Rob Pegoraro of the Washington Post has finally said what needs to be said: E-Books need a change. Comparing it to what happened just a few years back with the music industry, Rob makes a bevy of good points. Check it out.
I’ve done my part to prop up the consumer-electronics industry in recent years: a flat-panel TV downstairs and one upstairs, his and hers smartphones, not-too-obsolete digital cameras, a desktop computer upstairs and an iPad 2 downstairs (well, once it gets off back order).
But one thing is missing from this electronic inventory: a Kindle, a Nook or any sort of e-book reader.
That’s not an accident. The e-book business seems determined to repeat the early mistakes of the music industry with “digital rights management” restrictions. But this time around, I don’t feel compelled to back their early investments with my own money.
Think back to how the first good, mass-market music-download store worked. Apple’s iTunes Store seemed like a revelation compared with earlier, listener-hostile efforts, simply because it let you listen to your purchases in most cases.
All you had to do was consent to listen to songs bought off iTunes only on the five computers you’d authorized with your account, plus any iPods or iPhones you owned.
Those restrictions started to grate on some users. Then Steve Jobs admitted he wasn’t a fan of DRM himself, one major label decided it could do without itas well, Amazon launched an entirely DRM-free MP3 store . . . and less than two years later, DRM vanished from iTunes, too.
Somehow, the recorded-music business did not perish. Digital sales should finally pass CD sales next year.
E-books haven’t come as far along. If you buy a title from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook bookstore or Apple’s iBookstore, among others, the DRM attached to it will prevent you from reading that book on another company’s software or hardware.
See more from Rob Pegoraro at www.washingtonpost.com