Sony e-book gizmo even more anti-library than Gemstar

David H. Rothman writes “Remember Gemstar? Oh, how e-books could have been a godsend to readers and libraries alike. But Gemstar and predecessors harmed both themselves and the e-book industry as a whole through reliance on an anti-consumer, anti-library business model that made e-books too cumbersome to use. Now, we have Gemstar II–in fact worse–from Sony, of all companies.

Sony’s Librie reportedly has debuted in Japan with a library of just 400 books in the required proprietary format. That’s not all. Your purchase, er, your rental, will vanish in 60 days after you’ve plunked down your $5 or so.

The “moldy list of books,” as one early Librie buyer describes it, includes some public domain titles that normally would be free and yours to keep forever.

Time for public libraries to get serious about e-book formats and say, “No library purchases of Libries, once they reach the States–until they can read common e-book formats, plural, including HTML, ASCII and at least unDRMed PDF. And while you’re at it, Sony, how about endorsing a Universal Consumer Format?”

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