Originally Posted by Bob Russell
To get that great reading experience and that compact and convenient form factor, people will find that it's worth the "evils" of DRM and prices that seem way too high. Book reading is an investment in one's self. We pay the price for golf clubs or tennis rackets or health club memberships. People are going to be a lot more willing to invest in their mental health than we give them credit for. We can complain all day that prices are too high and DRM is bad, but bottom line is that it's still a great option if the book reading experience is better.
You seem to be greatly confused about what "reading experience" is. So I'll help set you straight.
The reason Copyright exists is that reproducing the value of books is very easy - because the value of books has nothing to do with the physical-ness of the book. The value of books is in the words, and the ideas those words represent. Books are really nothing more than an efficient communications medium for transmitting ideas from an author to someone else.
An awful pBook costs $8. A great pBook costs $8. (Based on the paperback that's sitting here on my desk.) I can easily argue that the great book offered me a much better reading experience than the awful book, yet the costs of both books are the same. The price of pBooks is based on physical costs rather than the value of the words contained inside.
So, I would argue that there are 2 components to the "reading experience":
1. The physical-ness (i.e. how easy it is to transport, how big the font is, etc.)
2. The words and ideas.
The physical-ness of the reading experience is why some people paid $700 for an iLiad. It's the reason others paid $350 for a Sony reader.
But it's not a reason to pay paper-price for an eBook.
When I buy an eBook, I am paying for words and ideas. Period. All physical costs are gone.
Therefore there is no justification whatsoever for an eBook to be the same cost (or more) of a pBook. None. Zip. Zero. Zilch.
eBooks should cost 50% of the price of an pBook, maximum - and only for eBooks that contain valuable words and ideas.
When DRM is involved, we are talking about renting access to those words and ideas for a limited time. I can get that today by joining a library that supports eBooks and renting those words and ideas for free. So the value of a DRM eBook is, maximum, $1 - again, only for those eBooks that contain valuable words and ideas.
Companies need to offer value. When they don't, consumers look for alternatives. Sometimes those alternatives are not legal. The current crop of DRM eBooks do not offer value. The success of those businesses so far simply prove that P.T. Barnum was right: There is a sucker born every minute.