In longstanding tradition of attempting to write an academic, researched article… I’ve been preempted. As if I needed another reason to love the Electronic Frontier Foundation … they have just published:
2010: E-Book Buyer’s Guide to E-Book Privacy
Deeplink by Cindy Cohn
This is what they investigated:
* Can they keep track of book searches, either on their website or on the website of other e-book sources?
* Can they monitor what you’re reading and how you’re reading it after purchase and link that information back to you? Can they do that when the e-book is obtained elsewhere?
* Is the device ONLY compatible with books purchased from an associated eBook store?
* Can they keep track of book purchases? Can they track book purchases or acquisitions made from other sources?
* With whom can they share the information collected in non-aggregated form?
* Can they share information outside the company without the customer’s consent?
* Do they lack mechanisms for customers to access, correct, or delete the information?
And here’s what I was gathering, outside of that info…
Which mostly include articles surrounding the IP of the eReaders.
Nook (Barns And Noble)
Yet Another Reminder That You Don’t Own Your Ebooks: B&N Nook Deletes Files, Blames User
Just as Barnes and Noble is updating the Nook, its ebook reader that hasn’t gotten much traction, comes reports that of an upset customer who found that the Nook deleted all of his files, and when he complained to B&N, the company basically told him it was his fault and there was nothing it could do. While B&N was able to restore the ebooks, it could not restore anything else, not from B&N, such as his own documents and notes: I tried to turn my Nook on this morning and it wouldn’t turn on. Finally, it gave me a screen that said it was updating and that I needed to leave it be, so I did. When it had finished updating it had wiped all of the files off of my nook. When I reregister the device, the books from B&N will return, but everything, including documents not from B&N, has been deleted.
When I called technical support (1-800-THE-BOOK) to complain/make sure they were aware of the problem so that it wouldn’t happen to other people, I was informed that this can happen when the device hasn’t been updated in awhile. I asked if this was something they were trying to fix and I was blamed for the fact that everything had been wiped from my device because I had not been studiously updating the device. I asked if he understood how absurdly incompetent this was, my computer, after all, does not delete all my files because I don’t update it for awhile. I was informed that my computer updates everyday, whereas I have apparently not updated my nook in a terribly long unspecified length of time, which was just too long and too many updates for it to handle without deleting all my files.
Amazon got in a lot of hot water years ago for deleting copies of an ebook. You would think Barnes & Noble would know better than to do the same.
Kobo (Borders) $149.99
This, from Kobo’s website…
? – How do I buy books for my Kobo eReader?
Simply click on the Store button in the Borders eBook Desktop App to search or browse our extensive catalog of titles. Once you have purchased your books, ensure your library is up to date by clicking “Update Library.” All your purchased books should appear in your library. Ready to transfer to your eReader? Connect your eReader to your computer and click “Sync.” When the syncing process is complete, eject and unplug your eReader and your books will be waiting for you on the device. You can also use the Desktop App to load eBooks purchased from other vendors, provided that they support Reader® Mobile Technology from Adobe Systems Inc.
? – Can I read the ebooks in my Kobo eReader library on other devices?
Absolutely. The Kobo reading service allows you to read your eBooks across multiple platforms, including your Kobo eReader, select smartphones, and your computer, using the free Borders Apps available for those platforms. You can also download the ePub versions of your purchased books and load them on to any eReader that supports Reader® Mobile Technology from Adobe Systems Inc.
? – How do I load documents to my Kobo eReader?
You can add your own PDF documents to your Kobo eReader by connecting your eReader to your PC or laptop using the supplied USB cable. The eReader will become available as a removable storage device. Drag-and-drop your PDF files onto the eReader. If you have an external SD card (up to 4 GB), you can load PDFs on that, insert it into your eReader and your eReader will automatically detect new content.
? – Can I share the eBooks in my library?
The license type determines whether or not you can share eBooks. Many eBook products sold have a “Single Reader” license. This means only you (and your immediate family) may view the eBook.
[And additionally…] eBooks supporting Reader® Mobile Technology from Adobe Systems can be shared with up to 6 devices authorized to the same account. For more information regarding Adobe Reader® technology, please visit: http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/faq/#section-2. This Kobo eReader contains Reader® Mobile software under license from Adobe Systems Incorporated, Copyright © 1995-2010 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved. Adobe and Reader are trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated.
Account Requirement: You’ll need a Borders.com account to purchase and sync eBooks with your eReader.
Kindle To Let You Lend Books, Just Like A Real Book… Except Not
from Techdirt by Mike Masnick
Apparently, Amazon is adding a feature to the Kindle that will let you “lend” books to other Kindle users. Of course, it sounds quite like the ridiculously limited lending found on the Barnes & Noble Nook ebook reader as well. You see, when you “lend” the book, you can’t read it yourself… “just like a real book.” But, um, you can only lend it to other Kindle users, just like a real book (oh, no actually). And, you can only lend it for 14 days, just like a real book (oh, no actually). And… you can only lend it out once, just like a real book (oh, no actually). It really makes me wonder how incredibly soul-deadening it must be to be a developer working on products like this where you’re focused on limiting what the technology allows.
Irony: Book About Recording Industry’s Mishandling Of Digital Priced Higher As Ebook Than Physical Book
from Techdirt by Mike Masnick
A few weeks back, we noted that book publishers apparently simply did not learn from the mistakes of the recording industry — specifically pointing to DRM and (more importantly) the fact that they’ve started pricing ebooks higher than physical books. Now, in a moment of supreme irony, Copycense (who has been highlighting various ebooks priced over corresponding physical books) is noting that Steve Knopper’s excellent book Appetite for Self-Destruction (subtitled “The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age”) is one of those books. Indeed, Amazon shows the ebook priced at $17.99, while the paperback is $11.53 from Amazon (and available new from others at $7.50 or used at $4.42).
If you go to the ebook page itself, Amazon clearly states, “This price was set by the publisher” (a clear response to complaints about the rapidly rising price of ebooks lately). It kinda makes you wonder if the decision makers at Simon and Schuster even read the book they’re pricing? They might want to crack open a used copy of the paperback (it’s cheaper) to learn why not understanding digital, and therefore thinking you can price digital things super high, is not the smartest move…
(c) Nicole L. M. Jurkowski 2010