siva on kindle 11.23.2007, 1:23 PM
posted by ben vershbow
As far as the dream of textual connectivity and annotations -- making books more "Webby" -- we don't need new devices to do that. Nor do we need different social processes. But we do need better copyright laws to facilitate such remixes and critical engagement.
So consider this $400 device from Amazon. Once you drop that cash, you still can't get books for the $9 cost of writing, editing, and formating. You still pay close to the $30 physical cost that includes all the transportation, warehousing, taxes, returns, and shoplifting built into the price. You can only use Amazon to get texts, thus locking you into a service that might not be best or cheapest. You can only use Sprint to download texts or get Web information. You can't transfer all you linking and annotating to another machine or network your work. If the DRM fails, you are out of luck. If the device fails, you might not be able to put your library on a new device.
All the highfallutin' talk about a new way of reading leading to a new way of writing ignores some basic hard problems: the companies involved in this effort do not share goals. And they do not respect readers or writers.
I say we route around them and use these here devices -- personal computers -- to forge better reading and writing processes.
Aaron Pressman on November 23, 2007 2:09 PM:
I am a fan of your blog but why would you label yet another essay of incoherent ramblings by people who haven't used a Kindle criticizing the Kindle? This just is not "thoughtful" in any sense.
To take on just a few of these inaccuracies, I have bought a bunch of ebooks all for $10 and less. No other costs, fee or taxes. I am also NOT limited to getting texts via Amazon and Sprint. I have added books from Project Gutenberg, various writings from around the web and my own files. Using a free program, Mobipocket Creator, you can convert all of these (including PDFs!) into an unprotected, DRM-free format Kindle understands. You can transfer all your annotations and highlights anywhere else you want as they're all saved in a plain text file. If the device fails, you can re-download all your purchased content for free from Amazon. In fact, you can delete ebooks anytime and instantly re-download them from Amazon just to save space or whatever. You can also purchase more than one Kindle and share purchased ebooks among them.
I'm really, really sorry about the use of DRM. But Amazon is respecting readers and writers given the current legal framework, which maybe is a better target of Siva's ire.
sebastian mary on November 23, 2007 4:40 PM:
You can't fix a Kindle with masking tape either, unlike my edition of The Faerie Queene. Nor (again, like said 800 pages of print) can you use it as a handy means of self-defense.
I went from a paper diary to an electronic one and then back to a paper one. I found my PDA fiddly and irritating - it supposedly existed to make my life easier but was really just another thing to worry about losing from my handbag. Then I gave up my paper diary in favour of gCal - because it genuinely does something a paper one doesn't, ie let me see my colleagues' calendars as well as my own.
I might buy a Kindle if it let me do something genuinely useful that a paper one didn't, AND was cheap and simple enough to fix with masking tape and clobber potential attackers with. I don't need any more PDA type gadgets though - I'll wait for the e-reading equivalent of gCal.
Oh, wait, Siva's right. That's called the internet.
Anne Wayman on November 26, 2007 11:50 AM:
I haven't seen Kindle yet... I'm really curious about the epaper... but other than that, we still seem to be a long way from a good ebook reader... my criteria?
Cheap... $100-200US or so
easy to read
safe to take to beach and hot tub.
troped on November 26, 2007 4:34 PM:
The second most ridiculous thing about Kindle has to be the lock-in. It's ludicrous not to use PDF. Amazon already has control over the wireless upload/download on the device--meaning that it will make it difficult to pull purchased books off--that alone is enough to make it difficult to pirate books. But the *most* ridiculous thing about Kindle is that its DRM capabilities were okay'd by the man who said this: "When someone buys a book, they are also buying the right to resell that book, to loan it out, or to even give it away if they want. Everyone understands this." -Jeff Bezos. (He said this in response to publishing industry complaints that he was selling new and used books side-by-side.)
Jeff on January 18, 2008 8:24 AM:
I'd love to have one. I'll wait however, until I can either (1) share a purchased book with other people or (2) get the book cheaply enough that it doesn't matter so much that I can't share it. I'd also love to have a stylus available for notes, drawing etc. I know I could do this with a Tablet PC but then I wouldn't have the ePaper tech.