Kindles, books and appliance style software licensing
By Jean-Pierre Dijcks-Oracle on Jun 29, 2009
Luckily I did have some spare time at ODTUG last week, got all settled for some reading only to realize I’d forgotten to bring the book I'm reading.
I do like my books on paper and I like to own them. Yes, call me old fashioned – hey I read the newspaper on paper and even have it thrown on my drive way early in the morning – but I really like holding that nice hardcover book, reading about anything and everything.
Sitting there in Monterey without a book made me think. That Kindle idea is not so bad after all. No hardcover to hold and put in my bookcase, but I could have slipped it in my laptop bag and never noticed it was there until I felt the need to read...
Then I started thinking, well how do I get my books onto that thing… With an iPod I can load the CDs into iTunes et voila reusing my license. Darn it, the Kindle is like iTunes for LPs (ok, yes I know, that is old stuff – remember the round black vinyl disks with grooves). I can’t get my 200 books onto the darn thing. Ok, now I’m miffed. Amazon knows that I own at least 30% of these books as they sold them to me in the first place. So any chance for credits on those books?
Then it dawned on me that this is all very similar to software licensing by Netezza, Teradata and other appliance vendors. I buy the box and the software (e.g. I have a book case with lots of books) and now I need a new box (e.g. my nice cool Kindle). Tada, here comes the bill..., because I get to buy my books – eh, sorry my software all over again. So I pay the same guys over and over for the same stuff just because I outgrew my original hardware platform.
Bottom line, I still may buy that Kindle, but I would think twice before buying into the Appliance software licensing model...
PS. I'm kind of short changing Amazon here. I actually like the Kindle! If I could just get my books onto it... and oh Amazon is just a retailer of course, so I actually think the publisher should be the one crediting me for ebooks - as long as I can prove I already own the book.
PS2. I think software should always be licensed perpetually. This whole "throw box away - throw software away" concept is a true hidden cost.