What can I do with an e-book, once I've bought it?
Read this short discussion of rights and wrongs: what you can do with the e-book file you downloaded or bought on a CD-ROM, and what you agree not to do.
An e-book is a little bit different from a physical book. You can install it on your computer at work, or your computer at home, or both. (We assume you're only reading one copy at a time. If this is not the case, tell us how and why. Wait, never mind; we don't want to know.) You can make an archival copy for backup, in case your hard disk fries. You can get a replacement copy from our website, at no charge, if you lose your backup copy. You can print out a copy, if you want to.
Once you've read the book, you can lend it or you can give it away or sell it to a friend. But if you give it away or sell it, you have to delete it from your computer(s), and you have to include any printed copy you made with the digital version. You can't keep the printed book if you don't keep the digital one! Likewise, you can't keep the digital copy if you give away the printout. You can't have your cake and eat it, too. [Insert your own bad pun here.]
Plan on keeping the book. There's a lot going on in it. Consider reading it more than once; you'll find new things the second time around.
Don't mail a copy to each of your friends. Just because you got it on the web, that doesn't mean it's free, and it doesn't mean it isn't copyrighted. Instead, tell your friends to come over to our website and read the free chapters we've posted here. Then, if they like it, they can do what you did, and buy a copy.
One more thing, that should be obvious to everyone; but for some people apparently it isn't. You can't take a character or characters from a book and use them in your own work. Sure, you can imagine their adventures; but you can't write a new story about them and sell it or publish it or put it up on your website. The author created them; she's the one who gets to write about them. You could steal these characters, but it would be wrong. Create some characters of your own, and send them off to a publisher or publish them yourself. I say it should be obvious that it's wrong to do this, but buy me a beer at the next conference and I'll tell you anecdotes that will curdle your hair. Some people just don't get it.
The authors spent months and years writing these books, and they deserve to be paid for their efforts. Hey, the publisher deserves something, too. Give us a break.
Places you can go on the Hidden Knowledge websites:
Buyers' Rights info page updated 31 May 2005