Enthusiasms

Enthusiasms is an edited stream of consciousness, by Simen.

Continued adventures in legitimately obtaining electronic books. In the last episode, we saw how not reading the fine print on Audible.com can cause your one-off purchase of an audiobook to turn into $15/month indefinitely. This time, it’s the spectre of DRM that’s rearing its ugly head.

I love physical books. In a perfect world, I would own a huge library full of physical books. In the real world, electronic books are cheaper and more convenient. I read a lot of books, many of them obscure or unpopular, and my local library frequently doesn’t have a copy. In the case of foreign literature, there may not be a library in the country that has a copy. I could pay a lot and wait a month for Amazon to get one across the Atlantic to me, or I could pay less and download an electronic copy in two minutes. And I save space in my physical bookshelves, too!

Occasionally I’ve been buying ebooks from Amazon’s Kindle store, reading them through their Kindle for Mac application. Amazon has been happy to take my money, despite the fact that I haven’t bothered to fake a US address. Amazon isn’t responsible for draconian copyright laws, of course, but if they’re going to take my money, they better not revoke my rights to the content I purchased later. As of yet, I still have access to my ebooks, but Amazon had zero qualms about deleting another Norwegian customer’s entire Kindle library with no explanation, for violations that appear to amount to a fake UK address. Given that, I’m not confident that they won’t simply remove everything I’ve paid for from my account when I fail to provide proof of my nonexistent American address.

Joke’s on them, of course. Third-party software to remove DRM from Kindle books exists. All they’ve accomplished with this email and their previous track record is turning a paying customer into a pirate.

Dec 31, 2012