Publishers, why do you make it SO DAMN DIFFICULT to legally read an ebook?

WHY? I swear to god that you are running yourselves into the ground, and I will cheer when you have done so!

I mean, really? I want to give you money so you can pay the authors who do the hard work to create books I love. And I have, but you put up great big roadblocks and stumbling stones instead of making the way smooth and level. WHAT THE FUCK is the sense in that?

I love Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant‘s Newsflesh universe. Its a compelling look at a world where zombies exist, and how you live with the threat of them. They are there, but fighting them isn’t the point of the books. I followed along on her livejournal as she counted down to the release date of the second book at the end of May with a series of posts leading up to the rising. It was a neat look at the world it was becoming the one in the books. This past Monday she announced that she had collected those posts and edited them into a novella that was available online. So I went to the publisher’s link and found a store that said it sold an epub version of the file.

Now, I have an e-reader that is a NON-STANDARD brand. It’s affiliated more or less with Barnes & Noble, but it isn’t a B&N Nook. It reads nook files and it reads EPUB files. I know this, and I know to look for these files when I am searching for additional reading material. I have a number of books I have ALREADY PURCHASED to read on it. I don’t go through B&N though. They require I leave a credit card on file to purchase any ebook through their site. This doesn’t sit well with my idea of security, and I have refused to buy ebooks through them. I’ve already had credit card numbers stolen, why make it easy for someone to steal my number and prove I didn’t actually buy things when it gets used? So I was looking at some alternate sites to purchase the novella.

One of the sites I I went to said they had epub versions of it. So before I plunked my money down, I found a free ebook they had that looked interesting, and paid for my ebook. After paying I got my download link. And then the trouble began.

The free book downloaded as an epub file. I can access it with no problem. But the novella that cost money, it came across in a format I had never see before, ACSM. First I tried to re-download it, thinking it had gotten corrupted or my link was bad. No. Then I looked at the book page to make sure it said epub. The sales page said epub, but it said Adobe epub. uh oh.
I tried to download the file onto my ereader. No dice. I’ll check with the bookstore FAQs and support to see what they may say. No word. and nothing much about it other than reloaded a Sony ereader’s software. Nothing helpful was there. Screw it, I’ll just read something else and deal with it tomorrow night.

Well, its tomorrow night. And I have gotten more and more frustrated as the night has gone on and I have seen just what hoops I have to jump through in order to actually read this ebook I have already purchased thinking I could read it with my existing software.

I googled the file type, and found it REQUIRES a different reader program from Adobe. Adobe Digital Editions is what the file requires to read it. I really wanted to read this on my ereader. That’s why I have the device, dammnit! I downloaded the new
reader software, and opened it up on my computer. Then found out I have to REGISTER with Adobe to get a KEY so I can read a FILE I ALREADY LEGALLY OWN.

Right now I am frothing at the mouth and spitting and ready to tell the entire publishing world that their idea of DRM is about to cost them the any future sales. I will register tomorrow with Adobe so I can get a key to read a book I already have paid for that they are holding hostage. But I will NEVER in the future purchase an ebook in an adobe digital editions format.

I’ve ad the opposite experience with a small publisher’s site. Moira Rogers writes books and publishes through Samhain Press. If you purchase books through that site, you have the option of 3 or 4 different file types. And if you have different kinds of devices, you can download multiple versions of the file. Hello! This is the way to win and keep readers. Otherwise you are driving them to the very thing you don’t want them to do.

One thought on “Publishers, why do you make it SO DAMN DIFFICULT to legally read an ebook?

  1. I agree! It’s ridiculous! I am so glad that my library is embracing electronic formats. But it’s far from everything and not yet utilized by the masses. Peace out! Keep Blogging!

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