Wednesday, 7 March 2012

A Textbook Example of Frustration

My university classes have begun for semester one and thus the subject of textbooks has come up. One of my subjects has no recommended textbook, they will provide readings for us to do, the others however do have books they recommend we have.

Ideally I would rather purchase digital versions of these textbooks. I have a kindle on me pretty much any time I am out, even if I don't I have my phone which also runs the kindle app, not to mention a tablet and a desktop. So a kindle version of a textbook is available to me any time keeping track of notes I make and any highlighting I have done. The same availability would apply to a digital version without DRM or available from another company that had similarly invested application platforms.

However, when the textbook in question, Integrated Business Processes with ERP Systems, is available from Amazon, but only if you are in the US. While you can lie to amazon in order to purchase it even then, due to an unusual variant of the kindle format, Print Replica, it is only compatible with the Mac, PC and iPad kindle clients, my tablet is not an iPad these days.

The other option according to the Uni provided link is a company called CourseSmart, they have the digital version of the textbook available from their site for a similar price, they even also have android and iOS apps... which are unavailable in Australia. Looking at the FAQ they have I am no longer sure they actually would sell me the textbook if I tried. I am leery of buying from them as I have never previously heard of them and in any case if it is only available on my desktop at home then it is not a good enough plan.

Still it is amazingly frustrating to know that there are perfectly adequate solutions out there that are stupidly locked off because the companies capable of providing them will not do so to my region, my device (why can't the android kindle client show these print replica textbooks when running on a tablet?) or even just won't put in the effort to put out a textbook in a more standard ebook format.

As a result I am going to end up getting a textbook that will cost me twice as much and is far less likely to get nearly as much use as it could.


  1. It's at this point where I start stealing things. Although I don't suppose there's a thriving piracy community for a product like "Integrated Business Processes with ERP Systems".

  2. Actually when I searched for the book and download, a few pirate sites do show up. So clearly it has a large enough circulation for that.

    Found that it is available from a third source, VitalSource. They even have a (public beta) android app.

    Unfortunately that client does not seem to want to download the two free books I grabbed to test it out. =/