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Children don’t make your hair grey, but DRMed eBooks do

So last night I decided that I would finally sit down and successfully borrow an eBook from my local library and read it on my iPhone.

I realized there would be some bumpiness in the process, but noted that having a book show up at my door via Amazon was more streamlined than getting a book from the local public library, but not overwhelmingly so.  I figured a similar level of jumping through hoops, probably just finding a blog post somewhere detailing a couple of key apps I needed.  My local library belongs to the Minuteman Library Network, which uses the wildly popular Overdrive digital collections management system.  Couple that with the cutting edge smartphone of the day (at least for the moment), and I was certain that I’d piece together a way to do it.
A couple of hours and several software downloads later (calibre, OverDrive Media Console mac, OverDrive Media Console iPhone, Adobe Digital Editions, Stanza mac, Stanza iPhone), I lay broken and defeated.  At the core, it seems that OverDrive mainly carries DRMed ePub format titles for borrowing.  Last year Stanza announced that they would support DRM ePub on the iPhone, but a couple months later they were bought by Amazon and quietly cancelled those plans.
I’m not sure who I should be yelling at.  Apple?  Amazon?  Stanza?  The Somerville Public Library?  The DMCA?  Maybe I’ll throw in Disney for good measure, noting that I have zero problem getting public domain books onto my iPhone but Disney is bound and determined to make sure that nothing published after Mickey Mouse’s debut should ever fall into the public domain.  But I’ve already been apoplectic for years over the dearth of 20th century public domain works, and the inability of my library to lend out electronic books for my platform of choice clearly requires a new target of scorn.
Interestingly, audiobooks appear to be much further along.  Perhaps I can couple them with some speech recognition software.
I’m going to go make some lunch and read Anne of Green Gables on my Newton.

Posted via email from ert’s posterous

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