Next week I am back at academia. Toiling away, trying to memorise information, analyse it, critique it and prove that I understand it – to a biased academic.
While doing that, I will be trying to also keep a steady stream of news articles and columns flowing.
Last year I hoped to go digital. Not just writing notes using Penultimate, but also, doing the right thing, by purchasing the books I needed as ebooks.
I eventually gave up and bought the hardcopies of the books.
This year, I thought, would be different. I would not give up. I would, almost, do anything to get the books as ebooks – the legal way.
I had to cave for one book, but the two other was bought on Amazon and the other was via Booktopia.
I do not mind the Kindle reader too much on the iPad, but I was fine with getting the PDF version for the other book and read it in iBooks.
Or so I thought.
After hours of trying to actually deciding if it was worth getting the books in the first place– considering I was unable to get them from one source and that I already had to get one book in hardcopy –I learnt that the ebook from Booktopia was not the typical PDF.
However, on Booktopia’s webside the format is labelled as PDF. No obvious mention of the books being DRM protected.
When I downloaded the book from Booktopia as a file, I noticed it was an .acsm file. A DRM file, which lets an e-reader to access the actual “PDF” from a server.
Which meant that I had to download Booktopia’s e-reader on the iPad. Forcing me to install another e-reader.
Of course, I had to jump through another hoop to access a book I had bought. The Booktopia e-reader for iOS was only available for those with an Australian iTunes account. Mine is Norwegian, so I had to change country in my account, which meant I had to enter account info for an Australian credit card. Then go through the same crap to switch back to my Norwegian credit card.
All in all, I anticipate that I have spent about 5 to 6 hours to find and get access to a product I have paid for.
It might take longer, but it would probably be easier to buy the books in hardcopy and scan them with one of those PDF scanners.
Why are not more people buying ebooks? Because of this bullshit!
First of all, it is an absolute nightmare to find a place that sells the latest version of a book. That is of course assuming the publisher and author(s) are not Luddites, not wanting to sell a digital version of their book in 2013.
Second of all, you rarely do not get access to the actual file in a way that lets you read it from your e-reader of choice. It also prevents you from keeping a personal backup of what you have actually paid for.
Fix this now!
I own one book where the publisher has done it right. The hardcopy contains a CD with PDF copies of the book’s chapters.
If I could buy a hardcopy of a book, with access to a non-DRM PDF files, I would actually pay a bit extra. I would love this. It might actually make me want to buy more books.