What is DRM-Protected Media, and Why You Should Care


E-readers have become commonplace, and most bookworms have a Kindle or Nook that they carry around with them. Most of your ebooks have DRM protection, something that most people don’t think about much. What does it mean for your ebooks that they are DRM-protected? Why should you care about it at all?

Recently, Microsoft has been in the news for getting rid of all of their ebooks, which means that anyone who purchased or downloaded those ebooks will no longer have access to them.

Think about all of the books you have downloaded to your Kindle – and then imagine turning it on one day and finding your cloud empty of books. Terrifying, right?

While that is an unlikely scenario, it theoretically could happen.

When you purchase digital content, such as ebooks or movies, you don’t actually own that content. What you purchased is a license to use that digital media, and that license could be revoked by the company who owns it.

Since I received my Amazon Kindle as a gift nearly five or six years ago (I can’t remember for sure), I’ve purchased nearly 500 ebooks, most of them when they were on sale through Amazon Daily Kindle Deals. The thought of losing those upsets me, but fortunately, for a company like Amazon, I’m not overly concerned about it.

Learning about DRM-protected media, however, has changed the way I use digital media. How? First of all, when it comes to books I either already know I love or strongly suspect that I’ll love and will want to read over and over again, I save my money and purchase the physical copy. That way I know the copy I own is truly mine and I won’t have to worry about Amazon losing the license for it.

Nowadays, I only purchase ebooks when they’re ridiculously cheap and they’re books that I don’t care if I own a physical copy. I also try to get free ebooks when I can, such as through Overdrive/Hoopla, Amazon Prime Reads or Unlimited, or through Netgalley. I definitely don’t spend as much money as I used to on ebooks for fear that one day they could disappear from my device.

I still love ebooks, and make frequent use of Amazon’s Kindle ebook deals, but it’s good to understand what DRM protected media means for you. Don’t stop enjoying your ebooks, just know what could theoretically happen, just in case.

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