If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Monday, 20 July 2009

Another reason for reading proper books

E-book readers - never used one, never wanted to. I like paper books - ones you can hold, take to bed, read on the bog, even scribble on. Books don't freeze and need a hard reset, and don't suffer from power failures. Most of all, print on paper is much easier to read than characters on a screen.

And now, here's another reason to stick with Dead Tree Literature:

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.

At least when you buy a book (even from Amazon) they don't come round in the night and nick it from your bedside table. Well, they haven't so far, anyway.

Let 'em try.

(The massive irony here, and one which has probably escaped Amazon, is that one of the books in question was ... drum roll ... Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.)


  1. endemoniada_8821 July 2009 at 01:35

    Speaking of irony, how's this:
    for sale in Amazon books - "The Complete User's Guide to the Amazing Amazon Kindle (Paperback)"?

    Apart from the fact that I really like having the original and genuine package where books, CDs, DVDs (etc) are concerned, until DRM models change to give consumers complete ownership of the product they have purchased, I can see nothing to recommend any form of downloadable alternative. In much the same way that people prefer to buy freehold rather than be obligated with a permanent lease, why would they want to be saddled with an arbitrary and legalistic license to use their purchase under someone else's grace and favour?

    Reminds me in some ways of EMI's desperately poor attempts to stop music piracy by producing flawed "unrippable" CDs. The first problem with that was that they breached the international standards for Compact Disc specifications and hence couldn't legally even be called CDs. The second problem was that people took exception to being unable to copy their own genuinely purchased music to their own mp3 players. Net result: the discs weren't as unrippable as EMI hoped and an awful lot of folks posted them on the 'net out of spite.

    Keep it up, Amazon, and see how long it is before people realise they can torrent the PDFs for absolutely nothing and read them on any generic device...

    And as for picking Orwell, that's just priceless. Shame Amazon didn't start their customer notification with "The Ministry of Truth has rectified this ungoodthinking oldspeak..."

  2. Great news for Amazon customers - we've been listening to your feedback and have, without troubling you for your consent, recalled that book you mistakenly bought last week, so save you the trouble of reading it. And we've even credited your account! In fact, you didn't buy a book at all - you just imagined it. To go further, if you say you bought a book from us, it might be inconvenient for you. The Party might take an interest. Best not to mention it to anyone.

    We like to make your life a little easier for you, no need to thank us. And in other AmazoNews, we have met and shattered our market penetration targets by over 5000%! For the 93rd year in a row!! All thanks to Big Gordon!!!

  3. And another thing........ in the last 35 years we have had a series of 'ultimate' (ie it's never going to get any better than this) audio systems. Remember vinyl, 8 track,cassettes. I have a huge box of dusty C90 cassettes. I no longer have anything to play them on but cannot bring myself to throw them away from nostalgia or perhaps guilt at the fortune I spent on them. My kids have already asked to be left all the books; they don't want my huge box of cassettes.

  4. There's only one thing to do - buy one of them tape transferrer things, copy them all onto CD and bin them. I decided to do this with all my vinyl and bought a special USB record deck. It's still in its box, two years later. But one day ...

    Seriously, though, cassettes are awful things. I never liked them even when they were the 'latest thing' - too prone to foul up the machine and commit suicide like a black metallic tapeworm. No cover art or information to speak of. Nothing to recommend them at all.


Comment is free, according to C P Scott, so go for it. Word verification is turned off for the time being. Play nicely.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...