Thoughts about ereaders and epiracy

I’ve been thinking for a while about buying an ereader, and I’ve decided that it makes sense if I:

  1. Mostly read old, out-of-print books – say the kind available through Gutenberg. Not as crazy as it sounds – I want to read a lot of Shakespeare, Chekhov, Homer, etc.
  2. Actually read them, rather than saying I’m going to read them, but never getting round to it.

However, if I want to read more modern books, then I’m forced to buy them at store prices. And then, I can’t give them to charity, lend them to friends, or resell on eBay. It’s the same argument with paying for MP3s, or buying CD albums.

And then along comes Mininova, Pirate Bay, Rapidshare, etc. Here we have a vast repository of books which should, in theory, work on my prospective ereader. Even this week’s Economist is available.

Why do publishers – be it of films, magazines, books, music, games – not get the piracy thing? Are they just squeezing every penny from their business models, without considering their future business models? Or are they right to think that those who are honest/stupid [your call] enough to pay full prices can subsidise the more selfish/tech-savvy users?

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