ebooks prices like these make you want to steal them

A work friend recommended Neal stephenson to me yesterday evening. The book he was recommending was Cryptonomicon and the Snow crash. Now I was quite willing to buy the ebooks because I highly prefer reading on screen to reading a book. But have you seen the prices! Oh my, check out this one…

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson costs 8 dollars and you can get some second hand versions for half that. However, if you want the digital acrobat version that will be 10 dollars! Even the microsoft reader which by the way is crap and i hate alot to read from, is 10 dollars. And I'm willing to forget that digital distrubution is cheaper and easier than the book. And I was almost willing to pay the money for the ebook because 10 dollars is about 5 pounds here. But then I read this.

Format: Adobe Reader
File Size: 5776K
Printable: Most publishers do not allow Adobe e-books to be printed.
Mac OS Compatible: This title requires Adobe Reader 6.x, which requires Mac OS 10.2 and above.
Windows Compatible: Yes
Handheld Compatible: Adobe Reader supports transfer of e-books to PalmOS devices, but not to Pocket PC or Symbian devices.

Format not a problem could tag it later too I guess. File size sounds large but its got drm so i guess its got space for that. No printing, who cares not bothered. Requires Acrobat 6? why? But this did it for me! Adobe Reader supports transfer of e-books to PalmOS devices, but not to Pocket PC or Symbian devices. What the hell! So if I bought this ebook I wouldnt beable to transfer it to my ipaq for reading on the train?!
And to make things worsts, the microsoft reader version only works on pocketpcs and tabletpcs, which i do have but why cant i look at it on my windows xp pro machine?!

Its no wonder why people are so pissed off about ebooks. I for one will wait till it hits the newsgroups now, on pure principle. Because this takes the living piss… I'm going to scream!

I'm thinking of buying the audio version which is cheaper and then converting it to text later on for reference. Sometimes I wonder about the world we live in today.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.