Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

This Book Will Self-Destruct In 10 Hours

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the and-then-there-were-none dept.

The Almighty Buck 437

extrarice writes: "See here The "rent-a-book" concept is here. Pay a buck, and you're allowed to read for a cumulative total of 10 hours. After that, the text is inaccessible (unless you somehow access the content you purchased...)"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

The book I want (-1)

Cmdr (Fuck You) Taco (469621) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167664)

is a book about this [] .

Re:The book I want (-1)

evil_spork (444038) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167676)

Two in a row.. not bad at all..

Re:The book I want (-1)

Cmdr (Fuck You) Taco (469621) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167686)

I am king.

adult entertainment (-1)

helstar (172465) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167665)

i can only envision the uses for porn.

So PPV (3, Insightful)

BiggestPOS (139071) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167666)

Instead of Pay-Per-View, you get to read the book for as pecific period of time. You didn't purchase the content, you purchased permission to view it for a certain period of time. Just because you rented it, doesn't mean you can KEEP it. People bypassing this and basically being dishonest will keep a semi-cool idea like this from really taking off because the publishers and authors, who have bills to pay, can't get the money they should be.

How long until human memory == piracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2167766)

Mmmmmmmmm..... copyrighted thoughts..... *droooooooool*

Re:How long until human memory == piracy? (1)

BiggestPOS (139071) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167816)

Your memory != something that is copyrighted. You have basically paraphrased the work, which IS legal. Even someone with a supposedly Photographic memory still isn't copying the particular exact layout of the original text.

Re:So PPV (4, Insightful)

hank (294) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167780)

Am I correct in saying that you can record PPV events you payed for to VHS for personal use to view again in your home for free? Or is that illegal too.

Re:So PPV (1)

Dimensio (311070) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167804)

Actually, the local cable company where I lived used to advertise their PPV service in a campaign to inform viewers that they did in fact have the right to make VHS copies of the content they purchased via PPV.

digital != analog (2, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167832)

Making a VHS (or any other format) copy of analog video introduces noise, so you cannot make an unlimited number of generations. But if you make a copy of a digital book, the copy is absolutely identical to the original, so a single copy can be quickly reproduced for literally every single person in the world.

Re:So PPV (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2167805)

This is idiotic. Compare this to my local library, where I can go and get the very same book, for a similarly limited time (except that it's 3 weeks or so, instead of 10 hours, but that's beside the point), and then I have to return it.

So what's the value added here? OK, so it's in digital form. Maybe they have some nice layout/font/presentation going on, but that's about it.

Since a few Agatha Christie titles are available here [] at Project Gutenberg [] , I assume her works have passed into the public domain by now. So aside from the fact that they actually entered this particular text into a file (by OCR or some other way), edited out the typos introduced in the process, and formatted it, what's the point?!?

Rent-a-fuck (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2167669)

I have a better idea: pay a woman a certain amount and you can have sexual intercourse with her. I thik I will patent this concept!

Re:Rent-a-fuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2167680)

its "sexaual relations" you dumb fuck, where have you been the past decade?

"Relations" are for free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2167711)

But you must pay for intercourse (TM).

Re:Rent-a-fuck (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2167850)

I wish to use her beyond the terms of the agreement. I've created some equipment in my basement that would allow me to keep her for longer than the alloted time. I would not have paid for her 24/7 services, so you aren't losing business anyway. Supplies of human females are essentially infinite and it doesn't cost anything to create another one, so it's not "theft", it's just "copulating".

I hope you understand.

hmmm (2, Funny)

*xpenguin* (306001) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167684)

looks like another thing dmitry sklyarov needs to hack.

Re:hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2167842)

This *is* the technology that he hacked. Their Ebook security is already broken; this is just a new application of that tech.

What a deal! (5, Funny)

Blue Neon Head (45388) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167685)

Why pay $5 for a convenient, low-tech copy that may be read by you and others at will when you can pay $1 for every 10 hours of reading on a headache-inducing CRT?

Yep, sign me up.

Re:What a deal! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2167721)

That's nothing - it says that if you don't like the time trial version, you can pay $5 for a full electronic version.


$5 for 300 sheets of paper, printed cut and bound, then warehoused, distributed, and conveniently available for me to pick up in town is *very* good value.

$5 for a download of the exact same thing is not.

It should be 20c for 10 hours and $1 for the whole thing, that is the genuine "eCommerce enabling technology" - pricing that reflects the vastly lower overheads involved in digital publishing.

It depends on your priorities (3, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167790)

If you like the feel of a book, the handling, the better resolution, etc, get the paper version.

But paper is bulky. My standard ruler is the King James Bible, about 1000 pages, 5 megabytes. One CD-ROM is equivalent to some 130 Bibles, about 5 meters of bookshelf.

I still get almost all of my casual reading in paper form, but, for reference works, digital is definitely superior.

Re:It depends on your priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2167806)

That depends if you're the type of person who casually reads reference works.

Re:It depends on your priorities (2)

loraksus (171574) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167818)

and a 4.5lb ebook (big damn electronic tablets that are about 1.5x the size of a regular paper back) isn't?
Or a laptop?
The thing about books is that you can carry them pretty much anywhere, don't need batteries, etc...

Re:It depends on your priorities (2)

mangu (126918) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167894)

I carry my notebook computer (which is closer to 2 lbs in weight) anywhere I go to work, anyway.

So I compare a CD-ROM, 1/50th the size and weight of a paperback, to 200 paperbacks for the same information capacity. And my notebook, quite dated by now at 2 1/2 years old, has a 6.4 gigabyte disk.

Which is more portable, a 2 lb computer or 2000 paperbacks?

(Of course, a hundred years from now those 2000 books will still be readable, while the computer will be nothing but pollution in a landfill...)

Re:What a deal! (1)

Negadecimal (78403) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167747)

I've actually read several classics from Project Gutenberg on my Sony Clie... it takes a few moments to get used to constant scrolling, but ends up being pretty convenient and surprisingly easy on the eyes.

Re:What a deal! (1)

R3 (15929) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167854)

"Extended Warranty? How can I lose?!"
Homer Simpson (HOMR 12:9)

hmmm (1, Interesting)

Johnny5000 (451029) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167687)

So would it be illegal to write a program that, within the 10 hours, zips through the text, doing screen caps, or some other related thing, and saving it to your hard drive, so you can read it later?

I'm sure there's a more sophisticated way to get around this, but that took me all of about 2 seconds to come up with a way to defeat this.

Keep trying, copyright whores.


Re:hmmm (1)

the_other_one (178565) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167785)

In the US you would be arrested and thrown in jail for violation of the DMCA

Outside the US you would probably have no problem other than a mild guilty feeling.

Personally I would never buy a timed ebook in the first place. So I wouldn't have to worry about this. I would much rather pay more money to have a permanent copy that I can keep a backup copy of and also view on any viewer device that I own.

What if.... (1)

Arctic Fox (105204) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167688)

...if I scanned the book page by page and then used OCR to put it into a text file....

Is 10 hours enough time to do it?

Re:What if.... (1)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167846)

Probably not....
OCR is far from you'd have to do a lot of manual correction....

Hmmm... (2, Funny)

InigoMontoya(tm) (463228) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167693)

Gives me a good excuse not to lug so many books to class...

"I would have brought my book, Professor, but it expired last night."


Good argument.... (3, Insightful)

DESADE (104626) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167694)

for learning to speed read. I like this model personally. I might not want to subscribe to for a year, but I might pay a buck to have ulimited access for a day if I ran across some content that was really compelling.

I doubt this will work very well for ebooks though. The average consumer is too used to owning (books, CD's, DVD's, tapes, etc.). It will take a real shift in consumer habits to pull this off successfully and I think we've already seen how resisitant people are (DIVX DVD's for example).

Or... (2)

spellcheckur (253528) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167695)

You can go to the public library. Library cards are free, and you get books for a couple of weeks. Overdue fees in my area are a ghastly ten cents a week... maximum of $0.50.

Re:Or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2167708)

Sounds like price gouging! The bastards!

Wait. (2)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167762)

Although a cursory attempt to find a URL that goes into depth about the subject failed, I believe that publishers and other "content providers" are looking at ways to combat this very "leak" in the protection of their intellectual property and their ability to profit off of it.

When Bradbury wrote Fahrenheity 451, he seemed to think that it would be a tyrannical state that would suprise libraries and other unapproved channels of information. Who would have thought that it would be the publishing sector that instituted as many controls as they could, at the expense of a public institution (the library?)

Re:Or... (1)

Lunastorm (471804) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167763)

That requires you going outside and I don't think many Slashdotters are up for that. Besides, it's not on a computer screen so what's the point of reading it?

Don't make me laugh (2, Interesting)

Maskirovka (255712) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167702)

This'll be cracked in less than a month. Besides, who (consumer) wants to read a book off their computer screen? Hell, you don't even need to get a crack for it. All you have to do is take a screen shot every every page, and print them. Or am I totally and completely wrong again...?


Re:Don't make me laugh (5, Interesting)

Wraithlyn (133796) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167891)

A month? Are you kidding? Try a day or two. Hell, I could crack it right NOW with some sort of jerry rigged automated screen capture and OCR scheme. (Uh oh, I just violated the DMCA by saying that. Good thing I don't live in the States or they'd throw me in a cell with Dimitry)

When will content publishers realize that security/encryption isn't worth a damn when the end party is NOT TRUSTED. Guess what? If I can read/view/hear it on my computer, there is a way of capturing it, and re-releasing it with no protection. This simple fact will never change. And yet the industries will waste countless millions of dollars trying to invent secure delivery/viewer systems, which is a complete fool's crusade.

The only answer is to add enough value, that consumers are willing to pay the money to avoid the hassle. What these guys are doing is ADDING MORE hassle, and no real added value.

Discriminatory (1)

Swaffs (470184) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167704)

This is discriminatory against those who read slowly. I mean, why should they have to pay more?

Re:Discriminatory (1)

DrPayOut (309970) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167756)

That's the way the world works. I mean, gee I put 1 buck to play Daytona, if I'm crap I get to play less.. isn't that discriminating against the uncoordinated?

more money (1)

hydee (451518) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167709)

This is just another way for them to get you to spend more money. It might be a buck and it might be 10 hours but if I am going to go through all the trouble of downloading an ebook I would like to take as much time as I like to read it.

Brilliant (2)

zpengo (99887) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167714)

It's just like a library, but you get to pay, and you won't be burdened by actually getting a physical object for your money.

But you didn't purchase (4, Insightful)

HerrGlock (141750) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167716)

You rented the use of the book for a cumlative total of 10 hours of reading time.

If you want to BUY a book, do so. If you want to borrow a book, go to the library or get a buddy's book.

If you agree to the terms laid out in the agreement, is that really a problem? Now, if there were no other options around, or the book renters decided to destroy all other ways of reading, that would be a baaaaaaadddd thing, but since other ways already exist and people are already used to owning books (or borrowing) this will be a big hoohaa about nothing.

Ignore it and it'll go away.


STOP! (1)

soulsteal (104635) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167717)

It's really a trick!

By reading these eBooks, you're breaking the law via DMCA by cracking the double ROT-13, plaintext triple encoded. And you'll be doing it for up to 10 hours per work published in said format.

Be afraid, be very afraid....

Jump Start? (1)

CathodeJack (412098) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167719)

From the article:
technology that could revolutionize the publishing industry and help jump-start the nascent eBook market

Are they kidding? Is anyone going to pay for this? (Potential Poll Question!)

Some how I think it should say "jump on" instead of "jump start". Or possibly "stomp on".

Usually, I expect stuff like this to pop up only after a market hase been thoroughly established and monopolized. Definately not while it's still looking for a customer base.

Definitely not targeted at parents. (1)

dryguy (103495) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167725)

I can't remember the last time I had ten free hours in a row for anything.

Thomas Jefferson (2)

SupahVee (146778) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167728)

would roll over in his grave if one of these things showed up in his library. You can only read it until the company says you are done, then you gotta pay more to read some more.

What happens if you want to go back and read a part back at the beginning of the book? I've read "And Then There Were None" at least 15 times, and it's a very good mystery, which obligates you to go back and re-read certain parts from time to time. This is why I don't buy anything but real, honest-to-goodness BOOKS. I can take them in my backpack whereever I want, read them whereever I want, and I don't have to get on my knees for some greedy publisher just to enjoy a good story.

Re:Thomas Jefferson (2, Insightful)

JohnG (93975) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167773)

Tomas Jefferson would just be smart enough to BUY the book as opposed to RENTING it. Problem solved. I don't see where this is a big deal, until they completely stop SELLING books and go exclusively to RENTING them, what is the problem?
You are given a choice, some people might not want to read the book all ten times, why should those people have to pay as much for 10 hours of use as you do for a lifetime of use?

Rights? (5, Insightful)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167731)

Although there wasn't anything in the article about it, I sincerely doubt that the license will say that you've 'purchased' the content; you're just allowed to look at it for 10 hours. Exactly why do people get all riled up about this, and yet I haven't yet seen a big story yet about "Blockbuster video intends to make you return that movie after 2 days!" The only difference is that you get the convenience of not having to leave home, and have better control over your use of the product -- when you want to use it, what you want to read it on, etc.

Also, if you look near the bottom, it says that you can buy it (and presumably own it as much as you own any print book.) for $4.99. So your precious rights aren't being abused. Unless, of course, your "rights" include getting the product for 1/5 of the price it's being sold for. If that's true, I've been wasting an awful lot of my money...

Re:Rights? (2, Insightful)

Leven Valera (127099) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167752)

Blockbuster won't have you arrested for returning the book late.

Blockbuster won't have you arrested for making a copy of certain scenes of a movie for fair use.

Re:Rights? (2)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167789)

For those who have been under a rock for the last few years, the MPAA isn't exactly dead-set against the DMCA either. Just because (illegal and unethical) use of bad laws is possible doesn't make make it a certainty.

Re:Rights? (1)

bananapeel17 (311593) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167890)

Exactly why do people get all riled up about this...
Haven't you heard? The sky is falling!!!! The Sky is falling!!!!

nothing wrong with this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2167732)

seems to me just an alternative method of delivering content. instead of buying, you rent. sorta like with dvds.

i hope slashdot is not now against people trying another legitimate way to make money in this capitalist society. god forbid!!

*laughs* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2167733)

gee whiz.. i just wrote a crack for the software in 10 minutes. ;)

but seriously.. all this ammounts to is another example of corporate greed. used to be that you could buy a book and keep in on your shelf for all eternity. hell, you could give it to your kids if you wanted to and let them read it! now, in the face of online publishing and and an overwhelming sea of free information, paper publishers are scrambling for a new toehold.

if this ever takes off i predict that i'll follow div-x pretty much directly.

What about speed readers? (1)

Dante333 (25148) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167737)

Can they pay $0.10 and read the book in an hour? Or slow readers? What happens when they get to the last chapter and there ebook reader craps out on them?

Reminds me of circuit citys divx (2, Insightful)

Cheetah86 (136854) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167741)

The original divx(the purchasing system from circuit city, not the video codec) had a similar system. After you bought it, it had a way of not being usable after two days. I'm not sure if it was via the dvd player(logging a id number of the video on the player) or some kind of timestamp on the actual media. Of course, with this book technology you can renew it by paying more, a divx was a one use media. (It never found a market because a special player bought at circuit city was required)

I have an idea... (1)

disneyfan1313 (138976) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167744)

Select All Text Copy Open Word Paste Wow. I can now read a whole book in 10 hours. Wheeee!

Div for books (4, Interesting)

Brian Kendig (1959) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167745)

This sounds a lot like the ill-fated Divx DVD format of two years ago. With Divx, you could buy a DVD and 'unlock' it for any 48-hour period for a few dollars.

Divx failed because it just wasn't convenient enough for the price ($100 more for a compatible DVD player, and you still had to go to a store for the discs), but this rent-a-book concept doesn't suffer the same problem if the books can simply be downloaded.

It'll be interesting to see what happens. If the rent-a-book concept succeeds, that means that renting bits (CD's? software?) might catch on again; if it fails, then don't expect to see anything else become rentable on your computer in the next few years.

Crack me for less money! (1)

beowulf_26 (512332) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167746)

<fiction&gt 10/1/2001 In a last ditch effort after filing for bankruptcy, throws support into the lawsuit against russian hacker Dmitri Sklyarov.
In a press release, they stated that loss of funds was due to the "marketing strategy" that blew up in their faces, enabling eBook users to copy the rented text for only a fraction of the price of the traditional eBook version.</fiction>

Hmmmm... (1)

The Paradox (470614) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167748)

I don't know what people find so outrageous about this.

I mean, it's just like renting a movie, right?

Except the content is stored on your own computer...and except people read at different speeds...and except you might want to go back someday and reread...

Hmm. Maybe it isn't just like watching a movie after all. ::gasps at the stunning revelation::

"Use different passwords for each system. Change once a month. Do not write anything down." "Squeal like a pig!"

More crappy slashdot editors (1)

trenton (53581) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167753)

Somehow figure out how to read the content that I "purchased"? Hmmm. Does that mean that I should go back to the Hertz lot, find the car that I rented, then "somehow" find a way to drive it for a few more days?

Sounds like a movie theater... (1)

ajuda (124386) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167757)

I do not like this at all. The people who support it can point to movie theaters as examples of a success using this type of business practice though. When you see a movie, you are paying to spend a certain amount of time watching a screen. The same thing is going on here... only the books publishers don't have to pay for a theater, since you are reading the book at home.

Why the fuck (2)

loraksus (171574) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167758)

Would you want to "rent" this book (Agatha Christie's classic mystery "And Then There Were None") for a dollar when you can buy the book for about the same on or a local used book store.
I could, maybe, perhaps, possibly be interested if it was a new book, but not a fifty year old classic (1939).

I have no idea what the RosettaBooks execs are smoking, but it seems to be the same stuff as the guys who make the ebook (you've seen them at staples, office depot, etc.)- a 4 pound lcd screen with a back light (its only reedeeming feature) that sells for nearly $300.

Wake up you morons. Nobody is going to buy (or rent) your (word seems to fit perfectly here) shit.
Who wants to take bets on how long before they hit fuckedcompany? We'll start a betting pool and everything!

Re:Why the fuck (2)

malkavian (9512) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167809)

I go for books every time.. I flat out refuse to buy an e-Book, 'cos it's not convenient.. I can't use it to unwind when I loaf on the sofa or the bed.. I can't take it hiking, or on trips..
If you're running the betting, my money's on about 14 months (that's about the time it takes the average expanding startup to run out of venture capital, downsize a couple of times, and slowly have the last few dollars walk away in pens to sign the cheques for the last of the bills they owe...).
No doubt they'll get some purchases, maybe enough in royalties to keep a small staff going, but, I wouldn't bet on any sizable company from this idea..


Re:Why the fuck (1)

CFN (114345) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167893)

I could, maybe, perhaps, possibly be interested if it was a new book, but not a fifty year old classic

But the real problems would begin if it were a new book.
Old books can be found in stores, sidewalk sales, flea markets, and there will (those from Alexandria excluded) always be some way to obtain them.
But if new books were published only in this manner, they could dissapear when the publisher failed, or data formats changed, etc.
Similarly, in the DeCSS decision, Judge Kaplan claimed that the public's rights would not be lost, because those videos would be always be available in other (i.e. VHS) formats. Try to buy the latest Metallica 8-Track lately?

when are people going to learn? (0, Flamebait)

IAmTheGodYouHate (444084) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167759)

When are people going to learn that "renting" files that expire isn't going to work for one simple reason: 90% of the people on here (maybe that's optimistic, of course I'm not counting the trolls) could crack the encryption. Hell, I'm one of them. If we have the data on our hard drives, we'll find a way to access it. Don't tell me they're going to use ROT13 to "encrypt" it are they ;-)

Re:when are people going to learn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2167792)

90% is very optimistic. I'd say the figure is nearer 0.9%.

Speed readers delight.. (2)

malkavian (9512) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167764)

I know a lot of people out there speed read.. I can pull a good speed on a book if I want to..
I wonder how long until people all get that skill, and can read the whole thing inside the 10 hr limit?
Then, to all intents and purposes, those who pay the buck get the full book for that buck, instead of the five or so that it'd normally cost..
Bye bye lots of profit..
And what happens then? Companies make you pay $1 for an hour's reading?
If, as it seems, the 10 hours is to allow a feel for the book to see if you want to spend the price of a book to purchase a 'permanent license' (i.e. you have the book in all but physical terms), then reducing to one hour won't let the non-speed readers get a look in..
Oh, what a tangled web they do weave...


Re:Speed readers delight.. (1)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167866)

...unless it's a 1000 page fantasy epic, 10 hours should be plenty of time to read an average 200 - 300 page book....

Good idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2167772)

This sounds like a great idea! It really is too bad, though, that there aren't institutions where one can go to "check out" books for days at a time at no charge.

To Borrow: $0 To Rent $1 To Buy: $2 (2)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167777)

Searching on, I found several paperbacks for $2... Of course these are likely to be reading copies, but remember folks, an ebook has no collectible value.

OMG!!! (5, Funny)

3-State Bit (225583) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167779)

Watch this gem:
Arthur Klebanoff, CEO of RosettaBooks, said, "We are delighted to take our marketing relationship with Adobe and our distribution services relationship with Reciprocal to the next level. RosettaBooks prides itself on being ePublishing leader for quality content, innovative marketing, and critically-acclaimed titles. This first of its kind offering of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None is
just the beginning of a brave new world of literature and technology."

Good God, I hope the man was joking, and not just Freudian Slipping us an advance warning.... link1 [] Link2 [] .

Re:OMG!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2167795)

p.s. (I literally fell off my chair when I read that.)
p.p.s. And considering he's CEO of RosettaBooks, it's not like we can assume the man was illiterate and unaware of the reference....

Dyslexia (2)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167781)

How long before the first lawsuit from a dyslexic who regards themselves as discriminated against?

In UK examinations, dyslexics are allowed [I believe] an additional 25% more time to compensate for their disabilities as, it's not that they can't read, they just can't do it as fast. The existing music method works because you either can or can not listen to music, it is not speed/ability based. With varying reading speeds, especially with disabilities, surely they're asking for trouble?

Then again, one of the arguments for decrypting Adobe's e-book format was to make it comply with Russian law that would allow blind people to use text-to-speach and look where that got Dimitri.

Even worse... (1)

HeschelsGyrus (121302) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167783)

At my university, we have access to a bunch of technical-type books via a service called They let you "check out" a book for 2 hours (during which time nobody else has access to the book), then the book expires and you have to re-check it out to continue reading it. What's more, you can't copy more than 1k characters to the clipboard, and can't print out more than a couple of pages at a time. The real problem is that we can't get books through interlibrary loan if they're available on netlibrary, so we're stuck with reading off the screen for 2 hour blocks. Has anyone figured out a way around these absurd restrictions?

One Word (2)

oGMo (379) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167788)

One Word: DivX. People will simply not stand for such a thing, especially if it offers no added benefits (lots of high-demand content only available in this format is what it takes). I think everyone has been used to media they own indefinitely with (at least perceived) unlimited access that anything that infringes on these givens won't be accepted without major incentive. Incentive I don't think can be accomplished (but never say never, right?). It's sickening to see ("consumers will be able to enjoy [..] for a full 10 hours", "Adobe applauds RosettaBooks"), but who will buy it? Especially for a buck, when you can get a "real live" paperback for $5-6 more. And if it's not the same book, there are thousands of other books worth reading.

For instance, DVDs are accepted because most people don't run into region coding problems, and those that do can pretty easily overcome them (although people might wake up if Joe Sixpack starts getting prosecuted). DivX's weren't, because the restrictions crossed the line.

Another example might be Pay-Per-View TV. I'm not sure how popular this is, but my guess is that going to the store and renting something that can be viewed multiple times and at the leisure of the viewer is still more popular. (I don't think this is exactly an analogous situation, but enough mportant elements are there to make it potentially interesting).

I'm not worried about this. It'll probably die the same death a thousand other Really Stupid Ideas have. If anything, I'd be worried that this will stigmatize books in a digital format even further.

What a Good Idea (1)

BlenderHead-2001 (512595) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167793)

Just think of all those books locked up in public libraries right now. If I could 'rent' one of those for a week and not have to pay anything beside's my membership fee's to the library I'd be a happy man. Yup, logging on to Oxford's site in England and borrowing some of their books would be very nice. As far as I see it this could let public libraries comply with copyright laws while extending themselves onto the internet.

And the market for this junk is...? (2)

Platinum Dragon (34829) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167796)

RosettaBooks(orwhateveritis) offers an Agatha Christie novel at $1 per 10 hours of reading time on a computer of some sort.

The copy of 1984 on my shelf cost a bit over $8, and provides me with unlimited reading time, not to mention portability, no need for a battery or external power sources, and I can store it damn near anywhere. Best part is, no one can take away my right to read the book; I've paid for it, it's my copy, I can read it or resell it as I wish.

Really, who's going to pay $1 per reading session - because you just know there will be people who can't/won't finish the book in one sitting - when you can buy the book or read it at a library and take all the time you want...without needing a computer? I had a serious lesson in getting along without the magic glowing box after it decided to suicide during a room rearrangement two weeks ago. Got it running, but not for four days. Guess what? I lived.

Back to the topic - the problem facing Rosetta's model here is the same problem that contributed to the death of the Divx movies-on-disc format. Instead of the illusion of outright owning the content you purchase, being able to use it at your leisure, you're stuck into a time-limited PPV model. Rather difficult to use if you have bad credit, no credit, you have less time available per day than is necessary to read the e-book in timely fashion, and anything else I forgot. I highly, highly doubt this type of e-book will become anywhere near common, despite what some publishers are probably desperately hoping for (much like some studios hoped for with Divx).

Well... (1)

Jaeger (2722) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167798)

It doesn't actually sound terribly bad. You have the option of buying the "full", untimed version, for $5, or paying $1 for the ten-hour version. (What would be useful is the ability to upgrade from the timed version to the full version for $4, if you decided you liked the book and wanted to buy it for real.)

Since this was a press release, instead of a real article, no discussion was made into the protection scheme, how and where the books may be read, or anything along those lines. (Odds are this paragraph is in violation of the DMCA.) I can envision that the system could either get cumbersome fast, or be unprotectable. If the reader requires an Internet connection so that it can contact the server and deduct time from your account, it seems to defeat the entire purpose of an ebook: portability in a handheld. I'm not really into reading long documents on my CRT, especially since it's absurdly unportable, but my Visor is a pretty decent platform for reading in class or in bed or on the couch or wherever. If the timing mechanism were built into the file itself, what's to keep me from backing it up before I started reading and restoring from backup when the time expires?

While this seems worth furthur examination, I don't think this really fits into "Your Rights Online".

Who wants to bet... (2)

Omerna (241397) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167799)

That any book they have is available free within the first 10 hours? The way I see it the only thing stopping me from copying the whole thing is the honor system, and we already saw how well that worked when a book was placed online.

For this to really work we would need... (1)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167800)

a.) a server which issues digitally signed timestamps (so people don't spoof the clock)
b.) a dedicated secure hardware to view the book with (so people don't do screen capture etc.)
c.) about 600,000 morons who will pay for our
special reader device (so we don't go broke).
d.) The Digital Millenium Copyright Enforcement Death Squads (so people don't film off the screen or copy to paper by hand).

Yay for Marketeers! (1)

standards (461431) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167801)

The publishing industry sees the Internet NOT as a means to sell more works, but instead as a means to sell the same works to the same customers at higher prices.

Publishers want to take everyone's money - the kid who goes to the library to read the book, and the student at the university, and the professor who is teaching the class, and the casual reader... and charge them all. Fair use be damned.

Instead, publishers should look at the Internet as an opportunity to capture more readers - not to merely resell to existing readers. But clearly it is easier to develop a business plan which strikes in the face of their customers (want to read? Read quick! You've got 10 hours!), instead of futhering the long-term relationship between themselves and their customers.

Show me a kid who'll pay $1 to read on-line. I'll show you 100 kids who'll go to the library and learn to love to read - and will become long term customers.

I'm taking bets on how long it will be before... (1)

Mtgman (195502) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167808)

speed reading is outlawed. Think about it, buy ten hours worth of reading, finish it in two hours, loan it to a friend who is also a speed reader, they finish in two hours, repeat. Five people who read the book for the price of one! That's four cases of piracy! Four lost sales! This travesty cannot be allowed.

Seriously though, this is still dumb. It will continue to take the goods away from the people who paid good money for them. I would doubt the legality of these lisencing schemes.


Doesn't that defeat the purpose of having a book? (2)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167810)

I've read an e-book or two (I downloaded a couple of volumes from the Gutenburg project to my Palm), but I must say...there is something satisfying about paper. About holding a book in your hands. About owning a book.

Most of the books I own are not dated "travel guides" or "How to program C in SunOS 3". They're either timeless references such as the Dragon Book, or great fiction such as the works of Asimov and Zelazny. And the joy of owning these books is not just from the one time I read them. These books have depth and purpose, and I keep coming back to them so that I can read them again and see what I missed, or just to see the story from an older pair of eyes.

Most of them hold up very well.

Ray Bradbury has, in one of the earlier prefaces to "Fahrenheit 451," a wonderful description of his love for books. How you can shout at a book and throw it on the ground, or the smell of the paper and ink, or the feel of the pages in your hand. The experience of reading a book should not be a race against the clock! I enjoyed the fact that I could just slowly sink into "Necronomicon," page by page, so that I could really enjoy the work.

Having said that, I see the market for this kind of beast. The readers of Clive Cussler and Terry Brooks and Danielle Steele, the ones who go through pulp garbage like popcorn, can make use of this. I don't pick up the pulp after I've read it to enjoy it again...the second time through, I can see the banality of the mass-produced work.

But if it's Stephen King, I want to let him paint his mental pictures before me, and that takes time. I can't feel rushed, you know? If it's Neal Stephenson, if it's Frank Herbert, if it's someone with the tiniest shred of talent...well, come on then...let me read the damned thing.

If you take away ownership of the pages, it's just not a book any more. It's not part of information. It's no longer a meme. It's just throwaway disposable garbage. And it's great for that sort of thing...but let me keep the treasures!

Re:Doesn't that defeat the purpose of having a boo (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167829)

Hey, don't dis Clive Cussler ;)

Re:Doesn't that defeat the purpose of having a boo (1)

gol64738 (225528) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167907)

but I must say...there is something satisfying about paper. About holding a book in your hands. About owning a book.

damn right, and what about the smell? am i the only one who stops reading every half hour or so and takes a deep whiff of the binding? mmmmmmm..

agatha christie is good (1)

gladysmalone (513104) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167811)

hello this is gladys malone. fletcher another person at the retirement center wants to use the computer now but he walked away and he is very forgetful so i will probably be able to talk for a while.

i like agatha christie so this is a good idea because younger people can read her my favorite was dumb witness about an rich old lady who get murdered and only her dog sees it. they should put that one on the computers too.

i have never read a book on a computer's tv screen before it hurts my back if i am here too long and i don't even know where to go to find them maybe sean could help me but sometimes he's so finicky about helping me find things new like this nice place to talk to people. last week he put me on something called a ford bronco discussion forum but i didn't understand what they were talking about there. i don't understand these mechanics that's why i always use the full service pump because it's hard to fool with those things and they are to confusing now that they don't use the dial anymore. oh fletcher is back i guess he didn't forget goodbye your friend gladys malone

Hey! (1)

Beowulf_Boy (239340) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167843)

I have a great idea!
Lets go to the library!
Its free!!

"And then there were none" (2)

Ryu2 (89645) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167853)

What an ironically perfect title -- because it describes perfectly what will happen to your content after the time limit!!!

Already done. (1)

TroyFoley (238708) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167856)

It's too bad the writers of The Simpsons never patented their notion of a coin-operated bible next to a coin-operated vibrating bed in hotel rooms.

Damn (1)

SnapperHead (178050) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167864)

Normally, I would post something like 'I wonder how long it will be until someone hacks this'. Welp, its already happened. I wonder how there business will do once they relize how poor the encryption is.

Just like the printing press? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2167865)

This is much like a pilot program for California Library e-books. Under that program, a library member logs onto the library's web site, downloads the e-book into a reader, and it's deleted automatically after a given number of days.

Naturally, some companies used to selling paper books are angry. Insead of allowing libraries like this one to use unlimited copies of an e-book, they want to sell organizations the right to loan a certain number of e-books at any one time. That system is by-product of traditional licesnsing models; the customer pays one fee per copy of the product. This allows the e-book publisher to claim more cash in the short run, but it seems counter-productive for a long-term invoice flow.

Since e-books have quickly been sold as so much more than a pretty .txt file, there's a great opportunity for publishing houses to expand the usefulness (and paying market) of e-books. Instead of being limited to a reader's on-board data storage, make e-books wireless. There's a host of technologies that could accomodate this... you could even send an e-book over as a compressed e-mail attachment.

The idea is to move away from printed media's limitations, but also to build a community. If you get enough e-book fans online trading their favorite tomes, they'll have reason to put up with the nonsense of a new media and greedy publishers. When a significant community forms, then you really have an installed base. Those users won't just jump ship when the boat starts to rock.

That's nothing? (3, Insightful)

G-funk (22712) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167867)

You know blockbuster, where you go to get those cheap videos? Well those evil corporate bastards have made it so you can only watch it overnight, or for a few days, and then you have to take it back! TAKE IT BACK FERCHRISSAKE!!!! Not only that, but now thanks to the ADMC it's illegal to make my own copy for personal use for free whenever I want. Man, they must have bribed a few senators to get that one through! We must rally against it, this corporate mastery! It must be a scheme to keep the little guy, the grass-roots video publishers out of business- CONSPIRACY!

What the hell am I on about?

where is this going? (1)

gol64738 (225528) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167868)

i'm getting so sick and tired of our fair use rights going in the toilet every five minutes!
the only other time-release program for books i know of is the local library, and that doesn't cost money and the measurement is days, not hours.
i don't understand how i can continue being a technologist when, with each passing day and after reading stupid news stories like this one, i want to move into the British Columbia wilderness and shoot my own food to survive....

You're NOT BUYING! You're RENTING! (2, Informative)

mmol_6453 (231450) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167874)

Pronunciation: 'bI
to acquire possession, ownership, or rights to the use or services of by payment especially of money

a usually fixed periodical return made by a tenant or occupant of property to the owner for the possession and use thereof; especially : an agreed sum paid at fixed intervals by a tenant to the landlord b : the amount paid by a hirer of personal property to the owner for the use thereof.

There's a difference. See if you can't figure out what it is.

Re:You're NOT BUYING! You're RENTING! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2167909)

Fuck off, troll


It's Brilliant!!! (2, Insightful)

humblecoder (472099) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167879)

This is exactly eBooks need in order for their popularity to take off.

Forget the fact that you have to pay hundreds of dollars for a reader before you get any content....

Forget the fact that reading this stuff gives you a headache....

Forget the fact it's a pain in the neck to flip between pages....

Forget the fact that there's so few books available in eBook format....

Forget the fact that the competing "technology"(paper books) is superior....

We'll just restrict people's use of the content, charge them more, and boom, it will take off like a rocket!

Excuse me while I go out and buy some stock in this outfit...

Technical Support (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2167885)

T.S.: Technical Support, how may we help you?

You: Yeah, I'd like to rent that book again for another 10 hours, since I'm working on a project and missed a couple points in the book.

T.S.: Sir, I hope you have a content useage license for that book...

You: Wassat?

T.S.: Sir, you do realize that the 10 hour license strictly forbids you to implement any information you obtained through our book, or keep archived versions in your brain.

You: Um, whatever. I just want to finish my project. Can I rent the book?

T.S.: I'm sorry but you are making it hard for me to ignore your blatant violation of copyright law! A project based on our book would be considered a dirivative of our product, and the license agreement strictly forbids you to create dirivatives from our work!

You: Well, then, what if I make exactly what is mentioned in the book?

T.S.: That would be possible if you purchase an annual useage license. Would you like to include our automatic upgrade option?

You: Oh, no thanks. The design in your books should be just fine until I buy a new computer in a few years.

T.S.: SIR! If you do not purchase upgrades annually, you must destroy your project at the end of the license cycle! If you insist on violating our copyrights, we will need to call the FBI on you!


sleeping those 10 hours (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167906)

I can't begin to count those mornings where I have woken up with the lights on and my head resting on a book that I was reading. I sure hope those hours sleeping doesn't count. They should rather pay me,,,,or I'll sue them..... :-)

Hacked/Cracked (2, Interesting)

TwistedTR (443315) | more than 13 years ago | (#2167911)

While it would be nice to be able to get decent books at far lower then market price (average paperback going for over 6.99 nowdays). But come on, does anyone really think that the format will not be hacked/cracked within hours of it being released? Everything anyone has ever tried for something like this has been gotten around. Look at DeCSS for example, or the countless Serial # systems that software makers produce to try to prevent someone from cracking it the day it comes out. It's a good theory, but can it be done correctly?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?