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Old 08-04-2006, 04:52 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Amazon to drop LIT and PDF e-books from its list

There hasn't been much attention paid to Amazon lately, but apparently the giant Internet retailer has decided to reduce its e-books offerings to the Mobipocket format. Remember, last year they bought Mobipocket for a few million bucks, and while no one of us would have believed them to shut down the other formats entirely, we already guessed they would have big plans for the formerly French e-book format.

Our reader mdb139 received word from Amazon earlier this week where they clearly stated their plans to abandon the Microsoft and Adobe formats. Excerpt:

We are working on removing Microsoft and Adobe format e-books from Amazon.com, and soon they will no longer available for purchase. If you previously purchased an e-book on Amazon.com or purchase an available item before the availability changes, you will still have access to it through Your Media Library in Your Account up to 30 days after the purchase date.

Shouldn't we be concerned now about our previously purchased e-books, which may disappear from the Adobe Media Library any day?

Also check out this related entry from David/Teleread who is not exactly excited about Adobe's affection for Mobipocket.
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Old 08-04-2006, 05:22 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander Turcic
Shouldn't we be concerned now about our previously purchased e-books, which may disappear from the Adobe Media Library any day?
Excuse me if I sound more than a little harsh here.

When you purchase a DRMed anything today (whether it be an iTunes song or an eBook), why are you concerned that it may not be available for use tomorrow?

Didn't you read the license agreement? You didn't buy that item. You leased it. You signed an agreement (sort of) that basically said "You pay us money and we let you use this item for a while, with no guarantee that you can use it tomorrow. We can revoke your right to use the item at anytime for any reason because you don't own it and you have no rights to it."

So losing access to your DRMed eBooks should be no surprise. They told you (in legal-ese, though) that could (and probably would) happen.

After all, that's what DRM is for! They want you to pay for every time you want to use the item - they are just "turning up the heat" gradually. Yesterday, it was pay once and use it forever. Today it's pay every so often, use it a few times in between. Tomorrow it will be pay everytime you want to use it.

DRM is all about control. It's about control over how, when and where you use the content.

IHMO, anyone who buys a DRMed anything and expects to use it more than once is a fool.

My apologies in advance, if I offended anyone.
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Old 08-04-2006, 06:12 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlauzon
IHMO, anyone who buys a DRMed anything and expects to use it more than once is a fool.

My apologies in advance, if I offended anyone.
Well... I would alter that to "Anyone who buys a DRMed anything, and can't convert it to non-DRM, and expect to use it more than one is a fool". I've bought songs from iTunes before and then immediately burnt and re-imported them.

I've now used them many times on different media players...

But I won't buy any e-books until I can do the same to them...!
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Old 08-04-2006, 09:17 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlauzon
After all, that's what DRM is for! They want you to pay for every time you want to use the item - they are just "turning up the heat" gradually. Yesterday, it was pay once and use it forever. Today it's pay every so often, use it a few times in between. Tomorrow it will be pay everytime you want to use it.
I really, really wish I could find the 1980's video magazine in which a movie studio exec said that the dumbest thing Hollywood ever did was allow consumers to own their product. You are correct, most media outlets want a pay-per-view model because it translates to more revenue down the road, and eliminates revenue lost to pesky things like used CD and book stores.

I think DRM'd content is no problem to things that will have the shelf life of a gnat; newspapers and periodicals that are consumed and then disposed of.

The big but here is this: the content providers have to be honest about this. I don't necessarily think the Sony Libre book rental model was a horrible one *if* a price incentive is presented and the terms of the rental are clearly stated.

For anything I want to keep, I still buy DVDs, CDs and paper books. I don't really have much choice.
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Old 08-04-2006, 10:04 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmeister0
The big but here is this: the content providers have to be honest about this. I don't necessarily think the Sony Libre book rental model was a horrible one *if* a price incentive is presented and the terms of the rental are clearly stated.
Like a library that lets you check out eBooks. They state in the rules that the eBook will "self-delete" after a week since that's all the check out period is for. You didn't pay for, and the library isn't promising, an eBook that you get to keep forever, so this works.

But if you go to some site, pay hardcover price for an eBook, you expect to get the same rights and abilities that you would get if you had bought the hardcover: you get to use it forever, that it would be able to be read 10 years from now, etc.

When I buy a paper book, I have certain rights and restrictions.
When I buy an eBook, I expect to have the same rights and restrictions. If I get less rights and more restrictions, then the eBook is worth less and I expect it to cost less.

In the case of DRM, I have no rights - only priviledges which can be revoked at any time - and lots of restrictions. So the value of a DRMed eBook is whatever is the "throw away" value of the book is - usually somewhere around $1 for me.
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Old 08-04-2006, 11:35 AM   #6
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Well that is a fine kettle of fish isn't it?

Vista won't let me activate MS Reader, so I can't DL any of my Amazon ebooks before they delete them onto my current platform. So all I can do is keep around an old machine with the ebooks on it and I won't be able to reference them from a newer machine.

All I can say is "Amazon, why do you think I'd trust you enough now to purchase anything from you in Mobi format???"

Consumer harming pair of monopolies now it seems, sigh...
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Old 08-04-2006, 12:02 PM   #7
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The kettle of fish gets hotter.

Silly me, I want a copy of "Mac OS X Internals: A Systems Approach" and I don't want to buy the hard back, guillotine it and scan/OCR it so I can read it comfortably.

Its available in Adobe only, argh. Well its an imperfect world right? This is just one more of those little reminders of that already established fact.

I head over to Amazon to grab it before the Tron de-rezzer gets to it but I'm too late. Google takes me to diesel-ebooks.com and everything is great until during the check out process it tells me my mac.com email address is a free email account (on the same order as Yahoo/GMail) um really? I wish Apple knew it was free! Anyway, for my protection they won't let me purchase the ebook unless I can figure out what they think is a non-free email account.

Thanks guys!

I tried 4 other email addresses and all are considered to be free email addresses by them (including my corporate email account and two of my own personally owned domains.)

So two lost sales for ebook merchants today, and perhaps a lost sale for an author as well...

You have to have your own ebook help desk in order to purchase ebooks and the industry wonders why ebook sales suck???
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Old 08-04-2006, 12:34 PM   #8
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Powell's wouldn't sell it to me either, and that after wading through 2 pages of "if anything goes wrong downloading the adobe ebook you're screwed don't expect us to help you" type of warnings that required me to check on boxes that said things like "I read and understand I'll be screwed and I won't come crying to you to get my money back" and I still couldn't buy it! They want me to send them an email???

OK Industry, I'll take the hint, forget I want to buy the silly ebook!

I did find out why the book is only available in adobe reader: publisher is adobe! :
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Old 08-04-2006, 12:51 PM   #9
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OK, with Google's help I beat the Amazon Tron de-rezzer.

I'll probably regret doing it (hell, I know I'll regret doing it) but I jiggered them and got the ebook.

If you are crazy, and at this point that's crazy insane, and want one too: http://ebooks.wegose.com/B000GB7FAQ/...-Approach.html

Their buy it from Amazon.com button links to an Amazon page with a add to cart button that will do the deed.

Well there it is, in all its Adobe-doesn't-understand-ebooks-glory, the nearly unobtainium ebook on my Macbook Pro screen.

That was way too much work. Hopefully the folks at iRex will improve the process.
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Old 08-04-2006, 01:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlauzon
But if you go to some site, pay hardcover price for an eBook, you expect to get the same rights and abilities that you would get if you had bought the hardcover: you get to use it forever, that it would be able to be read 10 years from now, etc.
Agreed. There has to be some cost incentive to accept DRMs restrictions. At least with a hardcover I can sell it when I'm done and recoup some of the cost if I decide I don't want to keep it. I'd pay the price of a mass market paperback: the $6-7 range, depending on the title.

I currently get eWeek as an electronic distribution through Zinio. It is actually more convenient not having to deal with getting the paper copy every seven days. But it is also a magazine I wouldn't keep around, and because it is ad supported it doesn't cost me a dime. My programmer magazines, on the other hand, tend to stick around for 12-18 months, so I wouldn't want any restrictions on them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty1024
Powell's wouldn't sell it to me either, and that after wading through 2 pages of "if anything goes wrong downloading the adobe ebook you're screwed don't expect us to help you" type of warnings that required me to check on boxes that said things like "I read and understand I'll be screwed and I won't come crying to you to get my money back" and I still couldn't buy it! They want me to send them an email???
Poor customer service is also just poor customer service regardless of the product or the sales channel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty1024
Silly me, I want a copy of "Mac OS X Internals: A Systems Approach" and I don't want to buy the hard back, guillotine it and scan/OCR it so I can read it comfortably.
I leafed through that book in the bookstore last week. It is freakin' HUGE! Not cheap, either.

But man, I'd love to be able to read it on an Iliad.
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Old 08-04-2006, 03:15 PM   #11
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The thing that really gets my goat is that Amazon and Powells otherwise have excellent customer service for customers purchasing books... its just us ebook customers getting the bad customer service.

In particular the return rights...

As mentioned elsewhere here yesterday, the technology is such now that I could have bought the paper book, scanned it with a lego block page turning 'bot and then returned it (I prefer more medieval techniques myself that leave the book ineligible for return...)

Yet there is this pervasive automatic assumption that I'm a bad person if I want to return the digital ebook. I think the same fraud detection techniques work with ebooks as well as books. If all I do is buy and return, someone is going to notice...

As I wrote yesterday, the ebook industry needs a shot of trust in the arm: badly.

And as seen today, some of these deals/mergers are not helping matters either.

The content of the ebook is fabulous. If I wind up reading it on my iLiad I wouldn't be able to admit to it due to the DMCA.
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Old 08-04-2006, 07:10 PM   #12
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Its actually very sad for me that Amazon has dropped .lit. I dont want to read my ebooks in mobipocket format (or ereader format) and amazon had the best prices on .lit files. Congrats amazon (& Microsoft) on killing my ebook purchases. Where are other palces to get .lit files besides fictionwise?
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Old 08-04-2006, 07:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty1024
The thing that really gets my goat is that Amazon and Powells otherwise have excellent customer service for customers purchasing books... its just us ebook customers getting the bad customer service.

In particular the return rights...
Interesting you say that because I bought a dummies guide on Amazon and it turned out the paperback was on the third edition and the ebook was 2nd edition. I didnt catch that until after I bought it and sent an email and they credited my account, yet still left the ebook in my digital locker. Of course I spend a helluva lot of money at Amazon.
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Old 08-04-2006, 09:40 PM   #14
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Hi,

You can try the publishers directly; Random House has a good e-store (www.contentlinkinc.com), and there are others too, though most likely you will find those books on Fictionwise too; sometimes they have better prices and earlier releases.

Liviu



Quote:
Originally Posted by volwrath
Its actually very sad for me that Amazon has dropped .lit. I dont want to read my ebooks in mobipocket format (or ereader format) and amazon had the best prices on .lit files. Congrats amazon (& Microsoft) on killing my ebook purchases. Where are other palces to get .lit files besides fictionwise?
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Old 08-05-2006, 04:29 PM   #15
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Interesting you say that because I bought a dummies guide on Amazon ... and they credited my account
Amazon was one of the better customer service ebook stores, I have about zero use for Mobi Pocket so they've removed themselves from my list.

Fictionwise has burned me.
Powell's said right out front they'd burn me and then said I'd have to email them, probably to protect themselves from credit card fraud e.g. I'm a criminal 'til proven differently.
Deisel-ebooks said they'd burn me and was demanding a non-free email account to protect me (or more likely protect themselves from credit card fraud e.g. treating me like a criminal)
Amazon has now burned me about my existing collection of ebooks, and even if they did have good policies, was in my experience, one of the most difficult to download content from (lots and lots of failures when you tried to download, sometimes taking days to get a successful download, always taking hours before you could even try to download) and of course would sometimes charge more for an ebook than for the paper back (how embarrassing!)

The only really good ebook store that has consistently delivered for me over the years is Baen's ebook store.

Of course there was Gemstar, but they're gone now, I was pretty happy with them...
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