Friday, November 05, 2010

Big Whoop, Amazon

So now Amazon announces that purchasers of its e-books can loan them to friends - for a whole 14 days and one loan ever per book.  And that is only if the book's publisher agrees that its books can be sold that way by Amazon.  I get the impression that Amazon foolishly expects to get some good publicity for its Kindle book reader from this announcement.

Well, Amazon, here's a big Whoop from me.  All you have done is highlight yet another problem I have with the way e-books are being marketed.  That you have joined Barnes & Noble in this same stupid loan policy only makes you look as naive about your customer base as that company has looked in marketing its Nook reader from the beginning.

Thanks, Amazon, for reminding me again of one more thing I give up when I purchase an e-book instead of a hard copy.  I'm sorry, e-book retailers, but you can't have it both ways with me.  You claim that you are selling me the equivalent of a hard copy but that is not true because I don't have the same degree of ownership in an e-book that I have in a physical one.   If you want to charge me almost the same price for an e-book that you charge for a physical copy, than I want the same rights to apply to my electronic book.  It's mine, right?  I should be able to loan it to friends and family if I want to do so.  I should be able to give it away.

I was an early adopter of Sony's Reader and I even upgraded to a newer model so that I could gain access to all those free e-books available in the generic epub format.  I love the Reader for traveling and because it allows me to store copies of dozens of classic books from the past in one place.  I also download books from my public library system onto the Reader and greatly enjoy that service.  In fact, I read about one book per month on the Sony Reader but that is still only about 10% of the reading I do.  But I find myself buying very few new books for the Reader because they are, in my opinion, overpriced and their usage over-restricted.

So, Mr. Amazon, I'm not impressed by your announcement.  Way too little...let's hope it's not too late for you to come to your senses.


  1. Yeah, I've got to admit I find the inability to loan the books out to be a big drawback to the ereaders. I've got the free apps for my iPod, and I've downloaded a few free books, but that's about all I can see myself doing in the near future.

  2. I love how these companies are trying to put a leash on something that is getting away from them. The availability of ebooks, legal and not legal, for free download is staggering. I think these companies missed the Napster music sharing saga a decade ago. You'd think they'd learn. I myself have tons of ebooks and have not paid a dime for them. I like getting the classics from where they are always legally free and the quality is normally great. These companies need to embrace the power of the internet and try to figure out how to make it work for them instead of constantly trying to fight it! They should take some child psychology courses and maybe they'd realize that telling people they can't do something just makes them want to do it all the more! :)

  3. Mark, the paranoia of ebook publishers is crazy. They are actually encouraging piracy by pissing off so many potential customers. No one wants to feel ripped off, especially in an economy as bad as this one.

  4. Exactly right, Andy. Record labels will never really recover from the way they mismanaged the emergence of the internet into their business a decade or so ago. They insisted on putting out inferior albums rather than embracing the new desire to download hit singles, etc. That industry will never be the same. I would hate to see publishers go the same way, but that's exactly where their paranoia is carrying them. Sad to see such poor management applied to all this new technology...

  5. Amen Amen Amen !

    Thanks Sam

    From a Nook Owner-who loves it!