I really want an e-book reader. I read at a pretty good clip, not nearly as much as some people, but enough that a Kindle, or a Sony e-reader, or yes, even the stupidly named iPad would be a good investment for me. Twice in the last year I have received, Legally and for free, books in an electronic format. (In both cases they were PDFs) In both cases, I would have liked to read the books but have not. The reason I didn’t read them is that it would take a ream of paper to get them off my screen and I don’t want to sit at a computer to read a book. I should be able to have a more comfortable posture while reading. So far, the body of this post belies the title. I am saying that I want an e-book reader. So what are the reasons why I will not be buying one?
Pay close attention to this, publishers, because I am no the only one who feels this way. (In fact you could easily have learned this lesson from the music publishers, but you won’t) Digital Rights Management ruins everything!
I do not want to lease my books. If I buy a kindle edition of a book, it only works on my kindle. So, if it is stolen, or broken, or lost and I want to replace it with a different brand, or if I choose to get a different device because something newer is better, I would have to buy that book again to read it on the new device.
I want the ability to give a book away. It is not unusual for me to read a book, and then if I enjoy it, pass it along to a friend or family member. There is one book that I have given away 4 copies of in the past 2 years. With DRM, I cannot give that book away.
I want the ability to sell books. I won’t even get into the necessity of used textbooks for college students here. I am only going to address the marketplace of used books. I am a regular at my local used bookstore. I don’t sell everything I read, but many books are simply not worth adding to my library. With a digital book full of DRM I have no option but to keep that book for all time. (Not really, I can actually only keep it as long as I have the compatible device) You received your price for that book already, It should then become my property to do with as I please; even if that includes selling it. And I believe used bookstores should embrace this as well and make marketplaces for selling used e-books.
I fully realize that publishers do not want me to have that power. I get it, if they lock the book down then that means more sales for them. In fact, I may be forced to buy a book many times if I refer to it often in class or periodically reread it. I can only assume that book publishers wish that libraries didn’t exist.
I also understand that publishers are worried about piracy. DRM does not stop piracy. I doubt if it even slows it down. What it does accomplish is making sure that your customers are going to be angry at you, because sooner or later they will want to change devices. I know that downloading a book without paying for it is stealing, and I am not a thief. I will be happy to pay for the books I read. I’ll gladly delete my digital copy of a book that I am selling, but I refuse to pay good money for a book that is locked down.
So readers, do you agree or disagree? Or do you think that the idea of an e-book is stupid