Amazon sides with publishers, hurts future

Much like Jake, I’m not overly surprised by Amazon’s (my words) Bonehead move. We all knew the Kindle was DRM’ed up the ass.

I mean they already reached out and started disabling text to speach, so is reaching out and removing content that big a stretch of the imagination? Not really, sadly.

I am however sad that Amazon has sided with Publishers. This will definitely cost them a lot of goodwill capital they might have had. Where as simply telling the publisher they’d no longer sell the book, but that sold copies were out in the wild, would have won them uncountable good will. Publishers are expecting unrealistic things in eBooks. If a book is pulled from the shelves (A real dead tree book) the publisher has no expectation of getting copies back that are sold. How could they? Send book retrieval ninjas out to scour the globe?

Unfortunately Amazon has given them unreasonable power over consumers, so now books I’ve legally purchased, can be taken away from me. I wonder, what happens to my notes and markup? I mean i might have a great many valuable thoughts captured in the annotations of a book. If Amazon/the publisher decide I can no longer have that book, do they also get to take my annotations?

When I got my iPod i began stripping the DRM off my music. I left the identification markers on, because I believe that piracy is bad juju and since I knew I wouldn’t be doing it, I left the “This song was bought by Apple ID j_wilker” tag on all my music. I did remove the restrictions on what I can do with the songs though.

Apple finally came around and convinced the music industry to take their heads out of their asses and released iTunes Plus. I no longer have to fuss with stupid music DRM that restricts me unreasonably.

It appears I’ll be doing the same with my Kindle content. Amazon is welcome to sue me, I’d love for them to sue some one who’s not contributing to piracy, but simply doesn’t want their rights as a consumer violated.

I have no problem with eContent I purchase being tagged as purchased by me, so if it shows up in China  being mass marketed and sold, I can answer for that. but I really think Amazon has crossed the line, by allowing publishers to recall works, and modify existing works post sale.

John Birmingham lost a reader that way, and apparently many more will too. Maybe I’ll get back into the classics at Project Gutenburg.

3 thoughts on “Amazon sides with publishers, hurts future

  1. Glenn

    I think it's worth noting that the books removed from Kindles were being offered by a publisher that didn't have rights to the content. I would be angry if the rightful publisher pulled content on a whim, but this is a case that's more like some dude selling unauthorized copies on the street. Yes, it's worth noting that Amazon did this, and users are correct to be wary, but I'd rather grab my pitchfork when it doesn't actually involve illegal activity.

  2. John Wilker Post author

    So would you expect wal-mart to come into your house to get goods that might have come from a chinese knock off factory unbeknownst to them? I admit, that's an extreme counter example. And my displeasure has nothing to do with the why.

    e-Content has given publishers (RIAA, MPAA, books, etc) this idea that they can charge us to "use" things, we're used to paying almost the same price for to OWN.

    Amazon is as guilty of this as they are, since their TOC is so crooked towards consumers. If Steven Kind decided he didn't want The Stand on shelves any more… Amazon could pull it. They say they won't, but their TOC makes it clear, I don't own my copy (I don't actually own a copy, but King is a popular name, makes for a better example) I'm simply borrowing it.

    There's no promise that should King decide I can't read The Stand any more, that I'll get my money back. This time Amazon refunded a few hundred (Thousand) people $.99, because, like you say, the copies were actually illegal. But would they refund me, if King simply said, "Pull it"? Or would my "limited license" simply run out, and my rental period ended?

    That the books were illegally listed, doesn't change the fact that Amazon has created a monster of publishers, selling us things, then changing the agreement with us after the fact.

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