you're reading...

Do you really own the ebook you just bought?

Everywhere I turn, I read about e-readers. I saw more and more commuter read books on e-reader.

Last Summer, I have read many rant and rave reviews on e-reader as more bloggers jumped on the bandwagon, took the plunge and bought the e-reader.

Bernadette of Reactions to Reading came up with a wonderful post on the good, the bad and the ugly, which affirms Sony e-reader as my preferred choice on 29th September.

Jessica of Park Benches and Bookends bought a Kindle on 21 September and she is elated!

Jacq of Book Bites said on 28 September she is on holiday but she has decided to get the RED Sony e-reader. Go for it Jacq!

Dolce Bellezza bought an e-reader but for the world of me, I can’t find her blog post raving about the e-reader now. (Bellezza has kindly provide me the link to her post on Nook soon after this blog is posted).

Biblibio compares all the e-readers in town, including the i-pad. A year after purchasing, Biblibio has read 30 books for free. but wonder seriously readers are ok with paying more for digital books than what is on the bookstores.

Matt of A Guy’s Moleskine Notebook thinks “A good story, which is meant to be savored, is best to be slowly revealed through the act of turning pages.”

I love gadgets and I was an early adopter of all new electronics gadgets, until recent years. I first blogged about the Sony e-reader in February 2009. when it first launched. Now the price is around £169, and this summer launch of Kindle in the UK is priced at a reasonable £109 (a year later than planned 2009, unfortunately due to credit crunch in 2009) has made me itching to go digital. I agree with Matt and Jessica and I can’t see myself letting go of all my physical books, but I really really would love to own a non-flicker screen e-reader.

A post by Silverfish book news made me think about the disadvantages of the device though, it says:

A Wired.com report says that a recent appeals court decision in the US suggests that “software makers can use shrink-wrap and click-wrap licenses to forbid the transfer or resale of their wares.” What that implies is that just because you bought it, it does not mean you own it.

How does this apply on a book? When you buy a physical book (that is, the dead tree variety), you own it, right? You can resell it as a second-hand copy, or a collector’s item (if it is rare or a first edition), put it in a library where people can borrow it, or even sell it at ‘remaindered’ bookshop. For one thing, a certain amount of physical deterioration is taken for granted, and collectors are known to spend an enormous amount of money to acquire rare books.

But in the case of ebooks, who owns it? Can one resell it? College students who can ill afford the price of new text books thrive on the used book trade. Often it does not matter if it is not the current edition. Will they be allowed to borrow them from libraries?

I feed on used books. I felt the copyright and licensing law will result in the book industry to become a more selfish one. Right now Used books are found on UK charity stores, book swapping websites, Amazon.co.uk, generous readers are giving away and sharing books with their friends and families; and it saves voracious readers tons of money to buy books. What will happen if we all go digital? Do I have to resort to paying the “kindle” price for every single books I wanted to read on my e-reader? Can the public library loan out “e-books”?

I still feel the sexy curvature of the Sony e-reader on my hand when I see them on display or demo on stores. I am just two minds about getting one. Perhaps I will decide when the price is right in the future.

But for now, I am going to stick with this and kid myself for the time being….


credits: Jonathan at The Bookseller Crow

Just for laugh, it is a more reliable and cheaper option for me, for now. 😀


About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.


21 thoughts on “Do you really own the ebook you just bought?

  1. Although I enjoy the convenience of my e-reader, I still peruse the actual books every morning. I cannot part with that experience of turning the pages. I leave the e-reader to the purpose it was meant originally—travel.

    Posted by Matthew | October 4, 2010, 10:38 pm
    • @Matt, I’ll most likely be like you, reading both physical and e-books alongside, all these means having more access channels to books and read them in different formats!

      Posted by JoV | October 5, 2010, 8:05 am
  2. For what it’s worth, here’s the link to the post I wrote about my Nook. I suspect it’s hard to find posts because ever since I bought my own domain I’m not registering in Google as quickly as I was under dolcebellezza.blogspot.com

    However, none of that is the point. Your version of the e-reader made me laugh, and I must say, I think it’s a fine solution. There is no perfect answer to this conundrum. I love my Nook for getting a book I want NOW, and I love it for it’s lightweight hold especially for the classic tomes like Middlemarch. Does it replace the joy of the scent of paper and the turn of the page? The beautiful font or gilded edges? Not on your life!

    Posted by Bellezza | October 5, 2010, 12:33 am
    • @Bellezza.. LOL.. ahh.. I should have looked for the keyword Nook. You are right about e-reader replacing tomes and chunksters which make my wrist ache just by holding it for a long time!

      Posted by JoV | October 5, 2010, 8:08 am
  3. very good point about used books-I have not been ready as of yet to purchase an E-reader-I think I will wait a bit longer to see what comes out

    Posted by Mel u | October 5, 2010, 2:05 am
  4. Excellent point.

    I think in a few years we will think differently about “owning” books – or at least different generations will do. My 15-year old niece recently came to visit me from the US and I was amazed to see that though she loves music she doesn’t own any. She doesn’t only not own any CDs she doesn’t even own any digital music – mp3 files or anything. She uses internet streaming sites like LAST FM and Pandora to get the music she wants on her computer, phone etc. and it doesn’t trouble her at all that she doesn’t “own” it. She, or perhaps the generation behind her, will feel the same about digital books when they become as universally available as mp3 files.

    As for me, I don’t buy expensive eBooks precisely because I don’t own them. so far I haven’t paid more than 5 pounds for any book (most of my shopping is in English stores). I also think that new models will become available – like renting books for example. A lot of the ARC eBooks available are timed – you download them and they disappear after 30 or 60 days – and I can’t see why a paid service couldn’t operate in a similar fashion.

    I do understand the pull of second hand books but I also think that other things will evolve to replace the role they play in our lives.

    Love your ‘Pony’ though and good on you for not rushing in – You have to make these kinds of decisions to suit yourself and your circumstances not because everyone else is doing it (though I can confirm, the Sony is a very sexy gadget).

    Posted by bernadetteinoz | October 5, 2010, 5:41 am
    • @Bernadette… sexy gadget, I’m drooling over it still. The interesting thing about MP3 is that I have accessed to many free MP3 and my friends and I swap music files all the time. The best thing is music files do not have a “time-bomb”, but if what I hear is right these e-books cannot be swapped from device to another. If I remembered, I had similar experience when I downloaded a career guidance book by Vault or Bigfoot. The minute I re-format my hard drive, the files no longer recognised the host and access will be denied.

      I am curious to know though, if e-reader would be susceptible to virus attack?

      Posted by JoV | October 5, 2010, 8:16 am
  5. I started buying eBooks back in the late 90s. I think I am one of the early adopter. My verdict? Nothing beats a real book. I get easily distracted with gadgets.

    Posted by Wilfrid | October 5, 2010, 3:49 pm
    • @Wilfrid, an early adopter who became a non-adopter. is that you? 😉

      Posted by JoV | October 6, 2010, 7:36 am
      • Yep. That is me 🙂 An early adopter who returns to the old way of doing things … hehehe. The reality is, those eBooks I have bought more than 10 years ago, I don’t even know where and how to get them back. I can’t even remember which user ID and password I have used to purchase those items … lol. But books that I have purchased decades ago are still sitting at my bookshelf.

        Posted by Wilfrid | October 12, 2010, 3:48 pm
  6. haha I love your makeshift e-reader. You seem to feel the same as I did, I love paper books but at the same time I really wanted a e-reader.

    I’m still using mine before I do a full review of the kindle but there are some wonderful advantages to it (I actually got annoyed yesterday because I picked up a paperbook with tiny writing and I couldn’t enlarge the text) But there are also some big disadvantages like the pricing. So we will see.

    Posted by Jessica | October 5, 2010, 8:27 pm
    • @Jessica, oh oh oh!! Yes that! that annoying tiny fonts! I can’t stand it! I’m sure your e-reader comes in handy to enlarge the fonts, this is great for a elderly people too! then we can eliminate the need for large print books in the libraries. 😉

      Posted by JoV | October 6, 2010, 7:38 am
  7. I love gadgets too so I was excited when e-readers came along. And some time perhaps I will get one for travel purposes. Though I don’t read quite a lot when I travel because I am busy seeing the place! E-readers are also practical in saving space in our increasingly shrinking homes/apartments. But I am an old-timer when it comes to books. I love their feel, the smell of new pages and just the excitement of writing my name on the inside page and then settling down with it to read…. 🙂

    Oh and by the way, I will go and see if I can get a copy of Midnight’s Children to read along 🙂 It’s a book I have picked up and put down umpteen number of times, so it will help if I have someone to read with!

    Posted by Birdy | October 6, 2010, 8:38 am
    • @Birdy, we are happy to have you with us on the Midnight’s Children read-along. I’ll put your name on the list.

      I suggest not to read too much and missed the beauty of what you will see in your travel. I am not sure if you could multitask effectively if you travel and read and take beautiful pictures at the same time? 😉

      Posted by JoV | October 6, 2010, 9:26 am
  8. Good point about the owning and borrowing of ebooks, sounds really complicated!

    So many posts about ereaders and I still don’t even contemplate getting one 😀 I love the real books of course, but my problem is also reading on a screen. I hate reading from the computer screen already, it tires my eyes much more than reading from paper. And I really don’t have the money for gadgets though I can appreciate them.

    Posted by Bina | October 6, 2010, 11:35 am
    • @Bina, if you go to the stores, make sure you feel one e-reader on your hand. The screens are not like computer screen, they don’t flicker and they don’t make your eyes hurt. It reads like a real book and it is really fantastic. 🙂 You have got to have one when you have the money. I’m sure the price is going to drop further in say another year or so. 😉

      Posted by JoV | October 6, 2010, 9:30 pm
  9. I ended up getting an e-reader earlier this year, and using it when I was stationed for a training in a city far away with almost no space to myself was a godsend. As far as it goes, I’ve bought very few e-books. Almost all of mine are things I paid either 99 cents for on a sale, grabbed by public domain, or picked up as a free promotion.

    I also have the advantage of having libraries here in the States that carry e-books, and a seemingly chronic aversion to reading anything new enough to cost the same as a paper book in e-version.

    I used to care a lot more about permanent ownership, but even my love of books has dulled as I learned via a cross-state move just how much owning things can weigh you down. Having e-books, even if they can’t be sold or traded (yet), allows me to read but without the space-taking.

    Two asides:

    1) When e-readers hit the $50 level, I am sure some folks will start loading them up with books and trading them with friends. Since the device and the book are linked, the two together makes sense and will have a similar effect to loaning someone a book.

    2) I still read quite a bit of paper books. 😉

    Posted by Rob McMonigal | October 7, 2010, 9:18 pm
    • @Rob, thanks for offering such great insights! I do hope it hits $50 or £50 level, I’ll go out and get one and then keep reading paper books too! 😉 I would be interested to know how US libraries loan out e-books, and if they “will ever get it back”? can it be copied? transfer the e-book elsewhere?

      Posted by JoV | October 9, 2010, 9:45 am
  10. Where I can buy ‘Pony’? Are you selling your second-hand one when you buy Sony? 😉

    Posted by CuriousBookFan | October 19, 2010, 7:39 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 276 other subscribers

Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City

JoV's favorite books »
Share book reviews and ratings with JoV, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

%d bloggers like this: