Amazon Uses up the World's Irony

by Volker Weber

This means that all the reassuring talks by Amazon that e-books are just like books, but better is a load of absolute nonsense. You're not allowed to resell them, you're not allowed to give them away, and apparently, you don't even own them, as Amazon can delete them from your Kindle at any given moment.

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But I can do whatever I want with my traditional paper books. Even read them as the airplane takes off or lands. And the only way you can take them away from me is, well, physically. As much as the Kindle intrigues me, I think I'll keep reading the old fashioned way; on books made of paper.

Gregg Eldred, 2009-07-18

The Kindle is very slick and has quite a few advantages. But in the end, it is just a trojan horse for DRM-infested media. And as we all know too well, DRM is bad for the customer.

Volker Weber, 2009-07-18

And thats before we even get into the format wars. I still have books from my mother - books that are over 50 years old.

And yet I can (with some care) read them. The content itself might be slightly out of date ('ettiquite for ladies' and 'the history of the temperance movement') but I can read them.

Cunning Linguists they might be, but cupid stunts like these are only going to reinforce the desire to pirate stuff, where you can keep it in DRM free format forever.

---* Bill

Bill Buchan, 2009-07-18

And Irony of Ironies:

Amazon removed copies of Orwells' 1984 and Animal Farm.

---* Bill

Bill Buchan, 2009-07-18

No big surprise here. I won't start talking about what happened to the e-books at the library where I work, but we have had nasty experiences with disappearing e-books and e-journals.

The thing is, an e-book is a virtual book over which the publisher retains full control at all times. When you license an e-book, you do not buy a physical copy that remains in your possession, you are merely granted the temporary right to access data on a server that is beyond your sphere of influence.

Complaining that Amazon cut the access to some e-books is like complaining that your Kindle doesn't work when there is no power. It's a condition that is inherent in the medium, just like "real" books are not easily searchable, bulky and take up a lot of space.

Horst Prillinger, 2009-07-18

Additional thoughts (this time with examples) on my blog.

Horst Prillinger, 2009-07-18

Don't get me wrong, I love my tech, but the Kindle doesn't interest me in the least. When it comes to reading, nothing will ever be as good as the look, feel and smell of a book. The fact that a book doesn't require batteries, is cheap, isn't overly fragile and cannot break are also good reasons why I prefer good old printed paper. As for DRM and incompatible proprietary formats...don't get me started! Sometimes you just have to accept that cool technology isn't always an improvement. Perhaps I'm turning into a luddite in my old age!

Tim Leach, 2009-07-18

Our community library organized a flea market today ... 1kg of
books for 50 cents and I found beautiful books. Neither amazon or kindle can keep up with this.

Gerald Schmidhuber, 2009-07-18

Had a look at the Sony e-ink reader at my local bookstore and I'm intrigued by e-ink. Too expensive and too small screen right now, but once price goes down (my current limit is 250€) and display size goes up, I'm definitely going to get one.

Of course, the reader must be able to display non-DRM files in a format the user can create himself and sync easily with a Linux-desktop. There's enough free legal content on the web (I keep reading software docs, tutorials, blogs, news sites at work and would prefer to read some of those on e-ink, e.g. via a rss2pdf services), so that it will be useful even without DRM content from Amazon or others.

The publishing industry is going to make the same painful experience that the music industry made. iTunes once was called a DRM trojan horse, as well. My iPod syncs with Linux, plays non-DRM content and there's no DRM-content on it, either.

e-books will go non-DRM in the long run, as well. And until then, everybody please repeat after vowe.

Hanno Zulla, 2009-07-18

Calibre can sync with the sony ebook reader and the kindle (living in Europe, I haven't tried that yet), and is cross-platform. I use it to manage my ebooks and can highly recommend it. It can also create ebooks out of websites, to sync with your ebook device.

From the site:

calibre is an e-book library manager. It can view, convert and catalog e-books in most of the major e-book formats. It can also talk to a few e-book reader devices. It can go out to the internet and fetch metadata for your books. It can download newspapers and convert them into e-books for convenient reading. It is cross platform, running on Linux, Windows and OS X.

Alex Boschmans, 2009-07-19

I just ordered an ebook reader for myself today... I chose an iRex DR1000S. I must admit, that's an even more pricy option, but Hanno, at least the size is good. I do a lot of reading of PDFs on screen, both for work and for leisure. And I don't read as much as I would like to because I don't want to be stuck in front of my screen that long and my laptop is not always available when I'm available or in the mood to read.

It's a gadget and of course, I don't really need it. But i definitely think that it has several advantages. Will it replace all my (old-style) book reading? Probably not.

Ragnar Schierholz, 2009-07-19

For what its worth, my 85 year old uncle has fallen in love with his Sony eBook. The reasons are quite simple.

1. He can enlarge the print size.
2. Even without increasing the print size, the screen is much more readable than the small, often smudgy, print of many paperbacks.
3. It weighs less than many books (especially big ones), and certainly a lot less than a pile of books, when travelling.

That's the good news. The bad news is that purchase of copyright material is limited in the UK to Waterstons who have a lousy web site for this purpose!

On the other hand, non-copyright material can be downloaded from in easily re-flowed EPUB format. Feedbooks used to work very well with Adobe Digital Edition, via which books could be easily transferred to the Sony eBook. Adobe seem to have improved this [sic] recently. Downloaded EPUB books can still be easily opened for reading in Adobe Digital Edition, but adding them to the library, which is necessary for transfer to the eBook, used to be automatic. Now it requires a non-obvious manual procedure.

Nick Shelness, 2009-07-20

Now this amazing: Just found out on LWN that people are working on a free open source firmware for e-ink readers called OpenInkpot, which supports different devices, already.

Hanno Zulla, 2009-07-22

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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