Bibliophiles, Bewares

Binky's Personal Library, wing A through D.
Binky’s Personal Library, wing A through D.

~ ITEM: Amazon: The Wal-Mart of the Internet

~ ITEM: Why Amazon Went Big Brother

~ SURE, IT’S handier & fast. But Kindle or other formats of e-book have some real and inherent problems.

In the world of books, Amazon and Google are both bossy giga-giants. A little while back, my Kindle for PC (I have about 80 books on it, most of them free or on sale) would not let me read something I was currently half-way through, without that I re-downloaded it again. You know, because bullies like to rub people’s noses in it, and tell people what to do.

Think that’s bad? It gets much worse:

In July 2009, The New York Times reported that amazon.com deleted all customer copies of certain books published in violation of US copyright laws by MobileReference, including the books Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm from users’ Kindles. This action was taken with neither prior notification nor specific permission of individual users. Customers did receive a refund of the purchase price and, later, an offer of an Amazon gift certificate or a check for $30. 

Removed. Without permission or notification. Just– gone. A brave new world of books: beyond ironic that it was Orwell’s books in this case.

tablet-big-brother

UnKindled

I was underwhelmed. So much for the ‘bold new age’ of freedom which the web and related book-technology were supposed to bring us. Even more, I’m concluding that books as a teaching/ entertaining technology are well suited to how humans need to pay attention to things– without the million-and-one distractions of a computer or hand-held, as if we were all in the midst of a circus, and not trying to attend to our reading.

Now, I understand that the authors and publishers ‘own’ the words, but still, I’ve yet to see any author, publisher, or store do this to a physical book in my home, or at the local liberry. Books are a more permanent, less tamperable record of whatever an author was on about.

Barring literal physical destruction, or the accidents of history, books abide. That’s a blessing.

DisappearingProse

Ether In The Wind

Digital books are inherently less permanent, no matter e-clouds and suchlike, which all presume your e-reader or computer is available & working, has power, that the internets are working, and that some intellectual tyrant hasn’t decided to delete or “good-think” e-books on currently unpopular topics. FaceBook regularly blocks and deletes things which their drones disapprove of, or someone complains about. Why not the same treatment applied to books?

Not feminist enough? Not sufficiently fawning towards a regime? Not pro-homosexual enough? Too old fashioned, or religious, or complicated, or rabble-rousing, or…. you get the idea. Of course, burning books just looks bad.. now, with a few clicks, the ever-changing notions of the moment will be found in all books permitted to exist– yet no longer allowed to say what their authors meant them to say. Never mind the capacity of Amazon to report your reading habits to the authorities. ‘Just trust us’ is the mantra of tyrants.

Kindle? Nah. I’m going back to buying serious books I wish to own in the dead-tree format, where the words won’t blow away, and where I don’t have to ask nicely for some giant company to let me read something I already paid for.

And no, I won’t be buying via Amazon.com.

~ Binks

Confirmed Biblioholic & Book Geek

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