Book Publishers Latest War On Technology: How Dare You Share Your Kindle Highlights! [Updated]

from the luddites-r-us dept

Update: Though it still seems like a strong possibility that publisher demands are behind this, several commenters and other sources have pointed out that it's just as likely to have been Amazon's decision. We mistakenly stated that Amazon implied they were acting at the publishers' behest, but that was a misreading of the quote from Findings and has been corrected.

It's really quite amazing how some folks who came up through the old publishing world seem to have a near allergic reaction to new technologies that are somehow "different." You may recall the previous freakouts over text to speech, library lending of ebooks and efforts to scan physical books into ebooks. The latest horror? Highlighting. Yes, be afraid, you modern techno-wizzes. The publishing gods are afraid of your ultra-hip and modern "highlights" via the Kindle, because (*gasp*) they might be... (ominous music)... shared! Yes... I said it: shared.

A startup called Findings had been offering a neat little feature via the Kindle, that would allow people to sync and share the text that they highlight on the Kindle. You could see all sorts of ways that this could be interesting, informative and useful. But, all that the traditional book people saw was "ohmygosh! that could be used for piracy!" At least that appears to be what happened, leading Amazon to tell Findings that it was cutting off the service, and making it clear that this was due to publisher complaints.

As that article notes, publishers can (and do!) already limit how much you highlight -- can't have you highlight too much, now -- so it's not like the concern was that you'd just highlight the whole thing and release that on the world. It just seems like a knee jerk reaction to a useful feature that is somehow too different.

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  1. icon
    Nate (profile), 20 Sep 2012 @ 7:58am

    I think Mike is probably off-base. Publishers are probably not the guilty party here. A rebuttal:
    http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2012/09/20/if-a-web-clipping-service-lost-access-to-you r-kindle-highlights-its-probably-not-the-publishers/

    I would have posted it here but it's 900 words long.

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