Verso Books recently introduced their bookstore in March 2014 and when customers buy a book their name and email address are blasted on the cover art. Not only that but the info is also on the title page, copyright page, TOC, bibliography, forward, and e very second page of the eBook. One user stated “Personally, I felt like I was constantly being sent a stalker's note saying, "I know where you live." It put me off reading the books entirely.”

Watermarking's greatest shortcoming (from a publisher's perspective; a boon for the reader) is that it does nothing to protect against small-time file-sharing among friends. Though book lending is a staple of the traditional reading experience, in the digital sphere, it terrifies publishers. Ursula Mackenzie, Little, Brown and Company chief executive and president of the Publishers Association recently stated: "We are fully aware that DRM does not inhibit determined pirates or even those who are sufficiently sophisticated to download DRM removal software. The central point is that we are in favor of DRM because it inhibits file-sharing between the mainstream readers who are so valuable to us and our authors."

Watermarking or social DRM is very popular in Europe, with most publishers and digital bookstores choosing this technology. Mainstream companies such as DriveThru, Tor, Baen and bokus all sell their content in this fashion. In the Netherlands 65% of all publishers have adopted it and Digimark concluded Fifty-five magazine titles were read, contributing to a 300% increase in sales in 2013.

Digital Watermarks Take the Publishing World by Storm is a post from: Good e-Reader

Cybook Ocean Preview


Bookeen is poised to release their first eight inch e-reader, the Cybook Ocean. To celebrate the November launch the company has exclusively provided Good e-Reader with a sneak peak. This will provide you all with a  sense of the, dimensions, size, form factor and the eBook experience.

Cybook Ocean Preview is a post from: Good e-Reader

Register now: November open training sessions

trainingsmallIf you haven’t yet joined us for an open training session, don’t worry, there are plenty of opportunities coming up in the month of November. These popular sessions are a great way to get up to speed on the exciting new changes that have come to the OverDrive app and OverDrive Read. Plus, for new digital content selectors, there’s a crash course on the basics of OverDrive Marketplace purchasing.

Check out the details below and click on the links to register. And remember, even if you can’t attend a live session, just for registering you’ll receive a link to a recording of the session and a PDF of the presentation slides.

  • Marketplace Basics – Learn the basics of Marketplace purchasing. Nov. 5th 10:00am EDT
  • OverDrive Read: eBooks Made Easy – Learn about the latest updates to OverDrive Read, the quickest way to get started with eBooks. Nov. 11th 10:00am EDT
  • Explore the OverDrive app – Learn how to get started using the OverDrive mobile app for Android and iOS with a live demonstration and Q&A. Nov. 13th 3:00pm EDTWe hope to see you there soon!

Anders Brooks is a Training Specialist at OverDrive.

Dinosaur retrofit

A month or so ago, I had an email from a Dr Lucy Rogers, who wanted to talk about human-sized animatronic dinosaurs. Animatronic dinosaurs are much more interesting that what I normally get to talk about on a Monday morning, and we’ve been in touch since then, the culmination of our dinosaur conversation being the video below.


The dinosaurs in question are at Blackgang Chine, a theme park on the Isle of Wight. They’re now pretty ancient, and were programmed a very long time ago with a limited range of behaviours (roar, lift stompy little foot, move head, repeat). The original hardware is so old it might have seen some real dinosaurs, so the challenge that Dr Rogers’ team had set themselves was to update the park’s dinosaurs to have longer, more interesting and more variable behaviour loops – using Raspberry Pis.

Dr Rogers was helped by Pi veterans Neil Ford (@neilcford) and Andy Stanford-Clark (@andysc) – all the programming was done in Node-RED, which we’ve recently been exploring ourselves via workshops at the Cambridge Raspberry Jam – it’s a nice way to visualise flows of events.

Later in the year, Dr Rogers will be visiting a Chinese animatronic dinosaur factory (I am so jealous), explaining how they used Raspberry Pis in their control boxes, and leading some tutorial sessions. We’ve already hooked her up with some user groups in China; we’re looking forward to finding out what she gets up to!



Top 5 reasons to attend Digipalooza 2015

Digipalooza_2015_logoDigipalooza is OverDrive's 5th international user group conference for public, school, and college librarians to learn about digital media in the library. It's a unique blend of education, networking, and fun.

We want to see you August 5-7, 2015 in lovely Cleveland, Ohio! Here are some reasons you don't want to miss out:

1) Digital media is the topic.
Digipalooza is 100% focused on digital media in libraries and schools. No need to stress over planning your schedule in advance or trying to choose what sessions you want to attend. The conference is structured so that you don't miss out on anything.

2) Be the first to hear about the latest industry innovations.
Participate in exclusive demonstrations and discussions with Team OverDrive and industry experts and learn what's new and what's next in the world of eBooks, digital audiobooks, streaming video, and more.

3) Gain practical knowledge and real-world solutions that you can apply at your library or school.
Leading librarians and educators will share their success stories, best practices, and tips for how to effectively and efficiently manage a digital library. Plus, you'll have a chance to collaborate with peers to discuss issues and work together to set goals and create a plan of action for implementing what you learn at Digipalooza.

4) Digipalooza offers a diverse agenda.
Conference sessions cover a variety of topics about eBooks and the library, including collection development, digital library management, marketing and outreach, staff and user training, readers' advisory efforts, and technical support. No matter your job title, this conference is for you.

5) Let your voice be heard.
The most important voice during Digipalooza is yours. Be an innovator and provide your suggestions and feedback to help shape the next generation of the OverDrive experience.

Visit for more information. Questions? Contact us at

Cassie Renner is a Marketing Specialist at OverDrive.