Photography Technology

Rent not to own

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I have used Photoshop for years. I tried to use GIMP and UFRaw, and these are wonderful tools, but I’m comfortable with Photoshop. I like Photoshop.

Unfortunately, when I recycled my last Apple computer, I also lost my last copy of Photoshop. It was an older version, but still had what I needed. I looked at buying a few new version of Photoshop for my Windows 7 laptop, but the price of a new copy of Photoshop is beyond my means. And I don’t steal software, that’s not my thing.

Fortuitously for me, Adobe came out with a new way of acquiring Photoshop: instead of buying the application, rent it instead.

For a fixed monthly cost, you can rent a copy of Photoshop (or other high end Adobe product). How much the cost is, is dependent for how long you rent it. If you rent the application month-to-month, the cost is higher. If you rent it annually, the cost can drop a substantial amount.

The subscription plan is not the most economical way of accessing the software. The subscription cost is more expensive than just buying the software and the upgrades. However, for those organizations (or people) who just need a license for a temporary period of time, or people like me who don’t happen to have several hundred dollars lying around for a software purchase, the subscription plan does provide another option.

I signed up for a subscription for Photoshop and once a month, Adobe takes a bite out of my bank account. Hopefully, eventually I’ll have the income to buy the software outright. Or I’ll learn to live with GIMP. For now, though, the subscription does work for me.

Adobe isn’t the only “rent not to own” game in town: Amazon is getting into the rental business with Kindle books. I discovered the option when looking at a high priced book on zoos and animal rights (high, as in $108.00), Amazon is especially touting this option for textbooks, such as Sensation and Perception, 8th Edition, which sells for $116.76, but can be rented for $43.61 (and up, depending on how long you keep the book).

This is all old hat for O’Reilly, my book publisher for the last several years. The company provides access to many (if not most) of its books through Safari Online—a subscription based book site. The difference, though, is that you can download Photoshop or a Kindle rental book to your device(s) and access them offline. As far as I know, you have to access Safari Online, well, online. You can access the books through a mobile device, but you still have to be online. So Safari Online is less a case of renting the book, and more subscribing to a service. With Amazon, you’re literally renting the book.

The concept of “rent not to own” has its advantages: you don’t have to buy something you only need for a limited time, have to have the cash upfront, or charge the cost of the products to a credit card (which you most likely won’t pay off, anyway). The cost is fixed, and you know the price (and conditions) before you sign up. If your finances are erratic, you can rent month to month. Best of all, by not charging, you’re not giving interest to the bloodsucking banks.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email