Friday, 3 August 2012

Some blog posts worth reading

I only got round to reading How The E-book Reader’s Bill of Rights Benefits Authors recently (reproduced here). It includes the arguments for the benefits to authors of their work being widely read, and being available without DRM. There is a lot of sense here. As an author, librarian and book-buyer I am against DRM (as evidenced by all the posts!) I am also interested in the issues of e-book lending from libraries though there are other issues here which I have yet to make my mind up about. The main thing is that the issues are discussed openly, and not left to the decisions and EULAs created by corporations without any consultation with those that love to buy and read books – the readers.

I think one area I’m not so sure about is the area of reselling an e-book. By all means, if someone buys one, it should be theirs forever. Unlike a physical book it takes up no space, so you don’t have to get rid of them every so often (or buy a bigger house, or even rent storage space for them as one author I know does!) I also believe in keeping the price low. However, I tend to think of them as an experience rather than a tradeable good. Every one pays for the experience if they want it. A tricky aspect though, and I am not 100% sure where I stand.

Another interesting post about e-books from the perspective of librarians is I’m breaking up with E-books (and you can too) on Sarah Houghton's blog. It nails many of the issues as to why acquiring e-books for your library patrons is like going to the supermarket and only seeing overly-packaged, unnaturally regimented fruit with huge air miles attached. Where's the organic, unpackaged, local, interestingly-shaped produce? Not in the supermarket. We need to encourage e-book providers who offer a fair deal and ignore those that don't, but it is hard when you also want to offer a comprehensive service to your users. I won't repeat the arguments, Sarah does that accurately and with feisty contempt in her post.