One More Reminder That You Don't Own The Books On Your Kindle

from the ownership:-how-20th-century-of-you... dept

Lots of people have pointed out that one of the massive downsides of an eBook device like the Kindle is that you don't actually own the books you bought. Unlike a real book, you can't share it with a friend, resell it or donate it to the local library. And, in some cases, you can lose access to books you thought you "owned," based on the whims of employees at Amazon deciding you somehow abused their system. One of the big controversies over the Kindle was the TTS feature, which the Authors Guild claimed (without a shred of legal evidence) violated its rights. The Authors Guild had no claim here. It doesn't violate performance rights, because reading aloud isn't a performance. It doesn't violate copyright, because there's no fixed copy made -- and if it did violate copyright, so would reading a book aloud. Yet, for no clear reason, Amazon caved in and agreed to take away this feature.

Mark alerts us to the news that, as of May 13th, Amazon began remotely disabling the feature for certain eBooks, including many popular titles. In other words, Amazon remotely took away a feature that you used to have. That doesn't happen with a physical book. Random House doesn't get to say "oh, wait, we're now taking away the ability to dog ear pages." I love the concept of eBooks, but it's quite troubling that you don't actually get ownership of the eBooks you're buying -- and that Amazon can, at its own discretion, suddenly take away valuable features from books you had already purchased.


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    Anonymous12, May 15th, 2009 @ 8:25am

    I will never purchase a Kindle, or E-book through Amazon.com. Period. I don't even shop there. I did for the novalty when the company was first founded. It is somewhat conveneient. I however, much prefer shopping for books in a real store. E-commerce isn't all it's cracked up to be, and certainly not with the type of corporate behavior being displayed by Amazon.com

     

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    Willton, May 15th, 2009 @ 8:28am

    I smell a class action suit brewing.

    This looks a lot like a contract modification that lacks subsequent consideration. Buyers are not getting the original value of the Kindle for which they bargained when they bought the item, and they are not getting any consideration when that value is being taken away.

    You can bet that if Amazon gets sued by the consumers, they will fight back against the Author's Guild.

     

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      Matt, May 15th, 2009 @ 9:01am

      Re: I smell a class action suit brewing.

      it's not an if, it's a when.

       

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        John Duncan Yoyo, May 15th, 2009 @ 1:15pm

        Re: Re: I smell a class action suit brewing.

        There are at least two big fat grounds to sue here. One taking away something that people bought the device for and two discrimination against the handicapped and learning disabled. Do reading machines for the blind also violate the performance rights?

        I think Amazon would really like to lose that suit but they need it to be able to tell the writer's guild to take a walk.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2009 @ 9:22am

      Re: I smell a class action suit brewing.

      Add the class of Learning Disabled. They, too, must be in violation of copyright when they have to sound out the words while reading.

       

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    Ima Fish, May 15th, 2009 @ 8:31am

    I've argued this before, if a player piano constitutes a performance, (and as you know the player piano led to the creation of a performance right under copyright) then I think the audio/reading portion of the Kindle does the same thing to books.

    So let's assume for a second that the right does exist. However, even if it does exist, the publishers are still idiots for taking this action.

    People are not huge fans of ebooks and have been avoiding them every time they're tried. I think the publishers should have recognized and allowed audio reading as an added benefit to ebooks, which would increase the value of ebooks to consumers, which would increase the demand for ebooks.

    Let's face it, once ebooks are in place and actual books are no longer sold, the entire used book market would collapse and the publishers will likely make tons of money by eliminating our first sale rights.

    But instead of thinking long term, they're much more interested in very limited short term profits. Which is simply idiotic.

     

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      Ura Fish, Jul 17th, 2009 @ 8:24pm

      Re:

      ...and as you know the player piano led to the creation of a performance right under copyright

      No, it didn't. Player pianos are subject to mechanical royalties, not performance royalties. So you're just plain wrong.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2009 @ 8:49am

    All the gnashing of teeth about "rights" to some extent misses the point. Amazon needs ebooks and suppliers of ebooks have certain business concerns. It is not unusual in the business world for businesses to look past the issue of rights and negotiate compromises that ameliorate competing interests/concerns. Whether others agree or disagree is really beside the point. The businesses need a cooperative arrangement, and compromises are the name of the game.

    As for the Kindle, it is, quite frankly, a product I would never seriously consider. I happen to be from the "old school" who prefers to have electronic devices for books that mimic "real life" books, i.e., a device that would open up with two adjacent screens that display adjacent pages. There is little that is more frustrating that proceeding from one page to another where important content bridges adjacent pages. In a two display device it is easy to view the adjacent pages and move from one to the other without having to go back to a prior page.

    For my money, I may be interested in products similar to a prototype developed by researchers at Stanford that employ two screens. To me this is what an electronic book should look like, though unlike the Stanford prototype I would lose most of the doo-dads that give it a lot of additonal functionality and make the eventual product as simple as possible. Doo-dads can always be added as options. I guess you could say I am a firm believer in the KISS principle.

     

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      YAAC, May 15th, 2009 @ 9:04am

      Re:

      "For my money, I may be interested in products similar to a prototype developed by researchers at Stanford that employ two screens"

      Link please.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2009 @ 11:13am

        Re: Re:

        I do not have a link to the work that was done under a USG grant to the university, but I do have a link to another, smaller device that mimics the concept. A short video can be viewed at:

        http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/news.phtml/15713/16737/dual-display-ebook-reader-concept.phtm l

         

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          Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2009 @ 11:30am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Because I am operating from memory, I may be mistaken in my recollection that the work was done at Stanford. Certainly the source of the above device is work done at the Univ. of Maryland and Cal Berkeley under a NSF grant.

          Assuming technological limitations can be overcome (battery life, durability, etc.), I would be intrigued to see the impact devices such as this would have on the printed textbook market. Instead of +50 lbs. of college textbooks, imagine all these books on a single memory card. Add a few doo-dads like the ability to write notes, highlight text, search pages, etc. and in my view it could turn out to be one heck of a useful device.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2009 @ 4:22pm

      Re:

      All the gnashing of teeth about "rights" to some extent misses the point. Amazon needs ebooks and suppliers of ebooks have certain business concerns. It is not unusual in the business world for businesses to look past the issue of rights and negotiate compromises that ameliorate competing interests/concerns. Whether others agree or disagree is really beside the point. The businesses need a cooperative arrangement, and compromises are the name of the game.

      That sounds strangely like the way organized crime gangs work.

       

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    BrewinAZ, May 15th, 2009 @ 9:02am

    This is the risk when buying a virtual commodity vs. a tangible commodity. It falls into a control pattern and loss of personal freedom. Consider that each time you make a virtual purchase wither it be books, music software etc... Are you really getting something or is it all virtual.
    That which you do no physically posses you cannot physically defend.

     

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    Druid Man, May 15th, 2009 @ 9:02am

    Copyright violation

    I only purchase real books there.

     

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    Someantimalwalwareguy, May 15th, 2009 @ 9:06am

    To me, ebooks take away from the physical as far as a good book is concerned. Things like the smell of the pages/ink, turning the pages, the feel of the binding, etc are missing.

    With that said however, how will this effect the blind who may have purchased a Kindle to supplement their available choices? Does this represent a performance when the person is incapable of actually reading the text themselves?

    Just a thought...

     

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      chris (profile), May 15th, 2009 @ 9:21am

      Re:

      To me, ebooks take away from the physical as far as a good book is concerned. Things like the smell of the pages/ink, turning the pages, the feel of the binding, etc are missing.

      ebooks are not a replacement for real books. real books are cheap, high resolution, some what waterproof, can be signed by the author, and can be considered disposable if you are not attached to them.

      real books are also bulky (try carrying a few in a bookbag or moving a few thousand to a new apartment), not searchable, tough to distribute, and expensive.

      yes, i said books are cheap and expensive. one paperback book is cheap to buy (compared to a computer, phone, or dedicated reading device) and easily traded/sold/donated; a few hundred books are expensive to transport, store, and distribute.

      ebooks are great at doing the things that real books are not good at. ebooks are terrible at doing the things that real books are good at.

      the same can be said for music and movies. according to some, there is nothing quite like vinyl or the theater.

       

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        Someantimalwareguy, May 15th, 2009 @ 9:32am

        Re: Re:

        "ebooks are great at doing the things that real books are not good at. ebooks are terrible at doing the things that real books are good at."

        I agree and also would say that in the cases you reference; essential alternative to the bulk. I wish ebooks were available when I was in college as my back would be much healthier for having used them; believe me...

         

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        Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2009 @ 9:46am

        Re: Re:

        This is exactly what I wanted to say!

        Also when you buy a physical book you just own the paper and ink, not the content. For example it is illegal to xerox a book, or make movie out of it.

        Mike, stop being a drama queen!

         

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          Jason, May 15th, 2009 @ 10:12am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yeah, but you CAN share it with a friend or have your favorite robot read it aloud to you.

          Drama queen comment notwithstanding. :)

           

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            Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2009 @ 11:03am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Sharing: Yes. that is a feature ebooks doesn't have. But it has other good features. If sharing is the most important feature you want, you shouldn't be buying a kindle. Anyways, you can always share your kindle with your friend :)

            reading: You can make a robot (the same one that reads the physical books) read a kindle too :)

             

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        Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2009 @ 4:25pm

        Re: Re:

        ebooks are not a replacement for real books.

        I think that's the point that's trying to be made.

         

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    PaulT (profile), May 15th, 2009 @ 9:09am

    "The businesses need a cooperative arrangement, and compromises are the name of the game."

    ...and they are quite free to compromise among themselves before they release a final product. But, retroactively removing features the customer's already paid for? Even if a successful lawsuit is not forthcoming, the result of this decision can only be that people are dissuaded from buying a Kindle or similar device in the first place.

    That's the major criticism here. Although the companies may be within their "rights" (though the question remains how far they can devalue the customers' own rights in the process), that's not the point. The point is that it's bad business to do this sort of thing to your own customer base. That and the fact that most of these companies try to add even more restrictions after they lose money, rather than recognising the cause and effect after customers have been burned once.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2009 @ 9:14am

    Don't buy a Kindle

    and tell Amazon you are not going to buy a kindle. fuck them all!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2009 @ 9:16am

    I like Ebooks, however I'll never pay for DRMed books and devices like these. A 7" screened Chinese PMP allows me to read books without DRM just fine with the bonus of playing hi def movies and music for a $120.

     

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    CN, May 15th, 2009 @ 9:19am

    Pay for it, get screwed. Get it free, got it made.

    And people wonder why copyright infringement is running rampant.

     

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    The infamous Joe, May 15th, 2009 @ 9:37am

    Not all eBooks are created equal.

    I love the concept of eBooks, but it's quite troubling that you don't actually get ownership of the eBooks you're buying

    This issue is Amazon/Kindle specific. I live in no fear of losing the books I purchase for my CyBook Gen 3, in fact, since it acts like a portable hard drive when connected to my computer, even sharing a book with a friend is possible. (although, illegal unless I delete my copy, I suppose)

    On a side note: I never once read a book because I wanted to smell or feel the book. Not once. I also dislike getting ink on my fingers because I want to read The Hitchhiker's Guide again. I read a book to read the book. In this way, eBooks are perfect for me because all the "pros" of dead tree books (as chris stated above)are things I care nothing about. Plus, I can carry around 2,000 books quite easily. (Though it occurs to me that reading 2,000 books would be a very daunting task-- perhaps overkill.)

    The real question is: Where is the uproar from the bookshelf industry? :P

     

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    inc, May 15th, 2009 @ 9:37am

    so where the value in not pirating the eBook? This is where the wisdom os xkcd comes in.
    http://xkcd.com/488/

    I guess this is inducing infringement in the eyes of **AA and The Authors Guild and not free speech.

     

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    PassinThru, May 15th, 2009 @ 9:45am

    Too bad really

    I'd really like a Kindle. I've always been an early adopter of new tech, and the Kindle really appeals to me in principle. However, Amazon is offering me less if I buy an ebook than I'd get if I bought the low tech version. Remotely disabling features (and entire collections) is unacceptable. I didn't rent the book - I bought it. From that point forward, they should have no say over what I do with it. But they do.

    As long as this is the case, the Kindle will remain an attractive piece of tech with a fatally flawed implementation. A shame.

     

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    PassinThru, May 15th, 2009 @ 9:46am

    Too bad really

    I'd really like a Kindle. I've always been an early adopter of new tech, and the Kindle really appeals to me in principle. However, Amazon is offering me less if I buy an ebook than I'd get if I bought the low tech version. Remotely disabling features (and entire collections) is unacceptable. I didn't rent the book - I bought it. From that point forward, they should have no say over what I do with it. But they do.

    As long as this is the case, the Kindle will remain an attractive piece of tech with a fatally flawed implementation. A shame.

     

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    Yakko Warner, May 15th, 2009 @ 9:51am

    UPDATE: NO THEY DIDN'T

    From the top of the linked article:
    Update #2, 15 May: Yesterday, Random House began to disable TTS on books in the Kindle store, which is our primary concern. However, it appears that early reports from the Amazon message boards of remote disabling may have been inaccurate; there have been no confirmed reports of TTS being remotely disabled, and we apologize for any confusion. However, the technology to remotely disable these works does exist, and this remains a significant concern.

    So the remote disable scenario is still just "theoretical" at this point.

    I just don't get what the concern is about. I listen to audiobooks. They are done by voice actors, who put inflection and change their voices for characters. You can't tell me that a TTS program can compete with that, and that they're actually threatened by this?!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2009 @ 1:19pm

      Re: UPDATE: NO THEY DIDN'T

      >I just don't get what the concern is about. I listen to >audiobooks. They are done by voice actors, who put >inflection and change their voices for characters. You can't >tell me that a TTS program can compete with that, and that >they're actually threatened by this?!

      Guess who is the biggest vendor of audio books in the US- Amazon's Audible.com.

       

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    bill, May 15th, 2009 @ 10:11am

    re:never

    I would never buy one of these overpriced gadgets. Who the hell needs to carry more than one book at a time? The worlds fastest reader maybe, but I will just pick up a new book off my bookshelf when im done reading the book. I feel bad for the people that actually bought this thing. Now they got to worry about it getting broken, stolen, or some dumbass company taking features away that they paid for. Pathetic

     

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      Scott, May 15th, 2009 @ 11:53am

      Re: re:never

      I would, and did. Try being a fast reader and traveling a lot. My Kindle has paid for itself (as expensive as it is) many times over.

      Flying 14 hours from DC to the Far east requires more than a single book. And believe it or not, I actually prefer reading books on my Kindle than on paper. And per title, I typically pay LESS than a paperback. Of course, the payback is like $.50/book, so it's gonna take years to get back my initial investment (notwithstanding the payoff for travel).

      Your point about theft/damage is definitely valid, I do worry about that, and rarely spend the time to backup my Kindle books. Not really an issue with my bookshelf at home...and if I lost my power adapter....bad juju.

      I guess I'll take my chances though. I love the damned thing.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2009 @ 4:37pm

        Re: Re: re:never

        First you said

        My Kindle has paid for itself (as expensive as it is) many times over.

        Then you said

        Of course, the payback is like $.50/book, so it's gonna take years to get back my initial investment (notwithstanding the payoff for travel).

        So which is it? I smell a shill.

         

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          Dustin, May 16th, 2009 @ 2:25am

          Re: Re: Re: re:never

          Which part of travel convenience as a pricy-worthy benefit didn't you understand in their statement? Or are you just being dense?

           

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        Scott is an Astroturfer, May 16th, 2009 @ 1:11pm

        Re: Re: re:never

        "Scott" the Shill sez:

        My Kindle has paid for itself (as expensive as it is) many times over.

        Then "Scott" the Shill sez (in the same post):

        it's gonna take years to get back my initial investment

        Hey Scotty, tell your boss Bezos he needs to employ a better astroturfing firm.

         

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      Rich, May 18th, 2009 @ 11:02am

      Re: re:never

      @bill:
      Um, college students, engineers (like me) who have a lot of manuals, etc., in PDF/DOC format, doctors, laywers--anyone with a lot of case material to review. Expand your brain a little. Not everyone is exactly like you.

       

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    grayputer, May 15th, 2009 @ 10:28am

    wrong argument

    First, I own a kindle. Second, 80% of the stuff on my kindle is DRM free. I can treat it like a book, within the limits of electrons vs. dead trees.

    Finally, people seem to have a dire need to conflate two issues. The device is NOT the book. Buy a kindle, go to manybooks.net, baen.com, fictionwise.com, or any of several other sites and buy DRM free material for your kindle in mobipocket book format. Get the mobipocket reader and convert PDF based books, .DOC files and other things to read on your kindle.

    Do NOT complain about the device, it is not the issue. If you dislike having your 'book' rights restricted, do complain about DRM media or buy different books. By the way, DRM existed way before the kindle on mobipocket format as well as other readers.

    I would expect that DRM is supported on the Kindle as that is the only way Amazon can get books on the kindle. A reader without books isn't very useful and tends to have low sales numbers. If publishers demand restrictions (e.g., Random House) and you need their catalog of books ...

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2009 @ 4:39pm

      Re: wrong argument

      Do NOT complain about the device,

      Yes sir! I'll never let it happen again, sir! /sarcasm

      You can go climb a tree.

       

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    r roborovsky, May 15th, 2009 @ 10:53am

    TTL

    I too don't understand how mechanicaly reading a book outloud breaks copyright, unless you take into account that Authors do make royalties from Audio Book sales and that Amazon also owns Audible.com. TTL does not compare to a professional readers performance in the audio book format, unless one likes to hear robotic voices, though that might improve in the future to the point that TTL may sound natural...

     

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    bob, May 15th, 2009 @ 11:09am

    Who would want this?

    With the down side of the Kindle, why would anyone buy it?

     

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      grayputer, May 15th, 2009 @ 11:33am

      Re: Who would want this?

      What downside? Buy DRM free books elsewhere or 'throw away' books with DRM from Amazon. Use the lifetime free internet connectivity to surf answers when you need them, where ever you are. Convert specs and other docs you need to read and carry them on the kindle.

      Right now I have a device smaller than a paperback book that has two books (non DRM, via Baen.com) I'm reading for pleasure, several hundred pages of specs I'm reviewing for work, a handful of admittedly lower quality MP3s, and the ability to look-up simple things on the internet for free (IMDB, google). It also has several text files referencing 'fixed' data like birthdays, DVDs I'm missing, old/out of print books I want to buy used, etc. Basically things I like to have when I'm not near a computer to look it up online (I could use the browser but the data is pretty static so I loaded the text file).

      Sure I can do all that crap much better with my laptop at about 5-10 times the weight. Or I can use a smart phone with the itty bitty screen (my old eye can't cut it). But to be honest, the book/spec reading would be worse, the kindle does do a good job there. The bottom line is I never did it with the laptop, too big of a pain in the butt to drag around for 5-10 minute stints of reading. I don't do it with the smart phone, screen sucks. I do use the kindle to review the specs etc. in spare moments.

      Fly much? I can easily go through 4-6 books on a coast-to-coast round trip set of flights. Given the allowed size of carry-ons, which do you think is better, 6 paperbacks or one kindle. (haven't actually flown with the kindle yet, I HAVE tried the 6 paperbacks).

      Who wouldn't want one?

       

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      Tagbert, May 16th, 2009 @ 11:33am

      Re: Who would want this?

      @bob "With the down side of the Kindle, why would anyone buy it?"

      Because there are so many other, more important, upsides.

       

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    joe sixpack, May 15th, 2009 @ 11:23am

    violation of ADA?

    doesn't this make the kindle not be ADA compliant? i would think the Kindle would be especially attractive to the blind. too bad.

     

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      grayputer, May 15th, 2009 @ 12:27pm

      Re: violation of ADA?

      I'm sure suit either has or will be filed on those grounds eventually. However, I'd point out that paperbacks are not ADA compliant either :). I believe the original issue was resolved via the AVAILABILITY of audio books and not via the REQUIREMENT of audio included. I.e., I do not get an audio cassette included with every paperback. I THINK people hope to make a case in 'it was there and now it is not' is different than it was never in the paperback.

      Bottom line, all books I have bought from Amazon still have text to speech available. I believe that some titles may change states in future sales (TTS avail if purchased before xx/xx/09, not if purchased after) but I have not heard of a previously purchased book changing TTS availability.

       

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    peggy marton, May 15th, 2009 @ 11:28am

    book ownership

    I agree that private ownership of books and other things is being erroded by business. We need to be aware of the loss of our right ot own outright what ever we buy. The object is to achieve a continous payment process. We rent, in orther words. Business then no longer has to improve the product, compete or respond to customer needs. They control the content that you are able to see and can take it away at their will. They own the content. I like the reader idea but I don't like the control they are achieving with it. We should be able to download any content even scanning and uploading our own content.

    We have let our rights go and soon will not even have the ability to get them back. We need to wait to buy until they provide what we want. That is consumer power. To stop consuming. We can't yet be forced to consume. There is an interesting scifi story written a long time ago which depicted a world where people were required to consume. Are we there yet????

     

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    Joe Schmoe, May 15th, 2009 @ 11:31am

    @25 - "...Do NOT complain about the device, it is not the issue..."

    It is very much part of the issue. It is tethered to Amazon and they have twice now employed retroactive control over completed purchases.

    It's bad enough to buy into a techology with the spectre of natural obsolescence. Now we are not being allowed to trust things to continue to work as advertised/intended/expected right out of the box!

     

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      grayputer, May 15th, 2009 @ 12:21pm

      Re:

      All cases of 'retroactive control' that I've heard of haven't actually existed. I've had my Kindle for awhile yet, no remote DRM added, no loss of text to speech, no 'loss of books'. All those things made the news at one point and all have been refuted as far as I know. Do you have a confirmed specific case?

       

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    Ken Zutter, May 15th, 2009 @ 11:44am

    Reading, Aloud or Allowed

    As a law abiding citizen, I hereby vow to never read to my grandchildren again.

     

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    BrewinAZ, May 15th, 2009 @ 12:09pm

    I agree with Scott to an extent. I am a fast and voracious reader. And (until recently) I traveled extensively. A couple of months ago I took a business trip from Phoenix to Charlotte. I lugged 7 books with me, and bought two while there (five day stay). That makes for a very heavy carryon. A Co-worker took pity on me recently as he knows I have 3 week trip coming up. He loaned me his Sony reader to try (yes, I know this is a Kindle discussion but…). So far I am happy about everything but the inability to share books.
    Thanks to all for the DRM free sources.
    I will be looking there. The nice thing about the Sony is the memory slots. Now I don’t have to figure out how not to pay for extra baggage space. Now if I could only print these things... I am still concerned over the loss of tangible goods.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2009 @ 1:54pm

    Perhaps sophisticated technology like a USB cable is beyond the grasp of Techdirt? As already posted a couple of times: Kindle .NE. DRM. Put any file you want on it. Or, buy the Amazon/Wireless/DRMed content. Your choice.

    My choices are made eyes open and I don't get hysterical when people decide to change things for BS reasons. I just move on.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2009 @ 4:45pm

      Re:

      Kindle .NE. DRM. Put any file you want on it. Or, buy the Amazon/Wireless/DRMed content. Your choice.

      So you're saying the DRM is optional? Pray tell, where would one get the same books Amazon sells with DRM without DRM?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2009 @ 1:56pm

    Oh... and somebody needs to develop and ship a cheap "reader" device, that can be aimed at any printed page and TTS it. Such a device would work just fine on the Kindle as well as on Paper books.

    Let's see the publisher's reaction to that one, shall we?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2009 @ 4:50pm

      Re:

      Oh... and somebody needs to develop and ship a cheap "reader" device, that can be aimed at any printed page and TTS it. Such a device would work just fine on the Kindle as well as on Paper books.

      While not exactly cheap, they already have such devices. Some of them even automatically turn the pages.

       

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    StoneMason, May 15th, 2009 @ 2:02pm

    Visually impaired people need this feature - Shame on Amazon!

    EBook readers do one thing very well that traditional books can't, that is they allow the text to be blown up in size. This opens up access of the books to the millons of people that have visual impairments. A population that is continually growing due to people naturally aging.

    Where Amazon is blowing it by caving in on the book reading portion of the book, is that for many people in the above category, the only way they can "read" the book is to listen to it. This was such a great feature for the functionally blind, and it is shameful to remove it. The copyright laws need to be changed to specifically allow this kind of of text to speech capability.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2009 @ 4:47pm

      Re: Visually impaired people need this feature - Shame on Amazon!

      "EBook readers do one thing very well that traditional books can't, that is they allow the text to be blown up in size."

      Two words: reading glasses.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2009 @ 9:08am

        Re: Re: Visually impaired people need this feature - Shame on Amazon!

        Why use reading glasses when you can zoom in and have each page presented such that they contain about two sentences before you have to move on to the next page? On the downside, it does turn a 100 page book into a 2500 page book.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2009 @ 4:02pm

    next product is kindle talker small screen no text just reads the books to you. different product.

     

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    Tropicalandia, May 15th, 2009 @ 9:43pm

    No Kindle for Me!

    Well that cements the deal. I will NOT be buying a Kindle.

    If this kind of thing is allowed, where something I purchased is then taken away from me, doesn't that set a precedent for other purchases I've made? What about my laptop? Is the company I purchased it from going to be able to come after me and remove or disable components on it, at will?

    What about my cell phone? Will the company I purchased it from be able to come after me and remove or disable certain components that came with it when I purchased it?

    What about my Wii? Are they going to be able to come after me and remove or disable certain components because of an arbitrary decision?

    I hope someone at Amazon.com gets a clue.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2009 @ 11:06pm

    Fuck Amazon sideways with a wire brush. Their site looks like it's designed by monkeys on speed anyway. Unless they make some major changes, I'll never buy anything from them again.

     

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    Writers Tools, May 16th, 2009 @ 9:54am

    Owning Digital Products

    Yes you do own an ebook, but no you cannot give it away because you'll retain a copy. You also cannot photo copy a Stephen King book and give the photo copy away. Single copy per person. How hard is that to understand?

    Rick
    Sensei J. Richard Kirkham B.Sc.

     

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    Fuck the Kindle, May 16th, 2009 @ 1:04pm

    Jeff Bezos can stick that plastic dongle up where the sun don't shine. I won't ever buy a kindle, and if Amazon keeps going like this, I won't buy anything from them. The Kindle is a complete ripoff.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2009 @ 1:16pm

    I wonder if the Kindle Kill command is sent via One Click

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 2:58am

    DRM and Ownership (and Kindle)

    I think Amazon should just rebrand their bookstore (which it isn't for DRM-ed eBooks) as a paid library (which it is). It's less that of a shop but more than a library. If you want to OWN the book, buy the paper version. But DRMed eBook will always stay as something lent out to you for a not-really-modest fee.

    It's not particularly hard to see Kindle as just a tool for reading books from Amazon library (even with misleading advertisement) the real problem is that it's too expensive for that matter. You can go to the conventional library for free and Kindle's 300-something dollars price point (plus 10-20$ for each book) does not justify itself especially with the cheaper UMPCs/Netbooks available. The only plus of Kindle against some Netbook is eInk technology (which shouldn't really be that expensive).

    Basically the whole argument about DRM revolves around "OMG I bought it! But I can't put it in my microwave because I don't really own it." And that's the whole point - why exactly do you need to OWN the stuff? My suggestion is leave the DRM in place but rebrand the "bookselling" service as a "booklending" service. And lower the damn prices a bit. For example, 1$ for any book for a month. After that make the downloaded copy unreadable by device. A month is ok for any book and 1$ is ok even for residents of poorer countries.

    You still can't give to a friend, yes. And that's what you can buy the paper version for - to OWN it and to SHARE it as you see fit.

    Get over it, guys - ownership is overrated. Trust me, you won't even finish 90% of the stuff that seems ok on the first glance.

     

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    Brandin Estes, May 20th, 2009 @ 6:02pm

    I was worried when i saw the headline here because ive been planning to get a kindle.
    After reviewing the conversation here, I'm much relieved. it sounds like a lot of people, as is common on the internets, are over reacting. I want the books that i want for the words themselves. I'm not buying an audiobook, i'm buying an e-book so that i can stick to my multiple series without having to carry around all my massive books.
    and i can purchase a new release for ten dollars instead of way more than that for a bulky hardcover version that is difficult to handle while reading.
    I'm glad to have found out in advance that the TTS feature may not last, but i will still buy a Kindle. Not because its cool, but because its convenient. The idea that i can, for free, read the first chapter of a book before deciding to purchase it is great and will help me expand my reading horizons. I am an intelligent, if not modest, guy who would get much use from this device.

     

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    tore (profile), Jun 17th, 2009 @ 8:56am

    To me, the biggest problem with any eBook reader is that they're almost impossible to get anywhere outside the US. I'd have loved to buy a Kindle, but you can't buy it if you're in Europe, only the US. I finally bought the Sony PRS-505 at a UK store (which, one month later, stopped shipping internationally), and I can't even buy one at the local Sony store.
    It took me two years to even be able to find the reader.
    Now, DRM makes all this an annoyance, you know, actually being able to read the books you like. Fortunately our laws allow us to strip DRM (and you automatically get an unlock code for your DVD player here, making it region free) and convert the files to whatever format needed to be able to view our purchase. Of course we're not allowed to distribute, but we ARE allowed to take the steps necessary to actually use the product we paid for.

    This, more than anything else, makes DRM a null issue. If I couldn't strip the DRM from a product I legally bought and paid for, I'd just download a copy. I mean, I already paid for the product, right?

     

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