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A Book on a Stick

File under: Useless Devices.

Numley, a “Web 2.0 copyright and DRM (digital rights management) corporation”, has created a BookFob, a USB stick that contains eBooks and the software to read them. The idea is that you could carry around a digital library and plug it into any windows-based PC to read your books. And, in accordance with their DRM roots, the eBooks are protected from copying, printing and distribution.

Is this a good idea? Methinks someone was asleep at the money-making machine. I think MobileRead says it best:

That’s exactly what we’ve craved for ages: crippled e-books that can expire, are not printable and have the copy and paste feature disabled – provided that you are using Microsoft Windows, because otherwise the reader won’t work at all. And if this isn’t enough to make fresh milk sour, check out their BookFob Library, where you can buy excellent public domain books such as Around the World in 80 Days, assuming that the “buy it now” link would actually work.

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

6 Comments on A Book on a Stick

  1. Baen Books. The only place for eBooks. And for free books, try Project Gutbenberg, Memoware and many other places.

    I predict the Sony book reader will be DOA.


  2. And what has come out recently on


    Funny you should ask “24 Views of Mt. Fuji” by Roger Zelazny. “I, Robot” by Isaac Asimov. “A Scanner Darkly” by Philip K. Dick. Plus a whole pile of H. Beam Piper stories. And new versions of classics by Wells and many others.

    All free.


    Yes. I said free. Free of DRM. Free of cost. Free.


  3. A Scanner Darkly? Yeah…skip it.

  4. Well, John, some of us liked the book! And what’s not to like about FREE?


  5. Touche. I bet you liked Bladerunner, too. 😉

  6. Bladerunner? Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep or the movie? Liked the book first time through, the second time, eh. The movie, oddly enough, I did like as a good action/adventure movie with lots of nifty SkiiiFiii eye-candy. Not the earth-shaking, movie-to-end-all-movies that some polls suggest, but I like it well enough to be willing to buy the “definitive” version when it hits the shelves.


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