“Lightning Source will add to its current catalog of titles in Microsoft and Adobe Acrobat formats to become the exclusive DRM licensee in the United States for eReader’s 15,000 eBook titles. eReader is the most widely used eBook reader, currently accounting for more than 50 percent of the total market, according to recent statistics published by the Open eBook Forum (OeBF).” – Press release from Motricity, the people behind eReader.

TeleRead take: Why should any one distibutor be the “exclusive DRM licensee” in the U.S. If eReader were talking about books as books and not mixing in formats, I’d be more sympathetic. I can’t blame individual companies for hoping to compete in the here and now. But as a way to grow the e-book industry long term, this really sucks. For booksellers and libraries not using Lightning Source, this could complicate life. Oh, and do you notice the relationship between DRM and balkanization of the e-book market? Jeeze. If I were Lightning Source and Motricity, I’d be careful. Suppose that bigger companies such as Microsoft and Adobe do agree on e-book standards–especially if Mobipocket-Amazon joins in. It is damn risky to build your business on proprietary approaches that could unravel in a flash. Hmm. Wonder if Lightning Source’s new love of eReader has anything to do with the Amazon buying Mobipocket–and maybe even using an alliance with the makers of the PepperPad as part of a grand strategy.


  1. LSI already distributes eReader (Palm Reader) DRM’ed e-books, to Powell’s.

    Amazon has never retailed LSI’s Palm Reader books (though they could have), and now is not likely to–they seem to have decided to go with MobiPocket.

    And Content Reserve, of course, stopped distributing Palm Reader books a while ago.

    Is this a sign of strength in eReader’s e-book strategy, or of weakness?

  2. Thanks, Michael. Meanwhile here’s the perspective of Blackmask, which among other things challenges the ballyhoo. I wouldn’t want to be in eReader’s place right now.

    In the long term, the real solution would be a spiffy reader based on open standards.

  3. I don’t understand this entire press release, since LSI has already been distributing ereader titles for years through powells, fictionwise, and other ebook retailers. And, the relationship was already de facto exclusive since overdrive dropped the format over a year ago.

    I don’t get it, someone explain it to me. Did anything really change?

  4. “And, the relationship was already de facto exclusive since overdrive dropped the format over a year ago.”

    Exactly. Seems to be a PR release done for PR 😉

    Just the same, I heartily disclose “exclusive” when mentioned in a format context. What’s more, it could hurt eReader if further choices popped up. We can’t just go by the here and now.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

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