Home > Gadgets > DRM turns e-book experience into confusing maze of incompatibility and missing features.

DRM turns e-book experience into confusing maze of incompatibility and missing features.

DRM turns e-book experience into confusing maze of incompatibility and missing features

via TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics by Chris Meadows on 10/31/11

padlock.jpgPBS’s MediaShift is running a series on e-books this week, and not all the articles are as lame as the one I talked about earlier asking whether Amazon was short-changing authors. MediaShift’s business columnist Dorian Benkoil wrote a lengthy column complaining about the annoying maze of incompatibility and missing features that purchasers of DRM-locked mass-market e-books have to face.

When given a book he wanted to read, Benkoil went looking for an e-book version that he could both read and have read to him, and thought that Google, which is pretty open, would have the best version—but was disappointed to find the Google Books version used Adobe Digital Editions DRM that wouldn’t allow it to be read aloud. The iBooks version would read aloud, but not let him take notes he could access from multiple devices (or, indeed, any non-iOS devices at all) the way Kindle could. And so on.

Benkoil then goes into a long list of drawbacks engendered by DRM and device incompatibility, such as text-to-speech issues, lack of availability in specific formats, inability to lend, inability to buy e-books directly through the iOS Kindle app, and so on. It is not a short list by any means, and even if every one of them is familiar to TeleRead regulars it’s worth something seeing them acknowledged in print by a reasonably major media outlet.

There are workarounds. Someone with the right skills and motivation can, for example, strip DRM from a book, convert it to an unprotected PDF, and then access the book on many more devices.

To get media onto a Kindle I have removed the device’s back panel, taken out its memory card, and attached the card to my computer via a converter to transfer the file, then put the card back in. But who wants to suffer that hassle repeatedly?

He lauds the example of O’Reilly, which doesn’t use DRM so as not to hamstring customers, and suggests that publishers and e-book vendors could benefit from giving consumers fewer headaches and more functionality. I certainly sympathize…but doubt that this is likely to happen very soon.

<?php phpinfo(); >

Advertisements
Categories: Gadgets
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: