Digital reading devices are quickly becoming today's "hot device." They provide a great, eco-friendly alternative to paper-based reading materials and offer space-conscious readers a compact way to store large collections of books.
While there are numerous positives that go hand-in-hand with buying an e-reading device, there are also some drawbacks to the evolving market.
Like with any new technology, users are largely unaware of their digital rights when it comes to purchasing an e-reader. For the time being, digital book reading privacy is somewhat of a foreign concept.
The implications of purchasing an e-reader that could remotely delete books, track your reading habits, or leave you out of pocket when you want to upgrade may not be immediately apparent when you purchase your first e-reader, but they will certainly impact your relationships with e-readers in the future.
What happens when you decide you want to lend your favorite e-book to one of your friends? In five years when the technology has advanced, will you be able to transfer your entire book collection to your next digital book reading device - even if it is made by a different company? Do you even own the books that you have spent hundreds of dollars downloading or have you merely been renting them?
These are some of the many questions you should ask when you next go to purchase an e-reader.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) published an informative article on buying digital books and e-readers in the electronic age on February 16. "Digital Books and Your Rights: A checklist for readers" is a helpful checklist for potential purchasers wanting to buy a digital reader.
EFF Digital Book Checklist for Readers:
1. Does it (your e-book reader/service/tool, etc.) protect your privacy?
2. Does it tell you what it is doing?
3. What happens to additions you make to books you buy, like annotations, highlights, commentary?
4. Do you own the book or just rent or license it?
5. Is it censorship-resistant?
6. Is it burdened with digital rights management ("DRM")?
7. Does it promote access to knowledge?
8. Does it foster or inhibit competition and innovation?
The EFF's full article can be read here: https://www.eff.org/wp/digital-books-and-your-rights