Is URMS a New Model of Flexibility in Digital Books User Rights?

Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.

0f8a85dWritten by Nancy Panos, Director of Product Management, Datalogics

At Digital Book World in January, I attended several very interesting sessions on industry data analytics including what people are reading, how they are reading, ideal demographics for library lenders, interesting facts about the rise in audiobooks, and eBook pricing and its impact on growth. It’s captivating to see a universal view of which genres and titles sell. However, we are in an age where it is not just content but delivery of this content that is essential.

Look at the rise in eBooks over the past five years or the almost double-digit growth in audiobooks. There’s monumental growth of electronic content delivery in education that includes not just the textbook but a multimedia experience appealing to modern students. Content is becoming more than just words on a page but a full, immersive experience. As reading needs change, we are finding that flexibility in user rights has become increasingly more intriguing.  Growth in distribution formats necessitates a look at digital rights to insure they are keeping up with the needs of consumers.

The URMS Solution

Sony DADC has delivered an innovative model for user rights. Their URMS solution provides more flexibility in rights while adding a new level of protection to content and a big name to back it up. They started in the gaming industry, moved into home entertainment, and now offer book protection. Today, they have over 1.1 billion physical and digital units in the market and an unprecedented know-how. So it is not surprising that they also come to the table with a model that includes user rights flexibility that has never existed before.   

Recently, I attended an event in Paris sponsored by Numilog, a distributor of eBook content in France. The focus of the event was on the difference between URMS and LCP, the open source DRM sponsored by Readium. As I mingled with attendees, I asked each person why they were interested in transitioning to URMS. The consistent and prevailing theme was the flexibility.  

New Business Models

URMS is designed to enable adaptable business models for reading. This gives publishers and content distributors a lot to think about. What creative ways can you share an eBook with a classroom, within a grade level, in book clubs? Is there a single chapter in a book that supports a teacher’s lesson plan? Readers want to share great books with friends and family, across devices, around the world—and URMS can enable that.  

With competition high, the need to adapt to today’s reading audience and hold them captive is a critical need. Because of this, enablement of new business models is essential. It’s quite possibly time to ask whether there is something unique in the gaming or entertainment industry that we can bring to eBooks. URMS gives content providers the chance to think outside of the norm and maybe gain a new and competitive advantage in the market.


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