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A bookstore in your computer


I went and read the extended excerpt from Coraline that you can download for free from Fictionwise, and I was hooked. Called the nearest local bookstore, but they didn't have it in stock, and Hugo votes are due tonight. So I bought the full version from Fictionwise (as a protected/"non-copyable" PDF file). I was pleased to see that Dave McKean's illustrations appear in full. It turns out to be an excellent story, scary but presumably suitable for kids (I know a couple of kids who would probably adore it, if only I can remember to get a copy to take to Boston with me and if only they don't have it already); well worth the price, though it would definitely be nice to have a hardcopy book copy to loan out to people. Still, the convenience and speed of acquiring it were pretty nifty, and it comes with some additional material that can otherwise only be found in the limited-edition hardcover. Unfortunately, the interview part of that additional material is just standard interview stuff. But it also includes some unused McKean sketches/illos, and some copies of Gaiman's notebook pages.

Of course, now I realize that I probably could've acquired a copy of the printed book from my local comic shop, which I almost even thought about stopping by on the way home from work this evening. Oh, well.

My real point (besides the fact that I liked Coraline a great deal, but I already said that) is that Fictionwise is cool.


So, what makes a "noncopyable PDF" noncopyable?

DRM. :) More specifically, Adobe has a "secure Acrobat" format (I think that's what it's called) where you register your computer with Adobe, and then when you download a secure Acrobat file Adobe activates that file for use on your registered computer. The PDF file itself is presumably copyable, but you won't be able to read it on any non-authorized computer.

...A friend and former co-worker of mine worked for a few years at InterTrust, a company that was making Digital Rights Management software, and she kept suggesting that I come work there too. At the time, I thought it was a pretty cool solution to the piracy problem. These days, although I'm not part of the adamantly anti-DRM camp, I have to admit that I find most of the DRM out there pretty annoying. On the other hand, I do think some people out there are doing it right; unlike some of the übergeeks, I find Apple's DRM for iTunes more than reasonable.

But that's another whole big topic, and I gotta go to work.

A couple of questions about Adobe's DRM:

First, is it part of Acrobat, and is the registration part free for the reader? Also, does it allow either setting it to print once (but not more than once) or setting it to have an end-date (that is, you can read it for a month, or six months, and after that it won't open any more)?

I could do research on that myself, of course, but if you know anything, I'd appreciate it.

Thank you,

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