Saturday, October 27, 2007

E-Books


I just finished reading A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I read it on my PDA/phone as an "ebook". I really like reading ebooks because I can keep them in my pocket without taking up any extra space. That way, I always have a book with me if I want one.

When I commute, I ride my bike to the train, and then I take the train to work. For the sake of my back, I don't like carrying anything extra in my backpack, so it's nice to just have my book on my cell phone. That way, I can read on the train.

Project Gutenberg is a great web site that has a huge collection of free electronic books. Since they are mostly books that are in the public domain, the best books on there are older classics like A Tale of Two Cities. On the other hand, I did read some books by Cory Doctorow who releases his books under the Creative Commons license.

I've read a few other ebooks as well. I really like them. I would be happy to buy ebooks. Except for one thing: Digital Rights Management. What's DRM? In the words of Cory Doctorow, "a stupid, scientifically bankrupt technology that seeks to restrict how you use and copy digital files after acquiring them".

I could (and would) go online and buy books and read them on my PDA, and I would not post them on the internet for all to read. But I won't buy a locked book. I won't type in my credit card number to "unlock" something I've already paid for. When I buy a book, I want to be able to keep it and use it again and again and lend it to my friends. Someday, that credit card number that I need to "unlock" the book with will be long gone. Some day that "ereader" program that I use to read the book will be long gone. That operating system I use to run that program will be long gone.

Why should I lose the book I paid for because I got a new phone? Digital Rights Management is stupid. I won't buy ebooks with DRM.

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