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# 77604 18-Feb-2011 14:47
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With Whitcoulls under administration does anyone know what happens with books purchased through their Kobo / Whitcoulls store?

They're already not allowing purchases of ebooks with gift cards on their website (in store apparently they're demanding customers spend twice the value of their voucher / gift card).

With their proprietary Kobo software checking books on and off your device(s) what happens when that site goes under?  Do I lose my bookshelf?  The site at kobo.com seems completely unrelated and doesn't recognise my Whitcoulls account or books I have purchased.

If you haven't noticed already, the books it sticks on your devices are buried in an sqllite file and probably encrypted or at least entangled in DRM constraints.  Can they revoke the license they've issued for me to read books I have legitimately purchased?  Will this license be revoked as soon as the store closes?  Is this akin to breaking into my house and removing real books I've purchased from their store?

Going digital is looking shakey...


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  # 441229 18-Feb-2011 15:07
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Good question.
Hopefully another company will come in and take over the ereader side of things?

Whitcoulls hasn't gone under yet, they'll probably just close a whole lot of stores and consolidate and come out of it at the other end (hopefully anyway).

Making me happier with choosing to get a Kindle instead though (sorry!) - although it is probably the Kindle and online book stores that have hurt Whitcoulls.

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  # 441278 18-Feb-2011 17:25
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I have contacted the PR person for Kobo regarding this and let's see what we can find out.





 
 
 
 


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  # 441282 18-Feb-2011 17:39
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Whitcoulls wouldn't take my gift card at all, no exceptions, when I went in to the local store this afternoon.
I was prepared to spend twice the value but they weren't doing that either. :(

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  # 441297 18-Feb-2011 19:29
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CYaBro: Whitcoulls wouldn't take my gift card at all, no exceptions, when I went in to the local store this afternoon.

I was prepared to spend twice the value but they weren't doing that either. :(


 
 

The store you went to have given you incorrect information, so I would go back and ask to speak to their manager. Their website actually states the following.

 

In store: Whitcoulls gift cards are not currently available for purchase in store. As a goodwill gesture while the company works through the voluntary administration process, customers may redeem gift cards in store, provided they spend at least twice the face value of the card (i.e. to redeem a gift card with a face value of $25, the customer must make a total purchase of $50 or more).

 

 

 

Glad I spent mine, and I never buy vouchers for people due to this sort of problem.

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  # 441303 18-Feb-2011 19:57
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I wouldn't worry too much. Borders/Whitcoulls will tidy up a little cut some costs and continue to trade.

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  # 441360 18-Feb-2011 22:54
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networkn: I wouldn't worry too much. Borders/Whitcoulls will tidy up a little cut some costs and continue to trade.


That could be a very simplistic view of the whole situation. There is/are no guarantees that existing gift voucher holders will always be able to redeem vouchers in the future, particularly if it's a different company.

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  # 441364 18-Feb-2011 22:59
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Not really but if people are worried they can redeem the vouchers now.

 
 
 
 


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  # 441418 19-Feb-2011 08:54
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networkn: I wouldn't worry too much. Borders/Whitcoulls will tidy up a little cut some costs and continue to trade.


Depends on how much debt that the current owners have loaded onto these companies.  I heard on TV that these equity companies are like investment vultures.  They buy companies and load them up with debt so that they can buy more companies.  Eventually it all comes unstuck and they go bankrupt bring down the who chain..




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  # 441423 19-Feb-2011 08:59
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I haven't received a reply from Kobo yet. Note that I had to contact their US PR agency, seeing there's no PR contact for Australia/New Zealand.

I'm not hopeful of getting a response...

 






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  # 441431 19-Feb-2011 09:16
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freitasm: I haven't received a reply from Kobo yet. Note that I had to contact their US PR agency, seeing there's no PR contact for Australia/New Zealand.

I'm not hopeful of getting a response...

 


Thanks for trying though.

The "agreement" for Kobo as found online indicates "all digital content are the exclusive property of the publisher or its licensors" which makes it clear they are the owners, not me.

Also "To the extent you are permitted by your obligations to such provider of digital content, Kobo grants you the non-exclusive right [edited] to view, use and display such Digital Content an unlimited number of times."

That's the bit I don't think they can revoke.  But hey, I'm no lawyer  Foot in mouth



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  # 441908 21-Feb-2011 12:58
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While things are so uncertain, I would take the precaution of going to your library and downloading a version of each book to your PC where you can. Most of them should have this option. That way, if the Whitcoulls bookshop ever goes down you will at least have a copy.

Once you have them, there are some potentially naughty things you can do to remove the DRM. Mr Google can help you with that.

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  # 441996 21-Feb-2011 16:58
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I saw Kobo as one of the e-readers available for the Borders online store but given that Borders in the US is in Chapter 11, that's not reassuring!

The question is, did Whitcoulls have their own infrastructure or were they just re-selling Kobo's? If the latter then it probably is lower risk. The Whitcoulls web site seems to suggest that they had entered into a partnership with Kobo and that Whitcoulls didn't have their own infrastructure.




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  # 442001 21-Feb-2011 17:07
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I think these Kobos and anything else that you purchase with DRM built in, should be overseen by a central run system, that is independent of the company. This would then prevent problems when the company runs into financial problems. Therefore I think DRM should not be permitted unless a central system is running. It is really the problem with any cloud based system that requires the user to login online to get full features of something that is purchased. I am surprised that Consumer aren't onto the potential problems with DRM that arise in these types of situation.

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  # 442002 21-Feb-2011 17:09
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lchiu7: I saw Kobo as one of the e-readers available for the Borders online store but given that Borders in the US is in Chapter 11, that's not reassuring!


The question is, did Whitcoulls have their own infrastructure or were they just re-selling Kobo's? If the latter then it probably is lower risk. The Whitcoulls web site seems to suggest that they had entered into a partnership with Kobo and that Whitcoulls didn't have their own infrastructure.


 

When the kindle is cheaper and has far more features including wifi, I wouldn't have thought they would have sold too many. When I went into the store to look at them , the sales people were actually pushing the sony ones, due to them having touch screens and have more features.

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  # 442011 21-Feb-2011 17:31
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I personally looked at the Kobo and felt the rubber pad of low quality. The Amazon Kindle, with 3G and WiFi is far superior in terms of mobility.





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