Artificial truth

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The more you see, the less you believe.

I won't buy ebooks anymore
Fri 08 May 2020 — download

Today, an acquaintance of mine asked me if I was in possession of a particular e-book, and if yes, if she could borrow it from my (virtual) library. Unfortunately, I didn't have the desired piece of work, so I crawled the internet, and asked my friends if they had it, but alas, it was nowhere to be found, albeit everyone involved really wanted to read it.

So I bought it. For the first time in my life, I bought an ebook, because it's 2020, so why not. I bought it on, one of the biggest retail chain selling cultural and electronic goods in France, for the low price of 7 euros. The advertised format was epub, an open standard, useable on a large number of supports. But surprise-surprise, to get the file, I needed either a specific kind of tablet (that I of course do not posses), or to use Adobe Digital Editions: a Windows/OSX only spyware. Of course, it's written somewhere if you clic enough on the fnac's website that the book comes with DRM, but it's not in plain sight.

So to be able to import it in my calibre library. I had to:

  • download the file in a proprietary format
  • start a windows virtual machine
  • install Adobe's crapware
  • accept its borderline illegal EULA
  • navigate through a ton of security alerts because Windows doesn't like what Adobe's shitware is doing, at all.
  • import the book in it
  • install a shady software from a Chinese website
  • remove the DRM from the ebook
  • import the result in calibre

Compared to downloading it from the Z library where the steps are literally "download the epub, put it in calibre".

This is ridiculous. I guess I'm used to not deal with this kind of bullshit because of, no starch press,, librivox, … who don't wrap the things they are selling in a thick layer of crap. Having DRM on books is a fucking dystopia nightmare that shouldn't even be a thing and I hope that the EU will pass laws to nuke them from orbit.