Kindle Kindles Your Enthusiasm — Not

I’m sure you’ve already heard that yesterday released their e-reader, the Kindle. It uses the e-ink technology, has a keyboard and a wireless connection, which enables you to download books (or magazines or newspapers) directly from without ever having to use a ‘puter. You can also subscribe to specific blogs (which might or might not be picked by amazon) at a monthly fee. The device has received praise and laurels from such eminent writers as Toni Morrison, James Patterson and Neil Gaiman — so the Kindle must be a book-lovers dream, right?

Well, apart from the fact that it only supports a very limited number (as in, “we’d prefer if you’d read only books in the format we’ve specifically created for our lovely Kindle”) of formats.

And apart from the fact that

[t]he Device Software will provide Amazon with data about your Device and its interaction with the Service (such as available memory, up-time, log files and signal strength) and information related to the content on your Device and your use of it (such as automatic bookmarking of the last page read and content deletions from the Device). Annotations, bookmarks, notes, highlights, or similar markings you make in your Device are backed up through the Service. Information we receive is subject to the Privacy Notice. (from the Amazon Kindle License Agreement and Terms of Use)

Wheee! Isn’t this splendid? Didn’t you always want to find out what it’s like to live in a totalitarian state? Didn’t you always want to have a Big Brother?

Now, I know, of course, that amazon is already collecting info whenever I place an order on their site. And since Mobipocket belongs to amazon, too, information on purchases I make there is also collected. BUT to collect info about what I do with my books??? Where I place bookmarks? What kind of annotations I make? Hello???? This is most definitely not my idea of a book-lovers dream!


Dive into Mark has an interesting bit on the Kindle: The Future of Reading (A Play in Six Acts).

2 thoughts on “Kindle Kindles Your Enthusiasm — Not

  1. RobinSlick

    Agreed. You make a very valid point, and this is coming from someone whose books can be purchased digitally as well as print.

    I think it sucks, frankly. Nothing takes the place of a real book, and I feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t experience the pleasure of spending hours in a bookstore, browsing.

    But you’ve clinched it for me with your big brother analogy and related comments…no, the government already knows about me and it’s beyond 1984.

    The only real asset to this, I think, is for young kids burdened with far too heavy backpacks. I’d still want them to have real text books in the classroom, but how lovely it would be for them to leave the books in the classroom at the end of the day (saving wear and tear on the books and freeing up more money for teachers salaries) and only have to use a Kindle for homework, though I’m sure that would bring about a whole new variety of excuses…the dog lifted his leg on my Kindle, perhaps?

    Robin Slick

  2. Anonymous

    funny, that’s exactly where my brain went when I first read about it.

    The fact that there’s no possibility of external storage, and that some of what they’re selling is already available free were afterthoughts.


Comments are closed.