Don’t blame any online bookstore for a limited catalog.

Josef Marc
Published in
3 min readNov 29, 2017


I think they’d offer every book ever written, in every nation of the world, if only they could.

Image by Alvin Lee, Wikemedia Commons, Creative Commons license. Meaning, spread the knowledge.

A long time ago — Internet time, that is — a few publishers imposed restrictions on what online retailers could sell, where, when, for how much. It was a model derived from their bookstore and chain experience.

They imposed requirements for digital rights management systems (DRM) and end user license agreements (EULA). To learn more about the foibles of DRM, read Cory Doctorow’s “Information Doesn’t Want To Be Free” or “Content.” He makes an excellent living as a novelist without DRM. For more about the foibles of EULAs, read The End Of Ownership.

Fun fact: A typical EULA to read Shakespeare’s Macbeth is longer than the book itself.

Don’t worry about authors getting paid without DRM/EULA. They’ve already learned how to get paid without them, and now they’ve got Publica on their side. Their UP-side.

“When someone buys a book, they are also buying the right to resell that book, to loan it out, or to even give it away if they want. Everyone understands this.”
— Jeff Bezos, Open letter to Author’s Guild, 2002.

That’s exactly what Publica’s book tokens offer, because we can’t stop you. Publica has no DRM to revoke your book token, and no EULA for you to agree to.

Blockchains don’t offer DRM/EULA options and Publica wouldn’t want them anyway. They’re weren’t invented by authors or their readers. To learn who wrote them, imposed them, and to whose benefit they ultimately accrued, consider who lobbied for the laws that allow them. I think they wouldn’t do the same today if they had an easier, less expensive option.

Publica walked away from DRM/EULA because we don’t need them anymore. (Cory Doctorow’s latest novel is titled “Walkaway,” pardon my pun.)

Flickr. ‘Nuff said.

Now you know why we called Publica the first protocol for decentralized publishing.

In a simile, Publica is like Gutenberg’s press reinvented for the 21st century. Like paper books and paper money, when they’re yours they’re yours, to do with as you see fit. Authorities have trouble controlling paper assets. They have trouble controlling cryptocurrency and other tokens. I wonder: Why would we need them controlled?

Authors can control their book sales and fortunes themselves nowadays. Any help they need can come from their communities of readers and other supporters. Plus the magic of the Internet and a blockchain for books.

If you haven’t seen it, here’s Publica’s video about the Gutenberg’s press metaphor.

Publica is developing the author’s journey right now. If you’re an author or just want to keep an eye on the latest developments, click here.



Josef Marc

Blockchain evolution fan. Digital media nerd.