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Old 08-31-2007, 03:24 AM   #1
Colt
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What Will You Do?

I've only found these forums fairly recently in my research of the Sony PRS-500 Reader which I'm very interested in buying sometime in the near future. I have read quite a few threads, the arguments going back and forth for device, DRM or not, file type. Everyone seems to have an opinion on these things. What I'm curious about though is a personal opinion on what you'll do.

What will you do when the time comes where your device and its DRM books you bought are no longer supported. When your device breaks and nothing else supports them. When you can't transfer them to the newer device you bought, even if it's from the same company. What will you do?

I'd like this to not turn into a giant debate on DRM vs. non-DRM content but simply... What will you do? Buy all of those books again? Go back to paper? What? Needless to say, I think this is the biggest issue making me wary of buying an ebook reader at this point. - Colt
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Old 08-31-2007, 04:06 AM   #2
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Since 99.9% of my eBooks do not have DRM, I don't have an issue.

Of the other 0.1%, the majority of books that I read I have no desire to read again, so they again would not be an issue.

That leaves me with an extremely small number of books that I did want to read again, and which were not available except as DRM-ed books, I would of course buy them again. As I've said before, I don't regard $10 for an eBook as a "lifetime investment"; if I have to spend another $10 in 20 years time to re-buy the book, I don't regard it as any big deal. If I'd bought a paperback 20 years ago, the odds are that I would no longer have it, and would have to rebuy it anyway.

The whole DRM thing is vastly overblown as an issue, IMHO. Most books that I want to read are available without it.
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Old 08-31-2007, 04:54 AM   #3
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It might seem overblown but what of people who mostly do want to read books that are DRM-only? Not that I'll be one of them, honestly. I want a Sony Reader to read reformatted PDFs I have littering my harddrive and things from Project Gutenberg and other sources.

What do you read thats 99.9% non-DRM? It seems like most newer books released as an ebook get some sort of strongbox protection. I think your statement that if you read something once, it won't matter as much... But I think the same thing applies to printed libraries. Most thing I want to read only once I'll find at the library, hopefully, and either really enjoy and buy it or not. Including the newest books. How this could possibly work with DRMed new ebooks, I'm unsure. I frankly find it surprising a lot of these DRM hounds aren't trying to set up something for libraries as well. Reading books for free? Preposterous! Look at those lost profits! - Colt
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Old 08-31-2007, 05:02 AM   #4
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What do you read thats 99.9% non-DRM?
A few things in no particular order:
  • Classics from PG (and other sources)
  • SF/Fantasy from Baen, who publish all their material in open, non-DRM formats.
  • All sorts of things from FictionWise, who again publish a vast range of material, both books and magazines, non-DRM. They also publish DRM-protected books.

Note, by the way, that you can buy Microsoft Reader (.LIT) DRM-protected books "risk free" because (as I'm sure you know) their DRM can be trivially removed leaving you free to convert the book to whatever format you wish.
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Old 08-31-2007, 07:59 AM   #5
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I can't think of anything that I would want so desperately that I would put up with DRM - the exception being a couple of good dictionaries, and those you need to buy again every couple of years anyway just to stay current with language developments. (Although I could point out that e-book dictionaries are another example for a situation where a new business model is needed; i. e., pay big for the initial purchase, then small increments for updates, much like it works for software.)
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Old 08-31-2007, 08:22 AM   #6
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If I want something 20 years from now, I'll buy a hardcopy. Having said that, I've finally gotten to the point in my life where I look at all of the books littering my shelves that I thought I would re-read someday. At any given time, there are scores of new books that I would like to read. Therefore, I've never had any interest in re-reading books. It was hard to admit, but it's true.

I treat DRM as a lease. Whether or not that's true, at least I won't be disappointed someday if I can't access the books with DRM. However, that's why I strongly believe that DRMed books must be cheaper than hardcopies.

Simply put... get an e-reader if you want to read something at the moment, and you aren't terribly concerned with what happens to the book later. If you want to hang onto your books and know that they will be there in the future... stay away from e-readers.

*** Note: No doubt HarryT and others will disagree with my summary, stating that there are countless e-books available with no DRM. While this is true, there are thousands of e-books available only as DRMed editions. This gets back to my argument that I don't want the e-reader dictating what I read. If DRM is an issue, then there are many books out there that I'm going to have to purchase a hardcopy of. Having said that, at least there is a .LIT workaround that negates much of the DRM problems.
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Old 08-31-2007, 08:26 AM   #7
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I don't disagree with you at all, Kilarney. Like you, I very rarely re-read books (just a few old favourites) and those which I do re-read are almost all "classics" which are out of copyright (Dickens, especially - my "all time favourite" author).

As I've said before, I buy the odd DRM-ed book to read now. I'm really not bothered about whether or not I'll be able to re-read it in 10 years time - if I can, it's a bonus. I don't assume that I will be able to.
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Old 08-31-2007, 08:33 AM   #8
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One other thought...

Technology is always changing. The file you have now, while readable in the future, won't be terribly appealing in the future.

For example, in today's world, what good is a bunch of TXT documents? Do you really want to go through the hassle of converting them all? Even if you do, they won't look as good as documents created specifically for LRF, PDF, etc.

My point is that technology will change. Better e-book formats will be created. You'll just want to get that new format down the road. So don't worry about archiving today's content. Treat an e-reader as a "here and now" device - nothing more.
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Old 08-31-2007, 08:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colt View Post
I've only found these forums fairly recently in my research of the Sony PRS-500 Reader which I'm very interested in buying sometime in the near future. I have read quite a few threads, the arguments going back and forth for device, DRM or not, file type. Everyone seems to have an opinion on these things. What I'm curious about though is a personal opinion on what you'll do.

What will you do when the time comes where your device and its DRM books you bought are no longer supported. When your device breaks and nothing else supports them. When you can't transfer them to the newer device you bought, even if it's from the same company. What will you do?

I'd like this to not turn into a giant debate on DRM vs. non-DRM content but simply... What will you do? Buy all of those books again? Go back to paper? What? Needless to say, I think this is the biggest issue making me wary of buying an ebook reader at this point. - Colt
What I am doing is purchasing content I can remove the DRM from and then convert to some other format so when things change, I'm not left out in the cold. It's possib;e this may be legal in the USA. But even if not, I don't find it unethical at all.
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Old 08-31-2007, 08:50 AM   #10
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I wasn't actually aware of the .LIT DRM status... Until a week ago, I didn't even know Microsoft had a reader format. This is the first time I've really looked at readers in a few years and the first time in depth seriously. If someone could point me to a thread on said subject, I'd be grateful. I wasn't aware that Baen did ebooks but I'll certainly explore their site later. God knows their name is common enough on my shelves already.

Kiarney: While I certainly see your point, it goes heavily against my grain that I'm buying a "lease" of any kind on anything when what its suggested I'm doing is purchasing the actual material. This goes especially for things like video games or software in which they have some sort of Big Brother system to watch you, like STEAM by Valve, like a lot of these new console "protections". If they even think you're cheating or somehow modified your Xbox, Microsoft will ban it... Your very expensive $300 machine is now unusable online... Or anyone who owns it afterward. There is no recourse.

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Old 08-31-2007, 08:54 AM   #11
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Jon has a good point - conversion by best available method for a book I really want to hold on to. Or, I could hope that some future device/software combination will continue to read Sony format.

But, the Connect software will display books also. I wish it had a simple full-screen display option (akin to eReader.)

So, in that far-off-and-future day *fingers crossed*, I would expect to have an UMPC with e-Ink levels of contrast (and maybe color?) and I would have all of my reading programs to date on it. Failing that, probably a plain old UMPC would do the trick.
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Old 08-31-2007, 09:08 AM   #12
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Jon has a good point - conversion by best available method for a book I really want to hold on to. Or, I could hope that some future device/software combination will continue to read Sony format.

But, the Connect software will display books also. I wish it had a simple full-screen display option (akin to eReader.)
As for breaking DRM, I do it for my personal use so I can keep my investments in ebooks alive. Yes, I have purchased some ebooks I cannot remove the DRM from at the moment. But those were from the Connect store using the $50 credit. I purchased some and my wife purchased some. Now the credit is all gone.

Connect does have a simple full screen mode. And it displays two pages side-by-side. Once you are viewing the book, in the lower right side of the Connect window, click the button that looks like square with 4 arrows (or hit F11) and you'll get full screen.
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Old 08-31-2007, 09:11 AM   #13
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But, the Connect software will display books also. I wish it had a simple full-screen display option (akin to eReader.)
Connect does have a full-screen display mode.
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Old 08-31-2007, 09:17 AM   #14
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When a format goes dead, sometimes specifications are released and someone comes up with a drm buster software (happened with at least 2 formats that I know of), so I expect that when lrx dies which may be sooner than people think the same will happen.

Other than that or using the lit option, you have the option of snagging the book from your pc and ocr it; faster than scanning and you need just some software, though still time consuming; for several books it's ok
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Old 08-31-2007, 10:05 AM   #15
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I wasn't actually aware of the .LIT DRM status... Until a week ago, I didn't even know Microsoft had a reader format. This is the first time I've really looked at readers in a few years and the first time in depth seriously. If someone could point me to a thread on said subject, I'd be grateful.
ConvertLIT is the most frequently recommended approach, but see ABC Amber LIT Converter for a recent discussion of the issue.

One interesting sidenote is that FBReader (for example) can't read .lit files without DRM because you need MS software to do so. Instead, you have to first use ConvertLIT to "explode" the file into the OEB format (essentially a set of HTML files) which is then readable via practically any e-book reader (perhaps after further translation).
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