Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Vanishing Books of Kindle

New York Times article: Amazon erases Orwell Books from Kindle, by Brad Stone:

“It illustrates how few rights you have when you buy an e-book from Amazon,” said Bruce Schneier, chief security technology officer for British Telecom and an expert on computer security and commerce. “As a Kindle owner, I’m frustrated. I can’t lend people books and I can’t sell books that I’ve already read, and now it turns out that I can’t even count on still having my books tomorrow.”

Many of us have had the experience of books gone missing during our travels, lost to water or fire, stolen or misplaced. Visit Jen Robinson's post about her Lost Books, and you will find a long list of sympathetic comments. However, in all of those comments, not one of them had the text of a book vanish before his or her eyes. That scenario is evocative of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next novels.

Even if I had the funds for it, I haven't had much interest in owning a Kindle. I think it would be handy to be able to borrow books from the library and read them on a hand-held device, but I won't be a potential customer until I can read a book in the rain. (Yes, I know there's a waterproof pouch that sometimes works, but I'm still not tempted to spend my imaginary $300.00.)


tanita✿davis said...

Ooh, I read that. And was NOT PLEASED. They have no right to take books; can you imagine booksellers coming into your house and taking a book off of your shelf for which you had paid good money? I cannot, and I think this is patently ridiculous.

Yet another reason for me to continue to read and buy PLAIN OLD BOOKS.


Jen Robinson said...

That is scary, Farida! Thanks for writing about it. I really feel for the kid who lost annotations and things. I'm with Tanita. Another reason to stick to printed books. They can get lost, but I've yet to have one vanish before my eyes.

Melangell said...

Oooo. I was toying with the thought of a Kindle (only theoretically, not now) but I had not thought about not lending out books. Or having them disappear. Count me in for real books.

Lone Star Ma said...

Well, that's awful. Sounds like there will have to be some major debugging (as well as a sharp decline in price) before I would purchase such a device. That said, I definitely think that something vaguely of this kind is probably the wave of the future (like those little data pads on Star Trek). I think there will likely always be real books - at least I hope so - but I could totally see most newspaper and magazine subscriptions being downloaded onto such devices in the not too distant future, as well as some books, on a device that would also access the internet, etc.

As much as I would miss the smell of ink...

Saints and Spinners said...

Thanks for commenting, everyone! I think a Kindle-like device would be great for reading periodicals which are usually recycled anyway. I'd like to see them become inexpensive and yet last a long time so that they don't end up in landfills.