After Riding the Bullet
The event sparked intense discussion about the merits of different types of security for e-books.
The NuvoMedia Web site http://www.ebooknet.com has given the issue significant attention. In an article so detailed it describes how the book might have been hacked, at http://www.ebooknet.com/story.jsp?id=1671, authors Glenn Sanders and Wade Roush outline the events surrounding the heist.
Two companies, they explained, Glassbook and Softlock, had distributed King's e-book in PDF file format.
Because the hacked file was a PDF file that contained four-color cover art that was distributed only by Glassbook, Sanders and Roush noted, it is likely that file attacked by hackers originated from Glassbook.
Glassbook concedes this likelihood, says Mary Ellen Heinen, vice president of sales and marketing for the company. Glassbook, she adds, is coming out with a new version of its software with features that would both enhance the user experience and offer improved security and tamper-resistance, including 64-bit encryption keys.
Nothing is 100 percent secure, but the e-book industry--like other industries selling digital content--is going to make money anyway, says Heinen. Heinen compares piracy in the e-book industry to "shrinkage" in the retail industry--the term applied to loss of product due to theft. It may simply be a necessary evil that all companies selling digital content simply have to be vigilant about.