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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Borders' demise - sad - what'll happen to those DRM eBooks?

When a bookshop of this size filed for Chapter 11, it is always a sad affair not only the disappearance of a place for browsing books but also for those staff that work there.

I can see those shops in Australia closing because it is just not as competitive as buying from Amazon, even including paying for postage and handling fee. This is also true even way before Australian dollar reaching parity with the USD. Furthermore, the technical books in those shops are old and are there only as a token gesture. The best part of a bookshop is for browsing and flicking through pages that often stirring up the impulsive buying. If there aren't any new materials why visit them?

I am more interested to know what will happen to those customers' DRM controlled eBooks managed by Borders if it finally closes down? Perhaps this is a warning to these operators - Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and others that use DRM - you, the bookshop, won't be there forever and my copy of "Gone With the Wind" physical book is there independent of the existence of the shop/enterprise that sold me the copy. They are actually paid for in full by your customer identical to a physical item. It is not yours!

I do not totally subscribe to the theory that eBook kills Borders
"Electronic book publishing is going to destroy the major chains. The sort of high volume disposable fiction which is their stock in trade, will migrate almost entirely into electronic form over the next 10 years."
There are regular reports that eBook costs more than their hard cover version. Move over, having used a NOOK for several months for reading non-DRM controlled technical eBooks. I can tell you that it is a real struggle to use those eBook readers when one needs to constantly flick between several of those books; they can't handle managing several opened books remembering their locations, etc. Reading a novel is fine but using them for technical research or investigation, give me a stack of physical books anytime or running them on a PC/Notebook.

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