Yoink

And this (also in Guardian) is why I, owner of a Cybook Gen3 and a person deeply in love with the gewgadgetty idea of electronic books, am in horror of the Kindle.

Listen to the tale of which the internet is all abuzz about. (Well, the e-book parts anyway. The funny caption cat parts, not so much.)

A publisher published e-books of 1984 and the Animal Farm, sold them to Kindle users through Amazon, and then the awful truth came out: the publisher, called MobileReference, didn’t have the right and legal permission to publish such editions. (Orwell died in 1950 but, nyah nyah, the US copyright seems to be “until today and ten more years”.) Amazon did the sensible thing and stopped selling the books, and then did the giant furybait asshat thing, and reached to every Kindle that had bought the book, and snuffed those copies out as well. (With refunds, of course.) You turns your Amazon Kindle on, your book is gone.

And now, after that sketch of the events as reported by various sources, my venting follows, given as a person that, living in Finland, isn’t going to have a Kindle anytime soon, with all the Whispernet negotiations with mobile phone companies, and doesn’t really want that big a greedy tentacle up my hindquarters anyway. I don’t expletive-deleted want to rent books.

When I dagnabbit buy a book, I dagnabbit don’t want there to be any possibility ever of the seller sneaking to my bookshelf (or bookshelf-equivalent-device) and taking it back, refund or not. What is mine is mine; and no matter whether this is selfish petulancy (“the culture of entitlement”?) or a strong defence of privacy and property, I feel it pretty expletive damn strongly.

Apparently Amazon is expressing some remorse about the removal (the from Kindles removal; the from catalogue removal was all okay), but still — just the thought that anyone can do such a thing. And the even scarier thought that people might get used to such a thing. And then we’re in Stallman’s “Right to Read”.

One final gripe: Quite predictably some are saying the equivalent of “Nurny nur nur, should have bought the real paper book instead” — quite missing the point. You don’t get to say that, boo-hoo, the new thing is bad in this instance and hence people should stick with the old. You fight to make the new better instead, as good as it can be, and then better as you learn more. People should, and sorry if I sound like a slimy self-confidence manager, always ask for more, expect the best, and gripe and complain to high heavens if they get anything less, because if they settle for timid mediocrity that’s all they will get. Timidity is not a virtue.

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