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Blog

Piracy is Still the Easiest Way

Dakotah

Much has already been said about the MPAA's 'answer' to movie piracy in UltaViolet. It shouldn't be surprising that the most draconian and stodgy organization in the world came up with such a laughable supposed solution to internet piracy.

But what about the most famous quasi-piracy organization: the public library?

I have been aware of ebooks being available through libraries for some time but always wondered how that worked. Well, as I'll now show, it doesn't…

I wanted to read Daily Rituals: How Great Artists Work and was excited to see it available in my library as both a physical and digital book.

Don't be fooled by the download button.

Don't be fooled by the download button.

Disappointingly, clicking the Download button does not actually download the book right then and there. It takes you to what is clearly a vendor's web application called OverDrive pretending to look like the library's website.

And yes, I did have to login to my library account a second time.

But whatever, I'll just download the ebook and be on my way.

Nope.

They have wait lists for ebooks. Which aren't physical copies. Which are more or less infinite.

Notice it says "hold" and not "download".

Notice it says "hold" and not "download".

Okay then, I'll just put myself on an artificial wait list to reserve a copy of a digital file.

After a couple weeks, I was allowed the privilege of downloading one of one apparent available copies of this digital file and was presented with an option for Kindle or Adobe EPUB version. Not knowing which was the lesser of evils, I chose the EPUB version first since if that did not work I'd try the Kindle version.

What downloaded was an .acsm file, not an .epub that I was expecting. No matter, I'll just download the Kindle version instead.

Nope.

I'm now locked into the version I've chosen and have to do an internet search for what an .acsm file is and how I use it.

It turns out that it is some DRM meta data file that allows me the privilege of downloading a copy of the book from some server. It must be opened with a typically horrible Adobe product called Adobe Digital Editions where I am presented with another daunting unknown.

What? How in the hell am I supposed to choose? It's not even alphabetized1

What? How in the hell am I supposed to choose? It's not even alphabetized1

So shall I wait another month to be put on the waiting list again? (Once the download is available to you it is not available for borrowing to anyone else for several weeks and there is no way to release it once you have it.)

Shall I just go get the physical copy?

No, I remember a library, of sorts, that has much more consumer-friendly policies: The Pirate Bay. Click and done.

Borrow it or steal it. What's the difference?