Register Guidelines E-Books Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Go Back   MobileRead Forums > E-Book Readers > Amazon Kindle

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 11-19-2007, 02:20 PM   #1
Bob Russell
Recovering Gadget Addict
Bob Russell ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bob Russell ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bob Russell ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bob Russell ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bob Russell ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bob Russell ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bob Russell ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bob Russell ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bob Russell ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bob Russell ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Bob Russell ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Bob Russell's Avatar
 
Posts: 5,324
Karma: 590871
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Device: Note3, MacBook Air
Amazon Kindle might be the worst thing that could happen to e-books?

Amazon, possibly the biggest name in paper books, has come out with a wonderful new e-book device called the Kindle, which doesn't require a PC to operate. Cellular connectivity lets you buy and download a book from almost anywhere, and you don't even have to pay a monthly fee for the wireless provider. It has potential (especially in future models as prices drop) to gain acceptance by the general public. There is a huge book list of available titles. Free first chapters are available for the books, so you can try before you buy instead of wasting your money on dud books.

In almost every way, this looks like the revolution that e-book lovers have been waiting for. So how can I possibly wonder if this is the worst thing that could happen to e-books?

I'll give you a hint... Amazon has gone out of their way to make sure that you can only buy books from them, and can't use them anywhere else. When you buy a book, you use it on the Kindle or you're out of luck. We're talking about control of content, with format and DRM lock-in as the tool of power. We're on the verge of a future for content that makes you buy the same thing over and over every time you have a new technology.

If you don't want to think about this in more detail, I'd suggest you jump to the end. But in case some of you are interested fanatics, let's take a look at how DRM locks every purchased book into a particular device.

Just imagine if every paper book you owned could only be read using a particular book light. If the light bulb burns out, you have to get a new DRM key from the company that sold you the book, or you can't read it anymore even though you have the book in your possession and you paid for it. That's what it's like with device-based DRM. There are gentler versions, but that's the core idea.

If you want to read the e-book you purchased after you buy a new device you are at the mercy of the seller. Maybe they will allow you some small flexibility like allowing you to upgrade to another newer model of the device, or even use the same reading software on another device. But if you want to change to something else, you're probably out of luck.

Want to keep reading the e-book? You have to buy it again! And again! And again! Is that the best future for e-books? Maybe for publishers (but that's up for debate as they may be cutting off their own arms by limiting the market this way), but definitely not the best scenario for customers. In fact, I'd say it's the worst result. Higher prices and basically all you will get is a book rental. You're only renting the e-book for the period of time you use a particular technology. And we know how fast technology changes. Then you have to lose the use of the e-book or buy it again. Doesn't sound too customer oriented.

Now consider Amazon's plan for the Kindle as I understand it. As it stands now, it looks like you can read other formats on it, maybe requiring a conversion step. That's good. But if you want to buy a modern book for it, you had either find a non-DRM'd book seller like Baen Science Fiction or Steve Jordan Books, or you had better consider your book to be held hostage by your Kindle. You won't be reading it on your PDA.

And you won't even be able to read your purchase of a DRM'd e-book from MobiPocket sellers. That seems to be an innocent statement at first - you can only read non-DRM'd MobiPocket format on the Kindle. But think about it. It's a power play. So like I said earlier, even though Amazon owns MobiPocket, Amazon has gone out of their way to make sure that every book you buy for the Kindle stays there, and that you can't buy anywhere else. If you buy the more common MobiPocket formatted (DRM'd) e-book, you can't read it on the Kindle.

That's power for the seller. And it's trouble for the customer.
If this is the Amazon plan, beware. It's nice in the short run. But in the long run, it might just be the worst possible scenario for readers like you and me.

Is there an alternative? Actually there are two other general roads to the future that give some additional benefits to the consumer. Booksellers are probably going to fight this unless they believe the benefits of a large market outweigh any apparent loss of control over the content.

*) A generic shared DRM future

Imagine if we have DRM controls on e-books, but you can buy one of the standard formats with a standard DRM protection. There are only a few different competing approaches. There is so much of a customer base that you have some comfort level that new technologies will also support some of the existing formats and DRM.

That means you can probably buy books at multiple stores, and price competition should keep prices more reasonable (although the publishers still control pricing on particular titles, so competition is still somewhat limited). More importantly, it allows you to keep using your e-book even when technologies change. Someone is probably going to support the existing format on new devices and platforms.

It's not perfect. Even such a format might end up being worthless 20 years from now, but it sure beats only being able to read a book on one particular device.

Sony is supporting this incrementally better future by indicating its support and partnership with Adobe for ePub. Assuming they don't limit the DRM on e-books to the Sony Reader only, it allows the potential for multiple e-book sellers to sell for the Reader and it allows a purchased e-book to be read even if you don't always use a Sony Reader to read the book. In addition, they allow for several devices on an account to read a purchased book. That is also slightly better than limiting the book to a single device. (In fairness, the same might be true of the Kindle, I just don't know yet.)

eReader format uses a credit card number (stored only as the hash value internally for safety and privacy reasons). The advantage of this is that you or your family members can read the book on any device that supports eReader software. Of course, that's the problem -- the device list is very limited.

So what is the ideal answer for an e-book consumer? This might just be it...

*) A DRM-less e-book future

In this case, the consumer wins, and by making the consumer happy, publishers and writers get rich also due to the explosion of sales and renewed interest in reading.

The danger is the potential for book copying to become so rampant that publishers and authors can't make money on books. The opportunity is for e-book sales to explode, and for consumers to buy an e-book and use it on whatever device they want to read it on, and to say goodbye to the nightmare of incompatible formats or general DRM problems.

Your own version of the future with no DRM probably depends on whether you are a consumer or publisher, whether you believe most people are inherently honest, and whether or not you believe that consumers need to be encouraged or extorted. Maybe that's a bit harsh, but a future of DRM certainly has both elements of opportunity and fear, and I don't think anyone has the definitive answer of what is best or most fair.

But the Amazon vision of the future apparently is not in the consumer's best interest. Kindle supplies a full e-book ecosystem, but it's a very closed ecosystem when it comes to purchased books. You want to buy a modern book? Buy it in Kindle format and you can only read it on a Kindle. Even worse, maybe you can only read it on your Kindle.

So as I said, Amazon might just be the worst thing that can happen to e-books. The Kindle looks like a great device, so I hope I'm wrong. Let's give Amazon a chance to show us the future they are trying to shape. I really, really hope I'm wrong. But the early signs so far are ominous for the general public. E-book fans, hang on to your wallet... you might find it hemorrhaging content loss.
Bob Russell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2007, 02:30 PM   #2
dugbug
Addict
dugbug once ate a cherry pie in a record 7 seconds.dugbug once ate a cherry pie in a record 7 seconds.dugbug once ate a cherry pie in a record 7 seconds.dugbug once ate a cherry pie in a record 7 seconds.dugbug once ate a cherry pie in a record 7 seconds.dugbug once ate a cherry pie in a record 7 seconds.dugbug once ate a cherry pie in a record 7 seconds.dugbug once ate a cherry pie in a record 7 seconds.dugbug once ate a cherry pie in a record 7 seconds.dugbug once ate a cherry pie in a record 7 seconds.dugbug once ate a cherry pie in a record 7 seconds.
 
dugbug's Avatar
 
Posts: 206
Karma: 1723
Join Date: May 2006
Device: Kindle
when someone buys a "real" book, only the holder of the book can use it anyway.

DRM with books is a little more understandable to me. For one, they have a more reluctant industry that they must passify, and for another books are typically only read once. With music, you hear a song for free on the radio, yet still pay for it later because you want to listen to it again.

-d

Last edited by dugbug; 11-19-2007 at 02:34 PM.
dugbug is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2007, 02:30 PM   #3
mdhuang
Bookworm
mdhuang doesn't littermdhuang doesn't litter
 
mdhuang's Avatar
 
Posts: 109
Karma: 154
Join Date: Aug 2007
Device: Sony CLIE NX80V, PRS-500
Amazon is trying to follow the steps of iTunes+iPod. But at least the iPod supports MP3 from the beginning, while the kindle does not support PDF, the ebook equivalent of MP3 music.
mdhuang is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2007, 02:32 PM   #4
yvanleterrible
When books can fly!
yvanleterrible ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.yvanleterrible ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.yvanleterrible ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.yvanleterrible ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.yvanleterrible ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.yvanleterrible ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.yvanleterrible ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.yvanleterrible ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.yvanleterrible ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.yvanleterrible ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.yvanleterrible ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
yvanleterrible's Avatar
 
Posts: 8,516
Karma: 3606000
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Que Nada
Device: Kobo Mini in my lunchbox.
Hmmm! Luckily they won't only offer books, there are newspapers in the mix, magazines and blogs. Just for the periodicals alone, the device is great.

Unfortunately no one has tried the device yet at MR. We can not say that the books we have on our computer work or not on the Kindle. Any purchase I would do of such a tool would greatly depend on this. This little keyboard gives me an itch that I fear might be a fatal purchace urge.

Any one know if we can use this to write? Is the USB port active enough to use a full keyboard?
yvanleterrible is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2007, 02:34 PM   #5
NatCh
Gizmologist
NatCh ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.NatCh ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.NatCh ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.NatCh ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.NatCh ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.NatCh ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.NatCh ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.NatCh ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.NatCh ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.NatCh ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.NatCh ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
NatCh's Avatar
 
Posts: 11,605
Karma: 926222
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Republic of Texas Embassy at Jackson, TN
Device: Nook STGR
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdhuang View Post
... PDF, the ebook equivalent of MP3 music.
I'm afraid I can't agree with that notion.

Unlike PDF and e-books, MP3 actually is suited to music. PDF is designed expressly for the purpose of preserving the page layout, that specific design point is totally contrary to e-books where the screen size is necessarily variable. But that's just my opinion, of course.
NatCh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2007, 02:36 PM   #6
nekokami
fruminous edugeek
nekokami ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.nekokami ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.nekokami ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.nekokami ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.nekokami ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.nekokami ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.nekokami ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.nekokami ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.nekokami ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.nekokami ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.nekokami ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
nekokami's Avatar
 
Posts: 6,745
Karma: 551260
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Northeast US
Device: iPad, eBw 1150
1 - Amazon says you can register more than one Kindle to the account, and people can share books that way.

2 - If the Kindle takes off, I predict the DRM and other restrictions will be broken within 3 months, max.

3 - Long term, I think Amazon will end up following Apple's lead, and opening up the Kindle and their Kindle store. They may want to protect their initial hardware investment, but they'll make a lot more money if they open up the system.
nekokami is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2007, 02:39 PM   #7
CommanderROR
eink fanatic
CommanderROR is fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon.CommanderROR is fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon.CommanderROR is fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon.CommanderROR is fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon.CommanderROR is fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon.CommanderROR is fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon.CommanderROR is fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon.CommanderROR is fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon.CommanderROR is fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon.CommanderROR is fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon.CommanderROR is fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon.
 
CommanderROR's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,022
Karma: 4924
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Germany
Device: STAReBOOK, iRex Iliad, Sony 505, Kindle 2
I'd agree with you on some points Bob, however I have to say the following:

We are not dealing with a small outfit here...this is Amazon we are talking about. They give you ebooks and they store them for you on their server. Now, let's assume you buy the Kindle V2 next year, then I'm pretty sure that you'll be able to use your old books again. Amazon would make sure of that.

While it's not nice to be bound to one provider, it is a system that works quite well as long as the provider is big and can stay in business for a long time. Amazon is such a provider and so is Apple. The iTunes store does the same thing for Tunes that the Kindle store does for books.
It gives you lots of convenience and OK prices and all it asks is that you use the whole package. Use the Hardware, use the Software, you can't get one without the other. If the system works well (and iTunes/iPod does work well, at least for me) then it will give a lot of customers what they want and also give the provider the security they want.

Also, the Kindle already offers a few "open" features like support for personal documents (you can get them in different formats and can have them converted from others for free and delivered to your Kindle (for a small fee) or load them onto the device yourself for free). You can also register several Kindle devices to one account, so your family can all share one e-library and several people can read the same book at the same time.

While I do not agree with the whole "closed ecosystem" that Amazon ist trying to force upon us, I'd gladly accept it if it means I get cheap and convenient access to a large selection of ebooks.

What bothers me far more (as I have pointed out a gazillion times today) is that once again there is a new product that could conquer the world but it is restricted to the US market...and this time it is restricted by hardware too, so importing it from the US would severely damage it's usefulness...
CommanderROR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2007, 02:40 PM   #8
yvanleterrible
When books can fly!
yvanleterrible ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.yvanleterrible ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.yvanleterrible ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.yvanleterrible ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.yvanleterrible ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.yvanleterrible ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.yvanleterrible ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.yvanleterrible ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.yvanleterrible ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.yvanleterrible ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.yvanleterrible ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
yvanleterrible's Avatar
 
Posts: 8,516
Karma: 3606000
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Que Nada
Device: Kobo Mini in my lunchbox.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nekokami View Post
1 - Amazon says you can register more than one Kindle to the account, and people can share books that way.

2 - If the Kindle takes off, I predict the DRM and other restrictions will be broken within 3 months, max.

3 - Long term, I think Amazon will end up following Apple's lead, and opening up the Kindle and their Kindle store. They may want to protect their initial hardware investment, but they'll make a lot more money if they open up the system.
Agreed. But yet again it is conditional to the terms set with publishers and might not be under their control for the duration of the first deal. Might me more in years than months.
yvanleterrible is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2007, 02:44 PM   #9
talaivan
Zealot
talaivan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.talaivan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.talaivan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.talaivan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.talaivan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.talaivan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.talaivan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.talaivan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.talaivan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.talaivan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.talaivan ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Posts: 124
Karma: 1022582
Join Date: Oct 2007
Device: Sony prs-505
Mobipocket has a free conversion utility to its format. It seems to work quite well and supposedly even converts pdf's. One thing no one has mentioned: as far as I know, the Kindle does not allow other fonts (like cyrillic) to be used, while the Sony does. I assume the non-drm'ed material produced by Mobipocket's converter will work on the Kindle. Another issue -- Book Designer for the Sony allows you to format converted material any way you want (margins, font, size, etc.) while the Mobipocket converter does not. Of course, the Sony only gives you 3 possible sizes while the Kindle gives you 6.
talaivan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2007, 02:44 PM   #10
da_jane
Evangelist
da_jane will become famous soon enoughda_jane will become famous soon enoughda_jane will become famous soon enoughda_jane will become famous soon enoughda_jane will become famous soon enoughda_jane will become famous soon enough
 
Posts: 405
Karma: 692
Join Date: Sep 2006
Device: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 | Kindle Paperwhite | iPad Mini
Can anyone tell us whether the content that is "stored" on Amazon's servers can be retrieved and saved on a harddrive?
da_jane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2007, 02:47 PM   #11
Nate the great
Sir Penguin of Edinburgh
Nate the great ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Nate the great ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Nate the great ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Nate the great ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Nate the great ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Nate the great ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Nate the great ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Nate the great ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Nate the great ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Nate the great ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Nate the great ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Nate the great's Avatar
 
Posts: 10,534
Karma: 3569525
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: DC Metro area
Device: Shake a stick plus 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by da_jane View Post
Can anyone tell us whether the content that is "stored" on Amazon's servers can be retrieved and saved on a harddrive?
The system does not yet work, but yes I can download it to my PC.
Nate the great is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2007, 02:48 PM   #12
nathantw
Zealot
nathantw doesn't litternathantw doesn't litternathantw doesn't litter
 
Posts: 145
Karma: 230
Join Date: Oct 2007
Device: 505
Actually, I think the way Amazon is promoting it is bringing awareness to the people. Like the saying goes "any press is good press" whether they're talking good or bad about the item the name is still out there in the world. So any kind of press that brings awareness of E-readers or e-books in general is good press. Why stay nitch when you can get worldwide acceptance instead? Only good can come out of it, right? Well, unless the closed system becomes the defacto standard.

As for the unit itself I read the description and it sounds very, very promising. I like the idea you can get Forbes, the Wall St. Journal and other newspapers and periodicals for a pretty cheap price. Being able to read the first chapter of books is also very, very handy. I hope that Sony comes up with that model when Borders breaks away from Amazon (is that still happening?).
nathantw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2007, 02:49 PM   #13
RSaunders
Groupie
RSaunders knows what time it isRSaunders knows what time it isRSaunders knows what time it isRSaunders knows what time it isRSaunders knows what time it isRSaunders knows what time it isRSaunders knows what time it isRSaunders knows what time it isRSaunders knows what time it isRSaunders knows what time it isRSaunders knows what time it is
 
Posts: 161
Karma: 2054
Join Date: Jan 2007
Device: Sony PRS-500
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdhuang View Post
Amazon is trying to follow the steps of iTunes+iPod. But at least the iPod supports MP3 from the beginning, while the kindle does not support PDF, the ebook equivalent of MP3 music.
I disagree. Kindle supports .TXT, that's the equivalent of MP3. It's an open, international standard, that's truly the lowest common denominator. For now, they don't charge to convert your text to their format, unless you want it wirelessly. You can get it back on your PC free, and from there to the Kindle. They could change their mind, if there were 100 Gutenberg books translated for every book they sell. The HMTL formatting they take as input for books-to-sell is as sophisticated as the other reader formats. Presumably we will have tools that make this format out of our own book sources.

PDF is not a good ebook format, even as a lowest common denominator. It's a printing format, for making pbooks.
RSaunders is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2007, 02:58 PM   #14
tirsales
MIA ... but returning som
tirsales ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.tirsales ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.tirsales ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.tirsales ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.tirsales ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.tirsales ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.tirsales ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.tirsales ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.tirsales ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.tirsales ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.tirsales ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
tirsales's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,600
Karma: 511342
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Germany
Device: PRS-505 and *Really* not owning a PRS-700
I totally and completely agree to Bob.
This is what I actually wanted to write - and this is why I hope, that the Kindle fails. And that it fails fast and furious.

So: THANKS for this resume! You took my words. Please: Let me be the first to sign a competition to Amazon you wrote - a competition that states what you wrote and asks for either a drm-free or a shared-drm solution.
If Amazon won't give it to us, the law will have to - and nobody wants that solution,
tirsales is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2007, 02:59 PM   #15
gmanacsa
Enthusiast
gmanacsa began at the beginning.
 
Posts: 36
Karma: 10
Join Date: Sep 2007
Device: Sony Reader PRS-500, X61T Tablet, iPhone, OLPC XO-1
Quote:
Originally Posted by CommanderROR View Post

..snip..

We are not dealing with a small outfit here...this is Amazon we are talking about. They give you ebooks and they store them for you on their server. Now, let's assume you buy the Kindle V2 next year, then I'm pretty sure that you'll be able to use your old books again. Amazon would make sure of that.

..snip..
Amazon has apparently already abandoned purchasers of their DRMd Mobipocket titles with no upward path to the Kindle. Microsoft essentially abandoned purchasers of protected Windows Media music files with no upward path to the Zune.

Amazon will undoubtedly still be around next year, but that's no guarantee that file compatibility or support for any particular DRM format will be.
gmanacsa is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Buying Amazon.com books on a UK Kindle? PeteWilliams Amazon Kindle 21 09-07-2013 10:38 PM
The 10 Worst Books Dr. Drib Reading Recommendations 514 02-26-2012 11:44 AM
Newbie Kindle owners...looking for Kindle books on Amazon? desertgrandma Amazon Kindle 9 10-03-2010 10:27 AM
What's the strangest thing you've ordered from Amazon? carld Lounge 21 08-29-2010 08:04 PM
worst thing about 505 hello Sony Reader 57 10-16-2007 11:36 AM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:26 AM.


MobileRead.com is a privately owned, operated and funded community.