Team Murder No Brain No Headache.

30Jun/05Off

Moved To Piracy By Annoyance

I really like the idea of ebooks especially for computer books that fall behind when features are introduced to a language and are often physically large and uncomfortable to lug around. Unfortunately I had a pretty bad experience trying to use one today mainly because the curators of the system (through our library) Netlibrary have chosen to add scarcity to a medium that doesn't really support it. I understand the fears that users will print out copies of the books or just roll their own PDFs or whatever but I've never seen quite this level of obsessive limitation before.

I'd recently read Howard Fosdick's article on Rexx over at Newsforge and wanted to check out his book on Rexx. I did a quick search from the library web site and there is was albeit an ebook and not really there at all. Unfortunately I completely re-did my work computer before leaving for Korea and didn't have king hell satan Adobe's little reader installed. I did get a chance to look at the table of contents while installing acroread but forgot that quickly when I restarted the browser and was confronted with a message that said the book I wanted to look at was already checked out. Already checked out gives you the idea that there are limited numbers of this electronic publication available. Worse yet, I was the same person using the same browser and coming from the same IP address mere seconds after my first access. The book was unavailable for over an hour. Next time I'll just use a PDF viewer that doesn't utilize ridiculous DRM and print out the pages that I need rather than jumping through hoops to borrow a 'copy' of something that is arbitrarily limited. It also sucks that the arbitrary limitation is so poorly implemented.

The sad part is that I'll probably end up buying the book anyway as much as I'd like to just print the whole fucking thing out or transfer its pages to my own PDF. I guess that's why publishers often use large images of their authors on book covers. I've already paid for access to this book through tuition and I'd rather not pay again and again. If you're somehow involved in book production you might want to consider avoiding distribution through companies that create their scarcity when none exists. Given enough obstacles I might avoid buying the dead tree editions of your books and just avoid the nuisance and insult of legally using them by stealing copies if only for the sake of access.

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