Ebook readers' bill of rights


44 Responses to “Ebook readers' bill of rights”

  1. Weirdmage says:

    Firstly, jramboz has a point. If e-books should be allowed to be resold, there would have to be stricter DRM, ensuring that e-books can only be accessed at one place, and deleted from there before moved.

    “* the right to access eBooks on any technological platform, including the hardware and software the user chooses”

    This sounds suspiciously like a right to make unlimited copies. You can already choose which format/platform to buy the e-book in/for, so if that is the point it already exists.

    The whole “bill of rights” seems to be anti-copyright. And the typical entitlement crap that people who frequent Kindle forums spew across the internet.

  2. spool32 says:

    I certainly agree with most of this, but calling these principles “rights” is just flat wrong.

  3. Librarian says:

    It’s one of those things that sounds good, but fails to address the issue satisfactorily for all parties. Harper Collins feels its business model is under fire and they are trying to recreate a situation that replicates that business model. In the end that feels strange to librarian. What do we care if the title never wears out? That’s good, right? Of course, Harper Collins feels differently, part of their revenue stream is libraries replacing old titles.

    Now, I’m not one to defend outdated business practices, but put yourself in Joe Librarian’s position. They don’t understand DRM any more than the person standing in front of them with their nook does. I can’t tell you how often we field the question “What do you mean it’s checked out, it’s electronic, can’t anyone get it?” Then imagine trying to defend a boycott of DRM media to the city council or library board who may not understand a computer, much less DRM. All the end user sees it library dropping services. The library is not a political platform.

    That is to say “the library” not “all libraries”. If ALA or another organization can get involved in this, it becomes a much more potent issue.

    I imagine this will shake out to a pay per year type model, similar to how magazine content is licensed. Libraries are used to paying an annual fee for serials, now they will for ebooks as well. It seems the best way to address both the access and the revenue issues.

  4. Selkiechick says:

    @ Weirdimage
    I think the second point you raise- about the ability to read eBooks on any platform is NOT about making copies, but is about not needing to have a proprietary format for each kind reader- you should be able to buy an ebook and read it on a Kindle, or a Nook, or with a BrailleNote or even on a desktop computer. Users should be able not only to load the books onto whatever devices they want to use, and to be able to move them to other devices, or to new devices when they upgrade or replace equipment.

    To some degree, the ePub format addresses these concerns, and I hope to see publishers continue to move toward a common platform.

  5. LibrarianInBlack says:

    The eBook User’s Bill of Rights was a collaborative effort with the fabulous Andy Woodworth (http://agnosticmaybe.wordpress.com/). As librarians we care a great deal about everyone’s access to digital information, whether as a consumer or a library user.

    As for “reader” vs. “user,” I can see both sides. If you listen to a book, are you a reader? I say yes, some dead-tree format enthusiasts say no. We tried to make it as inclusive as possible by saying “user.” But users do include readers, most definitely.

    All of these comments and conversations are fabulous, and exactly what we wanted when we released this. Say where you agree and where you disagree. The more voices the better. The important thing is that the conversation is happening and publishers and authors are taking part.

  6. Weirdmage says:


    I see your point about one format, but that means every publisher and chain in the whole world agreeing to it. And that also means having supersensitive DRM that ensures you only have one copy at a time.

    And you choose the format when you buy, just like a buyer of paper books chooses between Hardcover, Trade Paperback and Mass Market Paperback.
    Why should e-book buyers have the right to “update” their version, if I buy a Hardcover book, I can’t trade it in for the revised edition that comes five years later.

    If however a format should go “extinct”, I think there should be some means to get the e-book for free on another format.

    • Rob says:

      No it doesn’t require supersensitive DRM.

      1) Trust users
      2) Verify, embedding (securely) information about the source, then use the courts when something leaks.

      • Weirdmage says:

        1) Basically what is done today, with trusting users then. So we shouldn’t have piracy today if that worked.
        2) A good idea. But how are you going to embed a code that cannot be removed by the pirates.

        What I don’t understand is why the DRM is not in the Hardware, like with consoles. You have to add hardware (as far as I know) to run pirated software on consoles, and this is detectable. -Xbox
        Live blocked over 100,000 users who had done that.

        Such a system would deter all but the most hardened pirates, and you would be able to use any legal software, in this case e-book, on any hardware platform.

        • Rob says:

          And how do you propose implementing that on PCs so the book can be used there?

          Anything on general purpose hardware can be hacked. Anything on special purpose hardware can be hacked (the 3DS was already partially broken RELEASE DAY)

          There is no way to stop pirates, not even theoretically. DRM is impossible, period – the trusted user and the attacker are one and the same.

          • Weirdmage says:

            We’re not talking about a system to stop hackers who are willing to alter hardware. These people are per definition criminals anyway.

            Why couldn’t DRM hardware for e-books, or games for that matter, be installed into a PC?

            And I think that all arguments that DRM doesn’t work anyway. Plus all the entitlement issues point to one of two solutions:

            1) Publishers and authors accept piracy, and we have what we have today.
            2) Publishers and authors adopt a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to piracy. And the simplest way to enforce that is stop producing e-books.

          • AnthonyC says:

            No matter what hardware you use, if you put it in a PC then it can be bypassed. No matter what format the stored file is in, or how you verify it’s legitimacy, at some point it must be decoded and sent to the screen. That means that somewhere in my computer’s memory is an unlocked version of the relevant data, either as text or as images in some format, which is being sent to the screen in a format the screen understands. It is then possible to write code looking at that information, and use it to make a copy in any format you want (say, a simple pdf). It’s the all-digital version of putting a tape recorder next to a speaker.

            DRM is incapable of stopping piracy. Supporting evidence: it hasn’t stopped piracy, hasn’t even slowed it. Many of my friends from outside the US *have never paid for a piece of software.* Ever.
            I do not pirate digital media. I want to support the people making it, so that they make more. However, I have refused to buy products with what I consider to be excessive DRM, products which I would have bought otherwise.

            I, for one, don’t understand what purpose the publishers think they are serving in a digital world. In the absence of supply chains and whatnot, e-book production requires writers, editors, and publicity. The resulting file can be put online with no middleman whatsoever.
            That last one is a joke; the number of ads I see each week for books is less than the number of books I read each week. Like all other readers I know, my book recommendations come from word-of-mouth and from 3rd-party reviews.
            The first one is a given; removing the publishers would mean no advances or contracts, increasing risk to writers and reducing the number of writers financially capable of writing full-time. I doubt that would deter serious writers; how many of them wrote their first books in their spare time, anyway? Who really starts out as a full-time writer unless they’re willing to have no income for a while?
            As for the middle one, that’s tricky. Editors are important, both to improve quality and to prune bad works before they get published. Here are some options off the top of my head. 1) Editors or editing firms can hire themselves out to writers, possibly in exchange for a cut of eventual sales. 2) Writers can go without editors, trusting reviewers/librarians/ratings to sort the wheat from the chaff. 3) Crowd-source editing by issuing updates the way software companies issue patches: as users report errors, correct them.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Weirdmage #9:
      The point is that I am not interested in buying a format. I’m interested in a story, i.e. the piece of content that my favourite writer worked hard on to create and have edited.
      I’m even willing to pay publishers a one time fee to pay for their distribution infrastructure. What I’m not willing to do is pay everyone again when I purchase a new phone or e-reader. Why would I?
      The comparison with books is moot. When I buy a book I am also not interested in a stack of paper, but in the story. (This may be slightly different for photobooks or comics, where the quality of the paper is a differentiator) If I could convert a book into a format I could read from my phone I would do it.

      • Weirdmage says:

        “The comparison with books is moot. When I buy a book I am also not interested in a stack of paper, but in the story.”

        Eh…e-books are books. And the book is the story.

        And if you are interested in; “…the piece of content that my favourite writer worked hard on to create and have edited.” , you should be interested in paying that author for the work.

        The work comes in several formats, if you want more than one format you have to buy more than one format.
        That is how it is with every piece of goods ever produced. Just because it is easy to copy something that is in an electronic format, doesn’t give you the right to do so.

        • MoonBuggy says:

          Just one more quick point, as a more direct followup to this comment: “The work comes in several formats, if you want more than one format you have to buy more than one format. That is how it is with every piece of goods ever produced. Just because it is easy to copy something that is in an electronic format, doesn’t give you the right to do so.”

          Why should I pay twice for two formats, if I’m the one willing to make the conversion? I’m not being facetious, I genuinely don’t understand your viewpoint. I pay, say, $10 for an eBook in epub format – that $10 compensates the author for their time spent writing the words, the editor for their time editing, and so forth. I then want it in pdf format – I’ve already paid the author, the editor, and so on once, so why would I be required to pay them again if I take that content that I’ve paid for and run it through a program to alter how it’s rendered by my computer?

          What you’re saying is precisely equivalent to claiming that if I buy a CD I shouldn’t be allowed to rip it to MP3 to use on my iPod, but should have to purchase a secondary copy in the secondary format. Even the record labels have long since given up on that argument.

          • Librarian says:

            In reply to MoonBuggy and Anon:

            You’re not paying for the content, you’re paying for the wrapper. If you bought a tape player, you bought tapes. When you upgraded to CDs, you bought CDs. I suppose you could transfer you tapes to CD, but you loose something in that conversion so the industry doesn’t worry about it. It’s the same with ebooks, you buy a nook, you get ePubs, something else comes along, you get whatever that supports. It’s the way the content industry has worked for 30 years.

            That doesn’t mean it’s not an outdated model, it means that’s what they are trying to replicate. And they are trying to replicate it in a way we are familiar with. They say, “No one is replacing books, let’s make the books ‘wear out’ so they do replace them.” The problem is trying to equate something digital with something physical. They either need to move to a new model of content distribution where the wrappers are free and supported in some other way (advertising) or the wrappers are free and you get something else for your money (services, concerts, etc) or they need to find a different revenue stream for those wrappers (annual subscription, for example).

          • Weirdmage says:

            In my reply to Bob #19, I suggested DRM on the hardware.

            But the format thing could be solved by having one e-book format. If you can get Amazon, B&N, Sony etc. to agree to one that would be great. The problem with the multiple formats is with retailers, not publishers.

            And if I want a paperback to save weight when going on holiday, because of weight limits on planes, I can’t just pick one up at the store for free because I have the Hardcover.
            So that is just planning a little bit ahead. If you want to read it on the phone, buy it for the phone.
            -But I agree that you should be able to move the electronic book around. The problem is that it will be easy to violate copyright if you can have it in more than one place at a time. And until a technical solution to prevent people lending someone an e-book, while still having their own copy comes along, we are talking breach of copyright. Or to put it another way, e-book owners get more rights than those who buy a paper copy of a book.

    • MoonBuggy says:

      You’re making two demonstrably incorrect assumptions: firstly, that users cannot be trusted with content if it is not constrained by technical limitations, and secondly that DRM will prevent those who do decide to copy from doing so.

      It’s also worth remembering that copyright is supposed to strike the best balance between the public interest and the incentive for creative work to be produced. An analogy between different eBook formats and different editions of a book is meaningless, because the content has changed in the latter – what we’re talking about is different formats to hold the same content, and keep it portable between our devices. If one person technically has two copies, one on the laptop and one on the eReader, in different formats, that’s no violation of the spirit of copyright, even if the publisher could theoretically make more money by artificially restricting my choice.

      I pay for the data in the file, not for the particular wrapper that allows it to be read by a certain device. I think there are few authors who would begrudge my ability to take my legally purchased data and put it in a new wrapper, whatever the publishers may say, and I care far more about the rights of the creators than of the middle men. Those middle men do some good work, I admit, but they are also harming the market in an attempt to stem the decline of their relevance. Anyone who writes can now distribute and market for themselves, should they so choose; that choice used to require a very significant financial commitment. The print market and the big distributors still hold sway, so publishers remain important to a degree, but that degree is slowly waning. That’s the real issue at hand here.

      • Weirdmage says:

        “You’re making two demonstrably incorrect assumptions: firstly, that users cannot be trusted with content if it is not constrained by technical limitations, and secondly that DRM will prevent those who do decide to copy from doing so.”

        If users can be trusted you don’t need DRM. And that DRM does not prevent those that want to copy from doing so means users can’t be trusted even with DRM.
        Congratulations, you have just made the argument that e-books should not exist.

        And as for your other argument:
        “Anyone who writes can now distribute and market for themselves, should they so choose; that choice used to require a very significant financial commitment.”

        Acording to Joe Konrath, champion of electronic self publishing, it costs from $3,300 (+converting) to have a 100,000 word novel edited and a cover made. If you add to that the costs for marketing, it is still a substantial investment to get material that can compare to what the publisher’s put out before the public.

        Nothing has substantially changed since the invention of the printing press apart from the ease of making, and distributing, copies electronically.

    • Selkiechick says:

      I agree that readers shouldn’t get revised copies for free, but they shouldn’t have to buy a new book, when the old device dies, and they have to buy a new one.

      • Weirdmage says:

        A solution to that is that the book is only stored online, and can then be accessed from any device, even downloaded to that device. But can not be downloaded to another device before it is confirmed to be deleted/uploaded online again.
        -That should be an idea that solves the “packaging” issues. You will own one “eternal” copy of the book.

        • Nightflyer says:

          There’s a problem with the online-backup theory. If that content provider goes out of business, you lose access to the backup, if not the e-book itself. I’ve heard this has happened. I’d prefer the ability to keep my own backup copy, offline.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’m for all of this (and I sell physical books!) except one thing:

    I do think that there could be a tradeoff between “right to resell” and other digital ownership schemes. If, say, B&N archives your purchases, allowing you to access them on multiple devices and allowing you to reacquire them for free if you shift devices or lose your copies, is that “worth” trading right of resale?

    I mean, I sell nooks. I explain to people who ask if they can resell their ebooks, “No, but on the other hand, you can’t lose them, either. If you change devices, or lose your nook, or delete the file, you can always get another copy from your account. It’s a different form of ownership, with different benefits.”

    I’m not opposed to a right of resale (in any way), but I’m not convinced that it is a non-negotiable right, either. Would people consider a lower price, or transferrable, accessible files, to be something that you might be willing to trade for a right of resale?

    I mean, at our store, we have books (real, physical books!) which are marked down for clearance. We normally will take books back for return, but we sell these at a lower price with the caveat that they are not returnable. People seem ok to trade one benefit (returns) for another (lower price).

  8. Stephen says:

    So you’re saying it should be a crime for me to sell a story in PDF format? After all, that would violate you’re right to read it in MSWord or on your GameBoy. Or are you saying it’s a crime to sell a Gameboy because it doesn’t have software to display all possible text formats?

    These “rights” need some work.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’m sorry, but this is complicit with DRM and a really bad idea.

    I’m perfectly fine not breaking copyright law as long as I can freely use the ebooks I own. I need to index them, I need to read them, I need to transform them into different formats. I can’t do any of that with the suggestions put forth by this bill of rights.

    1. The right to transform — I must be able to read the ebook on any devices I have for any reason.

    2. The right to access the data of an ebook — I must not be hindered in reading the ebook in any way. No endeavor or software should be denied access to ebooks that I have purchased. This means no DRM. This means I should not have to tool software to pander to pathetic DRM. Use copyright law to punish me if I violate it, but don’t use it to bind me to arbitrary restrictions.

    3. The right to produce meta-data. I must be able to read, index, cross-reference and analyze said ebook.

    The right to share via fair use is already granted, what should be given as a right is the ability to extract such information. If there is no DRM then my ability to extract anything for fair use is unhindered.

    Let’s analyze this supposed bill of rights:

    * the right to use eBooks under guidelines that favor access over proprietary limitations
    * the right to access eBooks on any technological platform, including the hardware and software the user chooses

    Favor? What kind of weak language is that. Don’t restrict my use of the ebook. If I violate copyright sue me. Why accept proprietarization? Don’t meet them half way! Also the 2nd clause is redundant.

    * the right to annotate, quote passages, print, and share eBook content within the spirit of fair use and copyright

    This is a right you already have. If the ebook was electronically readable and DRM free you wouldn’t need this exception.

    * the right of the first-sale doctrine extended to digital content, allowing the eBook owner the right to retain, archive, share, and re-sell purchased eBooks

    This is dumb. Really dumb. You’re trying to apply non-digital semantics to the digital world. This will have unforeseen effects is far too conservative an interpretation. If I have software embedded in my ebook then it has to follow these rules of first doctrine sale? This is broad and overreaching, it also fails to foresee the future.

    Treat ebooks as digital files. This means that lending doesn’t make sense. If we’ve enforced no-DRM then there’s no physical or mechanical method to enforce this. You might argue that you could photocopy a book. That costs time and money. To copy a digital file is near 0 cost in all these respects. Do not pretend digital files are anything but what they are, don’t apply false semantics to them that are not inherent to their nature. Lending does not work if you ban DRM. To suggest otherwise is quite naive or requires too much stupid infrastructure and integration to prove I’m not reading a book.

    Ebooks have new properties, it is time to accept that they aren’t books.

  10. warreno says:

    “User” makes more sense, if “reader” is the generic term employed to describe the hardware/software that allows the ebook to be read.

    That is, the Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc. are the readers. The people doing the reading are the users.

    I bought an RCA REB 1100 reader more than ten years ago. Anyone remember those? Thought not. Those devices stopped being supported about two years after I bought one; I had to go through quite a few hoops to strip off the DRM so I could get to my books via other devices.

    That’s why I make it a practice to strip the DRM off every ebook I buy now, and convert it (if at all possible, and if necessary) to EPUB. But the average consumer probably doesn’t have the same POV regarding ebooks, which means that a platform crapping out can actually be a fairly serious problem.

    I agree with other comments about reselling ebooks. How can you be sure they’re actually running on one legitimate account? How can you be sure they were deleted from one system before being sold for use on another, by someone else?

    Finally, I actually do agree with the idea that they should be universally readable. I have a Sony PRS-300 (the teeny ebook reader) that I use if I want to read in daylight, and I have the pad if I want to read indoors or under lower light conditions. I shouldn’t have to jump through any hoops to do any sort of file transfers. That is, I shouldn’t have to strip off the Kindle DRM and convert the PRC to EPUB before I can even copy the blessed thing to the Sony. It’s certainly not as difficult to get an MP3 to play back on different devices…

  11. Bradley W. Schenck says:

    This is all great stuff, but I think it’s missing one more important point:

    Copyright expires. So should DRM. And at the same time.

    • Weirdmage says:

      Copyright expires 75 years after the author dies for books. So for authors currently alive today, that is not a subject I think will have any relevance.

  12. Anonymous says:

    For a Readers’ bill of rights, see: http://readersbillofrights.info

  13. Anonymous says:

    The right to read the ebook on any platform is not the right to make unlimited copies. In practice it implies the *possibility* to make unlimited copies, but that does not make it a right.

    Look at what has happened with music for instance. A few years ago, you could only buy music online with some kind of DRM that prevented you to listen to your music on the platform of you choice. Today you can buy MP3 without DRMs. You can copy those files as much as like, and you can use them on any device (if we disregard the patent issue for a moment). AFAIK, in most country it is legal to have a copy on your PC, a copy on you portable media player and a copy on your auto radio. But that does not make it legal to share the file with an unlimited number of people online: it might or might not be legal, even if unlimited copy for your personal use are allowed.

    And of course, as long a pirated ebook is more useful than a legal one crippled with DRM, people will use the pirated one….

  14. Anonymous says:

    We must start at the beginning.

    Publishers, librarians, and users are all guilty of trying to shoehorn the dead-tree model onto digital models.

    Maybe the first sale doctrine should not apply. If we should embrace nearly-free infinite copies, as the technology enables, then resale is irrelevant at best.

    Publishers used to pay amounts for printing, warehousing, distributing, etc., that often went to waste. Absent those costs, not only should the price be lower, but the availability should be universal.

    The future of reading is digital. The dead-tree model for books will be abandoned as easily as it was for newspapers.

    We need to support the strengths and mitigate the weaknesses of this new system.

  15. Bradley W. Schenck says:

    I wasn’t really looking at authors’ rights, there. One problem for the rest of the world with DRM is that a book that’s locked down – even though it will someday enter the public domain – will never get unlocked.

    In fact there really is an authorial issue there for any author who’d like his or her body of work to survive.

  16. Anonymous says:

    BTW the supreme court already allowed you to make mechanical copies of things, otherwise you never open files on a computer because you’d be creating more than 1 copy (disk and memory).

  17. Anonymous says:

    It seems like the biggest problem is that publishers are trying to force the new technology to act like the old without understanding that it is different, or rather, ignoring that fact. Part of this is to maximize profits, part also seems to be that they don’t understand what the technology actually allows them to do beyond protect “their” investment.

    • sg says:

      This is what I keep thinking about, too. Can we use, treat, think of a new medium the same way we do with an old one? Doing so seems to ignore the fact that we’re dealing with a new medium that overcomes the restrictions of the medium it replaces. Ebooks seem to me to be no different. It doesn’t make sense to treat ebooks like their physical counterparts simply because they are so different. I understand that book publishers are in business to make money, and need to do so in order to stay in business. Now that I think of it, perhaps what we see Harper-Collins doing is but a stop-gap until we come up with a model that at least recognizes that these aren’t physical books.

  18. DrPretto says:

    “* the right to access eBooks on any technological platform, including the hardware and software the user chooses”

    I recently bought some 15 e-books included as a medical residency course. All of them edited by McGraw-Hill and can only be used through a proprietary platform called Vital Source Bookshelf
    The eBooks have the .vbk file extensions. I installed the Bookshelf software on my Desktop and Laptop PCs, recently I had to reinstall the OS on my Laptop and because I had installed on 2 PCs the bookshelf software, I couldn’t open the books on my laptop.
    If I bought the books I should have the right to open them whenever and wherever I want. I hate those closed file types like .vbk, I swear I will never buy again DRM books.

  19. BrendanBabbage says:

    My proposal is “Vote with your dollars” and “Spread the word”

    We can make a reasonable e-book reader policy -IF- we do NOT buy a product. Buy a product, complain about the price, you’ve already given money to the people who make the product, taking $ from those that might make a better one.

    Right now, with this recession and due to squabbling even the government choking at new bailouts, we can make or break these characters. This is where word of mouth, stickers/posters in rl, manifestos handed out, etc. will really go far.

  20. Weirdmage says:

    OK, time for me to leave this discussion. It’s been interesting, and thanks to everyone for being civil, and making many good points.

    I’ll leave with one final thought:

    E-books are books, the delivery system is different, but they still have to be written, edited and promoted. Claiming that because they are digital e-books aren’t books is like claiming the movies on Pirate Bay aren’t movies because they are digital.

    If you love books, and want to continue to read professionally produced books in the future, we need a model were authors and publishers can make a living.

    Remember, that a book is a product. As a consumer you have to right to purchase this product, or refrain from purchasing it. You do not have the right to copy and distribute the product you have bought as you wish. This doesn’t change just because the product is electronic.

  21. MoonBuggy says:

    In reply to Weirdmage:
    “If users can be trusted you don’t need DRM. And that DRM does not prevent those that want to copy from doing so means users can’t be trusted even with DRM.”
    All users are not the same. An alternative interpretation would be: most users can be trusted, and those who can’t won’t be stopped. Since DRM costs money, hurts the trustworthy users and barely hinders the untrustworthy ones, it is a bad idea.

    “Congratulations, you have just made the argument that e-books should not exist.”
    The major music download market dropped DRM, and they’re doing pretty well.

    “Nothing has substantially changed since the invention of the printing press apart from the ease of making, and distributing, copies electronically.”
    That’s a very significant change. Materials, distribution, and so forth were a very large and unavoidable upfront cost – many thousands. If you’re good enough, you can do the rest on a shoestring. If you’re not, the worst case is that you’re paying many thousands less than you would’ve done if you’d been going for print books. That’s a major shift.

    “And if I want a paperback to save weight when going on holiday, because of weight limits on planes, I can’t just pick one up at the store for free because I have the Hardcover.”
    Stretching the analogy, but I’d equate changing the format to slicing off the hardcover and rebinding the pages. It’s not taking two copies, it’s not causing any extra cost to anybody in the supply chain, it’s simply altering the wrapper on the content you paid for.

    “And until a technical solution to prevent people lending someone an e-book, while still having their own copy comes along, we are talking breach of copyright. Or to put it another way, e-book owners get more rights than those who buy a paper copy of a book.”
    The eBook buyer does not have any more rights than the paperback buyer. It may be easier for them to violate copyright law, but it’s still illegal, thus not a right. But if they wanted to violate copyright law they could just go to the pirate bay instead, and since every DRM scheme I’ve ever seen has been broken (including hardware DRM) I don’t see that changing any time soon.

    To me it seems sensible to work on the assumption that the people who already bought the book will continue to obey the law, and those who did not will continue to get completely DRM free copies, thus won’t be affected.

    In reply to Librarian:
    Like I said, you buy a CD, throw it in the computer, and listen to it on your MP3 player. It’s changing the wrapper on the content that you paid for, and it’s been the norm for a good 5-10 years now. Even the industry accepts it. They’re still following the model where you pay directly for the content (although there are alternatives with subscription or ad supported options out there too), so I see no reason that the same could not apply to the book industry.

    • Weirdmage says:

      Actually the physical costs for a Hardcover book in a normal print run from publisher to shop, including what is set aside for returns, is about $4 according to several sources.

      And a comparison to the music industry is not really helpful. An author can not make up his earnings by reading to a stadium of people who have played a substantial price to get in. Although some authors are able to earn a living by giving talks, that is not an option for the majority of authors. -There is no “weekend gig at a club/pub” available for authors.

      I’m not saying there are easy solutions. But what e-book champions want are not compatible with authors and publishers making a living. There will have to be a solution that ensures authors can make a living, and that those that edit, market, etc. books can also do that for a living.

      And yes, most people are honest.
      But the discussions on e-books make it seem that most e-book buyers feel they are entitled to far more than makes sense. -I’m talking about price, availability etc. I’ve heard no-one claim the right to cheap paperbacks in their territory the same day a Hardcover book is published, but e-reader owners demand cheap e-books from day one.
      The piracy/DRM argument seem to be a side-argument to the entitlement issue from the majority of e-reader owners I have seen.

  22. flink says:

    Perhaps a user is better than a mere reader. It all depends on experience. I know for certain that the IBM card readers I grew up with weren’t so smart…

  23. Anonymous says:

    If we:

    a) allow digital lending (that is remotely accede to an ebook via Internet) in public libraries
    b) don’t use DRM for regulating digital lending

    Then we are saying: with one single copy (first sale protected) of an ebook
    ibrary can offer that copy to the ENTIRE community using the library. E.g. One copy at the NYPL for some hundred thousans readers in NYC…

    Are you saying that? And if you instead think there should be other forms of restrictions other than Adobe DRM how would you lexically call these restrictions?

    The Harper/Collins story is in my opinon just a pricing discussion among publisher and distributor… At the end all this amounts to an increase in the “per lending” actual costs of ebooks…


  24. jramboz says:

    While I’m all in favor, I’m a little confused on how resale would work when it comes to eBooks. When I sell a physical book, I no longer have access to that book; with an eBook, however, selling it would essentially mean copying it to someone else’s possession, potentially leaving me with a copy of the file. It seems we’d still need some kind of DRM intervention to ensure that the eBook is deleted (or otherwise inaccessible) after it’s sold.

  25. deckard68 says:

    Raise your hand if you think an eBook Bill of Rights will become law.

    Raise your hand if you think that libraries’ lending of books and other copyrighted material to the public for free is going to be illegal within your lifetime.

    That’s what I thought.

  26. tyger11 says:

    Noble beast? Yeah, that sounds like me.

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