Saturday, March 5, 2011

I've noticed a worrying trend

I love ebooks. I love the convenience, I love that they are usually a little cheaper than paperbacks (being that no trees are harmed in the production of an ebook). I really love that I can have a craving for reading some fluffy romance or stuff with cowboys in it at 2am and not have to wait for the bookstores to open the next morning to get some.

However, not everyone wants me (or you, or anyone) to buy their ebooks like good citizens of the interwebs.*

I bought my first ebooks in 2009, at HarperCollins (au and us) ebook websites. Buying directly from the publisher, getting additional epilogues from the authors I wanted to read was really awesome. I also belonged to a website called CyberRead.

About eight months ago, I got an email from CyberRead. There was something strange going on in the Publishing industry, and they'd lost the ability to sell some of their titles. Then three months later, they started sending reminders to back up my ebooks. Just before Christmas, I had two emails from Harper Collins ebooks. Despite it's popularity, HarperCollins had decided to close all their ebook websites. If you wanted to redownload, you had to do it before December 19. I forgot my one ebook on the US website, but when I remembered on December 21, it was too late. The site had been removed.

More emails have been received from CyberRead in the past few months about backing up my ebooks. Last week, I got the email I had been expecting and dreading. To back up or redownload all my ebooks NOW because CyberRead was closing sometime in the next week due to "unprecendented changes in the ebook industry". A few days ago I got another email telling me I had 24 hours to finish backing up or redownloading my ebooks as after that I would no longer be able to access their website.

I worry about this happening, because the Publishing Industry seems to be moving towards only large companies selling their ebooks. What if I don't want to buy my ebooks from the companies I buy paperbacks from? Even though they save a lot on ebooks not being physical objects, sometimes it still costs the same price for me to buy it. It's really worrying to me that two websites (one an actual publisher!) have had to shut down their ebook operations so suddenly.

I just hope that in six months or a year, when I want to buy an ebook, it won't suddenly cost more than the paper copy.

* (Also, srsly, buy your ebooks. Don't download them for free over torrent. For one thing, it's like buying a stripped book - bad and it costs people money. Like the author? That person who writes it gets nothing from you downloading it for free. The other thing is people can put nasties in your stuff you get from limewire or torrent, and then whoops, your computer is infected with viruses (which macs can't get) or spyware (that everyone can get) so yeah, don't do it.)

No comments:

Post a Comment