I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Friday, September 28, 2012

You Don't Really Own Any E-books

When you click the "Buy Now" button,
you aren't really buying an e-book.
I met a friend from church on Wednesday for lunch and I gave him a copy of one of my favorite books. Not long ago, I purchased the e-book version of the same book for my Kindle, so I felt free to pass my hard copy along. But as I drove away after lunch, a couple of questions popped into my mind.

What happens if I just want to give somebody an e-book I purchased? The technology should allow me to transfer an e-book from my Kindle to somebody else’s e-reader. So far, that is not an option. And what happens to my e-books after I die? Is it possible to pass them along to somebody?

I did some research regarding both questions and I didn’t like what I found.

The AARP did a story recently called, appropriately, “What Happens to Your E-books When You Die?” In part, the article says, “What many people don’t realize is that with most digital content, you don’t actually own the content when you buy it. Instead, your purchase simply gives you a license to use the books or music.”

The article references Amazon’s license agreement for the Kindle, which says, in part, “Kindle Content is licensed, not sold, to you by the Content Provider.” The agreement goes on to explain what that means: “Unless specifically indicated otherwise, you may not sell, rent, lease, distribute, broadcast, sublicense, or otherwise assign any rights to the Kindle Content or any portion of it to any third party.”

Finally, the article connects the dots, saying, “In short, that means Kindle content can’t be resold or left to an heir – it cannot even be given away or donated.”

By the way, this applies to the Nook (see provision number three) as well.

I know this will prompt e-book naysayers to jump in and say, “This is just another reason not to get a Nook or Kindle! Death to the e-book craze!”

First off, calm down.

Secondly, the e-book craze is here. Book publishers know it, retailers know it and authors know it. Avoiding it or pretending it doesn’t exist is naive, at best. If you are an author who submits a book proposal and then lands a contract with a royalty publisher, your book will be released in electronic form.

Thirdly, the goal of an author is to write a book that moves, motivates or informs readers. Who cares what medium they choose to read your words? The point is, they are reading your words.

Enough of that. Now back to the real topic – our current inability to pass along e-books to heirs. The problem isn’t e-books, it’s the licensing agreements. They need to be changed. Take a look at the screen capture above. It comes from a page on Amazon.com for an e-novel I am going to order. Notice that the purchase button says, “Buy now with 1-click.®”

That is completely misleading. If I click on the button, I’m not buying the book. I’m buying a lifetime rental of the book.

I do not accept that.

How about you?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...