Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Free E-Books

The development of online books is an interesting trend to watch. A week or two ago, Oprah had Suze Orman on her show, who annouced that her book Women & Money would be free online for a period of about 30 hours. Now Random House is announcing it will offer the free full-text access to a novel called Beautiful Children for three days, ending on Leap Day. I personally don't know how anyone could read an entire novel in PDF form. You don't want to print out 300 pages, and you don't want to read it on your computer screen. I'm not sure how Kindl and those other e-book readers work, or how popular they will end up being. But the readers are probably the only way e-book novels (as opposed to electronic reference books) will really take off.

Random House Audio has also recently announced that it will no longer be using digital right management (DRM) software for downloaded audio books. I know from using NetLibrary's audio books this software is a real pain-in-the-neck to transfer from your computer to your mp3 player, and then if anything happens to the file, you are often SOL. I haven't been able to download a book onto my mp3 player for a while, and I have assumed that this is due to the extra security from the DRM as I have no trouble with music. What this means for piracy and sharing an audio book after it has been purchased, I have no idea. But it will be interesting to find out.

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