DRM. Sucks.

These days the Sony Reader has hit the shelves over here. Germany is like a third world country as far as technology for consumers is concerned, but we do get stuff eventually. Now it’s the Sony PRS-505. The price of a whopping 299€ doesn’t keep people from buying it, astonishing when you consider that the shop that sells it, Thalia, and Sony are telling people only half the story. If I only knew what they let on about it, I’d NEVER buy that thing.

They say:

  • you can buy an ever growing number of ebooks at Thalia
  • the standard format for ebooks is EPUB, which is equipped with DRM (which is a good thing, "because it makes sure the rights of authors and publishers are being observed")
  • You need Adobe Digital Editions to read your ebooks
  • You need the Sony reader software to read your ebooks
  • The only difference between a .pdf file and an EPUB file is the DRM that comes with the EPUB
  • ebooks from other sources might not work properly

They don’t say:

  • you can buy ebooks from loads of shops on the net (ok, maybe not in German, but English books are a big market over here as well)
  • the Sony reader reads various formats, including .pdf and the reader format .lrf. There are even shops who provide a .pdf file for Sony
  • there are shops that sell ebooks that are not afflicted with DRM
  • you do not need Adobe Digital Editions if you buy ebooks without DRM
  • you do not need the Sony software if you buy ebooks without DRM
  • a .pdf file enables you to read the ebook on any computer anytime you want without having to install software that you ONLY need because of the wretched DRM. EPUB with DRM forces you to install horrible software that you barely comprehend (I don’t even understand how Adobe Digital Editions works and can never find the right button) just because of DRM
  • that there is software out there that is easy to use, cheap (i.e.open source and free) and doesn’t suffocate you and your rights as a consumer, for example Calibre
  • DRM sucks. You have to install software that you otherwise wouldn’t need. You have to register with Adobe in order to get an Adobe ID. You can’t transfer your files to another computer. If your computer has to be re-installed you have to go through the rigmarole of re-authenticating everything and possible re-downloading your books – if you still can, that is.

Obviously the ad campaign of Sony and Thalia over here sucks as well. How can they hope to sell the thing if they make people believe all that crap? Oh, well, not my problem! I’ve got one and love it. I never bothered installing the Sony software and never missed it.

The Smart Bitches have a post up about DRM and a list of shops that sell ebooks without DRM. They all sell romance or erotica (obviously the people writing and publishing for that genre are more customer friendly and more consumer oriented than others) and all shops I have bought from offer excellent service. Additionally also the following shops sell ebooks without DRM:

Ellora’s Cave

All Romance ebooks

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