[LINK] E-books said to be "utterly unneeded"
Wed, 8 Aug 2001 10:44:49 +1000
On Wed, Aug 08, 2001 at 08:51:44AM +1000, Chirgwin, Richard wrote:
> > the pricing of product is ridiculously expensive compared to paper
> > product (it should be so much cheaper.)
> The price difference is even greater when you take into account the
> restriction of purchaser's rights ... ie, you don't buy an e-book, you
> license it;
> you can't resell it to a second-hand bookshop;
that limitation is hard to avoid. unless you have an original
publisher's CD containing the e-book, there's no way to distinguish a
copy from an original.
> it's probably illegal to give it away or lend it to a friend;
probably true, but unenforcable.
> and you can't guarantee that an e-book you own and read today will
> still be on your shelf and available to your children in 20 years'
because proprietary file formats generally don't last more than a few
fortunately, for any given proprietary format it is almost inevitable
that someone will figure out a method for converting it to an open
> Publishers are keen on e-books *because* they offer the chance to
> ratchet up the revenue streams - the idea of a pay-per-view, for
fortunately, that idea is as doomed as any other idea based on digital
content protection. there is no such thing as security when the users
have physical access to the media and the player.
copy protection schemes don't stop anyone from copying anything.
digital watermarking is nothing but high-tech snake oil.
"content-scrambling system" is a cryptographic joke.
> As for usability ... for some reason, both e-books and their advocates
> consistently gloss over research which consistently rates print ahead
> of screen for readability and comprehension. (Empirical evidence:
> how many times do we see Link debates get overheated because someone
> misread or misunderstood something?)
that's an important point. reading a paper book using reflected light
is so much easier on the eyes than reading a screen with emitted
light...especially if the ebook readers do the standard-but-stupid thing
of using black text on a white background (this is one of the main
reasons i don't like using GUI applications - too much white glare).
> But for me, the big issue remains the curtailment of my rights. I
> don't want to claim some unfettered right to copy everything, nor do I
> advocate the abandonment of copyright. But I do want to OWN the things
> I purchase...
precisely. i would quite happily download & purchase an e-book in the
morning before i got on the tram to work IFF i had the same rights to
it as i do with a printed book, and if the purchase price reflected the
difference in publishing costs (i.e. without expensive printing and
distribution costs, the price should be much lower than for a real book).
$3 to $5 would be perfectly reasonable for tram-fodder. one book would
probably last 2 to 4 half-hour tram trips, adding about $1 per day to my
(and if there were ebook terminals on trams, i could buy another book
when i finished the current one saving me from staring at the same
boring view out the window :)
i'd store all my purchased e-books on my computer (backing them up to
tape along with all my other data as a safeguard against disaster) and
transfer them to an e-book player as i needed them....or sometimes i'd
read them on my computer because my monitor will undoubtedly be better
than an ebook display.
i wouldn't want to buy a dedicated ebook player, though. i'd prefer
to have something like a palm pilot which happened to be capable of
displaying ebooks (as well as an mp3 player module, and a mobile phone
in short, the idea/technology itself isn't a dud - it's the business
model which dooms it to failure.
as for "copyright", it's either dead or mortally wounded. i'd like to
see the whole intellectual property system either scrapped or reinvented
from scratch. it doesn't work any more, it doesn't serve the need it was
created for (i.e. to encourage creativity by granting a limited term
monopoly to creators) and it is subject to enormous abuse (e.g. software
patents in the US, perpetual extension of copyright by adding 15 years
to it every 10 years or so, theft/conversion of the english language to
private property by trademarking every word and phrase).
craig sanders <email@example.com>
Fabricati Diem, PVNC.
-- motto of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch