Wednesday, December 22, 2004

the tale of two ebooks

I recently made two ebook purchases: I got a speed-reading book from Amazon and a programming book from Manning. The experiences were very different. Amazon's ebook delivery took a nice while (while they were contacting the 3d party DRM system, I assume), right away eliminating one of the benefits of ebook buying: immediacy. What I got then is a special 'ancor' file sent to my email, which upon opening in Acrobat (strike 2: does not even try to work in Preview) required me to sign into MS-Passport and then eventually failed with a nondescript error. So much for Mac. I was able to get it to open on my PC (only a single PC - viewing on a second PC gave me a DRM error that I already downloaded the doc). After the file opened it was pretty useless, as any kind of printing or copying was disabled. In summary: don't do it, 's a freaking waste of money!
In contrast when I got a book from Manning there was an immediate download available, a beautifully typeset book, no DRM insanity. The only protection they implemented is putting my name & email address in every page, basically relying on my integrity. Excellent service, I wish there were more like them.


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