Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Amazon Is At It Again: Kindle Convert

Amazon has just announced a new piece of software (that goes for $19 now while it is on sale at an introductory price) that will allow the user to convert his own tree-books into Kindle-compatible e-books.

When I first saw the headline, I thought this might be something useful for people like me who own a few books that were printed in the second half of the nineteenth century.  But then I read the details and spotted a few "problems."

1.  The software only works on computers running Windows 7 or Windows 8.  Mac (and Linux) users need not apply.

2.  So first I have to drag out that Windows 8 PC that I hate so much BECAUSE it uses Windows, and then wait forever for it to finally finish its frustrating start-up procedure.

3.  Then I have to very slowly and precisely scan each page of the book so that the software can convert everything into an e-book for me.  (Do you have any idea how long it will take to scan a 500-page book, even two pages at a time?)

4.  Then, depending on how much luck I had in scanning every page correctly, I have to hope that the software will do its own job correctly - and by then I will have already invested what are likely to be several hours in the process.  (I wonder if individual pages can be rescanned if I mess up somewhere around page 360.)

5.  Today's flatbed scanners don't really lend themselves to massive scanning projects like those this software requires.

I have a better idea, PUBLISHERS.  Why not make an e-book available at no extra cost for every new tree-book that I purchase from you?  Sure, I know you will kick up the price of the physical book a few bucks...but shouldn't, say, three dollars cover this since you are going to sell many more e-book copies this way than you otherwise would have? 

Or, AMAZON why can't you do this for all the tree-books I've purchased from you already?  You did something very similar with all the music CDs I have purchased from you in the last decade.  You want to lock me in as an e-book and tree-book purchaser?  Just say yes.  Do it.  Then I would have my permanent copy of a book on the shelves, where it belongs, but have a spare reading copy always at my fingertips.

The Kindle Convert software is still somewhat intriguing, I admit, but it is a nonstarter for me because of the scanner limitations with which I would have to cope in order to make the process work.  And no matter how good the software might be in the future, if it remains incompatible with Apple's operating thank you.


  1. We might have a solution for you: takes care of the scanning / formatting.

    1. Interesting concept, guys, removing the labor from the project. I can see how this would be attractive for out-of-print books, especially those with some real age on them - as well as more personal stuff like local cookbooks, etc. Good luck with the venture.