When we purchase something especially in these somewhat forced frugal days, many of us, if not all, are seeking value for money, right? Well clearly not because the “must have the next gadget craze on my credit card debt” seems to be gathering strength.  Millions of people are purchasing e-readers the overwhelming majority of which use proprietary operating systems.

What does proprietary mean mum? It means that the device you purchased will only display items that it’s creator has decided you can read. Usually only the stuff it pedals in its online retail store. In other words proprietary actually means the ability to exercise control over you and what you can read. Remember Microsoft getting into trouble over this type of thing with its browser software? They are all up to it, but the authorities only go after the big boys. Hang on aren’t Amazon, Google and Apple the big boys?

Anyway back to the theme of this blog and the concept of value for money. When you purchase a real book you get a real product. You can see it, feel it, smell it and amazingly read it, without anyone else’s permission. How cool is that? Is that not value for money? Plus with a real physical book, being a real genuine product you can give it away, sell it on eBay, give it to your local library or even create your own library. Interior designers love libraries. I love libraries.

Now let’s look at the so called eBook. Is an eBook an electronic version of a physical book. Well that’s what the purveyors of this product would like you to believe,but no it’s not. An eBook is not even a book it’s a computer software program with a viewable readable element embedded inside.  eBooks are treated as software by all in the very restrictive unfair trading chain. You don’t buy an eBook you pay for a single license which gives you permission to view the readable contents of the software program. What did you expect for 99c?

So now you have permission to read the contents of a computer file on your expensive e-reader or even more expensive tablet. Trying to read a computer file masquerading as a book on a smart-phone just doesn’t work by the way. I know I tried. What do you do after you’ve read it. You can’t pass it on, sell it, install it in your own library or donate it to a public library. Nope all you can do is store it on your expensive reading device and what’s the point of that?

So what’s your idea of value for money? A physical product that you own and can do with as you please as long as it’s legal or paying for permission to read what somebody else wants you to?

The choice is yours of course,but when the power goes down and the Chinese withhold the required chemicals needed to manufacture electronic gadgets you need to read computer files, the physical book in shops and libraries near you will still be there and in my opinion biased as I am as an  author of real books, I believe the physical product in my hand offers far greater value for money than paying somebody for a license code and their permission.

You don’t need my permission to read my books or on how to dispose of them when you’ve finished reading.

In my humble opinion eBooks are being falsely marketed. I can legally trade in printed physical real books, but I am not permitted to trade in eBooks because of the license agreements between author, eBook publisher, eBook distributor and eBook retailer. In most cases this is all done within just one company. Where I come from this is called unfair trading practice and a monopoly.

Note to self: Why did me and my mates serve during the cold war guarding and protecting against Soviet style tactics entering our lifestyle only to have then enter through the back door called mergers and acquisitions?

I have written about the Soviet Industrial system and today’s big boys look awfully similar not just in image, but in attitude and action. Comrade online retail.