Are Kindle Hacks good for books?

Just deleted a post that linked to two Kindle hacks and 1 Nook hack –

  1. How to get free browsing and US range and prices outside the US. 
  2. How to break DRM of Kindle for PC books (although Amazon has already fixed that).
  3. How to get Nook books to work on Sony Reader.

The reason is that it was really hard to decide whether these hacks are good for books and for people who love books.

DRM Hacks have lots of consequences – only a few of which are good.

It’s very fashionable to break DRM. You are the grand protector of poor, trampled rights.

However, what does it really do?

This is what happens when you hack the DRM of books –

  1. The hacker and anti-DRM people get a sense of satisfaction. 
  2. Ethical people feel that they can now share their ebook with friends. They do.
  3. Unethical people feel that they can now get ebooks for free. They do too.
  4. Publishers get even more paranoid.
  5. The amount authors make becomes less.
  6. Publishers push back even more against eBooks and eReaders.
  7. Progress is stalled.

Why do ‘Good and Open’ people and companies want to impose their moral values on other people?

Who owns the right to decide what moral or ethical model books are sold under?

  1. Is it the author?
  2. Is it the Publisher or the store?
  3. Is it readers?

If a hacker says that things should be free or free of DRM – Is he really entitled to decide that?

Or is it a prerogative of the content creator which the hacker is usurping?

What will free international Internet browsing do?

Nothing much. Amazon was going to release the feature in 2010 anyways.

Bandwidth isn’t free so if people start abusing the workaround too much, Amazon will have to shut it off until the formal feature release date.

What will international kindle owners buying US books from outside the US do?

Just give Publishers another reason to stall on eBooks.

Consider the cycle –

  1. Someone in Spain feels they are entitled to read whatever they like.
  2. They figure out a workaround.
  3. Just to make sure everyone knows how cool they are – they publish it on a big, huge blog.
  4. Now 50% of international kindle owners start buying books whose international rights aren’t allowed for the Kindle.
  5. Publishers freak out. In this case especially so as the payments will go to whatever Publisher has the US rights.

You’ve just managed to get Publishers even more stressed out.

It makes them less likely to embrace eReaders and eBooks.

Don’t think all these hacks serve books or people who love books in any way. Can’t really peek into the future so who knows what effect these hacks will have.

What do you think – Do hacks like these accelerate progress or stall it?


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