Despite Awful Customer Service, Woman Felt Forced To Buy Another Sony eBook Reader... Thanks To DRM

from the drm-lock-in dept

We were just discussing the DRM tax on a Kindle, which is the "price" of having to rebuy any ebooks you want to keep later on if you decide to switch to another platform. Some of the commenters on that post scoffed at the idea, and insisted that "in the future" this wouldn't be an issue, because most likely there would be ways to take your ebooks with you to other readers. Of course, that's little comfort to people today. Reader Mark sends in this story of how Sony initially refused to fix a Sony eBook Reader that only broke because of an update that Sony pushed the woman to install (oddly, they required her to send them the reader). So, effectively, Sony contacts her, tells her to send in her working eBook Reader, then they send it back and it's broken. And they refuse to fix it because it's out of warranty. Nice.

But here's the kicker. After all of this, she went out and bought another Sony ebook reader. She noted that she would have gladly purchased a competing product "but would have lost access to the library she's spent hundreds of dollars building up." And there it is. The DRM tax at work creating serious lock-in and consumer problems. At least in this case, due to the publicity from Consumerist, Sony agreed to reimburse the woman, but you shouldn't have to get a major publication to tell your story first to get that kind of resolution.

Filed Under: drm, ebooks, ereaders
Companies: sony

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  1. icon
    The Anti-Mike (profile), 4 Jan 2010 @ 10:00pm

    Re: Explanation of X-Tax

    All you are doing is making my point for me.

    The people using those terms are attempting to create a VERY negative image of a situation.

    The "microsoft tax" that you reference on wikipedia is cited from two blogs, and the postings seem very negative towards Microsoft. Could they just be trying to create a negative image?

    The other items you cite again are attempting to create negative images by using a nasty word "tax". In the case of the poverty tax, they are doing what is often the case in the US these days, attempting to blame others rather than addressing the underlying issues.

    In all cases, the term "tax" is used to create a negative image of a situation.

    Following the logic of this article, example, we would have an Xbox360 tax, a PSP tax, a Wii Tax, a VHS tax, a Beta Tax, a Bluray tax, and so on. Any system that has it's own format or tools is, by this standard, a tax regime. This is not the case.

    We are in very early days of the ebook world. Just like the days of beta and vhs, we are still dealing with competing formats and systems, different processes, and various companies and groups attempting to find a balance between the desires of the consumers, the desires of the producers, and the rights of each. To stand today and damn any system that attempts to do this as a tax is a failure, similar to damning your 6 year old because his calculus sucks.

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