Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Why I Don't Own A Kindle, or The Value Of Actually Owning The Works

Everybody loves their Kindle. But not me.

Ever since I first heard about Amazon/Kindle remotely removing copies of Orwell's 1984 from several hundred accounts for some reason, I've been unwilling to get a Kindle. I don't care how wonderfully convenient they are. If the people at Amazon can control my access to works which I have legitimately purchased, then I don't really own those works at all.

Of course, it's not always a deliberate action. Sometimes things just... go wrong.

You'll note from the references at the bottom of the article that this isn't the first time the problem has been brought up. This is, in fact, a recurring issue.

Bottom line? I'm sure owning a Kindle is just marvy. And I'm sure it's wonderful to have cloud access to all those texts. At least... I'm sure it's wonderful right up until the point when Amazon decides you shouldn't have that access. Or until the government convinces them that the books you're reading are dangerous and naughty. Or until...


You know what? There are e-readers on the market that let you store your own e-books. I'm not yet interested enough to get such a reader, but when I do, that's where I'll be going. And a Kindle account?

Nah. Not until Amazon accepts that when I buy a book, it belongs to me, not them.


  1. Ya know, I'm awfully glad to hear someone else express that view. I've got one of the very first Sony e-book readers, which I mainly use for public domain stuff. But I'll be hornswoggled if I'm going to use a device that someone else can rummage around on at will. Even if it looks purtier.

  2. I don't care about owning a book, I care if I own access to a book. Wherever and whenever I want. This is why I like the cloud. But the model has to change. When the text, illustrations, diagrams, photographs etc were bound in a solid form then the model of selling a copy to an individual made sense. This was even recognised that you could then on-sell that copy.

    It becomes more challanging to determine a model for e-texts. Though some companies are trying to be more inovative like the ones proposing subscription services. Angry Robot Books will offer e-book versions of every book it publishes in a year — up to 24 books — for £69. This may work with the sort of audience angrey robot attracks.

    For me the question of kindle or not isn't so important. I am trying to decide if I go for a dedicated e-book reader or grab an app on a dedicated tablet.

    Already some publishers make e-texts availbe that can then be stored in your own cloud device to access anywhere. Until I decide on wether to go tablet or reader I haven't bought a lot of e-books. Though I have one or two PDFs from smashswords for obvious reasons. And Girl Genius I have available wherever I got after purchasing by keeping a copy on google docs and another on dropbox.

  3. I treat kindle books like cheap second hand paperbacks, cause they are about the same price. I never cared whether they got destroyed or lost and i am just as ambivalent about my kindle books.