A South African website, iol.za, is carrying an article in its Personal Finance section about the way license terms and DRM mean that e-book buyers are effectively “renting” e-books rather than “owning” them. It covers the Amazon Orwell e-book removal and Bezos’s apology, and the way competing DRM standards lock customers into particular platforms.

There isn’t anything new to TeleRead readers in the content of the article—in fact, it makes a few minor factual errors, such as saying there are only three competing e-book DRM schemes when it should have said three major competing e-book DRM schemes. It also suggests that Adobe’s DRM standard is the “best” because it is compatible with more different devices and stores (without any mention of removing DRM for compatibility with everything.) But these quibbles aside, it would serve as a good primer for explaining to e-book newcomers why some publisher practices are so obnoxious.

And it also shows how awareness of these problems is spreading to places other than the “major” e-book markets. Hopefully the more people learn, and complain, the more pressure will be on publishers and stores to make some changes.


  1. Howard, I think that if you read most TOS statements, what you’re really buying is the license to read the ebook under certain specified conditions (on X machine or software that mimics X ereader on other platforms, for example)

  2. becca this is not what the Duck was saying. “You never had full rights to the media that you “bought”. ” Which clearly means paper books, plastic CDs and tape, vinyl albums etc. etc.

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