Thoughts About EBooks


Thoughts About EBooks

EBooks are coming

It seems that the future of the book is electronic. A lot of money and development goes into a new market for electronic books and some might say that paper based books might be extinguished.

Some people want to stick to paper based books and do not like the new trends of implementing Digitla Restriction Managment (DRM) Systems into this new books.

If you belong to those people you should ask yourself honestly why you oppose ebooks. Many people say thay just like paper. But why? Of course there are a lot of features offered by paper books which are currently not offered by most ebook reading devices, but some may come (like making random notes at pages).

But as a true book-lover shouldn’t you be more focused on content? Does it really make such a huge difference which media is used to transport a message if the message is important?

You may choose to oppose to DRM instead of ebooks and take a look with me what ebooks may offer you.

Digital Restriction Managment (DRM)

Digital Restriction Managment (als called Digital Rights Managment), tries to impose limits on how you use your digital files. It tries to impose restrictions on who, how and when (also how often) you may use data (aka content). Simple system are also known as “Copy Protection” Systems. Such systems are popular for music, video, software and now also for ebooks. While those systems came late for music, video and software they had to strugle with compatibility.

For example the best thing of mp3 as music format nowadays ist that it almost always works. And people like things when they work. As the advanced restriction mechanisms came quite late for most media the always had a lot of struggle with people refusing to use it because it does not work with their setup (do you remember “copy protected” Audio-CDs which did not wor in your car radio?).

With ebooks this is a little bit different since the restriction mechanisms are implemented quite early in the history of the media. So we have to fight them early.

You ask my why we have to fight this DRM stuff and if it not just (legitimately) protects the interests of those putting afford into content. But this is beyond the scope of this text and you might want to read somewhere else about this ( like The Danger of ebooks (FSF)).

EBooks work best without DRM

If you, like me, are more interested in bringin out message than just making profit, we should take a small look what EBooks without DRM could offer:

  • no reproduction cost
  • everyone can be an author
  • it is easier to protect your privacy (tried to encrypt a paper book?)
  • you can give it away for free with no penalty

Also EBooks have some generic advantages compared with paper books:

  • ecological footprint
  • compactness
  • searchability
  • convertability
  • more friendly for people with bad sight (using reading software)

How to pay authors, lectors, typesetters, …

The easiest is to have bookstores (and maybe websites) which offer to give you a copy of the book for cash. Of course this puts some trust into the users but to some degree you do this already by your not copy protected paper books (everyone can put them onto a copy machine and copy them). But it is honest.

More thoughts could be spend on price finding and who to work with donations.

I think it is worth a try.