I think the issue of Digital Rights Management will eventually resolve itself. For now, though, DRM is the main reason I am waiting, and not buying a new dedicated ebook reader, Kindle or otherwise.
The Corante “Copyfight” blog post added good perspective for me.
A traditional book is “mine” from the moment I leave the store from which I purchased it. I think that the sense of property ownership is comfortable. It is more satisfying to have “ownership” than a “non-exclusive license to use” the contents of the book. If the pages of my book could suddenly go blank, I wouldn’t think I owned much since the traditional book, as property, isn’t really its paper and cover.
I actually think that the contents of a book can lead to profit for me. The concepts of a book, even if fiction, improve my scope of thought. It isn’t my ability to resell the content as-is. It is my ability to merge the new ideas into my Vast Fund of General Information (VFOGI). Thanks to my high school teacher, Hugh Semple for the term. Being able to review or completely re-read a book is sometimes important to the process. Yes, I can go to a library or pay for a second copy, but for the most significant of my resources, I don’t want to need to do either. The information needs to be within arm’s reach.
I don’t think that content held in the “cloud” space of the Internet is truly mine, as events in the Kindle fiasco show. Even if I must keep more than one backup copy of a document to avoid technological data failures, I do want to “hold” my electronic copies of resources: ebooks, digital photos, etc.
The blog’s author, Alan Wexelblat, even addresses the issue from an educational perspective. All of us who have taught know it is wise to have a “plan B” for the times a computer presentation doesn’t go well. If we were to depend on textbooks that could disappear like the books in the Kindle fiasco, whole school departments would suddenly need to do a plan B shift. That’s not a pretty thought.