B&N Ebook Reader Lets You Loan A Book Just Once

B&N Ebook Reader Lets You Loan A Book Just Once

One of the big selling points about the Nook, the new ebook reader introduced this week by Barnes & Noble, is that unlike Amazon they’ll let you virtually “loan” your ebook to a friend for up to 14 days (if the publisher allows it). What they don’t tell you–some smart readers over at MobileRead sussed it out–is that you can only do this one time per book. You’d better lend wisely–and your friend had better finish that book within 14 days.

Amazon Answers My Questions, Sort Of, About Kindle Licenses

Amazon Answers My Questions, Sort Of, About Kindle Licenses

Let’s get straight to the bad news: although Amazon did answer my questions, their answers included “we’re working on that,” “I don’t know,” and “I don’t know (but it’s the publishers’ fault).” To be fair to the “Kindle Specialist” I spoke with this morning, he has promised to talk to the Kindle marketing department—why marketing? these are DRM issues!—and get back to me with better answers. Until then, this is what the average consumer can expect from a Kindle ebook license.

Quilt Design Software Runs Out Of Thread Too Soon

Quilt Design Software Runs Out Of Thread Too Soon

Let’s be honest here. There is not very much overlap between the groups of “people who are quite tech-savvy” and “quilters.” (I can say that because I’m a quilter! Put down the rotary cutters!) That’s why reader T. is annoyed that the makers of popular quilt design software Electric Quilt only offer their users four “activations,” or installations on a particular operating system, and has their users scared to upgrade their Windows version or purchase a new computer.

Apple Blames Jailbreaking For Recent AT&T Visual Voicemail Outages

Apple Blames Jailbreaking For Recent AT&T Visual Voicemail Outages

Apple’s not through with their blitz against jailbreaking, with this newly updated support doc that says, among other things, that the recent Visual Voicemail outages from AT&T were caused by—and happened to—hacked iPhones.

B&N Wraps Public Domain Books In DRM To Protect Authors' Copyrights. What?

B&N Wraps Public Domain Books In DRM To Protect Authors' Copyrights. What?

The ebook “war” is a race to the bottom, apparently, with Barnes & Noble trying to out-do Amazon on DRM stupidity. A reader emailed B&N customer service to point out that their “free books” offer consists of 5 public domain titles that are no longer protected under copyright, yet are still locked down with digital rights management (DRM). Their response? “For copyright protection purposes, these files are encrypted and cannot be converted or printed.”

Coldplay Is Giving It Up For Free

Coldplay Is Giving It Up For Free

Coldplay, the band everyone’s little sister and mom loves, has been offering its album LeftRightLeftRightLeft for free since May.

Amazon Tries To Clarify Download Limits For Kindle Books, Doesn't Quite Succeed

Amazon Tries To Clarify Download Limits For Kindle Books, Doesn't Quite Succeed

Dan, the Kindle owner who last week found that some of the books he’d purchased were no longer available to download due to unspecified limitations set by the publisher, spoke to more Amazon reps on Sunday. They clarified the DRM policy. Well, sort of.

Amazon Kindle Books Can Only Be Downloaded A Limited Number Of Times, And No You Cannot Find Out That Limit Before You Hit It

Amazon Kindle Books Can Only Be Downloaded A Limited Number Of Times, And No You Cannot Find Out That Limit Before You Hit It

[The CSR said] that there is always a limit to the number of times you can download a given book. Sometimes, he said, it’s five or six times but at other times it may only be once or twice. And, here’s the kicker folks, once you reach the cap you need to repurchase the book if you want to download it again.

Netflix Can't Decide Whether Puerto Rico Is In The USA

Netflix Can't Decide Whether Puerto Rico Is In The USA

Puerto Rico and other U.S. Territories are in sort of an awkward place. Are they part of America, or not? Sure, they can’t vote in presidential elections, but they are on the back of a quarter. This confusion has led to problems for Netflix users in Puerto Rico. Netflix will provide them with DVDs-by-mail service at the same price as service in the 48 contiguous United States, but considerably slower. However, they won’t let Puerto Rico customers stream movies over the Internet, which would be handy while they wait three or four days for their DVDs to show up.

Amazon Begins Selling Kindle Books With Text To Speech Disabled

Amazon Begins Selling Kindle Books With Text To Speech Disabled

As promised, Amazon has begun to implement the text to speech (TTS) flag that lets authors and their publishers turn off the “read it to me” feature of books on the Kindle. MobileRead members note that Toni Morrison’s A Mercy and Stephen King’s The Stand both have TTS disabled, and it seems to be on an author-by-author basis instead of by publisher or imprint.

Amazon Can Ban You From Your Kindle Account Whenever It Likes

Amazon Can Ban You From Your Kindle Account Whenever It Likes

Amazon recently banned a customer for making what they considered too many returns, and when they did this they also disabled his Kindle account, although the returns were never related to Kindle purchases. So what happens when your Kindle account is taken away? Your Kindle still works, and the books you already bought for it will work, but you can’t download those books ever again (better have made a backup on your PC!), you can’t receive your magazine, blog, or newspaper subscriptions on it anymore, you can’t email documents to Amazon to have them converted and sent to your Kindle, and you can’t buy any new books for the device. That $360 device only works so long as Amazon decides it will work.

Seven Things That Aren't Worth Your Money

Seven Things That Aren't Worth Your Money

Want an extra $1,000? The Wall Street Journal has a list of seven things that you can easily stop buying without making drastic changes to your lifestyle.

Why Apple's New iPod Shuffle Isn't Consumer Friendly

Why Apple's New iPod Shuffle Isn't Consumer Friendly

Update: It turns out the special chips used in the headphone controls of the third generation Shuffle don’t contain any DRM after all, so any attempts at reverse-engineering won’t bring on the wrath of the DMCA.

ITunes Offers To "Upgrade" The Already DRM-Free Songs You Bought From Amazon?

ITunes Offers To "Upgrade" The Already DRM-Free Songs You Bought From Amazon?

Update: Mike writes back to say that after reading the comments below, he checked his purchase history and the album is indeed listed there. What’s confusing is Mike didn’t buy it through iTunes, but through Amazon, but he says that other people did have access to his account and may have purchased it without his knowledge.

Gears Of War Shipped With DRM That Shuts The Game Down After 01/28/09

Gears Of War Shipped With DRM That Shuts The Game Down After 01/28/09

Do you play games for more than 3 years? I do! I still like Super Mario 3, and that’s no lie. Well, if you are like me, you might be concerned about the fact that the PC version of Gears of War shipped with DRM that automatically made the game unplayable after 1/28/09.

"Star Raids" Thrash Product Ratings, Get Company's Attention

"Star Raids" Thrash Product Ratings, Get Company's Attention

Add this to the Consumerist toolbelt: Star Raids. If a company is pissing off a bunch of customers and refuses to change some aspect of their product, some consumers are finding it effective to band together and thrash the product’s rating. An avalanche of “zero” ratings can make a ratings score plummet, and turn away potential customers. The fall-off in sales will definitely grab their attention.

Apple: Give Us Money And We'll Remove DRM From Your Music

Apple: Give Us Money And We'll Remove DRM From Your Music

Apple has dropped DRM from iTunes — and is offering to remove their DRM from music you already bought for the low, low fee of $0.30 per song.

Walmart Decides To Honor DRM-Protected MP3 Purchases After All, At Least For Now

Walmart Decides To Honor DRM-Protected MP3 Purchases After All, At Least For Now

Last month, Walmart announced it was shutting down the DRM side of its online music store, and too bad if you were a customer, because they were also going to turn off the DRM server that authorized your music for playback. Apparently enough customers complained, because they came to their senses—at least for the time being—and decided to keep the server running. Read their email below.