David Byrne: Kindle DRM means "you are f*cked"

David Byrne describes his experiences using the Kindle DX while on tour: nice device, crappy DRM, not worth it.

Here's where the rub is. This machine only reads Kindle files and PDFs. And nothing else out there reads Kindle files. It can read other types of files — Word DOCs, MOBI, TXT etc. — but you have to go through Amazon via email, where they're converted for a small charge, then sent directly to your Kindle. And, you can't share a book with your friends, even if they too have a Kindle. No doubt, as with MP3 and iTunes, book publishers would only agree to this system if people couldn't share their purchases. As we know, Apple has relented on this, and has taken DRM off many of their music files. But which ones? How do you know? Years from now, having gone through a few computers, your music collection is unplayable except for the files without DRM. Well, same with these books — if you migrate to a different tablet (the forthcoming Apple one we hear so much about, for example), you are fucked. All the unread books in your Kindle library are stuck on what will eventually become antiquated technology.

There are other e-book formats out there (EPub is being touted as a cross-platform format, but still, ugh, with DRM)…We're linked now, which is how we use these things that represent our inner selves — as social connectors. Take that ability away, the ability to exchange stuff that represents us, and I'll bet some of the "value" of these kinds of e-books goes too… the social interconnectedness value, not the dollar value.

08.25.09: The Kindle Experience