back to article British bookworms deem Amazon 'evil'

“My only real prediction is that it’s all changing.” Well, ask a stupid question - in this case, about the future of book publishing. The lobotomy-inducingly obvious answer was provided by author Neil Gaiman. If I’d written this prediction here on El Reg, I would have been derided as a time-waster specialising in stating the …

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  1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    Re "famous Neil Gaiman"

    Who the fuck is Neil Gaiman?

    1. Cave Dweller
      Trollface

      Re: Re "famous Neil Gaiman"

      http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Neil+Gaiman

    2. Ian K
      Boffin

      Re: Re "famous Neil Gaiman"

      If only there was some sort of "engine for searching" out there. Better still, one freely accessible to all, maybe on the internet or somewhere like that.

      A ridiculous idea, I know, but one can always dream...

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: Re: Re "famous Neil Gaiman"

        I think the purpose of a sentence like "Who the fuck is X?" is less to elicit information than to emphasise the obscurity of X. Googling X won't help achieve that.

        1. Evil Auditor Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Re "famous Neil Gaiman"

          Kubla Cant, thank you. For stating the what I thought was obvious :-)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re "famous Neil Gaiman"

          "I think the purpose of a sentence like "Who the fuck is X?" is less to elicit information than to emphasise the obscurity of X."

          It is also commonly used to emphasise how well one has separated oneself from from pop culture and various other frivolous trappings of civilisation. "Look how much of a philistine I am! I don't even know who X is!" is a curiously frequent boast on the internet; I'm not at all sure why people take such pride in it.

          1. TeeCee Gold badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Re "famous Neil Gaiman"

            "...less to elicit information than to emphasise the obscurity of X."

            Which, as it adds yet another reference to X to the world's search engines, has exactly the opposite effect.

        3. Ian K
          Trollface

          Re: Re "famous Neil Gaiman"

          @Kubla - Yeah, I did consider that...but as there didn't seem to be much to choose between "really not knowing who Neil Gaiman is" and "knowing who Neil Gaiman is but also thinking he's obscure" I when for the first option.

          Still, if the OP wants to flaunt feigned ignorance rather and actual ignorance that's their call.

          1. Don Jefe
            Happy

            Re: Re "famous Neil Gaiman"

            I actually have no idea who he is. I'm going to look him up though.

      2. VeganVegan
        Devil

        Re: Re "famous Neil Gaiman"

        I believe the issue is'nt not knowing how to find out,

        it's not wanting to know at all, as in:

        "I'd be ashamed to know that".

      3. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: Re "famous Neil Gaiman"

        > If only there was some sort of "engine for searching" out there.

        Isn't there a Thatcher quote about having power and being a lady? If you have to say you so, then it isn't true.

        Well, you can apply that same logic to Google.

        If you need Google, then he's probably a nobody or a has-been.

    3. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Re "famous Neil Gaiman"

      Point taken but I really did think that El Reg readers would know who he is. In future, I will do as newspapers do and write an accreditation before the name - such as "Harry Potter star Richard Griffiths" or "Transformers The Movie voice actor Orson Wells".

      1. Turtle

        I know who the fuck Neil Gaiman is...

        "Point taken but I really did think that El Reg readers would know who he is..."

        I know who the fuck Neil Gaiman is. He's the creep who's worth $20 million, and still goes to raise $20,000 on Kickstarted to finance a poetry tour with his wife, Amanda Snout (nee Palmer). Snout, if you recall, when trying to raise $300,000 on Kickstarter for a new album raised $1.2 million and then tried to enlist pickup musicians to play live with her for "hugs, high fives, and beer" (or some such insulting shite.)

        Yes indeed. I could go on. Because I know who Neil Gaiman is.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: I know who the fuck Neil Gaiman is...

          > when trying to raise $300,000 on Kickstarter for a new album raised $1.2 million and then tried to enlist pickup musicians to play live with her for "hugs, high fives, and beer" (or some such insulting shite.)

          Everyone loves a trier... More fool those who handed over the $1.2m...

          1. Turtle

            @Phil O'Sophical Re: I know who the fuck Neil Gaiman is...

            "Everyone loves a trier... More fool those who handed over the $1.2m..."

            I don't really have a problem with people giving her money to finance the album - although the fact that either her wealthy husband didn't want to invest in it himself, or that Snout herself preferred to put out a tin cup and go begging, is telling. I do think that the people who contributed even after the original monetary goal was reached were kind of foolish, considering how many more worthwhile things could have been done with their money.

            What I have a problem with, is that Snout, after having gotten what is by *any* standard a large sum of money, was still looking for donations in the form of free labor. I don't know about anyone else, but I would expect someone who has just been the recipient of such generosity (whether merited or not is immaterial) to show some generosity to others, but that didn't happen in Snout's case. Really, it would have been no kind of financial burden for her to have paid these "volunteers" something. But she didn't want too; she seemed to have thought that she had better things to do with the money that she panhandled than to pay the musicians...

            And there's another interesting point. Evidently Snout wanted these charity musicians not for *all* the gigs that were going to support the album, but for some gigs; which if I recall were venues in smaller places, less likely to be reviewed by critics. So if you were in one of these smaller markets, you could have given her money to do the album (and incidentally paid off her personal debts) and then paid money to see the show supporting the album, and gotten to see her play with charity musicians who were donating their time and labor - because Snout was only going to pay the *real* musicians for the big gigs.

            Nice.

            I understand your point that "everyone loves a trier" but I don't agree with it. I think that certain situations (and maybe most situations) impose moral obligations on people, and this was one of them.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Re "famous Neil Gaiman"

        In future, I will do as newspapers do and write an accreditation before the name - such as "Harry Potter star Richard Griffiths" or "Transformers The Movie voice actor Orson Wells".

        A bold move by noted accreditationist Alistair Dabbs!

    4. Turtle

      @Evil Auditor

      "Who the fuck is Neil Gaiman?"

      I don't know why people seem to be having trouble understanding this. To me it obviously meant "Who the fuck is Neil Gaiman that I should care about his opinion?"

      Kind of like if someone said to me, "You need a haircut" and then I would rebut such a statement with the very simple question "Who the fuck are you?" - or, with the suppressed clause being made explicit: "Who the fuck are you that makes you think that you opinion is worth fuck-all, and who the fuck are you that makes you think that *I* should think that your opinion is worth fuck-all?"

      It's got nothing to do with obscurity; it's a pretty common way of expressing contempt for a statement and the person who made it. Well, a pretty common way around where *I* live, anyway.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Evil Auditor

        Who the fuck is Turtle?

        1. Turtle

          Re: @Evil Auditor

          "Who the fuck is Turtle?"

          You'll never know!

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Devil

      Re: Re "famous Neil Gaiman"

      Fucking priceless....

      "If I might be permitted to make my own suggestions, I think bookshops should also install sofas and coffee machines, and invent a process for ordering out-of-stock titles that doesn’t involve queueing for half an hour to speak to a 17-year-old fuckwit who can’t spell or use a mouse. I have spent less time waiting at a DIY store Customer Services counter."

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

    Would they buy a car that only accepted petrol from a specific filling station?

    Anyone with even the smallest amount of common sense that wanted an e-reader would look to see how many sources of content were available to them, and they would all come to the same conclusion: EPUB. You can use readers and content providers interchangeably, It can use Kobo as either a reader OR a content source for my non-Kobo reader. I can also borrow EPUB ebooks from my library for free with Overdrive.

    When I see people with Kindles, I really wonder how much the human race has devolved. I also think the same thing with iDevice owners.

    1. Shakes
      Black Helicopters

      Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

      World-wide, free of charge 3G access, for one? That's a rather handy feature if you ask me.

      But I'm sorry, you were talking about iDevices, didn't want to interrupt you there...

    2. Mike Brown

      Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

      non techies. i actually recomended a kindle to my wifes great uncle. But then he went and got a 2nd hand kobo, as it was cheaper. Ive had nothing but problems since then. It dosent help he dosent actually have any net connection at home, or a computer for that matter, but the plan was to use the libruarys wifi, and buy all books from amazon thro the device. Nice and easy. Now i have the hassle of trying get books on this device that ideally needs a computer and a net connection, when he has none. He actually enquired about getting newspapers on it!! What would be the point? He only goes to the libruary once a week, and because he is the wifes family i cant tell him to stop being a moron. Now if it was my dad.....

      1. Mike Brown

        Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

        id forgotten about the 3g!! This makes his rash kobo purchase even more annoying.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

        "and because he is the wifes family i cant tell him to stop being a moron..."

        Yeah, you can.

        1. Don Jefe

          Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

          I bet you're a joy at family get togethers.

          "Oh God, Sweaty Neckbeard Came, ugh"...

        2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
          Mushroom

          Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

          "and because he is the wifes family i cant tell him to stop being a moron..."

          Yeah, you can.

          The Soviets could have nuked American during the Cold War. It was an option that was entirely possible, at the push of a button in fact, and totally within their capabilities.

          However, the retaliation would have been too awful to contemplate. With appalling long term consequences. I put it to you that the same situation would apply in this case...

      3. Jolyon Smith
        Mushroom

        Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

        Not true. I'm a techie. I have a Kindle Touch and I love it.

        A lot of fellow techie look at me a bit funny when they see me with it and ask questions like "don't you have a tablet ?" and "why would you want something so slow and only black and grey ?". Those who know a bit more (but don't have an e-reader) might also ask: "why would you get an e-reader that is locked to the Amazon store?"

        (Those same techies usuall also have non-"jailbroken" iPads, iPhones or other smart devices, similarly tied to their respective storefronts, but don't seem to appreciate the irony)

        For me, I looked at the Amazon Store, I looked at what books were available. I also looked at alternative sources for books and the process involved in getting books sourced from other than Amazon onto my device.

        The Store Experience (as "sampled" via using the Kindle reader app) was friction free.

        Adding additional books purchased elsewhere into my Kindle library was friction free.

        The Kindle Touch was, at the time, the best e-reader on the market.

        The Kindle jacket case with built in reading light was the best looking and feeling jacket/case solution at the time.

        So, being the sort of sensible chap who adds up the pros and cons and then makes a decision based on relevant factors, rather than being a techno-ideolog who seeks every opportunity to flagellate themselves on the altar of inconvenience just for the sake of being able to flaunt their technocract geek credentials, I bought one.

        And once I explain how all this stuff "just works", and how the display technology is actually far better suited to the function for which the device is specifically intended, as opposed to the gaudy, retina scorching displays of tablets designed to do everything and yet also nothing.... other people quickly "get it" too.

        Especially those who don't initially understand how it is that I am able to sit in the sunshine, enjoying the view with my (polarised) sunnies still on AND still be reading on my device without squinting, constantly twisting and turning the device or shading the screen in a desperate attempt to try to make the display readable, and how I am able to keep pulling this device from my bag or pocket for days on end without having to scrounge a charging cable or swearing cos the battery just died.

        Sometimes being a techie means we are best placed to choose the best, fuss-free solution.

      4. seraphim
        Pint

        Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

        "He only goes to the libruary once a week, and because he is the wifes family i cant tell him to stop being a moron."

        Uh, yes, you can. You can even do it somewhat nicely. Just explain that since your advice wasn't followed in the first place, you're not really sure how to support the device he ultimately settled on, and he'll need to use the normal phone-drone tech support line. Maybe next time he'll listen to start with.

        Beer, because you'll need one after trying to be family tech support.

    3. Rob Moir
      Happy

      Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

      What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

      Oh I see what you did there. How... clever... of you.

      I've got a Kindle and I'm perfectly comfortable with the decision to purchase it, thank you. I'm considering trading up to a 'paperwhite' or Fire HD model too. Much like the iDevice (yep, own them too), I'm far too busy enjoying the fact that it works very well for its intended purpose to even notice the spluttering about "lock in" from people like yourself.

      You and I are both happy with our choices, and there's nothing wrong with that. However, your need to characterise people who disagree with you as having "devolved" in some way says a lot more about you than it does about 'us'...

      1. Richard 116
        Thumb Up

        Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

        @Rob Moir

        Could you possibly pop back and post a variation of that every time there's an Apple/Sony/Microsoft/Amazon/Android/Windows/iOS/Linux/Kindle/iPad/Nexus/whatever discussion on here?

        Well said sir.

      2. h3

        Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

        I have a kindle keyboard 3G - If it broke though I would replace it with the cheapest. (I definitely do not want a touchscreen if I could have a normal one with a backlight I would get that but I want physical page turn buttons and to never touch the screen.)

        I would be more annoyed not having my kindle than my smartphone or tablet.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

          "never touch the screen."

          Oh god yes! I'm forever having to clean my satnav and phone screens. I do NOT want to have to do that with an e-book reader too!

          Apart from anything else, the ergonomics of correctly positioned buttons to press to turn the page (a la Kindle, for example) is far better than trying to force new technology to pretend it's old technology.

          With a kindle I can hold it in one hand and "turn" pages back and forth with the same hand. On a touchscreen e-reader, you really need to use both hands to be comfortable.

          1. Jolyon Smith

            Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

            Well, I have a touchscreen e-reader (Kindle Touch) and it is also very comfortable to use one-handed.

            Just saying. :)

      3. stuartnz

        Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

        I'm sure you would love the Paperwhite. I traded up to one a few months ago and love it. I really liked my Kindle keyboard, but the Paperwhite is even better, and reinforced my preference for e-ink over reading on backlit devices like my S3 or Nexus 7.

    4. Mr Fuzzy

      Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

      Someone who knows they'll accept mobi files and uses Calibre for library management?

      1. MCG
        Thumb Up

        Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

        Spot on, fuzzy. Since buying my Kindle two years back I've read at least a thousand ebooks without buying a single one from Amazon. Or from anyone else for that matter....

      2. Flywheel Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

        Maybe the type of cretin that enjoys a battery life of 3 weeks, pin-sharp fonts and the ability to carry around hundreds of books?

      3. Tom 11

        Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

        @ Mr Fuzzy,

        And that the email account from Amazon will convert most text formats and mail it out to your Kindle for no extra charge. I have had no problems with mine and I am not the sort of chap who owns anything produced by Apple, Sony or their ilk. As previously mentioned, Calibre and any text editor makes the Kindle an excellent device.

        For an extremely cheap, well designed and thoroughly useful device and supporting services you cannot go wrong with a Kindle, so trolling AC, STFU and GTFO.

    5. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

      > EPUB. You can use readers and content providers interchangeably

      Funny, I can use my Kindle just like that, too. Only perhaps 10% of the stuff on it was bought from Amazon, and that was because it was the cheapest/most convenient place to buy at the time.

      The Kindle is probably the easiest device to use with Amazon, but not at all difficult to use with other sources. Maybe you need to broaden the material you're reading on your non-KoboKindle?

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Devil

        Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

        Not even epub. Just the Kindle app.

        The Kindle uses content that can be read on any other brand of device. Amazon is very open in this respect. They are anything but a single vendor solution (like Apple). There is simply nothing forcing you to use an Amazon branded device.

    6. aawelj

      Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

      I am that "cretin". I have an old Kindle that, given the amount I read, has paid for itself several times over in terms of the money saved over buying paper books.

      However, given your insightful comments, I can see that in fact my Kindle must in fact be defective in some way, since I have never had any problems downloading material from non- Amazon sources. Yes, I have to download them to a PC first and then swap them to the Kindle, but that's not a lot of effort. A quick Google (who, by the way, provide for all my internet search needs - I must just love those walled gardens!) suggests that EPUB books can be converted so as to be readable on a Kindle in several ways.

      Thank you for pointing this out. I wonder if Amazon will give me a refund? Or are they just too evil?

    7. Jonathan 29

      Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

      The quality of the books available to borrow from Birmingham Central Library is pitiful. I can't speak of other regions as in this global interconnected world I cannot borrow from them apparently. The ability to email books and web articles to the kindle however is a god send.

      1. stuartnz

        Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

        It's the same here in NZ, at least with my local library. When they first announcedd they were getting into ebook lending I was very disappointed that the Kindle was not supported. Then I saw the selection of books available and realised I was missing out on precisely nothing.

    8. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

      Well, this was my point. Ordinary people do not sit around considering the pros and cons of ePub vs Mobi file formats. What they do is buy the slimmest, lightest, most convenient and least hideous e-reader on the market, which is an Amazon Kindle... THEN they discover they've bought into proprietary DRM-saturated Hell.

      1. Matt Siddall

        Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

        "THEN they discover they've bought into proprietary DRM-saturated Hell."

        How do they discover this? When all the books they buy from amazon automagically appear on the device? When the books they buy elsewhere can be fairly easily converted and transferred to the device by plugging it in to the computer, or by sending an email?

        If Amazon prevented you from loading your own books onto the kindle and made it so that every book on their had to be purchased from them, I'd agree with you. But they don't.

        1. Alistair Dabbs

          Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

          >> How do they discover this?

          When they want to lend a book to someone with a non-Amazon e-reader, or their Kindle breaks and they decide to replace it with a Kobo.

          1. Toxteth O'Gravy

            Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

            Or... er... their Kobo breaks and they want to replace it with a Kindle.

            Kindle DRM is at least - cough, cough - easy to remove - cough.

          2. JEDIDIAH
            Devil

            Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

            >>> How do they discover this?

            >

            > When they want to lend a book to someone with a non-Amazon e-reader, or their Kindle breaks and they decide to replace it with a Kobo.

            That sounds like a Kobo problem.

            I can read the books "trapped in DRM hell" on any of our multiple iOS or Android devices. It's just like how I have 4 different brands of streamer device that can handle Amazon Video (or Netflix).

            Some vendors like being a single device walled garden. Amazon isn't one of them.

            1. GrumpyGus
              Thumb Down

              Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

              It isn't Hell - the Amazon experience is actually quite pleasant, but you can only read Kindle books on devices that Amazon supports; and Amazon chooses not to support any other e-reader, so the the walls are there - you just haven't tried to leave the garden yet.

              Even iTunes supports one or two non-Apple devices, but I think most people would consider it a restriction if you depend on Apple or Amazon or whoever releasing software for your chosen device.

              Doesn't matter whether it's a single-device walled garden or multiple devices - it's still a closed system.

        2. Rukario

          Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

          > "THEN they discover they've bought into proprietary DRM-saturated Hell."

          > How do they discover this? When all the books they buy from amazon automagically appear on the device?

          Nope, when all the books they buy from amazon automagically disappear from the device.

          1. Pristine Audio

            Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

            "Nope, when all the books they buy from amazon automagically disappear from the device."

            I tend to buy and read fiction. I can count on one hand the number of books I've ever wished to read more than once. I have metres of shelves full of books I've read and will never open again. AFAIR there's only ever been once instance of Amazon removing a book from Kindles remotely, and I've already read that one. I really wouldn't care as long as I wasn't in the middle of it when I was reading it.

            This is where books are, for many people, not like music. You don't read the same one over and over and over again like you'd listen to a favourite album a thousand times. (I'm the same with movies - rarely do I ever wish to watch something twice.) Yet all too often they seem to get get lumped together as "digital files" as if people with therefore have the same relationship with them. I don't. Once I've read a book on my Kindle Amazon is welcome to take it back.

            1. seraphim
              Facepalm

              Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

              "I tend to buy and read fiction. I can count on one hand the number of books I've ever wished to read more than once. I have metres of shelves full of books I've read and will never open again."

              Then why on earth aren't you using the library? If you only want to read something once, then check it out, read it, and return it. That's exactly what I do with books I don't suspect I'll want to reread.

              I have shelves of books, too. Some have only been read once, but many are reference manuals. They're not the type of book you sit down and read for pleasure, but they're very well used and I refer back to them whenever the need arises. If they were to suddenly disappear, I'd be rather unhappy. Fortunately, with a shelf full of books, that doesn't tend to happen.

              1. Pristine Audio
                Pint

                Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

                "I tend to buy and read fiction. I can count on one hand the number of books I've ever wished to read more than once. I have metres of shelves full of books I've read and will never open again."

                Then why on earth aren't you using the library? If you only want to read something once, then check it out, read it, and return it. That's exactly what I do with books I don't suspect I'll want to reread.

                Simple: because I live in France and prefer to read English books. These are not generally stocked in our local libraries.

                For anyone living in another country where their first language isn't generally spoken the coming of the Kindle (and its like) is manna from heaven. You used to find us at airports scanning the meagre selection of overpriced English paperbacks on the small sections of shelves dedicated to foreign-language books, or carrying suitcase-loads of books back from Blighty. Not any more. Thank you, Amazon - have a drink on me.

                1. Artaxerxes
                  Trollface

                  Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

                  Hell, if I want half the books I read from the library I have to get stuck on a waiting list for a couple of weeks and make the trek to the library (they get further and further away with every new Government) sometimes you just want to read the latest GRR Martin/Gaiman/E.L. James/Whatever without all the fuss so may as well pay and get it delivered to your device.

                  Or torrent like a dirty pervert...

              2. mmeier

                Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

                Why not use the library? Well

                + Opening times Mo-Fr from 10:00 to 18:00. Guess what my worktimes (including driving) are

                + Saturday is 10:00-14:00 and if you are lucky they do NOT close the doors due to "maximum visitors reached". Last time it took me more than an hour to give back a book...

                + The library is located "middle of city"(1) so getting a parking space on saturday is "if you are lucky". And it is not the part of the city where I leave a bike that would take more than 20€ / 1 day to replace.

                + I do no longer read german translations of anything more complex then feys and knotholes. And I do not read fantasy at all. English books OTOH are a tad rare in a german library

                + For technical books (Typical half time: 3 years) I need an eBook reader anyway

                (1) Actually the "culture center", a decaying installation whos surrounding "park" is the main gathering place of junkies, drunks and other elements.

        3. DrAJS
          Happy

          Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

          What sort of cretin argues with a cretin who calls other cretins a cretin because of that cretins cretinous purchasing decision??

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

          When you or Amazon decide to close your Amazon account and all those ebooks you paid for and assumed you owned disappear forever from your Kindle.

          What,you haven't read the small print? Maybe that's the answer to the original question.

      2. Rob Moir
        Facepalm

        Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

        THEN they discover they've bought into proprietary DRM-saturated Hell.

        Oh no, my device is working exactly as described. What kind of hell is this I find myself in.

        -- said by no one, ever.

        I can't help thinking that the majority of people who buy into a [closed / walled garden / DRM-saturated hell] type device will be perfectly happy with it. It's only us techies who expect to root our devices who might be unhappy, or those who are miss-sold devices on a false basis who will be unhappy.

        1. Mostor Astrakan

          Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

          Weeelll, they'll be perfectly happy with it until it falls off the table once too often, causing a need for replacement, and they unwittingly buy this other reader that's a bit cheaper and has colour, and then having got it home, they start wondering how they get their books onto their new shiny.

        2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

          I can't help thinking that the majority of people who buy into a [closed / walled garden / DRM-saturated hell] type device will be perfectly happy with it. It's only us techies who expect to root our devices who might be unhappy, or those who are miss-sold devices on a false basis who will be unhappy.

          I have to agree with this. I recommended a Kindle to some very non-techies a while back. Just because I'd heard such awful things about Adobe's DRM. So my suggestion was that Amazon lock-in, and paying for books, was better than the alternative of wrestling Adobes Digital Editions into submission sufficiently to be able to take advantage of free library books.

          I turned out to be correct. Since they ignored me, and took someone else's advice at Christmas they have read zero library books. And given the hassle it took me to get one downloaded for them to show them how, I am entirely unsurprised.

          Adobe Digital Editions is an enormous pile of shit by the way. I enjoy incomprehensible user interfaces as much as the next man, but that was just silly. Also, I could find no way to authorise the actual device you're running it on, and its built-in reading interface is also shit, especially if you're trying to get large print for someone who's visually impaired. But it doesn't want any other (competently written) reader program on said laptop to be allowed a look-in.

          I personally want only DRM free media. And I'm willing to jump through the hoops, and perform the required backups to support my choice. To anyone who isn't, there's iTunes or Amazon. Haven't looked at Google Play recently, but that's obviously got the same potential. This allows you to buy a device that links everything up, and makes it all easy. Sure you're locked in, and your media is at risk. But if you buy your own and don't back it up, it's probably worse. And there's nothing wrong with paying a bit extra for convenience.

          1. Alistair Dabbs

            Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

            >> Adobe Digital Editions is an enormous pile of shit by the way

            No arguments from me there.

        3. John Bailey
          Facepalm

          Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

          "I can't help thinking that the majority of people who buy into a [closed / walled garden / DRM-saturated hell] type device will be perfectly happy with it. It's only us techies who expect to root our devices who might be unhappy, or those who are miss-sold devices on a false basis who will be unhappy."

          Absolutely..

          Look how delighted the Plays for sure people are.. They got to buy their favourite music all over again.. squeeeeee!!! Lucky them.. They are "supporting artists" even more.. and other PR based reality twisting nonsense.

          And the Sim City people must have been positively jumping up and down with glee at the sight of the game they bought not being able to log on to the servers..

          To anybody actually paying attention.. DRM works just fine so long as you use it within the confines of what it's owner allows.

          The problem comes when you stop using it as you are told, and try to use it as you want.

          I can't help thinking that the people who claim DRM is not a big deal, must have a vested interest. Such as a lot of media that is DRM crippled, and if not enough people use it, it will be dropped, and they might lose what they already rented.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

            ""I can't help thinking that the majority of people who buy into a [closed / walled garden / DRM-saturated hell] type device will be perfectly happy with it. "

            I'm sure they are, just like Apple owners blisfull ignorance. However the smiles all soon disappaer when they change the HDD in their computer, and iTunes deauthorizes all their music (I bet everyone here knows many people that have lost everything like this, and had to buy it all over again), or Amazon decide to remove books from their device remotely etc etc etc....

            Everything is usually fine, until it all goes wrong....

        4. mmeier

          Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

          Kindle (Hardware or the Windows software) "Work as designed". Technical people should be able to evaluate if they can life with it (IMHO: Yes) and the rest get's a device that simply works. Most people buy their eBooks through exactly one source - Amazon. And where libraries offer eBooks (my hometown does) - Kindles are supported. BECAUSE they have stuff like DRM allowing to limit the lease time of eBooks. Important for eLibraries since their licence requires it.

        5. tabman
          Thumb Up

          Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

          +1 Rob. My Aunt and two of my nephews use kindle HD. They have no clue what a walled garden is and even if they did, they wouldn't care. My aunt gets all the books she wants and the nephews are glued to the games, Facebook and movies. The hardware is cheap as is the apps and books. Why on earth would they use anything else?

          I too have an old style kindle e-reader which is great for holidays due to the non reflective screen and unbelievable battery life.

          Don't be led by shiny shiny, use what works for you!

      3. stuartnz

        Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

        I'm not a hardcore techie, but I do know who Neil Gaiman is (The Doctor's Wife was a great episode) and I did consider my options before buying my first Kindle a couple of years ago. I have yet to see any signs of being trapped in "proprietary DRM-saturated Hell". Amazon's range of available books continues to grow, Calibre continues to make adding books from non-Amazon sources a total doddle and I continue to enjoy reading on my Kindle while experts keep telling me I've been enslaved by a malevolent megacorp.

    9. Iain 15
      Stop

      Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

      Amazon offers a free Kindle app for Android and Apple which I make full use of thus alleviating the need for a stand alone device.

    10. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

      Me. My 200 dollar Kindle Fire was a gift, but a welcome one. I occasionally like to read something that is still within copyright, though and I buy most of my paper books from Amazon anyway.

      I don't like DRM any more than the next person but in all honesty the unrealistically high price of most E-Books means I don't buy many of them for that reason alone. 12 dollars for the latest Game of Thrones e-book? Or a copy of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress? Teh Stoopid.

      I could get some of those e-books from *my* library WITHOUT farting around with software to do the borrowing of course.

      Yes, I can get Kindle DRM'ed books from my local library, a process that requires I enter the library with the kindle and let it connect to their network. But then, I don't want to mess with the tablet just for messing's sake. I want it in my life as an appliance, not a hobby. My hobby time is all spoken for.

      I used to think licensing was a rip-off (the library must buy x copy licenses, each of which permits y lendings), but I realized that many library books get sold off for a dollar after a very short time to make space on the shelves, so it sort of follows the philosophy they've always used.

      And when I use my Kindle I'm reading, right now the Best of Lucius Shepard, last week A Tale of Two Cities, week before that a James Blaylock collection. I bought them while at work and they were delivered seamlessly to my device when I got home (no wifi here). The screen is best for novels, not well suited to technical stuff or columnar mark-up, but that is down to the screen footprint. I imagine an iPad or similar device would provide a better experience.

      When I look at what people are doing with their iPads and iPhones during my commute I'm seeing mostly games, and not really nifty modern games but stuff like hearts and solitaire. I can't judge the worth of how one uses an electronic reader, but personally I've always thought reading was *not* a mindless waste of time and expensive iKit.

    11. Trustme

      Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

      "would look to see how many sources of content were available to them, and they would all come to the same conclusion: EPUB"

      http://www.epubtomobi.com/ - EPUB to MOBI converter and free. Lock in problem solved. Next whinging complaint please....

    12. Greg J Preece

      Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

      I bought a Sony reader, jailbroke it, then installed the Kindle app. Best of both worlds.

    13. LarsG
      Unhappy

      Kindles are for rentals

      A kindle allows you to rent a book. When you die and pass on the books cannot be passed on and disappear into the ether of Amazons dormant accounts.

    14. Jolyon Smith
      Flame

      Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

      An *informed* cretin.

      An UNinformed cretin on the other hand merely passes judgment on others more well informed than they.

    15. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: What sort of cretin buys a Amazon Swindle anyway?

      What sort of cretin bases his opinion on someone based purely on his choice of tablet or e-reader?

      Couple that with the fact you clearly have absolutely zero idea about them (Kindles) I'd suggest that it is, in fact, you who are the cretinous one.

  3. Matt Siddall

    It's not even locked in really

    Use something like Calibre, and download books from anywhere you want - Calibre can convert them to kindle format.

    I can particularly recommend Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/

    Also, it's very handy being able to email books onto the kindle. My dad has one, and when he's run out of books, he calls me and we talk about what I have and what he fancies reading next, then I just send an email and it appears on his device as if by magic. It really is easy!

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: It's not even locked in really

      By 'lock-in', I meant that your Amazon content is locked in, not that it locks non-Amazon content out. You can't move or lend your Amazon ebooks to non-Amazon e-readers. It's possible that Kobo suffers from the same problem but I wouldn't know because I have yet to find anyone representing Kobo in the UK who understands how its DRM works.

      1. James Anderson

        Re: It's not even locked in really

        It ain't necessarily so.

        You can copy your books to and from a pc and on to other devices. You just need your amazon account to unlock it.

        DRM done right, not as annoyingly restrictive as Apple , and, gives reasonable protection to the copyright holders.

      2. Trygve

        Re: It's not even locked in really

        "Amazon content is locked in"

        Unless you have calibre with the plug-in that strips all the DRM off Amazon conent (and any content locked with Adobe DRM) and converts it into any format you like - all automagically like.

        I think Kobo's DRM works off Adobe, meaning it's a giant bucket of shit - I never got the two free ADE books I received with my Sony to work on my kindle until Calibre unlocked them.

        If Kovid ever pulls the plug on calibre it truly will be a dark day...

      3. Scott Pedigo
        Happy

        Locked in, no, others locked out, yes.

        I have a Kindle that I'm very happy with. I was well aware of Amazon's proprietary Kindle format and "lock-in" when I bought it. I generally don't like DRM. I never bought into the iTunes business because I only want unencumbered MP3 files, and iTunes is actually not all that cheap. However, in the case of Amazon, I accepted it. Why?

        (1) I have been a customer of Amazon for a long time, using them to purchase books, paperbacks, DVDs, BlueRays, and assorted toys. I've had the best customer service I have ever experienced with any company.

        (2) I was purchasing physical books from them anyway. The Kindle books are even cheaper.

        (3) The Kindle books don't take up space in my apartment like the old paperbacks I have gathering dust in a stack of cartons.

        (4) It is possible to share the Kindle books. My experience with sharing my physical books is that I can get one or two people to read them, not more. So the limitation on number of times shared with the Kindle is a comparatively minor issue.

        (5) I looked at many e-readers in stores, and at a co-worker's Kindle, before I chose the Kindle. The Sony e-readers I found appalling poorly designed. They were clunky and suffered from buttonitis. Just like the old Nokia smart phones with their buttons and deep menu systems were made to look clunky by the first iPhone. Old companies have had trouble learning the lessons of Apple's success: simple design. Amazon had the benefit of coming after the iPhone, and took those lessons to heart when creating the Kindle.

        (6) Amazon may have a walled garden, like Apple, but their way of making money is exactly the opposite: instead of demanding high profit margins for the hardware AND gouging on content via the walled garden, they subsidize the hardware AND sell the content cheaply, relying on massive sales with a small profit margin per sale.

        (7) I'm not really locked in to the Kindle as tightly as has been implied. I've read at least half the books I bought on my Samsung Galaxy II using the Kindle app. I've also read some of the books on my iPod.

        (8) The Kindle does one thing, and it does that one thing well. I can hold it in one hand for a long time, and read in bright sunlight, where I can hardly see what is on my mobile phone screen. I sync and go over to the mobile for reading in the dark.

        (9) I like having Amazon store my stuff, because if I lose my Kindle, I can just get another one and re-download everything. For free. Using the 3G.

        Agreed: I cannot just buy any old EPUB reader and transfer my Kindle books onto it (at least not yet, and without using some conversion app). But considering the number of other devices I can already read my Kindle books on, I find that not to be a deal-breaker when weighed against all the positive things I like about Amazon and the Kindle.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's not even locked in really

        Kobo uses Adobe DRM. To access books you need to log in with an Adobe ID, on any Adobe DRM-enabled device. I don't know about the hacks, or "lending", but in UI terms, it's pretty much the same as Amazon, for reading your own books.

  4. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Alert

    Once again, people miss the point ...

    arguing over *which* eReader you like diverts attention from the facts.

    1) Publishers often set eBook prices to be the same (or more) than the dead-tree version

    2) We have to pay VAT on eBooks.

    Why not put the same effort into addressing those as to a bunfight over Kindle/Nook/Kobo ?

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Once again, people miss the point ...

      These are indeed facts. They're just not the facts that I was writing about. Next week, I will write about some other facts.

    2. fandom Silver badge

      Re: Once again, people miss the point ...

      "1) Publishers often set eBook prices to be the same (or more) than the dead-tree version"

      They may often do that, yet I haven't seen it in the ebooks I have bought in the last two years.

    3. Chris Parsons

      Re: Once again, people miss the point ...

      Couldn't agree more. I now see if anyone is selling a second-hand 'real' copy of the book, it's almost invariably cheaper, often much cheaper, so I've gone back to doing that. It shouldn't be necessary.

    4. Marshalltown
      Pint

      Re: Once again, people miss the point ...

      "Once again, people miss the point ... "

      Yep, e-readers need batteries.

    5. mmeier

      Re: Once again, people miss the point ...

      Part one is easily solved by the customer - do not buy them at the "killed, ripped appart and mutilated tree" prices NOR the physical version and write the publisher an eMail.

      Besides most eBooks I bought the last 3+ years where considerably cheaper than the paper version. The only ones at same price where "pulps" where I valued the "not having to take them to the bin" more than the "should be cheaper". The rest was between 1/2 and 1/5 the price, some where "no longer in print".

      Part two is not a problem IMHO. Actually the non/reduced VAT on books should be dropped, they are simply goods, why give them a special treatment? No. they are no longer "culture". Culture is what the majority of people consumes for fun not the "Bildungsbürger" concept of the 19th century

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The eBook Problem

    Do I buy an eBook for £17.99 or the hardback from waterstones for £17.99?

    If I have spent £17.99 for a hardback am I likely to spend anouther £17.99 to have the book conviently on my e-reader?

    When will a book retailer sell me the hardback/paperback with the ebook? I wouldn't mind paying a little extra (say £21 for both). But splashing out full price again is insance and means I don't buy any major authors ebooks.

    1. Tieger

      Re: The eBook Problem

      i'd love it if they'd get something like the Triple Play for DVDs sorted, so that buying a book physically got you a code to enter so you get it on an ereader.

      i love my ereaders (yes, all 3 of them! my kindle that got me started, my iphone for when i'm at work during a quiet period, and my ipad for the rest of the time), but i also love paperback books, and like having a full bookshelf of books that i can glance over and pick one out from.

      i suppose the problem is people will buy the 'combined' book, get the code for their ereader, and then sell the physical book to someone else. but honestly, for me at least, that would just be too much effort. and IF people are going to go to that much effort, they'll just go to the (much less) effort of downloading the book from some torrent site in the first place.

      if the publishers want people to spend money on books (and you have to assume they do, or the whole things fucked anyway), then they need to make it as pleasant as possible.

    2. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: The eBook Problem

      A number of independent publishers and indie authors have been doing this for selected titles for a couple of years but only if you buy direct from them. I share your frustration: I have a perfectly good set of Lukyanenko's 'Night Watch' paperbacks and fancied reading them again recently but forgot how difficult it can be to turn pages with one hand while standing in a packed train. Also, the third book in the series is called 'The Twilight Watch' with a suitably mysterious cover pic and people thought I was reading a 'Twilight' book about doe-eyed sparkly teen shit-for-brains vampires.

    3. fandom Silver badge

      Re: The eBook Problem

      Since Neil Gaiman is mentioned in the article I took the time to check the prices for his upcoming book at amazon.co.uk:

      Hardback: £16.99, although amazon sells it for £10.99

      Kindle: £16.99, although amazon sells it for £8.49

      It's funny, you are both right and wrong at the same time.

    4. 100113.1537
      Thumb Up

      Re: The eBook Problem - similar to the DVD problem?

      Paying a little extra to have multiple formats is working for me with DVD's. I don't have a Blu-Ray player - YET, but on the basis that when I next replace my home theatre system I will probably have Blu-Ray, buying the DVD/Blu-Ray Combo packs for at most a buck or two more is not a bad deal. There is even a licence in there to download a digital copy if I want. I think this is a model book sellers should look at.

    5. DaiKiwi

      Re: The eBook Problem

      It isn't the retailer, its the publisher that is the problem here. It would be great to have a bundled deal available.

      For a number of years SF publisher Baen Books have included a CD with some hardcover releases with DRM-free e-editions of the book, previous books in the series, other works by the author and other bonus material.

      Of course Baen were also the first publisher to encourage their authors to make one or more of their books available online for free as a 'taster'.

      1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: The eBook Problem

        Baen are awesome. My flatmate got a couple of these, I wasn't sure if they where just a "loyal reader" bonus, since he bought a *lot* of books. They often seemed to have the first book and few chapters of the second in a series, which is a pretty good hook and sell.

        The big hook of eReaders seems to be that people cannot see what you're reading. So you can read trashy stuff and not be judged on the train.

  6. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

    I'm really happy with my Kindle. Agree about the lock-in issues, which is why I haven't bothered registering it. Just buy the stuff from Amazon (or wherever), download it to the PC version of kindle, convert it, copy it onto the Kindle.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: I'm really happy with my Kindle

      I was with mine too until it stopped working properly 13 months after I bought it. Amazon offered to replace it for a 'discount'' price that was actually higher than buying a brand new model.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      DRM isn't a problem.

      http://apprenticealf.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/calibre-plugins-the-simplest-option-for-removing-most-ebook-drm/

  7. Peter Galbavy
    Big Brother

    meh

    There are a whole slew of challenges here. Amazon is only the largest player in a very rapidly growing market and will not necessarily still be number one in a few years.

    I guess the most important choice is content. To me Amazon is the only commercial mainstream UK supplier of eBooks I found that is relatively device agnostic - or rather they supply software which works on all the current devices I want. Even as a seemingly Andoird fanboi I will not use Google Play as that's a real lock in and egenarlly more expensive. Must be the VAT dodge not working. Similarly for the other device tied UK sellers. When I fancy something independent I browse www.smashwords.com and I've actually spent money there on a regular basis for DRM-free titles.

    What does get my goat, and Amazon whine it's the publishers but I don't believe them, is the complete lack of loan and resale facilities. If this DRM shit meant anything then it would mean that your books could be transferred securely from one account to another without the old copy being accessible. It's crazy when you can buy a new hardback from an independent reseller on Amazon for less than a fraction of the price of the ebook. It also makes sure the the consumer knows their place - they are renting the book, never ever owning it.

  8. Richard Pennington 1

    Who is Big Brother?

    Looks like Lord Sugar with a haircut...

  9. Fink-Nottle

    Amazon is more than e-books

    The Amazon storefront provides a unique point of contact between the public and second hand book dealers.

    I'm something of a bookwork, and Amazon is always my first port-of-call when looking for out of print books. Indeed, I've started buying second hand in preference to new - cheap and resource friendly.

    Is Amazon evil? I guess that depends on whether you have a vested interest in seeing them fail..

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge

      Re: Amazon is more than e-books

      It's nice that when searching for individual books, Amazon list secondhand copies available.

      It's a shame it doesn't aggregate, so you can search for several books, and then see if there's a *single* secondhand source.

  10. CJN1946

    Tablets

    Dont see the point of dedicated Ereaders. With a tablet you can use any Ereader software and buy books or better still borrow and download them from your local library, plus all the other computery stuff that tablets have.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tablets

      Because trying to read proper books (with words) is shite on tablets ?

      I guess Nuts is OK though.

      1. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: Tablets

        >> trying to read proper books (with words) is shite on tablets

        I disagree. Books are very readable on tablets but you have to adjust the brightness, colours etc otherwise they'll burn the retinas from your eyeballs. FWIW, the Kindle app on iOS and Android is pretty good.

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: Tablets

          I use the Aldiko reader on my Galaxy Note. I cannot get the screen dim enough to be comfortable. I have inverted the colours (black background, white text), but it is still too bright, especially when reading in the car down a dark lane* and don't want my night-vision ruined. My experience with other backlit screens is the same - there is a market for an app that will allow the screen to dim waaaay down.

          * Not what you are all thinking! Marshalling on road rallies means waiting a long time in the dark sometimes.

          1. DaiKiwi

            Re: Tablets

            Could you do black background and (dark) red text? That's what astronomy software does to protect your night vision. I find Cool Reader's white on black dims pretty well - so much so that if I don't reset it I can't see the text in daylight.

          2. mmeier

            Re: Tablets

            My Samsung had problems when "auto brightness" was on. Switching to manual worked at least for the Kindle app decently.

        2. mmeier

          Re: Tablets

          The Kindle app on W8 is about the same in quality as the one on Android. Tested it, went back to the full application. The "Apps" can not use folders/groups, all books are "one big cabinet". Both W8 and Android apps (as of February) also occasionally had problems when going from page to page. Again not present in the application.

          But reading on a tablet in portrait mode is simply great. Even on the 1280x800 "low res" unit I use for it. Format is natural, graphics are there in the app Just went through Ospreys "The fall of Eben Emael" and they really did a "Kindle" version not simply a "export the electronic manuscript to the format". At 1/3 the price and instant delivery.

    2. mmeier

      Re: Tablets

      Cheaper

      Better battery duration

    3. GrumpyGus
      Happy

      Re: Tablets

      The fact that e-readers don't have "all the other computery stuff that tablets have" is precisely why I prefer the dedicated e-reader. That and the fact that I can read in sunlight and not have to recharge every couple of days.

      Depends how much time you spend reading of course, but I've read about a dozen books already this year, so I don't mind paying for it as a dedicated device.

  11. Lloyd
    Mushroom

    queueing for half an hour to speak to a 17-year-old fuckwit who can’t spell or use a mouse

    I'd rather deal with a 17-year-old fuckwit who can’t spell or use a mouse than some MA in English Literature who sneers at your book purchases because "they're sooooo mainstream" and "have you tried Süleyman the Magnificent by Bâkî? It's sooooo insightful.". No I haven't actually but then I have a proper job and so don't spend my days poncing around in a bloody bookshop pretending that I'm some sort of bloody literary genius because I've read the sodding back cover of some obscure 500 year old text that holds about as much interest to the majority of the population as the contents of Alan Sugar's undergarments.

    Right, I'm all better now, beer anyone?

    1. VeganVegan
      Pint

      Re: queueing for half an hour to speak to a 17-year-old fuckwit who can’t spell or use a mouse

      Nice rant, Sir, nice rant, and so very nicely just that little bit off topic.

      Have a beer on me.

  12. Fazal Majid

    Kindles are not the issue

    Tax-dodging or Kindle lock-in is not the worst transgression. Amazon's abuse of its near-monopoly status in books is. For a few examples:

    http://majid.info/blog/why-i-will-never-buy-a-kindle/

  13. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Heraclitus

    Everything flows, nothing stands still. about 500 BC.

    You are Jeremy Beadle and I claim my £ 5.

  14. Phredd

    Device lock in ?? Somebody is confused.. I've been reading kindle ebooks both on my netbook (windows XP) and my Android tablet for quite some time. Kindle apps are available for almost any platform and have been for some time. One of the good things I'm finding about Amazon is the availability of some really good authors at low prices that never make it into print media. That, and the fact that on this side of the pond, e-books seem noticeably less expensive than the same book in print. Early on availability of ebook versions of best selling authors were few and far between, that situation has improved greatly.

  15. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    FAIL

    Only in the world of state-worshipping abasement

    "low prices achieved through legal but immoral financial shenanigans – could become a public-relations burden"

    Financial "shenanigans" are NEVER immoral.

    The only immoral things are taxes, i.e. confiscation of goods under imaginary contracts that no-one can state or find, arbitrarily decided, and always on the way up to pay for what? We don't know.

  16. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Joke

    Sorry, that was a question for Rick Astley

    Have I just been rick-rolled by ElReg?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most eMedia is a rip-off.

    I bought some e-books for my Kobo Touch, but because of the frankly insulting tax on e-books, which can mean that they cost /more/ than paperbacks, the bulkiness of paper books (I have plenty), and the Kobo software being inadequate, most of the books I have are now on an Android tablet and are most copyright infringed (I refute any use of the word pirate, because that is a perverse abuse of the true meaning of the word). This is the fault of greed by government and other corporations, because I tried and tried, then got so fed up at the rip-offs that I rarely buy much now, same as before with music and film. Price sensibly and I will buy, otherwise anarchy rules; in fact lack of government is looking more and more attractive! Rothbard was very persuasive!

    Cheers to the rogue BT uploaders for providing relief for our declining value of earnings and declining employment security, and comeuppance for the increasing destructive greed of governments and other outsourcing corporations!

    I really are getting bored stacking and waiting for this fraud of a financial system and government to collapse, to hopefully be replaced by something more honest, unlike the previous frauds!

  18. Diana01410

    overpriced files

    I don't care which reader is used (I can read all formats on my Android tablet), it comes down purely to the price. Most of the paperbacks I've bought recently could have been e-books but would have cost more. Now as e-books don't need paper, printing, binding, packaging, delivering, stocking, displaying or carrying home, you'd think they would be dramatically cheaper. Someone somewhere is taking an excessive rake-off so I continue to buy paperbacks. At least I can hand them on to a friend when I've finished with them.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'low prices achieved through legal but immoral financial shenanigans'

    I'm sorry but in what way is avoiding paying more tax than you have to, to a government who will waste it in any way immoral. AC because I expect to get flamed.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wtf is "Kovid Goyal"?

    The guy behind Calibre, who's done so much for e-reading. Give him money!

    I've tried to keep away from Swindle, by not buying one, and getting a Kobo instead (which works fine, btw.)

    However, Amazon beats everyone in terms of availability of titles.

    Kobo's bookstore runs out if you want to read something that Richard and Judy don't recommend. (i.e. anything worth reading. They think Dan Brown is an "author"...)

    So I end up buying from Amazon on my PC, then converting in Calibre to ePub. Takes maybe an extra 2 minutes.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To quote Rupert Giles...

    Jenny Calendar: Honestly, what is it about them that bothers you so much?

    Giles: The smell.

    Jenny Calendar: Computers don't smell, Rupert.

    Giles: I know. Smell is the most powerful trigger to the memory there is. A certain flower, or a-a whiff of smoke can bring up experiences long forgotten. Books smell musty and-and-and rich. The knowledge gained from a computer is a - it, uh, it has no-no texture, no-no context. It's-it's there and then it's gone. If it's to last, then-then the getting of knowledge should be, uh, tangible, it should be, um, smelly.

  22. Zmodem

    theres plenty of programs to remove the kindle drm on files. this is freeware http://epubee.com/kindle-drm-removal.html

    i dont know if they work, i dont read any kind of book

  23. Joe Gurman

    What hardware "lock-in?"

    Been reading Kindle books on my {choose one: laptop, desktop, phone, tablet} for about three years now. Never owned a Kindle, and see no reason to. I'm certain that made Mr Bezos happy, as Amazon undoubtedly lose a few quid on every reader they sell. Nothing to see here?

  24. JLV Silver badge
    Boffin

    Since when are bookstore professionals speaking for the bookworms?

    One thing we are missing in this whole DRM and hardware debate is how _readers_ and _authors_ are being affected.

    I read a lot, mostly scfi. A genre from which Sturgeon's law, "ninety percent of everything is crap" was coined after all. How is SF affected by the Kindle and Amazon?

    First, lemme start out with a big middle finger (or two for you Brits) to 90% of bookstores. For carrying the worst crap in SF, just because it sells: Star Wars, Star Trek, WoT and Twilight. I understand the economics, doesn't mean I like their service. So having them rag on Amazon... who cares?

    Second, many novels by current known authors do end up being almost as expensive on Kindle as on dead trees. Often, more expensive. Some authors seem to buck the trend and go cheap, John Scalzi for example. Oft-pretentious William Gibson, of Neuromancer fame? Mostly more expensive.

    There are some occasional bargains to be had. Old SF, up to the 70s, is dirt cheap. Too bad I choke on stories of interstellar ships navigating by slide rule ;-)

    Third and perhaps most significant for me as a reader and for upcoming authors: there are plenty very cheap novels on Kindle by beginning authors. Many, many, are total crap. Guess what - so were 3 out of 4 SF trade paperbacks I bought over Christmas and they were not cheap.

    But some are really quite good. Just finished 'Wool' : 4.5+ stars out of _4200_ recommendations on Amazon.com. New author, Hugh Howey who self-published for cheap. Think 1984 meets Fallout, with a good deal of depth to it. Reading Koban right now, also cheap and far from dumb. Look around the recommendations, be careful in what you pick and you can get pretty good reads through a Kindle.

    And I think Mr. Howey is laughing all the way to the bank - film rights sold & all. From Wiki "Unusually, Howey retains full rights to continue distributing Wool online himself."

    Of course, the middle men and the bookstore industry hates Amazon. What did you expect? But I care about my reading, the authors making a living and maybe less dead trees. And it's cool to mail my Kindle free Jane Austens from Gutenberg.

    So overall, thumbs up, with more than a bit of concern that authors do not end up screwed over by publishing giants.

  25. Boyd Crow

    Fundamental dichotomy

    There are people who like books and there are people who like reading. The book-lovers are a subset of readers. Book-lovers prefer the "Gutenberg format", which has been readable for centuries and can be expected to outlast any of the current proprietary formats. If all you want to do is read eminently forgettable magazine articles and popular novels, get a little machine and carry it around. If you want a book, which speaks to you of memories, even when its covers are closed, track down a bookseller, buy bookcases and welcome to the long history of literature that preceded the Internet.

    1. stuartnz
      Thumb Down

      Re: Fundamental dichotomy

      "welcome to the long history of literature that preceded the Internet" and just what exactly do these elitist "book-lovers" have against the long history of literature that preceded the invention of books by millennia? Why not a collection of codices, scrolls and cuneiform (or stone) tablets? The idea that one's choice of reading MEDIUM says anything significant about the quality of one's reading MATERIAL is the sort of concept for which the word risible seems to have been specifically tailor-made.

      1. mmeier

        Re: Fundamental dichotomy

        Good to hear that my preference for the "scrolls edition" of Tolkien does not say anything about my taste of literature. The 14cm high scrolls with anti-rip perforration every 10cm is simply the only useable format for Lord/Hobbit I have found

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