DRM-Free E-books Are the Way to Go


1) Buy a Nook Touch
2) Root it with Nooter.
3) Install Moon+ Reader
4) Install 32 gb MicroSDHC card.

Moon reader has access to virtual libraries, which includes public domain books, which you can download over WiFi. This setup is all you will ever need in a E-Ink reader. Cost? About 100$
Cool story: I rented an ebook from my local library recently. The DRM was so fierce that I could only view it on my computer (like, how useful is that?). After over an hour trying to figure out how to see it on my phone, I gave up. If a fairly tech-savvy young user like myself has that much of an issue, how is the typical user supposed to figure it out?

tl/dr: yes, ebook DRM sucks.
The issue I see with no-DRM ebooks is that it's so much easier for somebody to make a perfect copy of one than it is to do so with a real book.

With a real book (and let's use Tor's traditional bread and butter, mass-market paperback fiction as an example), if you wanted to copy one, you'd need to lay each sheet face down on a copier platen and hit the button. All in all, the time and cost involved would most likely be greater than that of just purchasing a book and the end product more unwieldy. (After all, who wants to carry around 300 letter-sized sheets to read a book?)

With a digital book, all you need to do to copy it is hit the 'duplicate' option in the File menu. The end result is literally every bit as good as the original and the time involved in making a copy is generally less than one second.

While this may work for the Tor Books' niche audience, it works precisely because that audience is both by-and-large small and respectful of the source material and authors. In other markets such as video games (or the unofficial app stores), implementation has led to piracy rates between 80 and 90 percent. DRM in the mass market is an unfortunate necessity because the average consumer doesn't really respect the author or the publisher, but instead wants to get something for nothing.
I noted that a couple of publishers of Kindle books that I have purchased, now offer a DRM free "upgrade" for around $5 more.

While I hesitate to forecast any demise of Mr. Bezos' Library At Seattle, I might wish to have insurance.
The main reason I have refused to buy a tablet or e-reader of any kind is DRM.

I'm not interested in breaking copyrights. I'm not interested in creating myriad copies of books and sharing then with friends. I respect writers too much to do that.

But when I buy a book, physical or otherwise, I expect to own my copy of it. I won't surrender control of my library.
Corry Doctarow has written regularly on Boing Boing about his experiences as an author who publishes without DRM. There is a whole panoply of reasons beyond an "everything should be free" trope that DRM is not a benefit to society. I'm not a huge music collector but I'm a bit resentful that I can no longer access all the tracks I bought from the fruit company's online music store and I see no reason why I should expand the same paradigm to my library.

Honestly, that's a weakness with digital media in general. Unless you make a backup of your books, they're extremely easy to lose. Leave your Kindle on the bus, drop it into a puddle, or even just experience a catastrophic software/hardware failure with the device, and you lose all the books you purchased unless you backed them up or unless the publisher lets you download additional copies (and they're not going to do that in a DRM-free situation). It's significantly more difficult to lose an entire library of physical books; your house would have to burn down.
@3 Removing DRM is so ridiculously trivial that it may as well not even exist. And it's gotten to the point that it's a simple drag-and-drop operation, usable by anybody who can wrangle a mouse.

The digital music industry learned the advantages of going DRM-free ~6 years ago. The digital book industry is lagging behind, but between Tor and other smaller publishers going DRM-free and high profile authors like JK Rowling eschewing DRM, the writing is on the wall.

Yes, it's possible to make a perfect copy, with or without DRM. At some point you need to trust your customers/listeners/readers.