English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de eBook Беларуская: Фотаздымак электроннай кнігі Русский: Фотография электронной книги (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When a piece of software is being updated often enough so newer features can enhance a user experience, people tend to care little about the terms of the agreement which came with the software . Perhaps, the terms of the agreement for different software are varied in terms, and some might allow the buyers of the software to actually own the software. Other software might come under the terms of licensing only, and by these terms the buyers of the software might not even know that the software they had purchased are not truly theirs. This is understandable, because most people would gloss over the terms of agreement when there is a big ooO button which says click here to agree with the terms before you can install the software. Have you ever purchased a software that would present you the terms of agreement first before you pay up? To the best of my knowledge, I don’t remember any software purchase I had made over the Internet (i.e., digital download) would ever present me the terms of agreement before I already had paid up with a credit card. Has common sense told us that we should have only agreed to something first before we purchase anything?
The digital age is rather convenient but senseless as hell. Why is that? Not only software front is unclear about who own what when a transaction has made, other digital types of purchase are being challenged in the same sense. NBC News came out with a piece with the title “You don’t own your Kindle books, Amazon reminds customer,” and as I read this an anger simmers inside. I’m not angry at a particular entity or a person, but I’m angry at how we, the consumers, have allowing the murky water to darken otherwise a pretty clean understanding of what a purchase really means. When people are forking over money for any good, whether it would be digital or not, people should have a guaranty of some sort that their purchase would not end up be meaningless when the meaningless is not of their own fault. This means, as long a buyer of something isn’t breaking something on purpose after he or she had purchased the product (digital or not), this very person should not bear the brunt of a complicit understanding that the access to a purchase isn’t in the control of the eventual owner (i.e., a buyer of a product ).
I love books, and sometimes I have to admit I purchase books for the thinking that I will read them later on. Sometimes I do read some of the books that I’ve purchased on a moment of temptation, and sometimes I forget about them completely. Then there is that time that I pat myself for purchasing a book early on, because such a time inspires me to go on and read and not have to go on and ponder on the prospect of owning such a book. As a book lover and a reader with a small brain that can hardly contain much after a reading, I think highly of a book purchase. I want to know that whatever book that I want to purchase will be able to allow me to have access to it for its entire lifespan. With a physical book, physical damages can definitely shorten a lifespan of a book. With a digital book, a file corruption can just be as lethal.
Since digital books have become so prevalent today, it’s in our interest to ponder on the meaning of purchasing a digital book. Is it truly necessary to actually own digital books? The prevalence of digital books have upended the possibility of actually owning a book as the case in which NBC News had reported, and knowing this is truly saddening me. It’s saddening me not because I might not be able to revisit the same book decades later, but it’s more of a case of knowing a digital book outlet can turn off one’s account to prevent one from having any access to a digital library that supposedly being owned by… Perhaps, owning a digital library is not actually owning? When one cannot truly own a copy of a digital book, is it worse than a book burning? Of course not, because a book burning equates to eradicate all copies of a book from the existence, thus some important knowledge might as well be lost. With having said blocking one from his or her digital book library isn’t as bad as book burning, this is still pretty serious. This begs us to ask, isn’t digital-information age is all about spreading more knowledge and not about having barriers between a woman and her books or a man and his books?
It’s understandable that some degree of greed is tolerable. A good example of this would be a software which gets update often with newer features… and the buyers don’t have to actually outright owned this software as they’re more of renting it even though they are actually buying it. I think it’s intolerable for digital books to be treated just the same as software. Even a technical, digital book that gets update often with newer knowledge, the buyers still have to purchase the updated version of the book with the same or even at a higher price. There is no guaranty that any software that is being updated will have a cheaper upgrade price, but it’s mostly the case that we see newer versions of many software get cheaper upgrade prices. The same thing cannot be said for most books, digital or not. With this understanding, I think vastly different digital products should be purchased and owned in different manners. Personally, I think the acts of buying and owning digital books should equate to the acts of buying and actually owning digital books. How come I didn’t compare the acts of buying and owning of digital books to the acts of buying and owning of physical books? It’s because I think the acts of purchasing and owning digital books should speak for themselves. For an example, nobody should have to ever again fear that one cannot have access to her or his digital book library just because he or she might anger a digital book outlet overlord for whatever reasons. Sure, a person can just go to another digital book outlet to purchase the same books to build a digital library again, but this means this person has to spend more money for the same things. One has to wonder though, what if several specific books would only be carried by the digital book outlet which had banned a person’s access to his or her digital book library?
In conclusion, it might be wrong of me to think that it’s almost OK for one to complicit in renting a software even though one actually is purchasing a software. It also might be wrong of me to almost compare the case of being banned from a (paid for and owned by) digital content library as to a case of book burning. Nonetheless, I think we have to admit that having a common sense on owning digital contents is really really important. Furthermore, to narrow down our focus, I think it’s super important for us to have a common sense on owning digital books. After all, digital books have become so prevalent! Digital books are so prevalent in a sense that people tend to reach out for them more than otherwise. Whether people want to acquire knowledge conveniently or not through the mean of digital books, digital books are so ready to be purchased on a moment of temptation. Perhaps, digital books will become one of the few preferable ways for people to acquire knowledge fast and cheaply. As digital books may become even more prevalent than how they already are, it’s in our interest to know and question our digital book consuming behaviors (i.e., buying and owning digital contents). Thus, I wonder is it truly necessary to actually own digital books?