Penguin Pointlessly Annoys Readers With USB-Only eBooks
from the screw-you,-customers dept
Reader Jason Alcock alerts us to another example of a company taking a backwards approach to value-added services by putting artificial restrictions on their content. Apparently, while ebooks from the popular publisher Penguin are available to borrow from Kindle libraries, Penguin requires that they only be transferrable by USB, not wireless. This, in turn, means that they cannot be read with the free Kindle apps on platforms like iOS and Android, since USB transfer is only supported on the Kindle device itself.
I'm at a loss as to what this is supposed to accomplish. Kindle books are DRM-controlled regardless of how they are transmitted, so it has no impact on the potential for piracy. Presumably Penguin thinks this will spur more readers to buy rather than borrow, but in reality it has just created consumer confusion and angry backlash.
Of course, this isn't the first time a publisher has tried to place arbitrary restrictions on ebook lending. It's an especially frustrating trend, because the entire concept of "lending" ebooks is already one big artificial restriction. When will content companies learn that courting customers is about adding value, not taking it away?