Posted by: dougery | April 20, 2011

E-reader Ownage

Although digital book sales are notoriously difficult to back up (as in publishers and retailers like Amazon haven’t been real forthcoming), earlier this month The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was purported to be the first work to achieve the vaunted 1 million e-books sold mark. Foiled again, Nicholas Sparks!

In other digital word news, Amazon has once again stepped in it. It has been reported that if you stop subscribing to a magazine on your Kindle, all of your back issues, issues you’ve already paid for mind you, will no longer be available to you. Poof. Its 1984 all over again.

How preposterous is this? Imagine if iTunes were to delete all of your radiohead songs because you’re just not into them anymore and chose not to purchase the King of Limbs. This issue of rights, what it means to own a digital magazine or book, continues to be the key stumbling block to e-reading. Not price points, or ‘how it feels’ to read on a screen, or anything else. Nobody in their right minds will ever buy something  that the provider can take back, no questions asked, if you fail to do something or don’t do anything at all.

The stacks of books squatting all over my house might be cluttering the space I live in, and when I go on vacation my bookbag might look like Rory Gilmore’s, but at least the bookstore I bought them from isn’t going to break into my home and take them back from me for some arbitrary reason.



  1. Or will we…

    Though, it would only be incidental theft. Just grab some books to keep Pickle, the real target, company.

  2. Now, to actually add to the discussion, keep in mind also that a lot of the ebooks one might buy are also device/service specific – most notably the Kindle. So, let’s imagine a world wherein Amazon doesn’t become our Overlord (having been gobbled up by the Google-AOL alliance – that wily AOL just won’t die) and it’s product deemed antiquated or just not as cool as the R2-3PO stela they just rolled out powered by the Droid-DeathWand engine. Obviously some form of file migrating will be allowed, but now all your shit’s tied into a new device you have to buy/decipher. Suddenly having the ability to go “Hey, I can make the text bigger” isn’t so cool and costs you a lot…

  3. 1. You best hope my wife doesn’t read that first comment.
    2. But… you can make the text BIGGER. Like MAGIC. That has to be worth constantly paying to update your device and paying nominal (or like, not) migration fees. and WHO TOLD YOU about the DeathWand engine. Goons (yes, Hired Goons) will be visiting you shortly.

    • Like Eric Powell goons? Or Jake-like goons?

      Oh, and I kind of love writing those comments and Amazon’s cloud promptly implodes today. I AM THE DEATHWAND!!!

      • And now you have something to stand and shout during Jake and Leti’s reception.

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