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. identicon
    Lobar Wilder, 5 Jan 2010 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Re: Explanation of X-Tax

    OK - I can't take TAM's inane parsing anymore. I guess I have to feed the troll a little in order to bring him into the light so we can all see how puny his intellect is:

    "All you are doing is making my point for me."
    - No, she was not. Obviously, I must expound lest you mistake the point (again): She was explaining that as the language morphs over time, and definitions loosen, the concept of referring to indirect, unanticipated, or hidden "costs" as 'taxes' has become an accepted trope in our lexicon. Your claim that she is making your point, when she is in fact not doing so, is an attempt to engage in mock adversarial tones, and is (again) an attempt to steer the debate. Fail.

    "The people using those terms are attempting to create a VERY negative image of a situation."
    - So what? You ascribe implied intention when Mike's choice of topic is plainly advocating critical thinking. I pay my (IRS) taxes, but I still don't enjoy it. To me, they (the IRS) is/are negative, and I seldom speak favorably of the IRS even though I have a good friend who works there.

    "...very negative towards Microsoft...."
    OMFG!! TAM, I too am aghast that anyone would do such a thing. How dare they! Where's my gun?

    "...again are attempting to create negative images by using a nasty word "tax"..."
    Am I detecting a redundant theme here? Previous to those words I was afraid that TAM's grasp of the obvious was in doubt.

    "Following the logic of this article, example, we would have an Xbox360 tax, ... and so on. Any system that has it's own format or tools is, by this standard, a tax regime..."
    - TAM, as this meme evolves, and as users incur mounting product-specific after-purchase costs, is indeed the very case Mike was highlighting with reference to owning a Kindle. That other platforms incur their own after-purchase "costs" (time, money, etc. Don't make me go economist on your ass...) does not nullify or obviate his point. [Though I (obviously) would have chosen a better word than "regime".]

    Thank you Mike for all of your work.
    Bi / Jedidiah / Anti-troll - I concur.
    A. Coward - I love your manifold sarcasm. Brevity is the soul of wit sayeth Polonius.
    Tyanna - heed Irish as I will now do & no longer feed this troll.
    Though I must admit I enjoyed the obloquy.

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