eBook Purchasers are Second-Class

We have come to accept as inevitable a duo of coexisting lousy extremes. Sometimes information is supposedly free but people are subject to weird surveillance and influence, with insufficient commensurate rights. This is the familiar world of Google, Facebook, et al. It will not be a sustainable path as technology advances.

On the flip side, customers can be locked into one-sided contracts in order to have access to what they want online. This is the world of proprietary tree-shaped stores found through mobile devices or boxes that put entertainment on a big screen at home. These include stores operated by Apple, Amazon, et al.

Unfortunately, paying for value over a network in this way also sets us down an untenable path in the long term. Consider eBooks. A purchase of an eBook is not as substantive for the buyer as was a paper book purchase in physicality. An eBook buyer is no longer a first-class citizen in a marketplace.

When you buy a physical book, you can resell it at will, or continue to enjoy it no matter where you decide to buy other books. It might become a collectible book and go up in value, so you might make a profit on your original purchase. Every purchase of an old-fashioned book opens an opportunity to earn money by enhancing provenance. You can get the author to sign it, to make it more meaningful to you, and to increase its value.

With an eBook, however, you are not a first-class commercial citizen. Instead, you have only purchased tenuous rights within someone else’s company store. You cannot resell, nor can you do anything else to treat your purchase as an investment. Your decision space is reduced. If you want to use a different reading device, or connect over a different cloud, you will in most cases lose access to the book you “purchased.” It wasn’t really a purchase, but a contract entered into, even though neither you nor anyone else ever reads such contracts.


They are not making an investment with their purchase, they are renting. A physical book can be signed, manipulated, and resold.

Folksonomies: ebooks virtual reality investment physicality

/art and entertainment/books and literature (0.466423)
/technology and computing (0.417594)
/art and entertainment/books and literature/e-books (0.410073)

insufficient commensurate rights (0.978222 (negative:-0.620571)), et al (0.960561 (neutral:0.000000)), physical book (0.938005 (neutral:0.000000)), first-class commercial citizen (0.913099 (neutral:0.000000)), proprietary tree-shaped stores (0.907044 (positive:0.365608)), paper book purchase (0.898758 (neutral:0.000000)), different reading device (0.860016 (neutral:0.000000)), eBook Purchasers (0.808456 (negative:-0.243973)), lousy extremes (0.763581 (neutral:0.000000)), eBook buyer (0.744341 (neutral:0.000000)), first-class citizen (0.713846 (neutral:0.000000)), one-sided contracts (0.707718 (negative:-0.362450)), weird surveillance (0.688643 (negative:-0.454230)), sustainable path (0.687097 (positive:0.386167)), technology advances (0.686125 (positive:0.386167)), familiar world (0.686061 (neutral:0.000000)), mobile devices (0.681694 (positive:0.365608)), big screen (0.681010 (positive:0.365608)), untenable path (0.675666 (negative:-0.718431)), long term (0.675588 (negative:-0.718431)), tenuous rights (0.675254 (neutral:0.000000)), old-fashioned book (0.672659 (positive:0.934414)), original purchase (0.666019 (positive:0.363045)), collectible book (0.665354 (positive:0.444966)), decision space (0.665216 (negative:-0.558340)), company store (0.652525 (neutral:0.000000)), different cloud (0.649176 (neutral:0.000000)), value (0.550596 (negative:-0.325812)), investment (0.505608 (negative:-0.243973)), access (0.496650 (negative:-0.323777))

mobile devices:FieldTerminology (0.712809 (positive:0.365608)), Google:Company (0.688021 (neutral:0.000000)), Facebook:Company (0.685185 (neutral:0.000000)), Apple:Company (0.670606 (neutral:0.000000)), Amazon:Company (0.649996 (neutral:0.000000))

E-book (0.958808): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Book (0.756114): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Contract (0.747432): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Amazon.com (0.599207): dbpedia | freebase | yago | crunchbase

 Who Owns the Future?
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Lanier, Jaron (2013-05-07), Who Owns the Future?, Simon & Schuster, Retrieved on 2013-05-17
  • Source Material [books.google.com]
  • Folksonomies: computers