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Jul 17 2009

Not buying a Kindle now. Or ever.

I’ve been techno-lusting after a Kindle for quite some time. The idea of free wifi anywhere I go, with which to connect to Wikipedia and Google Maps, is a big draw, but so too was the idea that I could buy and read a book any time and anywhere. I guarantee you the first thing I’d do when I got it, would be to try to hack it, use its wireless network capabilities the way I wanted rather than the way prescribed by Amazon. That way, I could take my existing e-books (most of which are for now-public-domain classics) and read them any time I please, without having to pay Amazon for something I already own.

Still, even the prospect of hacking it to use it for my own nefarious ends doesn’t supercede the fact that I’d be paying big bucks for what amounts to a really good LCD screen on a device with internet access to a scant minimum number of services via the cell phone network (e.g., slow). So, I’d probably end up using it to replace my current paper-based library using Amazon’s e-book store. However, on hearing the latest news, I’m hard pressed to justify such a purchase motive when the Digital Restrictions Management allows for such gross misuses by Amazon as this:

This morning, hundreds of Amazon Kindle owners awoke to discover that books by a certain famous author had mysteriously disappeared from their e-book readers. These were books that they had bought and paid for—thought they owned.

But no, apparently the publisher changed its mind about offering an electronic edition, and apparently Amazon, whose business lives and dies by publisher happiness, caved. It electronically deleted all books by this author from people’s Kindles and credited their accounts for the price.

The epic fail about this particular move is that the author for which Amazon decided to retroactively nullify all existing e-book purchase contracts, was none other than George Orwell.

Hat tip Wil Hwheaton (he seems like a nice guy) via Twitter.

5 comments

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  1. 1
    DuWayne

    Motherfucker!!!!!11!11!! I so very wanted one too – so fucking bad that it hurt (well ok, not quite that bad)… I am sad today – or maybe glad – because I sure as fuck wasn’t going to be able to afford one any time soon…

  2. 2
    Clifton

    HA! That amuses me greatly. Thank you.

  3. 3
    Jason Thibeault

    I’m glad you got some amusement out of it, Clifton, but for me, I’m just sad about it.

    Oh well. At least nobody’s going to break into my house and steal the books I just bought off of Amazon any time s– Hey, who are you? Why are you pointing that gun at me!? Take it, take anything you want, just leave us al–

    Well. I seem to have been hit across the temple with the butt of an AK47 by a man in black with night vision goggles on. Half of my books are gone. What a night.

  4. 4
    Clifton

    it was the george orwell part that got me

  5. 5
    Dan J

    I’ve been following the Kindle stories over the past several months. I’m also certain that I will never purchase one of these “big brother” appliances.

    Sony’s Reader Digital Book, on the other hand, looks like something I might be interested in. You can even use their reader/book shop software on your PC for free. They also offer free public domain books from Google Book Search (over 500,000 titles). I’ve found it quite useful for some of my genealogical research. Free software + free books = Win!

  1. 6
    Lousy Canuck » An ebook reader I’m actually lusting after

    [...] being recently turned off of the Kindle by Amazon’s fast-and-loose copyright policies, I thought I’d have given up on ebook lust entirely. Then along came the Nook, by Barnes and [...]

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