Saturday, January 12, 2008

The book industry, DRM, and bullshit

The book industry likes to piss me off. They're like the music industry, except in even greater denial of how much the digital world can totally make them irrelevant. In my case, its mostly in regards to the Comicbook industry, and Digital Rights Management (DRM)

Recently Amazon.com created the Kindle, an ugly looking ebook reader with DRM and battery eating wi-fi. I'm fascinated by e-ink based ebook readers, but I'm not going to pay $400-$1000 for one. I'd pay $200 for something that can read books or images in compressed zip/rar files, in black and white, but for $400 it better have a colour screen. Also it has to be black with blue LED's, like all of my other computer peripherals. (Even my router is black). What can I say, I like black. It's not as distracting in the dark as other colours.

In any case, this past christmas, my comicbooks were a whole week late, and even worse, the comicbooks for that week were a day late. So what am I going to do over the holidays, talk to my family? FUCK NO. I'm going to fucking DOWNLOAD those comics off of file sharing sites, thats what. And I don't feel guilty about it either, because those comics should have been out on Wednesday like they are in the rest of North America, but for some reason, in Winnipeg, nobody gets their comicbooks on Wednesdays. WHY IS THAT, Diamond distributors? Why must I download my comics in order to read them when I want to read them?

I think the comicbook companies like DC and Marvel would be wise to offer all of their comicbooks, old and new, over the internet in DRM free cbz format archives. They can charge a monthly fee of like $8. Because really, thats a price most people wouldn't feel bad about paying, and if they keep it low enough, they'll get more of an audience built up for when the inevitable e-ink based reader popularity gains momentum. With an audience, they gain more advertising revenue, with low prices it limits the need for people to pirate (and DRM'ed files mean people will ignore you and pirate it instead)

Will the comicbook companies do it? I doubt it. But it'd be very wise if they did. They haven't really got anything to lose considering their stagnating sales. Plus, people like me would still buy the hard copies (and they could focus on Trades for people who really like a particular series online)

Anyways, back to the kindle, its ugly. Really poorly designed, and full of DRM thanks to the fradey cat book companies who don't realise that a large amount of books people read are public domain anyways. DRM is just insulting.

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