Found in the MobileRead forums today: one of Fictionwise’s e-book servers, Overdrive, is terminating its contract with them as of January 31st. Because these files are actually DRM-encrypted and delivered by Overdrive’s servers and not stored on Fictionwise itself, this means that customers who purchased them will no longer be able to download those files as of the end of the month.

According to Fictionwise’s FAQ about the Overdrive matter, this affects 300,000 e-book units sold to customers (less than 4% of Fictionwise’s total sales). The affected units include some Secure Mobipocket, Secure Microsoft Reader, and Secure Adobe Digital titles, but Secure eReader and Multiformat are unaffected.

Fictionwise is in negotiation with the e-books’ original publishers to allow them to provide replacements in Secure eReader format for affected Overdrive books. They have covered about 80% of the affected titles so far, and continue to negotiate with other publishers to try to cover the rest. For more information, see the FAQ at the link above.

Kudos to Fictionwise for their efforts to make sure their readers don’t lose access to the books they’ve paid for!

(I personally wish they could replace every Secure Mobipocket book I have ever purchased with a Secure eReader version, but perhaps that will happen eventually.)

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  1. The FAQ was put on our server yesterday in preparation, but was not linked in to our help page, but apparently google indexed it and somebody found it that way.

    We are actually rolling out the replacement files this morning, they should be online around 1pm eastern time today.

  2. Steve

    Your efforts in allowing a transition to eReader format for books affected by this is appreciated. I have a number of MS Reader books that I can no longer download because I gave up fighting with Microsoft to re-authorise my machine. Perhaps I will get lucky and these will spring to life in a shiny new eReader dust jacket!

  3. Yet another strike against DRM. I had only purchased two books that were affected by this and one of them has a replacement (thank you!) so it’s not that big of a deal to me.

  4. Hooray! 93 of my 101 expiring ebooks are already available as eReader replacements. This goes a long way to consolidating my ebook collection in a single format (without tiresome manual conversion on my part).

    Many, many thanks to Fictionwise for going the extra mile to help their customers retain their books.

  5. (I personally wish they could replace every Secure Mobipocket book I have ever purchased with a Secure eReader version, but perhaps that will happen eventually.)


    Heh. And I wish they could do the reverse. Actually I hope that someday they can replace all the books I’ve bought in either format with DRM-free copies…

  6. I have seven expiring books (out of over 200), but this sort of thing is why I only bought about ten DRMed eBooks between 2003 and mid-2005 and none from mid-2005 to mid-2008

    But since mid-2008 I have bought over 200 DRMed ebooks. Why? Because a way to remove the DRM became available. Otherwise I’d have stuck to the Multiformat ebooks.

  7. This is going to be a real test of Overdrive’s ability to respond quickly, because they must be losing potential clients every minute their move remains unexplained. On the whole, Overdrive have been really good to the ebook industry, and I hope their reasons are good.

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