Why Ebooks are Bad Value

An old-school paper-and-ink book is yours upon purchase. You can annotate it, crease it, tear out pages, sell it and copy sections. An ebook, however, confers far fewer rights — in many cases it cannot be printed out, read on another device, loaned or sold. Rob Pegoraro, writing for the Washington Post, takes aim at shortsighted Digital Rights Management policies, arguing that publishers need to follow the lead of the music industry and remove DRM entirely. I would go one further step, and argue that the industry needs a universal file format that allows a book to be read on any device. The idea that a book can only be read on one kind of device is surely going to seem ludicrous in retrospect.