E-books and Kindle

August 1st, 2009 by alacy

I was interested when I first heard of the Kindle but haven’t gotten one. I like the idea of e-books. I have read several public domain/ free ebooks on my palm/Clie. My Clie can handle plain text, pdf’s M$ word, or HTML/web pages. I like using it to read books. I get free ones from Baen Free Library (www.baen.com/library) and Project Gutenberg (www.gutenberg.org). But the idea of a getting more current books appealed to me. Also I do read a lot of various websites via browsers but that is hard to carry with me.

But I have some technical concerns about the kindle. First the Clie can do more than hold books, but the Kindle apparently last a lot longer on a battery charge but I don’t know if that is worth spending the money and having a new device.

But the big problems are the software/DRM on the Kindle. There is the lack of control of the book. If I buy physical book, I can keep it I can lend it, I can sell it, and I can give it away. With Kindle the only apparent choice is keep it. Then you might have heard, that last week amazon discovered their source for the kindle version of Animal Farm and 1984 didn’t have the legal right to sell those books,. So Amazon removed them from their store which is good. But then they reached out to all the Kindles that had copies and deleted them. Can you imagine the idea of B&N having the right to come into your house and remove a physical book if they discovered they didn’t have the right to sell it? Amazon promises they will not do this again. But the fact remains they have the technology to remove any book from any Kindle. So even the choice of “keep it” might not be there.

Also I saw another interesting item in the news. A high school student’s summer project was to read “1984” and make comments about every 100 pages. So he bought the Kindle version from Amazon. He was making notes and connected them to the passages in the book. When Amazon deleted the book from his Kindle the notes have nothing to connected to. So he is suing Amazon.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has apologized and said it won’t happen again in response to similar problems. But he has declined to specify whether there are any circumstances under which the company might delete works in the future

I think I will stick with my Clie and just download the PD and free ebooks I can find.

3 Responses to “E-books and Kindle”

  1. alacy Says:

    Looks like Sony is entering the e-book reader market. Sony is taking the opposite approach from Amazon, focusing on selling hardware that can display content from just about anywhere. Including pdf’s from your PC, public domain from Google Books. In fact they are setting it up so it can “borrow” e-books from libraries. The Library will be able to buy several copies of an e-book. The patron, checks out a copy, and then at the end of the checkout period it disappears.

  2. alacy Says:

    Now Barnes and Noble have entered the ebook reader market with the Nook (nook dot com). It currently can be pre-ordered for the same price as the Kindle II. This could change as both B&N and Amazon could adjust their prices.

    But it has several features that make the Nook more appealing to me than the Kindle. 1) It can take micro SD to hold more books, or to organize books 2) It has a Replaceable battery, so that you don’t have to return it for battery replacement and can carry spare batteries if in a place where you can’t recharge. 3) Access to Google’s public domain books for free. 4) Directly handles PDF’s and pdb (I assume this is e-books that palm pda handle) 5) Can share books on a PC (or Mac) 6) Can see a real one at a B&J bricks and mortar store

    Then the most interesting, is that if the e-books is purchased from B&N it can be “lent” to some with B&N ebook reader software not just a Nook. For 2 weeks they can read it and owner can’t.

    This is closer to a real book, but not the same. With a real book, I can lend it, sell it or give it away. With the B&N ebook I can only lend it.

    But over all the Nook appeals more to me than the Kindle, but I think I will watch to see what the prices do at the first of the new year.

  3. steve Says:

    I wonder if, eventually, the hardware will be free with a library subscription.