What "freedoms" do you value in relation to your ebooks?
Despite what licence agreements say, I suspect that many if not most of us believe that, at least morally, ebooks which we purchased should be regarded as our own property analogous to physical books. This does not mean that we should own the intellectual property. We do not in the case of printed books. Nor does it mean, at least in my case, that I pretend that ebooks are the same as physical books and should therefore provide all the utility of physical books, or vice versa. For example, I don't believe it is reasonable to expect to be able to re-sell ebooks. However, I do believe that I should be able to:
1. Backup my ebooks in a form that enables me to restore and read them in the future, irrespective of whether the Vendor continues in business.
2. Read my ebooks on any device of my choosing.
3. Read my ebooks on any application of my choosing.
4. Easily convert my ebooks between formats, so as to facilitate the two preceding actions.
5. Purchase ebooks at a reasonable price being significantly lower than the cost of purchasing the same title in a paper version.
6. Have the option to enjoy privacy by opting-out of the monitoring of my reading habits.
7. Purchase ebooks without regard to geographical or other unreasonable restrictions, an example of the latter being expiry dates, read only on a Sunday after Noon or on days of the week not ening in y, etc.
8. Borrow ebooks from libraries.
9. Enjoy the courtesy of not having it be assumed that I am dishonest.
I would also like to be able to lend my ebooks to friends or family, but like re-selling ebooks I don't think this is a particularly reasonable requirement.
Many of these freedoms, most notably 1 to 4, are currently provided to us by way of Apprentice Alf should we choose to take advantage of them. Freedom 5 is provided to us, at least in the case of non-BWM publishers, largely by Amazon and to a lesser extent by other Indie publishers/distributors, who are also responsible for lower prices even for many BWM books. Freedom 6 is a mixed bag, as information on our reading habits, purchases etc is valuable and is factored into the current business models. In fact, some Amazon authors rely for payment on readers completing at least 10% of their books. It may be that opting-out would prove to be inpractical or come at some additional cost. Freedom 7 can be attained with some effort from ourselves via VPNs, proxies and other services in most but not all cases. Freedom 8 is given to us courtesy of Overdrive. It is not in my view reasonable to expect to be able to enjoy all of the other freedoms in relation to borrowed library books, though it would be nice to be able to read on more platforms and in more applications that Adobe Digital Editions (or apparently Overdrive media console).
Freedom 9 is slowly gaining ground. More and more ebooks are being sold without DRM, as companies come to realise that people continue to purchase ebooks, despite their ability to obtain the same titles for free easily. To the real surprise of some, including myself, apparently most people would much rather purchase legitimate content when it is made convenient for them to do so and available at a reasonable price. I doubt that piracy will ever be entirely eliminated, but I do think that it will reach still lower levels as BWM ebook prices fall further.