Ah, the Kindle. . .

Kids, DRM sucks. Don’t buy it.


  1. Dan Krokos


    At least it only costs 400 bucks.

    Oh, wait.

  2. Damaso

    This is misinformation. The problem was not how many times he wanted to download the book but to how many devices (the kindle restricts it to six). Yes, that is an issue too (although how many people do you know who have more than six kindles?) but less of an issue than it has been made out to be.

    Of course Jeff could lead the way and ask for the Kindle editions of his books to be DRM free (it is the publishers, not Amazon who decide on DRM). So Jeff, you hate DRM right? Why let your books be sold with it?

  3. jsomers

    Hi Damaso,

    Thanks for the clarification. I bristle at even minor problems like how many devices you can have a book on, because, frankly, there shouldn’t be any limits at all. You buy the book, you should be able to put it on as many devices as is convenient for you, as long as you don’t make copies to sell. That’s my opinion.

    The issue is not entirely how many devices, either; the issue is that this information is not made public, so you don’t necessarily know what you’re allowed to do with your purchase. If the original author had known about the limitations of the license to begin with, if nothing else they might have been able to avoid the inconvenient situation altogether and gone merrily on their way.

    As for asking my publisher to omit DRM from my books: Frankly, they will politely ignore me, and I am otherwise powerless to affect how they choose to distribute and market my books – they have paid for those rights. I also don’t necessarily think publishers are big evil corporations doing evil in these situations – they think they are doing the right thing. I firmly believe it’s up to consumers to reject DRM. If a company – or an author – markets a DRM-encumbered book, don’t buy it. It’s that easy. Eventually, as is happening with music, DRM becomes a useless and expensive widget and gets dropped.

  4. Damaso

    True enough. But I think it is important to direct our attention away from the device (which can and does display non DRM’d material just fine) to the system (read Publishers) who pretty much have all gotten together and said they will only sell eBooks w/ DRM. What’s interesting is that there is a strong mov’t to boycott books over $9.99 on Amazon for the Kindle which seems to be kinda working. Will drm be the next focus of ire? Maybe.

    Eventually this won’t be an issue. Right now it is more of an intellectual argument. I think it is more imp’t to build up the eBook market and support authors like yourself than to say “I won’t buy any eBooks till they get rid of DRM.” If people had said that with iTunes there would be no iPod, ITunes store and we would still be carrying around fifty cds with us and looking like dorks. It took about ten years for music to become DRM free, over the dead bodies of a lot of music industry execs…

  5. jsomers


    I agree: The kindle, as a piece of technology, has much to recommend it, and there is nothing intrinsically wrong with it. It’s DRM that’s the problem. DRM is just a bad idea for consumers, period. Ideally, the kindle would just be one of many choices for reader and the eBooks you bought on Amazon or anywhere else would work on whatever device you wanted, forever, no matter how often you changed devices, just like MP3s do.

    I think you’re right about it all happening eventually. In the mean time, I’m going to complain, which is my main vector for action. 🙂


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