Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Actually, people like to share books, and it only helps the author

I am quite frustrated with the availability of e-books and the fact that I cannot read e-books in the format and the device I choose. I would love to fill a device with dozens of books and I would never be bookless. (A fear not mentioned in most psychiatric phobia analysis, but altogether very real and frightening.) Even with the Sony Reader and Amazon Kindle's ability to store hundreds of books, you would have to purchase them from their store since the format is compatible. These devices don't do well with e-books that have Digital Rights Protection on them. Furthermore, while drm on an audiotrack is easily hacked in a variety of ways, the drm for e-books is remarkable. Just try to google the term adobe reader drm hack and similar terms and you find empty forums and of those, few exist. I understand that the author must be compensated, ABSOLUTELY, but I think they would like their books to be read as well. Afterall, a book more widely read (no matter how it was acquired) puts money in the authors pocket. After all, the first public libraries were formed from bookstores. When the bookstores ran out of copies of very popular books, they would loan them out until new books came in. It helped keep the interest of the reading public and the buzz about the books stoked the demand for the book, rather than drive down demand.

This headline from Techdirt discussing an article from The Times Online gives some hope.

Techdirt: Despite Inflammatory Headline, UK Authors Society Looking To Embrace Free, Not Fight The Internet: "There's a really inflammatory headline and opening paragraph in an article in the Times Online in the UK stating that 'book piracy on the internet will ultimately drive authors to stop writing.' This claim is actually unsubstantiated by history (which has actually shown book piracy ends up helping authors) or, actually, by the rest of the article. Rather than a reactionary RIAA-style response from the UK's Society of Authors, the article shows that the group isn't so much fearing internet piracy, but simply noting that business models need to change."

Now that authors are beginning to understand that they need to find ways to lesson DRM on their books and make them more available, I have hope that we will make a connection in having downloadable e-books whenever you need them (when you are bookless in an airport, but have wi-fi) and the ability to read it on any device. This will be a great service to the reading addicts and will assure that a reader will never be without a book as long as they have an internet connection. Hmm think about that, the internet INCREASES reading instead of decreases it.

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