It was announced yesterday that Barnes and Noble are ending their Windows and Mac desktop versions of the Nook ereaders – a niche player in ereaders that gets notice as it’s quite popular in the US.
In one fell swoop, anyone who ‘owns’ ebooks ‘bought’ from Barnes and Noble is now required to use either a mobile app or a Nook. Not nice business practice.
Imagine if Amazon did the same, though, either for desktops or the non-Kindle device you may use (mobile, tablet).
By buying (renting, really) from Amazon you are reliant on their continued support for your platform of choice.
Years from now people are going to wake up and realise that the hundreds of ebooks they thought they owned are not actually theirs; hopefully before the DRM servers at Amazon are switched off and their library becomes useless.
Think it won’t happen? Microsoft have done it before with DRM servers. Adobe are doing it now with older software. Sky have just started doing it with a VOD service they bought. And Barnes and Noble are now doing it for anyone who doesn’t own a Nook (i have one; the Kobo Glo is far better and more reliable) and doesn’t like reading on a small, bright screen.
- Buy paper books.
- Only buy DRM-free so you retain control.
- Buy EPUB, so if you have to buy with DRM at least you are not locked in to one supplier’s systems.
I buy ebooks from Kobo (I say buy not rent as I only buy DRM-free, but accept that limits my choices). They use the same DRM as pretty much every ebook reading software or device other than Amazon. I can copy a book for one and read it on all of them.
Sure, the more technical minded can remove the Kindle DRM and convert books to EPUB, but for the average end-user that isn’t always an option. I’m also aware that Adobe is a point of failure for EPUB but the presence of multiple EPUB providers increases the chance of the DRM servers remaining on, and before switching them off Adobe would have to make deals whereas Amazon can do what it chooses.
So think carefully. How safe is your Ebook library?