I’ve written before about the flawed state-of-the-art that exists with eBook readers. It all relates to business model and DRM.
Though today, I think I may change my tune, maybe just modify it a bit - thanks to iTunes (believe it or not).
iTunes has a fairly popular yet not so well publicised feature called Home Sharing, which enables you to share the content of your iTunes library with up to 5 other computers on your home network, providing they also have an iTunes account. This is great for movies, music and applications, but not so for eBooks.
Currently, most software and hardware based eBook readers tie a single eBook purchase to a particular online bookstore or hardware device via your credit card and user id. Yes, you can download the various vendors’ apps to read your library of purchases on a single device, but this is not efficient and each software eReader works differently.
But, if the next eBook you buy comes from Apple, perhaps as with music, movies and apps, your ebook could be shared in your own household amongst your own computers and devices. Well then, an eBook would begin to act very similarly to the way an ink and paper book acts; I can read it OR share it with other members of my household.
Of course, this is just my wishful thinking, as I’ve not been able to find anything to support this on Apple’s site or elsewhere on the Interwebs.
But, if this scenario was possible, I’d be more willing to switch my eBook buying from the other vendors to Apple, simply because then, to me, the eBook is a book. Not some digital entertainment content unit that I’m only ‘renting’ based on my acceptance of the Terms of Service agreement and many international copyright and intellectual property laws.
By making the media act more like a traditional physical object, I more readily understand how to buy it, use it, and share it. I’m comfortable with it, and willing to spend money on it. Yes I’m old and this is the digital age, but so are many others We tend to ‘think different’.
But as I’ve said, I’ve not seen anything to support this scenario yet, so this could all be just wishful thinking. Considering the broken state of eBooks currently, this is an opportunity, and I’d be surprised if Apple, with it’s existing infrastructure, doesn’t jump in to corner this market as they did with music. Time will tell.