Sunday, March 23, 2008

Are You Buying a License or the Actual Book?

Besides the format itself, there's a big difference between buying a physical copy of a book and buying an e-book. Plenty of e-book detractors like to point out the fact that you can't just pass an e-book along to your friend like you can a physical book. That's a valid point today but I hope it's not always the case in the future; for example, see this wacky used textbook idea I posted on my Publishing 2020 blog.

Nevertheless, the model is very limited today and it could be quite awhile before that changes. This post on Gizmodo drills a bit deeper into the subject though and points out that you're not actually buying the book for your Kindle but rather a license for the book. This, and my preference to simply rip a CD, are the reasons why I have never bought a 99-cent song online for any of my MP3 players over the years. I expect the terms and language associated with all this will continue to evolve though as more consumers insist on broader rights for their e-content.