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Harlequin to stop providing ebook downloads from 12th November 2018
#1  pdurrant 10-30-2018, 06:05 AM
Harlequin, the big romance publisher, is changing the way they supply ebooks bought directly on their web site. It will no longer be possible to download copies of your ebooks, you will only be able to access them through web browsers and the supplied app.

See their announcement on their website

Quote
It important to note that while the new ebook reading experience does support offline reading through the web browser and app, you will not be able to download files and transfer them to older devices that are not web enabled. If you would like to keep copies of the files for this use, please download them prior to November 12th, 2018.
This does mean that you will not be able to download books from the Harlequin web site to Adobe Digital Editions. (Edit: Confirmed with Harlequin tech support.)

So if you want your own back-ups of your ebooks, make sure you download them before the 12th. That's only two weeks away!

Thanks to septentrion for the news.
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#2  Sarmat89 10-30-2018, 06:32 AM
Another victim of rampant piracy?
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#3  library addict 10-30-2018, 06:33 AM
Are we sure this isn't just for their app?

Because I use Adobe Digital Editions to open the downloaded ACSM file. And this announcement makes no reference to ADE.

Also there was an earlier announcement.
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We’ve listened to your feedback and have been working on ways to make reading ebooks better. As a result, we’re happy to announce that we’re introducing a new ereading experience in Fall 2018. Here’s what you need to know:
•Prior to the switch you can continue to download your ebooks to the OverDrive app on your device or access them through the Read Now option as usual.
•If you do not download and read all of your ebooks through the OverDrive app before the launch of the new experience, don't worry! Once we switch to our new ereading app, your previously purchased ebooks will remain in your library. You’ll be able read them on the new app, or through your browser via a Read Now function.
I also found What software do I need to use the eBooks from this site? which states
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You can read and transfer EPUB files using the following software, depending on your device. Click the links below for information on each program, system requirements and to download the software. To read your eBook without downloading any software, you can select the Read Now option to select OverDrive Read. This browser-based eBook reader allows you to read eBooks without the need for downloads or special software on a smartphone, tablet, or computer by using your web browser.
•Adobe Digital Editions
•OverDrive Media Console for Android™
•OverDrive Media Console for iOS (including iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch)
•OverDrive Media Console for other devices (including Windows Phone, nook, Macs, etc.)
I have never used an app to read their books, but it sounds like just the app is changing. I sent them an email to verify.

ETA: GM confirmed no downloads below. Also via email.
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#4  darryl 10-30-2018, 07:13 AM
Good luck Library Addict. I don't blame you for a bit of optimism, but it seems to me to be crystal clear that they are dumping Adobe. Offline reading will be only through either a web browser or the app. If you want to read on an e-ink device except perhaps one running Android bad luck. Also bad luck if you want to keep a backup once they dump ADE. E-Ink Kobo's or Kindles. Forget it.

We can only guess as to their motives for doing this. Certainly I doubt Adobe ADE licenses are particularly cheap, and this could well have played a role. Particularly if they are under financial pressure, which is also quite possible given that the Romance genre has come to be dominated by Indies. As for piracy playing a role. I doubt it, but it is not totally impossible that it is playing a role, or at least that Harlequin thinks it is. It is not inconceivable that they are losing many sales to Indies but are instead blaming piracy. Personally I doubt it is going to help them and may well cause them serious harm. Their reputation is in tatters after their treatment of authors in relation to royalties, and I suspect they will alienate many readers with this move. If I was one of their customers, which I am not, this would do it for me. Quite apart from my own strong preference for reading on e-ink devices the fact that I would not be able to back up my purchases alone would be enough for me to part ways with them. I would not be prepared to trust either in the financial solvency of this company or the dubious ethical standards they have demonstrated in the past to keep my purchases accessible.

My admittedly biased recommendation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohXI3po8hK0
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#5  pdurrant 10-30-2018, 07:38 AM
Quote Sarmat89
Another victim of rampant piracy?
ROFL!

Quote library addict
Are we sure this isn't just for their app?
I would be delighted to be wrong. Do report back with what they say. But the plain reading of their announcement is that it will no longer be possible to download ebooks.
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#6  library addict 10-30-2018, 08:06 AM
But if they're dropping ADE all together wouldn't that mean they would no longer sell books at Kobo, BAM, etc. Isn't it the publisher who decides about DRM? And aren't they the ones who pay for it? And why only the Harlequin site and not the other Harper Collins imprints. Plus they just shutdown the DRM-free Carina site and said the books would all be available to buy and download from Harlequin.com.

I may be wrong, but unless they plan to stop selling books elsewhere why just drop ADE from their site and have to pay for it at other stores. In an ideal world they would drop DRM, but Harper Collins seems adamant against that despite the success of Carina Press.
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#7  Hemmi 10-30-2018, 09:12 AM
I don't use Overdrive to download my Harlequin ebooks. Never have. I use ADE. If I'm not able to do that, then I won't buy ebooks from them.
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#8  fjtorres 10-30-2018, 09:12 AM
This is curious...

I'm thinking this is Harlequin the bookstore reacting to their reduced ebook market share rather than Harlequin the publisher giving in to PiracyParanoia™.

I suspect they are only dropping ADE on their site and doing it as a cost-saving move:
the backend server and authentication costs for the webstore have a fixed component, in addition to the per-book costs. With the majority of ebook readers committed to one walled garden or another, the business isn't exactly friendly to independent ebookstores anymore.

This is worth watching because it reflects on the debate as to whether publishers should or even *can* start/increase direct-to-consumer ebook sales. Harlequin has been doing it for ages so if ADE support is becoming onerous to the store it would discourage other publishers, especially if they're wedded to DRM, unlike BAEN and other direct-sales publishers.

Alternately, it might be that HC is using Harlequin to experiment with Applocked ebook distribution to test consumer acceptance. Less likely since Applocked ebooks haven't been successful in times past. You'd think they would have noticed.

Worth keeping an eye out to see what comes next.
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#9  jhowell 10-30-2018, 09:23 AM
I believe that this applies only if you purchase books directly from Harlequin. Harlequin books purchased from other online stores should be unaffected.

Their announcement says that they are changing providers. Their online store is currently provided by OverDrive, and it looks much the same as the websites of OverDrive libraries.

They don't say who the new provider will be. It will be interesting to find out. They also don't mention it, but it is most likely the new store provider will not support ADE since that is expensive.
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#10  pdurrant 10-30-2018, 10:30 AM
Quote pdurrant
I would be delighted to be wrong. Do report back with what they say. But the plain reading of their announcement is that it will no longer be possible to download ebooks.
I asked Harlequin about ADE from 12th November through their help pages.

"Will it still be possible to download ebooks using ADE?"

The answer I just got back by email is:

"Hi there, after we transition it will no longer be possible to download ebooks using ADE. If you wish to have a physical copy of your ebooks please download them all to ADE before November 12. If you do not download them, you will still always have access to your books through the Harlequin Bookshelf and new app (requires internet connection), however, you can do offline reading as well. Thanks!

--

SM from Harlequin.com"

That seems pretty conclusive. If you buy (or have bought) directly from Harlequin, you will NOT be able to download your books for use on ADE devices from the 12th November.

I've clarified the first post to make it clear that this only applies to ebooks bought directly from Harlequin.
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