There are people who wonder about my preference for books printed on (gasp) real paper.

It’s not that I intend to carry my paper library with me when traveling internationally, but that in general I don’t like the idea that Google, Amazon, or anyone else can reach out and delete my books.

Fahrenheit 451: Now at room temperature!

Current Liblicense Archive - DRM follies

Eugene Crosser August 17, 2013 16:54

If you keep e-books in (non-DRM) files, nobody can take them from you.

If you rent paper books, you cannot keep them.

Ownership and technology are orthogonal.

Michael K Johnson August 17, 2013 16:59

+Eugene Crosser That is technically true but not particularly relevant to mainstream book purchasing options at this time.

Yes, I have plenty of Gutenberg e-books. I’ve even scanned (and before that, typed in) public domain books as my contribution to publicly available heritage. But it is the rare author today whose works are available without DRM applied.

Eugene Crosser August 17, 2013 17:05

I know, I just think that it’s worth reminding that our loss of ownership of things is a consequence of someone’s policy decisions, not of the advancement of technology.

Michael K Johnson August 17, 2013 18:36

Well, it’s silly to pretend that the differences in copying facility+fidelity between paper and bits are unrelated to those policy decisions, entirely irrespective of your (or my) opinion of the quality of those policy decisions.

H. Peter Anvin August 18, 2013 06:37

It is more than a little pissy to nuke your ebooks when traveling… the #1 use I can think of for ebooks.

H. Peter Anvin August 18, 2013 06:38

There is one ebook in particular I’d like a copy of… a bit of a travel guide.

Pete Zaitcev August 18, 2013 21:05

Of course they can. If Apple can hire cops to beat down Jason Chen’s door, Google can hire cops to take away your books and burn them.

Michael K Johnson August 18, 2013 21:22

+Pete Zaitcev The difference is, then, in practice more than in theory; what I understand to be substantiated reports of both Amazon and Google wiping legitimately-purchased e-books from users’ devices, but I haven’t heard yet of either hiring rent-a-cops to steal and burn paper libraries…

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