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Old 02-12-2012, 06:25 PM   #71
stonetools
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This article is remarkably fact-free and context free.

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Imagine buying a car that locks you into one brand of fuel. A new BMW, for example, that only runs on BMW gas.
Buying an ebook is like buying a car? Seriously? I would say there is practically no similarity between buying a BMW and an ebook. You might as well compare buying a pumpkin and buying a diamond.

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This could never happen, right? Consumers are too smart to buy into something like this. Or are they? After all, isn't that exactly what's happening in the ebook world?
Yep this is because consumers never faced different formats and platforms before when buying electronic devices. Except there have been differing formats and platforms since day one of the consumer electronics industry in the 19th century. When I was growing up , young whipper-snappers, there were 3 mutually incompatible platforms for playing prerecorded music-vinyl, cassette tape, and 8-track. The PC industry grew up amidst a proliferation of competing file formats and device platforms. In the end, the market sorts things out with one proprietary format becoming dominant . In the digital music market, the format that became dominant was MP3-which was not the best format, technically .

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EPUB would seem to be the answer. It's a popular format based on web standards, and it's developed and maintained by an organization that's focused on openness and broad industry adoption. It also happens to be the format used by seemingly every ebook vendor except the largest one: Amazon.
So why would EPUB be the answer if the market has made Amazon, with its MOBI format, the biggest bookseller? The writer doesn't doesn't answer it, really. Instead, the writer moves on to his real bete noire: that ol' demon DRM.

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Some publishers don't want to hear this, but the truth is that DRM can be hacked. It does not eliminate piracy. It not only fails as a piracy deterrent, but it also introduces restrictions that make ebooks less attractive than print books. We've all read a print book and passed it along to a friend. Good luck doing that with a DRM'd ebook! What publishers don't seem to understand is that DRM implies a lack of trust. All customers are considered thieves and must be treated accordingly.
This is a rehash of all the old anti DRM arguments. Those arguments don't address the real reason why publishers stick with DRM-that is an effective tool for limiting casual sharing of bestselling ebooks by technologically unsophisticated consumers. Since DRM protect sales and thus revenue that way, DRM makes good business sense-which is why publishers are going to continue with it . Indeed, whats interesting is that the words "copyright", "authors", and "infringement" don't appear in the article . Apparently, after DRM is gone, magic unicorns are going to protect the rights and incomes of popular authors and authors are going to keep writing out of pure love of art.

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Given all these issues, why not eliminate DRM and trust your customers? Even the music industry, the original casualty of the Napster phenomenon, has seen the light and moved on from DRM.
The music industry hasn't moved on. Its in steady decline , if anything. Revenues are down, profits are down, stock prices are down, new releases are down . Anyone who looks at the music industry and thinks of it as having "moved on" is delusional.
I think the key part of the article is buried here:

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You buy a dedicated ebook reader like a Kindle or a NOOK and you're locked in to that company's content.
The solution ? DON"T buy a dedicated ebook reader like a Kindle or Nook. Buy a tablet, buy a smartphone, buy an iPod touch. There are now plenty of hardware options that don't involve lock-in. It ain't 2007 anymore, folks.

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It would be too inconvenient to have part of my library in Amazon's Mobipocket format and the rest in EPUB. Even though I could read both on a tablet (e.g., the iPad), I'd be forced to switch between two different apps. The user interface between any two reading apps is similar but not identical, and searching across your entire library becomes a two-step process since there's no way to access all of your content within one app.
Whine, whine, whine. I've got my library spread across several ebook reader apps, and I have no problem accessing my books.They're all in one folder, "Books". If you're smart enough to operate a computer with several computer programs on it , you're smart enough to manage your library across different apps.
Bottom line? Let the market decide what, if any, format should be the one to rule them all. As to DRM, it will continue until some better scheme to protect the rights of content creators appears.

Last edited by stonetools; 02-12-2012 at 08:38 PM.
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