I've mentioned this before in other forums, but I'd like to get community reaction to an idea I have. I've been thinking for a while, that a good way to approach the Intellectual Property Protection (I'll call it 'IPP') for e-books might be to tie them to physical tokens.
Please hear me out.
SD cards have the ability to implement the same copy protection use on DVD's (though I don't think anyone has yet done so), so it would apparently be possible to do some sort of media hardware based IPP for e-Books.
The question is, how would folks feel about buying their e-books in cheap, low capacity (<4M or some such) SD Cards (or similar), with some sort of IPP tied to the physical media?
This would allow trading/sharing/reselling books, just like paper. It would also allow storing bookmark and annotation information on the "book" itself, so it would travel to other e-readers with the book. Online sellers could allow a time-limited (i.e. one that would expire) download so you could start reading while they mailed you the physical "book." You could still have cover art and plot blurbs on the packaging for browsing at the local bookstore. Stores could even allow you to browse part of the content in the store, for those who like to read a random page to get an impression of the author's style.
I'm just thinking this would allow almost all the traditional prerogatives of owning paper books, fit my entire library in a shoebox, and go a long way toward protecting the content from the perspective of the publishers & authors (I know some industry types read these boards too, and I'd love to hear that perspective on the notion).