Skip to main content

DRM: Jumping through the hoops to please Adobe gods

When you buy a physical book, you don't sign an agreement dictating the conditions which you must satisfy to read it. That would be crazy, right? You expect to be able to read it anywhere you like. You can read it on the bus, you can read it in the park. Heck, you can even take it to the shower and read it, damaging the pages, but it is your book, you paid money for it and you can do whatever you want.

If you buy an ebook from a major store (Amazon, Kobo), chances are you are getting something extra with your book.

Screenshot from kobobooks.com showing the list of supported devices: Desktop, eReaders, Tablets, iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows

Looks like it covers everything, right?

If you have a supported platform, everything magically works, and you don't think about buying the next book much. If you, like me, have GNU/Linux as your only OS, then your purchased book basically turns into a digital paperweight. Instead of owning the book, you merely own a license to read the book and only a set of approved readers will allow you to actually read it. The class of systems that impose these restrictions is called DRM, after Digital Rights Management. And you have very little rights there.

Read more…