Saturday, July 25, 2009


A few days ago a friend of ours, who's very senior in one of the publishing firms, came over for a barbecue with her kids. I asked her whether she was a bit concerned about the new e-reading gadgets that Amazon and Sony are marketing. They're like ipods but for books, and I reasoned that people might pirate literature just like they do music. Well she said, DRM - Digital Rights Management - is under development for that.

And quite radical this DRM is because the other week Amazon magically made some books disappear from their clients readers, before apologising and putting them back. You don't really own a book you buy for one of these things. The company does and can change it, or make it go away at will.

As it happened one of the titles was Orwell's 1984 which I'm re reading (on paper) at the moment. In Winston's world all the books have been burnt. And the hero spends his time rewriting history. How Big Brother would have loved the new e-books! And may yet, I suppose.

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