Friday, Jan 18, 2013
BLOGPOST: In a recent column in the Los Angeles Times, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Hiltzik expressed dismay and horror that, while a book-purchaser “owns” the book purchased, and can do as he or she pleases with it— read it, lend it, give it away, sell it, store it on a shelf for a few decades, feed it to the cat—those poor creatures who download books onto e-readers and mobile devices are only receiving a license, with limited ownership rights, and can never fully enjoy the right of owning the book. Their cats, in short, go hungry. He’s not wrong, of course. It is true that the purchase of a book from, say, Amazon’s Kindle Store is in fact not a purchase but a license agreement. Readers are not buying a book: they’re buying the right to access the book’s content stored in Amazon’s cloud.