DRM can be good thing
One of my most prized possessions is my bookshelf. It takes up an entire wall and is as much a self-portrait as any painting I could muster. I love lending books to friends, and quite often lose track of them, never to be seen again. I could do as some do and put my name on the inside cover, but don't always have the presence of mind to do so.
Anyhow, DRM has the potential not only to benefit the rights of the publisher but also the rights of the consumer. What if I could buy a cheap eBook with DRM locked down that prevents me lending it to others. Now, what if I could buy a slightly more expensive version that allows me to lend it to others. Going on from that, what if I could charge people for borrowing my books? Amazon surely has the potential to organise such a marketplace and, by charging a percentage, profit from it.
Public Libraries could negotiate special deals with publishers or resellers such as Amazon to pay not for the book but for the number of times it's borrowed. No more having to shell out for books that nobody borrows.
Whilst eBooks would surely be most efficiently distributed online, there will still be a need for public libraries to provide ICT equipment (such as the eBook readers themselves) and to instead become centres of local learning and knowledge.
And even when this utopia arrives, I will retain my bookshelf because there is something about a bookshelf that I will always like. I was more than happy to get rid of my shelf of CDs and VHS, but the shelf of well-thumbed Lonely Planet guides filled with photos and postcards of places we've visited are a rich reminder of travels past. The various signed copies (including a very special copy of Bear Grylls' Facing Up which includes an extra hand-written note noting the time he met my wife on Everest) and the OS maps that have worn thin through being folded and re-folded on various expeditions over the years are all irreplaceable and whilst I can access digital versions of all of them, the dead-tree versions contain sentiment that cannot be replaced.
Bring on DRM! Long live the paper book!