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Old 02-18-2011, 09:37 PM   #1
Victoria
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will Amazon tamper / delete non-amazon books side-loaded with Calibre?

Hi everyone

I'm sorry for the newbie question. I am considering buying a Kindle 3, and have also just installed Calibre to my mac (wow - what a great program).

I would like to load some books that I did not buy from Amazon, onto the Kindle, using Calibre.

If I connect to Amazon via wifi to buy a book, will Amazon scrutinize what I have loaded on to the Kindle? If so, will it delete / disturb / or make a record of my whole library, including non-Amazon books?

Also, some mobilereaders seem upset about the Kindle updates. Is it because Kindle updates render their side-loaded books unreadable?

Any help is very appreciated!
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Old 02-18-2011, 09:51 PM   #2
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I have lots of books from many different sources on my Kindle. I usually have my wifi on at least once a day for downloading an Amazon freebie or email and never had a problem with Amazon messing with my stuff.

I use Calibre to organize my collection and to remove DRM. I agree it's a great program and not sure how I ever lived without it. It enables sharing among myself and my grown daughters who have different ereaders.

The new firmware is no problem. People who wanted page numbers are upset because, although they now exist for some books, you have to click on the menu to see them. They really should have just added them to the actual pages. It makes no difference to me since page numbers are meaningless on an ereader. I find the percentage much more useful.

Another thing people don't like about the new update is that as you finish each book, you are given the opportunity to post to social network sites, review the book, or look at other books by that author. It sounded much worse than it is. You don't actually have to do anything. In fact, you don't even have to go past the last page of the book to get to these options.

I put 3.1 on my Kindle the day it was released and have had no problems with it. I have even used it to make a couple of facebook posts when I've finished books. It's kind of cool, nothing like the pushy commercial people thought it was going to be.
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Old 02-18-2011, 09:53 PM   #3
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Amazon will not disturb your non-Amazon files, nor will updates mess with them. I have books from all over the place, only about 1/4 are from Amazon. While the nature of Amazon's system allows them to "see" what's on your Kindle, it really just looks at ID numbers (called ASINs, similar to ISBN numbers) so that it can update and sync content you buy from them. It doesn't disable or disturb the other books, and if a book doesn't have an Amazon ASIN number, their "spy system" probably doesn't even know what it is. You'll be fine with non-Amazon books.
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Old 02-18-2011, 10:35 PM   #4
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Old 02-19-2011, 09:47 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by wvcherrybomb View Post
I have lots of books from many different sources on my Kindle. I usually have my wifi on at least once a day for downloading an Amazon freebie or email and never had a problem with Amazon messing with my stuff.

I use Calibre to organize my collection and to remove DRM. I agree it's a great program and not sure how I ever lived without it. It enables sharing among myself and my grown daughters who have different ereaders.

The new firmware is no problem. People who wanted page numbers are upset because, although they now exist for some books, you have to click on the menu to see them. They really should have just added them to the actual pages. It makes no difference to me since page numbers are meaningless on an ereader. I find the percentage much more useful.

Another thing people don't like about the new update is that as you finish each book, you are given the opportunity to post to social network sites, review the book, or look at other books by that author. It sounded much worse than it is. You don't actually have to do anything. In fact, you don't even have to go past the last page of the book to get to these options.

I put 3.1 on my Kindle the day it was released and have had no problems with it. I have even used it to make a couple of facebook posts when I've finished books. It's kind of cool, nothing like the pushy commercial people thought it was going to be.
Cherrybomb: thank you for the explanation of why some readers are unhappy about the new update. I've been reading cryptic comments, like " I guess I'll have to return to dead authors", which are probably obvious to many, but were puzzling for me I thought it may mean they could only load books that were pre 1923, and in public domain.

It sounds like you are very satisfied with both your Kindle and Calibre. I've had a sony 505 for a few years, but stopped buying books for it over a year ago, because I could not read them on an ipad or ipod touch. I've been using the Kindle app on the ipad, and am very happy with it, so will likely by the kindle reader.

I think Calibre is amazing - way better than the sony library software I was using. I wish I'd installed it years ago.

Thanks again
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Old 02-19-2011, 09:50 AM   #6
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Amazon will not disturb your non-Amazon files, nor will updates mess with them. I have books from all over the place, only about 1/4 are from Amazon. While the nature of Amazon's system allows them to "see" what's on your Kindle, it really just looks at ID numbers (called ASINs, similar to ISBN numbers) so that it can update and sync content you buy from them. It doesn't disable or disturb the other books, and if a book doesn't have an Amazon ASIN number, their "spy system" probably doesn't even know what it is. You'll be fine with non-Amazon books.
Hi CWN - thanks for the explanation. I've read a lot of comments about Amazon "censoring" people's reading, so was a bit confused about what the remote connection was actually doing. This helps alot. Thanks!
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Old 02-19-2011, 09:50 AM   #7
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Simple answer: No.
Thank you Carld!
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:50 PM   #8
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Hi CWN - thanks for the explanation. I've read a lot of comments about Amazon "censoring" people's reading,
Bah. This was caused because amazon foolishly removed ONE book that they'd sold, without the rights to. They then proceeded to go out of their way to correct the issue generously.

Amazon does not censor anybody's kindle. The only censoring you're subject to from them, is the same censoring EVERYONE is subject to when buying from them: they decide what they sell, or not.

Don't let alarmists scare you off. Amazon's only interest in what is on your kindle is whether or not there's a newer, updated version of something you've bought from them, or whether you've bought something from them that hasn't been delivered yet.
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Old 02-19-2011, 01:01 PM   #9
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" I guess I'll have to return to dead authors"
Standard "screensaver" by Amazon is pictures of authors. All of those depicted authors are, indeed, dead.
A "screensaver" is a picture that is displayed on screen when the device is switched off. Remember that an e-ink display doesn't need power to maintain content, only to change it.

Some people were hacking their Kindles to load other pictures than "Dead authors". Those hacks do not work anymore. I expect that there will be new hack available very soon. It always is.
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Old 02-20-2011, 02:44 AM   #10
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This actually encompasses two questions:

1) What can Amazon do?

2) What will Amazon do?

Amazon has demonstrated that they can examine the contents of your Kindle, determine what books you have, share the passages you have annotated without your permission (which ones, that is, not your actual annotations), and delete books of their choosing. It is assumed that they are capable of doing quite a bit more -- that they basically have full remote access to the computer we call an ebook reader.

What Amazon did do was publish a book without obtaining proper rights, and then, instead of doing what they'd do with a paper book -- namely paying the rights owner whatever royalties were demanded -- they did the functional equivalent of sending goons to the buyers' houses to take the book off their shelves. It didn't help that the book was 1984. Amazon deleted the book from legitimate, innocent buyers' Kindles instead of just paying off the author's estate, the way they would have if they'd sold a paper book without proper royalty clearance, and the people who had their books taken from them were, naturally, up in arms. Amazon has said that they won't do that again. Apparently the money they saved by taking back the books they'd sold instead of just paying royalties ended up paying their PR people to deal with the resultant firestorm.

It's also suspected that even when its wireless connectivity is turned off, the Kindle is either listening for a wakeup signal from Amazon, or turns itself on periodically to check with the servers. Presumably this would allow Amazon to do anything it wanted, including completely bricking the Kindle of someone Amazon believed was doing something they didn't like. Have they? Not that I know of. But given that last weekend, the US government shut down 84,000 websites and declared their owners guilty of trafficking in child pornography (they were really after ... 10) I can't feel too confident that a company who can brick my ebook reader won't do it out of sheer stupidity after demonstrating that they will un-sell you a book if they find it convenient.
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Old 02-20-2011, 11:47 AM   #11
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Good god. Conspiracy theory much?

Stop trying to alarm people. Amazon made a foolish mistake, then corrected it very generously. It's not a fly-by-night operation, they're not secretly 'listening' to your kindle, there is no built-in secret speaker that they can turn on remotely, connected to the radio, so they can spy on your real-life conversations life. They are not reporting your reading habits to the FBI.

There have been hundreds of millions of kindle transactions, and amazon screwed the pooch on ONE. Pretty good 'failure' rate, if you ask me. They learned their lesson. They won't do it again.

The part about amazon bricking your kindle, or activating it remotely even with wireless off? Pure bulls***. Neither has EVER been done, and believe me, there would have been plenty of screaming on the interweb if it had been. The kindle has been reverse engineered by several reputable websites that do such things, and there is NO indication that such capabilities exist. Such crap is simply propagated by conspiracy theorists, alarmists, and outright kindle-haters.

It's suspected that the kindle can make my coffee in the morning. What do you think, Worldwalker? Can it?

See how easy it is to start innuendo and crap on the interweb?

Now, amazon DOES fail, in 2 very large ways, in my opinion. Firstly, their closed ecosystem. They simply MUST eventually incorporate open-source and other formats into the kindle's capabilities (epub, etc). That they have not yet done so is somewhat mind-boggling. Secondly, of course...DRM. Your signature is very apt. It doesn't work, at ALL -- as anybody using several of calibre's very specific third-party plugins can tell you -- and only stops paying users from using their media to it's full potential, ie loaning, giving, selling...whatever.
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Old 02-20-2011, 12:49 PM   #12
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No conspiracy. Amazon is a business, and they're doing business in a way that they believe will provide the best value -- for them. That does not necessarily equate to the best value for us, and in fact the needs of a seller (get as much money as possible for as little as possible) and the needs of a buyer (pay as little money as possible for as much as possible) are often diametrically opposed. Ideally, from a business's point of view, we'd pay everything we have and get nothing; from a consumer's point of view, we'd get everything we want and pay nothing. Somewhere in between, we come to an agreement and pay something for something, with the "something" in question subject to negotiation and market forces. Amazon is a large, successful company ... I've been doing business with them myself, by the way, since almost the day they opened ... but I don't delude myself into believing that they have my best interests at heart, any more than I have theirs.

I never said that Amazon was a fly-by-night operation (incidentally, I have one of those insulated cups they sent out on their first anniversary) nor did I say, or even imply, that Kindles had some kind of "secret speaker" or they could spy on conversations, nor anything of the kind, nor who, if anybody, they were reporting anything to (though since you brought it up, that has been done with GM's OnStar in-car microphones). I listed the things that they were known to have done already, such as deleting books (no, it wasn't just one book; it was books, multiple) from the Kindle, determining which passages you have annotated (part of the "everyone has to be like Facebook" fad of the moment), etc. I listed the things reported but not (to my knowledge) proven, such as checking for software patches despite wireless connectivity being turned off to extend battery life.

Have they demonstrated that they can brick a Kindle? No. Not yet. But it is a computer, specialized though it is, and they do have remote access to it, which they have demonstrated aspects of already. If a competent person has full remote access to a computer, they can generally disable it; hence, it is likely that Amazon has that capability. You will note, though, that was in the section where I speculated on what Amazon might do, should they choose to. Will they? Not unless it's profitable. Can they? Most probably. They have made very public missteps, like removing the sales rankings of GLBT books "by mistake"; it's not at all outside the realm of possibility that they would so something that affects the wrong people -- much like that recent government operation meant to disable 10 websites that got 84,000 "by mistake".

Simple scenario: the government tells Amazon "Kindles owned by the following 10 people are being used for child porn; disable the user's ability to delete content so we can use them for evidence." So Amazon does ... they think ... and instead of 10, they disable 84,000. Possible? Yes. Probable? I don't know. I'd hope Amazon is more competent than Homeland Security. But saying "because Amazon said they wouldn't delete your books anymore means they can't do it" doesn't make the possibility go away.

Pest control eradicates pests. DRM eradicates rights. I want my cockroaches eradicated, but I'd prefer to keep my rights. I don't buy DRM-locked ebooks.
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Old 02-20-2011, 01:09 PM   #13
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Old 02-20-2011, 01:24 PM   #14
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No conspiracy. Amazon is a business, and they're doing business in a way that they believe will provide the best value -- for them. That does not necessarily equate to the best value for us, and in fact the needs of a seller (get as much money as possible for as little as possible) and the needs of a buyer (pay as little money as possible for as much as possible) are often diametrically opposed. Ideally, from a business's point of view, we'd pay everything we have and get nothing; from a consumer's point of view, we'd get everything we want and pay nothing. Somewhere in between, we come to an agreement and pay something for something, with the "something" in question subject to negotiation and market forces. Amazon is a large, successful company ... I've been doing business with them myself, by the way, since almost the day they opened ... but I don't delude myself into believing that they have my best interests at heart, any more than I have theirs.
Agreed, with one caveat: to the extent that it keeps you buying from them, YOUR best interest is THEIR best interest. Piss enough of YOU off, and they start losing sales, no?

Quote:
I never said that Amazon was a fly-by-night operation (incidentally, I have one of those insulated cups they sent out on their first anniversary) nor did I say, or even imply, that Kindles had some kind of "secret speaker" or they could spy on conversations, nor anything of the kind, nor who, if anybody, they were reporting anything to (though since you brought it up, that has been done with GM's OnStar in-car microphones). I listed the things that they were known to have done already, such as deleting books (no, it wasn't just one book; it was books, multiple) from the Kindle, determining which passages you have annotated (part of the "everyone has to be like Facebook" fad of the moment), etc. I listed the things reported but not (to my knowledge) proven, such as checking for software patches despite wireless connectivity being turned off to extend battery life.
Amazon as a corporate entity is as susceptible to making mistakes as any other. However, if you're willing to attribute that susceptibility to them, then you must therefore by default also be willing to attribute the inverse, as well: that they can LEARN from their mistakes. So then the question becomes, do YOU trust enough that they can, or have? That's a personal choice that every customer has to make for themselves. However, posts that warn of how 1984-esque amazon is (Yes, yes, I know, of all the books for them to putz up with...) because of the statistically minuscule mistakes they've made are, in my opinion, vastly off base. A better approach, perhaps, is to lay out the facts, sans alarmist 'omg don't buy from or deal with amazon because they made THIS mistake', and let people decide for themselves. I think the vast majority of potential customers will realize that this was a very isolated incident, and that amazon, keeping their OWN best interest in mind, keeps most of ours, so, as well.

The things I listed that you didn't say specifically, I did so to illustrate the mob hysteria that people propagate, instigated by the incident to which we're referring. Of COURSE amazon isn't listening to you.

And, of course, my kindle isn't making my coffee.

Quote:
Have they demonstrated that they can brick a Kindle? No. Not yet. But it is a computer, specialized though it is, and they do have remote access to it, which they have demonstrated aspects of already. If a competent person has full remote access to a computer, they can generally disable it; hence, it is likely that Amazon has that capability. You will note, though, that was in the section where I speculated on what Amazon might do, should they choose to. Will they? Not unless it's profitable. Can they? Most probably.
Censuring anyone, even a corporate entity, for what they MIGHT do, maybe, possibly, in the future leads to all sorts of hypotheticals that, ultimately, are mostly useless. Do you refuse to speak to a neighbor that offended ANOTHER neighbor, because of what he MIGHT say in the future, to you? Most of us wouldn't. Is it, then, proper, to go around your neighborhood warning others off from speaking with that neighbor?

I don't think it is.


Quote:
They have made very public missteps, like removing the sales rankings of GLBT books "by mistake"; it's not at all outside the realm of possibility that they would so something that affects the wrong people -- much like that recent government operation meant to disable 10 websites that got 84,000 "by mistake".
Lol. You won't find me defending DHS at ALL. I think nearly any sentient being in the universe would agree that amazon, as an entity, is vastly more competent than DHS. They're not going to brick anyone's kindle.

Quote:
Simple scenario: the government tells Amazon "Kindles owned by the following 10 people are being used for child porn; disable the user's ability to delete content so we can use them for evidence." So Amazon does ... they think ... and instead of 10, they disable 84,000. Possible? Yes. Probable? I don't know. I'd hope Amazon is more competent than Homeland Security. But saying "because Amazon said they wouldn't delete your books anymore means they can't do it" doesn't make the possibility go away.
Firstly, the problem with this argument is that, on the VERY remote chance that this did happen, it would ONLY happen because the government forced them to, just like happened in the case to which you're referring, and in which case, amazon could hardly be held at fault. In the DHS case, the domain that they wanted killed had those 84k others umbrella'd underneath it, so when it when down, they all did. I don't think (though won't state categorically), that kindles are umbrella'd under anything -- I'm pretty sure amazon has to 'dial home' for each specific device to do anything like what you're speaking of. It simply is not going to happen. CAN it happen? I suppose. But then again, we get back to the 'where do you draw the line?' argument. Your computer, that you're using to post here, can be used in all sorts of manners that you don't want it to be -- and with vastly, vastly greater risk. You CAN get hit by a bus today. Do you base your decisions on that possibility?

Of course not -- I'm being silly and facetious...just like anti-kindle alarmists are being about this issue.
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Old 02-20-2011, 01:45 PM   #15
kacir
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Originally Posted by gweminence View Post
Good god. Conspiracy theory much?
... there is no built-in secret speaker that they can turn on remotely, connected to the radio, so they can spy on your real-life conversations life. They are not reporting your reading habits to the FBI.
To be technically correct:
1. It does have speaker. Speaker is that thing that makes sound when you listen to mp3, or switch on Text To Speech ;-)
2. There is also a MICROPHONE built in the Kindle 3. Not used at the moment [tinfoil hat] or so they claim [/tinfoil hat]

IF somebody wanted to listen really, *really* desperately, they have all the tools, hardware. They have software in place that enables them to connect remotely to your Kindle and push any update they wish.

Please notice, I am not saying that they do it now, or that they are likely to do it in the future. I am just saying that it is technically possible.

As previous poster stated Amazon is a business. They have duty to the shareholders to maximise profits. So if they seem, at the moment, to be very customer friendly, it is only because this happens to be, at this moment, a good way to maximise profits. Look at Microsoft. A few years ago they needed cash really bad. So they started to push "Windows Genuine Advantage" to PC-s. They pissed of huge number of customers, but hey, they DID get that cash from scared (and pissed) users buying licences. Look at Apple and their 30% "Money For Nothing" they want for subscriptions that are purchased elsewhere and consumed in iPad app.

Also consider that if a system is in place that can be abused, it will get abused eventually. Just have a look at the anti-terrorist laws in Great Britain. When banks in Iceland crashed those anti-terrorist laws were used to seize private property of peaceful Icelandic citizens. FBI, at one moment, was investigating people as potential terrorists, because they purchased typical Arabic groceries (felafel) on their Credit Cards. I can envision a future when TSA would be pressuring Amazon to let them have a peek if you do not have "Anarchists Cookbook", or a text in Arabic on your Kindle.
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