Tom Leo 's Blog

DRM alternatives to kindle

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I'm always eager to find DRM alternatives to kindle books. It feels especially good when I can purchase an epub or pdf directly from an author.

There are also reasonably good options for self-publishing out there like gum road.

I enjoy the kindle experience

I currently enjoy the kindle experience. I especially love the ability to toggle between narration and reading.

But at any point Amazon could change their product, reduce the platforms that support the kindle app, or even disable reading my own purchases on older devices.

When you buy a book from kindle, Amazon has the power at any time to change or restrict the reading experience of books I bought.

It's for that reason I opt for DRM free alternatives whenever possible.

Books-a-million Misleading Customers

I recently bought a book that was available from either kindle store or booksamillion.com. I opted for Books-a-million because the offered the digital book in an epub format.

I was excited to see a online store with a large offering of epub format books!

Upon downloading the epub file I discovered what actually downloaded was a file named URLLink.acsm. So I reached out to support thinking there was a bug on the site.

It turns out books-a-million doesn't sell epub books, but books only compatible with Adobe Digital Editions. Adobe Digital Editions is essentially a much shittier version of Kindle with a 1-star review on the apple store.

Don't buy from books-a-million

Bottom line is, the company is misleading about epub books. They do not sell DRM-free epub books. They sell books locked into Adobe Digital Editions software, which is a far worse experience than kindle.

Bottom line

Books-a-million offers something worse, and they misleads customers by claiming the format is epub.

If you want customers to opt for you over kindle, you must offer something better.

If a website wants to sell non-DRM'd books, I'll always opt for that over kindle. But if websites want to sell DRM'd books, locking you into an ecosystem worse than Kindle, then of course I'm going to opt for the kindle version or a physical book.