You Don't Own Your Ebooks

You Don't Own Your Ebooks

You don't own your ebooks with DRM. You're merely licensing the privilege to read them. Some readers overseas have learned this the hard way (yet again) now that Nook is going out of business in the United Kingdom. But don't worry, they're working to let you maybe possibly transfer all those books you bought. The Register and TechDirt brought this notice from Nook's UK site to our attention (emphasis mine):

Effective from March 15, 2016, NOOK will no longer sell digital content in the United Kingdom. The NOOK Store on NOOK devices sold in the UK, on the UK NOOK Reading App for Android, and at will cease operation.

To meet your digital reading needs going forward, NOOK has partnered with award-winning Sainsbury's Entertainment on Demand to ensure that you have continued access to the vast majority of your purchased NOOK Books at no new cost to you. Further instructions on how to transfer your NOOK Books to a new or existing Sainsbury's Entertainment on Demand account will be sent to you by email over the coming weeks. Please ensure that you look out for these emails as they will contain important information on what to do next.

Your action is required.

"...continued access to the vast majority of your purchased NOOK Books..."

They're not even promising that you'll be able to transfer all your books!

Digital rights management (DRM) is absolutely crippling our ability to preserve digital knowledge for the future. And it's half the reason I prefer deadtree books.

Even when it's an accident (like when Amazon deleted everybody's copies of George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm from their Kindles) it shows just how little control we have over the books we "buy" from digital retailers.

So repeat after me...

You don't own your ebooks.

You don't own your ebooks.

You don't own your ebooks.

Top image: Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook in 2014 (AP Photo/John Minchillo)



    This is one of my biggest fears of cloud computing in general. Who actually owns stuff?

    When its potentially more expensive to buy a digital product versus a physical copy, there needs to be far more protection than there currently is.

    I have bigger fears than that with this, exampled by Megaupload a few years ago where peoples personal data was just swiped by the US Govt with no recourse to recover it, and for me its a worrying sign that the individual will miss out.

    People assume plenty, based on their own experiences (which is natural), but we're starting to see the repercussions of decisions made years ago. How bad will it be in a decade?

    *edit* To think further, consider what happens if Steam shuts down, or iTunes.

    Last edited 08/03/16 4:13 pm

      Agreed, I don't purchase any media digitally, and I use cloud computing as an additional backup rather than my only source of storage.

    My wife has a huge collection of ebooks on her Kindle.
    I have stripped the DRM from all of them and they are backed up on my pc.
    So I would say we do own those ebooks.

      +1 I always try to obtain a DRM free copy after I buy. GOG is great for this. O'Reilly for tech books, too. See Cory Doctrow for some good DRM free fiction.

    This is old news. Same with iTunes, Steam, everywhere with DRM. It's not physical, you don't own it, and you pay more for the privilege.

    "They’re not even promising that you’ll be able to transfer all your books!"

    Of course they aren't, if Sainsbury's doesn't have rights to the books you want to transfer from Nook you won't get a copy if it. There is nothing sus about this.

    This is why I immediately strip the DRM out of every digital purchase I make, with the exception of games on Steam etc. (since you kind of can't). I paid the damn price, I own the freaking product. End of story. You can argue about licensing all you damn well like, but at the end of the day as long as I'm not making copies and handing them out over the internet, I should be free to do whatever I want with the products I've paid for.

      Damn straight.

      DRM can f*ck off. It's a complete joke anyway. I paid for a product - not a license. It's mine. I own it. I will use it how I like. I will modify it how I like. As long as I'm not engaged in unauthorised manufacture or distribution of this product then the vendor gets no say and has no control of the product after the sale.

      My two-cents.

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