Really leaving B&N now


In a way, I'm sorry to contribute to the slow decline of the brick-and-morter book store, but mainly I'm furious at Barnes & Noble, and I'm going to stop patronizing them.  The entire reason is DRM.

When B&N first started putting DRM into books, it was tedious but easy to circumvent.  Because, as we all know, DRM is fundamentally flawed, stupid, and poorly implemented by idiots who should be embarrassed to call themselves programmers.  So I limped along because I like the Nook hardware and the integration with the book store.  Recently, though, I had an experience with some books that made using the books more painful, and it became more frustrating and less of a convenience.

Here's a chat transcript with the B&N rep:

You are now connected with Janus from
Janus: [20:01:48 EST] Thank you for contacting Barnes & Noble Digital Chat. My name is Janus.
Janus: [20:01:51 EST] Hi, Sean! 
Janus: [20:01:58 EST] How can I help you this evening? 
Sean: I'm having trouble with three ebooks I bought recently.
Sean: Basically, I can't get past the DRM.
Janus: [20:04:51 EST] Are you unable to download the eBooks onto your NOOK?
Sean: Nope
Sean: That worked flawlessly.
Sean: Didn't have to do anything. They just showed up.
Janus: [20:05:54 EST] As I understand your concern, the eBook is not showing up in the library of your NOOK. Is that correct?
Sean: That is not correct. The book is showing up in the nook.
Sean: I can't open it. It asks me for the name and credit card information before it'll open the book though, and it is refusing to accept the credit card information with which I bought the book.
Janus: [20:07:36 EST] I see. I understand your concern. I apologize for the inconvenience. Let me help you with that.
Janus: [20:07:43 EST] What kind of NOOK device are you using and is it connected to Wi-Fi? 
Sean: Yes, it is connected to wifi, and it is a nook glow ... I just bought the damned thing a couple of months ago.
Sean: was looking for a version number, and it just locked up on me
Sean: BNRV500, v1.3.1
Janus: [20:10:43 EST] Your NOOK is a NOOK GlowLight. 
Janus: [20:10:56 EST] We are going to sync your NOOK to your Bn account. 
Sean: Yes
Janus: [20:11:01 EST] Please go to the library of your NOOK, and then tap the icon that looks like two arrows forming a circle, that is the sync button.
Sean: ok, I pressed it a couple of times.
Janus: [20:12:28 EST] Okay. Please try to open the eBook again. 
Sean: They're working now.
Sean: Do they only work when wifi is on?
Janus: [20:13:52 EST] Marvelous! 
Janus: [20:14:26 EST] Yes, Sean. They should also work evern if the Wi-Fi is off, as long as the eBook is already download onto your NOOK. .
Sean: Ok, so what did I do wrong the first time?
Sean: Why were they locked?
Janus: [20:15:51 EST] All eBooks are DRM protected, the eBooks asked for your credit card for verification only. 
Janus: [20:16:12 EST] There's nothing to worry about, Sean. 
Janus: [20:16:15 EST] Is there anything else I can help you with?
Sean: "All B&N ebooks are DRM protected." Not all ebooks are DRM protected.
Sean: Yes, you can pass this bit of information up to your superiors: the B&N DRM has become more pain than it is worth, and I resent the entire concept. I won't be buying from B&N any more -- these are the last books I'll purchase from B&N until they remove DRM.
Sean: I'll either buy from companies that don't have DRM, or I'll go back to buying paperbacks that I can share and give away.
Janus: [20:18:20 EST] I will take not of that, Sean. We appreciate your feedback. 
Sean: Thanks.
The chat session has timed out and is now closed.
Here's where I'm at: I fundamentally disagree with DRM.  I bought the book, and it's mine.  DRM restricts what I can do with my property; it is morally wrong, and I believe it is legally wrong, and I hereby claim that I will contribute substantial sums of money to any class-action lawsuit that takes down and, preferably punishes financially, organizations that are forcing DRM in their products today.
But here's what you're losing today, B&N: a long standing, repeat, customer who until recently was an advocate for your company.  I've owned three nooks, choosing them over Kindles and other offerings, and I've bought not a small number of books from you.  All this goes away today.  I will give you not one cent more, and I will take every opportunity to tell my story and warn potential customers away from you.
If you track NPS, your DRM policy just caused a negative impact.  You've made an enemy, and I now hope you go out of business.

Copyright © Sean Elliott Russell

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