DRM and eBooks

Here’s a little rant for ya…

eBooks should be easy. It should be comfortable, and the same as picking up a book off the shelf and reading it. However, that’s not the case. Here’s the issue:

Digital Rights Management.

DRM is a festering piece of crap upon the soul of all that’s good and decent in the world. It’s a horrible idea that assumes that everyone is a thief. Everyone is going to steal from you. DRM is so bad, even Satan is pissed about DRM. Beezlebub itself would state that DRM just pisses him off.

Here’s an excellent description of what DRM does for eBooks:

Anyhow, DRM assumes you’re a thief. It makes you jump through hoops… and it segretates based on HOW you obtained the item. That’s right. If you BUY from them (Amazon with it’s Kindle or Barnes & Noble with it’s Nook or even Sony’s eReader store) it’s actually a “simpler” process.

You log in, you purchase the book, your download the book, and push it to your device.

HOWEVER… services from your Local Library are treated like you and your device are from a leper colony. The software is weak. The providers have no control over the publishers, who will go ahead and create random, unrealistic checkout limits (see: Harper Collins and 26 checkouts), require your blood type checked, your first born child, and require a level of technical knowledge that disqualifies the vast majority of Library patrons from appropriately enjoying the service.

By making it too difficult for library patrons to use the service, they’re essentially forcing patrons to purchase items… or trash their eReaders. Somehow, I know this is illegal, but IANAL.

I should be embracing this. I should lust after this technology… but I don’t. I think the implementation is crooked and immoral. Just yesterday, I attended a demo by Barnes & Noble, to a crowd of Librarians. It was a sales pitch, not information. They had no intention of telling us about the best way to use the device for our patrons. They just wanted us to buy it, and put it in patrons hands and tell them how easy it is to buy from Barnes & Noble.

It occurred to me that B&N sees supplying public libraries with Nooks as nothing more than marketing. They didn’t want to discuss allowing a usable format. Removing DRM, and making eBooks accessible. Just sales.

If all printed material moves towards eBooks, then all format and material becomes restricted: privy to the whim of the publisher, ad naesuem, as long as they shall hold the copy rights…

I don’t like eBooks right now.

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