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Why I Will Not Be Buying a Kindle
stephen gun
and as little from Amazon as I can manage.

Well, there's the fact that I dislike reading books on a screen - any screen - and therefore will continue collecting dead trees in preference.

However, setting my personal dislike of e-books aside, there is Amazon's generally appalling behaviour; their attempts to bully legitimate publishers, their attempts to claim everything an author has published before a certain date as theirs to publish unless the author wrote a formal letter to them before their deadline, and the 1984 business. Then there was the Wikileaks problem. Now, it is censorship. Of course, they are attacking through a weak link, which is a specialised form of erotica (in this case incest - not something that particularly interests me, but not a particular squick either. Whatever floats your boat.) Both e-books and dead tree versions of these have been pulled, without notifying the authors and/or publishers (they are mainly either self or very small publishers.) Not only that, but, once again, copies have been pulled from all individual archives in the cloud. People who complained about having a book they have paid good money for taken away from them, and can they have their money back please, have been told they shouldn't have been reading any such thing.

Even if these books were pornographic (and one person's porn is another's erotica) they are legal in the USA (and the UK, come to that) because they are not kiddie porn, and to buy anything from Amazon you have to have a credit or debit card and therefore be legally adult. Amazon need to be told they are not the morality police.

And, even if dead tree books vanished, I would not be buying a Kindle. No, sir.

Thanks to filkertom for posting the link below.


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Concerns like this are why I bought a Sony ebook reader. I don't want my reading tied to the whims and preferences of one particular company.

I've heard decent reports of the Sony. The iPad may also affect Amazon's dominance of this market.

I'm still getting used to it, to be honest. My main interest was something that would be light to take with me to conferences and which I could also read on the many ten minute time spaces I seem to spend on station platforms and I already think it's going to be very good for that. Not so sure about bed time reading though.

I've got it loaded up with enough fanfic and out-of-copyright stuff to last me some time so I've not even looked at the online shopping experience. On the whole I prefer it, for longer fanfic, to reading on screen on the computer. It's less time-consuming to load a 5,000 word story into the ebook reader (though it could be simpler and I'm not using the bundled software which everyone says is horrible) than it is to read it, and I can then read at my leisure in a time and place more conducive than sat at my desk. But, again, I'm not sure it would be my choice for actually published novels which you can hold, if you see what I mean.

Jury still out, really. I think it will take it's place among the devices I travel with, but I don't think I forsee it displacing real books completely from my life.

Louise, I don't know what software you are using, but another person on this page has just mentioned Calibre as her choice for the Sony.

Yup! It's Callibre. It's pretty nice, and impressive for an open source piece of software but not without its niggles.

I love my Sony Pocket Edition; it's fairly basic, but it does the job and has kept me supplied with reading material while my dead trees wend their way across the Atlantic and through the snowdrifts. (Calibre is the answer to the lousy provided software, at least for DRM-free publications. Though being on limited bandwidth at the moment I'm not too keen on their almost daily 30Mb updates!)

Apple's iTunes is probably the inspiration for Amazon's Kindle business model - make the tied-in approach easy and most people will use it. Ironic given that Amazon's music download service takes the opposite approach - very anti-DRM.

What on Earth was their objection to 1984???

A publisher submitted 1984 and Animal farm for publishing as Kindle ebooks. When it was pointed out to Amazon that the publisher did not have the rights to either work. Amazon pulled them from the site and from all the Kindles that had downloaded them. I believe they refunded the money people had paid.

Thanks. At least they had the sense to refund the money on that occasion, then. If they're going to start pulling books 'out of service' they need a much better reason that 'we suddenly don't like the content even though we accepted it for publication'.

They seem to be adept at shooting themselves in the foot.

If I remember correctly people affected got their choice of three free books of their choice or a legal copy of 1984 and two free books of their choice. Amazon really tried to make things okay.

I'm very surprised they did anything like this, given the furball that 1984 was for them--at least this time they didn't delete stuff off people's readers--but I'm surprised they deleted stuff from people's archives either; I would have thought they had learned better.

As a Kindle owner myself, I will be contacting Amazon about this. I am not interested in incest erotica, but it's the principle of the thing.

Oh, it wasn't an objection - at least not by Amazon. It was pointed out to them that it was still in copyright and they didn't have the rights. They pulled the e-book, obviously, but they also pulled it back from everyone who'd bought it, without compensation.

Dumb and dumber. If a customer buys something in good faith, surely compensation for the removal of said something is required?

Actually, they did, as Robert says above, compensate. My error. What they did then was to pull the book from the actual machines - until then, no-one had realised they could do that. They promised not to do it again, but plainly that does not include books archived on their Cloud.

Ah, now you mention that part of it, I do vaguely remember the kerfuffle. They need to sort out and state in very plain language what their terms of service actually are, then stick to them.

(rolls eyes)

The terms of service are several pages of legalese. I did try to read them once.

Yesterday I bought something from 'appliances on line' - as usual I clicked on their 'Terms and Conditions' expecting the usual bumph - and was pleasantly surprised by their very plain English terms - if they can do it (though I will wait until we get the goods before I comment further) I don't see why other companies can't.

I can't stand reading text on a big screen. I don't know how anyone could do so on a small one. Saying that, I sell to epublishers but none that pub directly through Amazoned. They're just destroying their own business model.

Reading on an e-Ink screen (the sort in Kindles and Sonys and Astak readers and CyBook readers and a bunch of other less well known names) is much like reading on paper--it can't really be compared to reading on an LCD screen.

That said, some people still don't like it, but they don't like it in a different way. :-)

What kinds of books do you write?

That's good to hear -- at least our younger generation will not be going screen-blind. lol

I write erotic romance of every variety. It sells. lol

Readers of such novels often enjoy the "brown paper wrapping" effect of various e-book readers, the Kindle included. Also many e-book readers can be "locked" so that it is necessary to enter a password to wake it from sleep--handy if one fears one has nosy co-workers or similar.

Of course, the downside is that forgetting one's paperback on a bus is a cheap mistake. Forgetting one's Kindle...not so much.

My response is simpler, but equivalent: Buying and DRM are mutually exclusive. I will not "buy" any DRM'ed e-book; a "purchase" which depends on someone else's continued cooperation is not a purchase.

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