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Amazon Uses DMCA To Restrict Ebook Purchases 409

Posted by timothy
from the do-not-read-this-dept-line dept.
InlawBiker writes "Today, Amazon invoked the DMCA to force removal of a python script and instructions from the mobileread web site. The script is used to identify the Kindle's internal ID number, which can be used to enable non-Amazon purchased books to work on the Kindle. '...this week we received a DMCA take-down notice from Amazon requesting the removal of the tool kindlepid.py and instructions for it. Although we never hosted this tool (contrary to their claim), nor believe that this tool is used to remove technological measures (contrary to their claim), we decided, due to the vagueness of the DMCA law and our intention to remain in good relation with Amazon, to voluntarily follow their request and remove links and detailed instructions related to it.' Ironically, the purpose of the script is to make the Kindle more useful to its users."
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Amazon Uses DMCA To Restrict Ebook Purchases

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  • Progress (Score:5, Funny)

    by TTURabble (1164837) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:28PM (#27171527)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HTH NE1 (675604)

      Blank Reg: This is a network linker. It's a bit out of your league, idn'it, Paula?
      Paula: So, whatch'll you trade for it? ... What's that?
      Blank Reg: It's a book!
      Paula: Well, what's that?
      Blank Reg: It's a non-volatile storage medium. It's very rare. You should 'ave one.
      Paula: Stuff it!

      • Re:Progress (Score:4, Funny)

        by DrLang21 (900992) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:42PM (#27172729)
        All lies. Data contained in books deteriorates over time. As proof, how many books do we have from the 1st century AD?
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by nextekcarl (1402899)

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosetta_Stone [wikipedia.org]

          Okay, it isn't a book, and it sure isn't intact, but I'd be willing to bet no ebook file bought today will be readable at all in over 2000 years (not sure how you'd collect on that bet). The more portable and convenient we make information, the easier it is to lose it. It seems the way we combat this is to make many copies and put them all around, but that defeats at least part of the purpose of make it take up so little room.

          But I suppose when a large amount of the

  • by geekoid (135745)

    trample you.

    Stupid sheep.

    • by tritonman (998572) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:35PM (#27171645)
      Kindle is probably like the playstation, they don't make money on selling the unit, they make money on you buying books for it.
      • by gnick (1211984) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:53PM (#27171939) Homepage

        Or printers/ink or razors/blades. The big difference with e-books is that you have to create a shortage of product while it's a natural side-effect for ink or razors. You can't just download new razors.

        • by way2trivial (601132) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @05:01PM (#27173059) Homepage Journal

          It is the difference between
          the protection of the law which both razors and kindles have,
          and protection "realistic barrier to entry into the marketplace"

          The thing keeping the razor blade model propped up is the design of the connector between handle & blade

          A Gilette Mach XXX* has a very specific design and legally protected-physical connection

          to enter the market/compete against this product requires large capital infusion, on a business level that can easily be knocked down in the court systems

          if anyone could legitimately connect to that- then there would damnfinesure be some competition with generic knockoffs

          Region Free DVD roms' Ebooks, wii's, xbox's jailbroken iphones-- the resources required to do these things are small by comparison

          the fact is, the electrical goods as discussed here (e book files) and elsewhere can be modified on a per piece basis for far less.

          Demand is not a factor-- ease of modification is.

    • by Ibag (101144) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:41PM (#27171751)

      Just because you run and hide from a pack of wolves doesn't mean you are a sheep. While you might wish them to martyr themselves for your principles, if they don't have the resources to fight, or if a win would not accomplish anything for anybody else, why shouldn't they act in their own best interests?

      • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland @ y a hoo.com> on Thursday March 12, 2009 @05:28PM (#27173527) Homepage Journal

        Becasue even fighting it loudly could casuse Amazon to back down. Best case, Amazon loks like a bully, and people hate that.
        IT also loudly shows the problems with the DMCA.

        And if you make your fight in the arean of public opinion, you have strong allies. Based on cost, you qwould probably end up needing to do that.

        Personally, I would post the letter on a blog. Pay a few hundred dollars to get a lawyer to draft a response.

        The rest acan eb a public fight, for little cost.

        So, while running and hiding from something you can't defeat is on thing, running and hiding when you ahve other cation to take is being a sheep.

        You let the fear of the person with the stick cause you to run like everyone else.

        This behavior should be avoided whenever possible because you can have all the rights in the world, but if you refuse to defend them, then really you have no rights at all.

    • Exactly (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:41PM (#27171755)

      Sony's got to be kicking themselves, wondering where they went wrong. When they released a portable digital Walkman without native support for .MP3s, people just laughed at them.

      Yet when Amazon releases a portable reader without native support for .PDFs, people trample their own mothers to get in line to buy one.

      Can you imagine the derision people would have for Apple if you had to email your .MP3s to convert@apple.com to put them on your iPod or iPhone?

      • Re:Exactly (Score:5, Informative)

        by nahdude812 (88157) * on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:16PM (#27172283) Homepage

        Where did you hear that there is no native support for PDF's?

        You can easily load PDF's to the Kindle. Not only can you mount the Kindle as a drive and copy the file that way, but when you buy a kindle, you get a something@kindle.com email address which you can email txt, htm, and pdf files to (as long as it's from a From address which you have whitelisted) - they will load it automatically to your kindle over its built-in 3G connection.

        I loaded several Cory Doctorow books to mine this way.

        This python script creates a hash to make the Kindle think that .mobi files (Secure Mobipocket books, a competitor of Amazon's for this market) are native Amazon books. After you get a hash from kindlepid.py, you run kindlefix.py on your .mobi file with your hash, and it produces a .azw file which the Kindle then thinks is one of its own book formats.

        GP is almost certainly right, I find it unlikely that Amazon makes a profit on the Kindle device itself, they are relying on $10 books to cover the cost of the hardware and the contract with Sprint whereby they give you free 3G access. If you're buying your books elsewhere, Amazon's going to take a loss on the whole shebang, and that's most likely what they're trying to prevent (while counting on the fact that you can't get non-drm'd copies of most books such as in .txt, .pdf, or .htm format).

        • Re:Exactly (Score:4, Interesting)

          by maynard (3337) <j...maynard...gelinas@@@gmail...com> on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:43PM (#27172759) Journal

          When I read a PDF I need quality image support for interpreting graphs and other types of visual data. The Kindle doesn't come close. Yes, Amazon offers a PDF "conversion" service. In the process, formatting and image support is either lost or horribly mangled.

          Never mind the total lack of touch support for eink annotations makes the thing worthless for serious use. Fine if you want to spend $350 for a device to read novels on the train. But if you want to read technical papers and annotate in math, the Kindle doesn't come close to being a useful device.

          The only thing out there that does meet that need is:

          The IREX Digital Reader 1000:

          https://www.irexshop.com/product_info.php?cPath=22_35&products_id=69 [irexshop.com]

          That is the first device to come on the market which exceeds the eReader feature set available on the Apple's old Newton MP2x00 from 1998.

          Pathetic.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            The only thing out there that does meet that need is The IREX Digital Reader 1000:

            This is true, but more so because of its larger screen. Reading PDFs on a 600x800 screen of Kindle is not a good idea regardless of software features.

            Also, iRex costs twice as much as Kindle and other readers with similar screen (Sony, Hanlin).

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dissy (172727)

          If you're buying your books elsewhere, Amazon's going to take a loss on the whole shebang, and that's most likely what they're trying to prevent (while counting on the fact that you can't get non-drm'd copies of most books such as in .txt, .pdf, or .htm format).

          I still don't see why you or ANYONE can claim this is an OK thing

          Amazon has no right to spew libel AND slander towards anyone by claiming they broke laws that clearly they didn't.

          Seriously, a DMCA take down? the DMCA protects EXACTLY THIS!

          What will it take for you people to see this as bad??

          Amazon issuing "We claim you are a murderer and demand you take down a webpage or we turn you in!"

          This guy clearly did not commit murder anymore than he violated the DMCA.. When does this excusing amazon for lies stop

  • First Sale My Ass (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreakNO@SPAMeircom.net> on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:30PM (#27171553) Homepage Journal

    How dare anyone attempt to enable users to do as they please with Amazon's personal property! Kindles and all their associated contents are the intellectual property of Amazon in perpetuity and just because you paid money for one and are in personal possession of it, that does not entitle you to do with it as you please.

    I mean, where would we be if people could do as they liked with the things they buy?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by snowraver1 (1052510)
      Remember the XBOX? It was hacked wide open and no longer was profitable (Technically it was never profitable) so they abandoned it and went with the xbox360, which has been much more resistant to hacking.

      Just like you feel you have the right to do whatever you want to stuff you buy, businesses feel that they have the right to protect their business model. They expect to make money not just on the initial sale of the item, but on the ongoing support of the item (through games or ebook sales).

      I understa
      • by porcupine8 (816071) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:05PM (#27172135) Journal
        There's a big difference between a company fighting back by making the hacked item obsolete, and the company claiming that what you did is illegal and going after you in court. Companies are welcome to do whatever they want to try and design and market their products in such a way that they can only be used in the way the company wishes - the government doing it for them is not cool.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RickyMaveety (1499157)
        You are right, that is a poor analogy. A better one would be a consumer purchasing a television set and then being told that he/she can only watch television shows on which that manufacturer advertises, or can only watch stations that pay the manufacturer a license fee. Amazon is using DRM to force people who purchase a Kindle from only obtaining content from them. Thus, they dictate what books the user can or cannot read on the device, regardless of the fact that the user has paid for a digital book, un
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Americano (920576)

          Amazon is using DRM to force people who purchase a Kindle from only obtaining content from them.

          100% wrong.

          Amazon is doing the exact same thing Apple did until just recently with the iTunes store and the iPod:

          • You buy from them, and the file you download is DRM'ed.
          • You want to load your own un-protected content in a supported format, you're welcome to.
          • You want to load protected content in an unsupported DRM format, you're going to be SOL.

          What this script does is address the third issue - it allows yo

      • Re:First Sale My Ass (Score:4, Informative)

        by DrLang21 (900992) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:36PM (#27172625)
        The firework manufacturer can't go after you for using the fireworks you buy contrary to the instructions. The State makes laws regarding the use of fireworks to prevent physical injury or death to innocent bystanders and damage to other people's property.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by spire3661 (1038968)

        Your analogy is HORRIBLY flawed. First of all there were a multitude of reasons why the original Xbox was retired early, and the hacking potential was WAY down the list.

        #1 reason why XBOX was retired semi-early is to beat Sony to the market in next-gen.

        #2 the 360 was ALOT easier to hack then the original xbox, jsut flash the DVD drive firmware using a standard sata equipped PC.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        >>>Remember the XBOX? It was hacked wide open and no longer was profitable (Technically it was never profitable) so they abandoned it and went with the xbox360, which has been much more resistant to hacking.

        Bzzzz.

        Every five-to-six years, the old console is phased-out and a new console introduced. That's the natural cycle that has evolved in videogaming and had nothing to do with hacking. Take the Gamecube as example: It was locked-down and essentially pirate-proof but Nintendo still got rid of it

  • Link (Score:3, Funny)

    by sakdoctor (1087155) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:30PM (#27171559) Homepage

    Post the link here otherwise I can't make an informed opinion.

  • by Kenja (541830) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:30PM (#27171563)
    The number of books I would have to buy to make the Kindle worth buying makes me sad. Its a nifty device, but there's no way I'd ever get one.
    • by geminidomino (614729) * on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:32PM (#27171599) Journal

      I thought the same thing about ebook readers, but then I enrolled in an online degree program (from a real school). Since it's CS, most of the professors are rather clueful and the lecture notes (which tend to be even more complete than the textbooks) are all in PDFs.

      Not having to have my laptop with me at all times to study made it worth it to get a PRS-505 (and it's a tax deduction since there's nothing else on it!)

      Fuck the Kindle though.

      • by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:06PM (#27172149)
        Fuck the Kindle though. Umm... it is pretty much the wrong shape to make that use of it even remotely possible. Trust me, I've tried! And besides which, if I actually did find a way to follow your suggestion, Amazon would quickly issue a take down notice prohibiting me from making such creative use of the Kindle.
    • by jgtg32a (1173373)
      That's why I get my books from TPB, it allows me to get to that point much quicker, after 3 months I'm 2/3 of the way there.

      I also read nearly nonstop after I got my reader.
  • by nurb432 (527695)

    I have been converting PDF's since i got my kindle I.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by canajin56 (660655) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:03PM (#27172113)
      This has nothing to do with loading unprotected DRM-free content onto your Kindle. Kindle can load Amazons proprietary DRM'd format, MOBI format, and .txt. Anything else you have to ask Amazon to please convert it to their secret format. However, MOBI files can be DRM'd. The Kindle can read DRM'd MOBI files. However, only if they were encrypted with its public key! This script allows you to view your Kindle's MOBI ID, so you can give it to an eBook service and buy a DRM'd eBook from them that will work on your Kindle. This is very bad for Amazon, as it means you can buy eBook from somebody who isn't Amazon!
      • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

        by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:14PM (#27172243)

        IANAcryptographer, but public key cryptography is a no-brainer for this scenario. Amazon should have created an RSA keypair for each kindle sold. Amazon would keep the private key and put the public key on the Kindle. When selling an E-Book, Amazon would just encrypt the Mobi file with its private key. That way, it wouldn't matter if some third party obtained the RSA public key for a specific kindle --- all he could do with it pound sand, since Amazon would keep the private keys secure and internal.

        Granted, I think the DRM is vile. But I can't understand why Amazon also implemented DRM so poorly.

        (If you want to be able to let multiple people read the same Mobi file, do this: generate a random symmetric cypher key (K) and encrypt the E-Book with it, resulting in ciphertext B. For each Kindle you'd like to be able to read the E-Book, let its key be M1, M2, and so on. The file you send out contains K itself encrypted with M1, then K encrypted with M2, K encrypted with M3, etc., and then finally B. A kindle would try all the keys in the E-Book file and just use the first one that successfully decrypted B.)

  • by Kazoo the Clown (644526) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:31PM (#27171573)
    It's not about the Kindle's usefullness to the user, it's about the Kindle's usefullnes to amazon. The Kindle is not where Amazon makes their money, it's on the sale of the ebooks-- if people are buying them from elsewhere, Amazon is not getting their profit, and in fact it may be costing them money-- the Kindle is essentially subsidised by their ebooks.
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:32PM (#27171577)
    It takes a lot of balls to ask someone to pay almost $400 for the privilege of buying stuff exclusively from you, and then tell them that modifying the software to do anything BUT buy stuff from you is illegal.
  • Ironically, the purpose of the script is to make the Kindle more useful to its users."

    I'm sure that their motive has nothing to do with whether it makes the kindle "more useful". This threatens their market for the books.

    I must say I had been quite pleased with my Kindle and generally impressed with Amazon... until just now. Perhaps I'll return it.

  • Good thing this one didn't involve any numbers - saved T [monkey.org] from another embarrassing user-prodded edit.

  • Irony? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fastest fascist (1086001) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:32PM (#27171597)

    Ironically, the purpose of the script is to make the Kindle more useful to its users.

    Nothing ironic about it. Amazon doesn't want the Kindle to be more useful than they've designed it to be. They've spent a great deal of money and effort making this platform, they don't want to have to compete with other people selling books for the thing.

  • Ironically, the purpose of the script is to make the Kindle more useful to its users

    From the relatively low cost of the device and the fact that access to Sprint's EV-DO network is free, I would assume that the kindle is a loss-leader for Amazon.

    They're counting on making their money back and more selling the e-books over that network. And that only works if Kindle users get their books exclusively from Amazon. So clearly it's in their interest to limit the Kindle's capabilities in this way.

    Having said that, it's not clear that the DMCA actually applies in this case. Though since the law is written so that large IP holders can bludgeon smaller entities, I'd say it seems to be working perfectly.

    • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:41PM (#27171761)

      They're counting on making their money back and more selling the e-books over that network

      If Amazon would like to try this approach, that's fine. But our personal right to do what we will with our property trumps Amazon's business model. If Amazon's business model won't work in a free society, it has no business working at all.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DoofusOfDeath (636671)

        They're counting on making their money back and more selling the e-books over that network

        If Amazon would like to try this approach, that's fine. But our personal right to do what we will with our property trumps Amazon's business model. If Amazon's business model won't work in a free society, it has no business working at all.

        That's a neat theory. But the courts will likely disagree with you, and they have the police to force your obedience.

        I think most people on /. would be willing to tell the government to get stuffed regarding the DMCA. However, few or none of us are willing to suffer the consequences.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Eil (82413)

        If Amazon would like to try this approach, that's fine. But our personal right to do what we will with our property trumps Amazon's business model. If Amazon's business model won't work in a free society, it has no business working at all.

        I really wish that were the case, but the congress critters who passed the DMCA, and the president who signed it, didn't see it that way.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:33PM (#27171613)

    Link to the author's reverse engineering blog and script description:

    Here [blogspot.com].

    Link to just the scripts Here [googlepages.com].

    Anonymous to avoid KarmaWhoring(TM)

  • by vanyel (28049) * on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:37PM (#27171673) Journal

    I have no problem putting books I buy elsewhere on my kindle, because none of the 200+ ebooks I have are DRM'd. If Amazon wants me to buy books from them, they'll drop DRM too.

  • Whoops (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hordeking (1237940) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:38PM (#27171683)

    From the article:

    The funny part is that many people like me will never have even heard of the script until Amazon made a fuss about it. I found it with a simple google search. Same with how-to instructions.

    Hi, Amazon. I'd like for you to meet a very dear friend of mine, the Streisand Effect. You two are going to really get familiar with each other.

    • Re:Whoops (Score:5, Funny)

      by jw3 (99683) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:57PM (#27172987) Homepage
      Funny. I have never heard about the Streisand Effect until someone mentioned it on Slashdot :-) j.
  • Screw that (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Murpster (1274988) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:38PM (#27171705)
    I've only gotten one DMCA take down request, I wrote back and told the copyright owner which of my body parts he could orally copulate with and never heard back. If this web site thought the law was vague and that they were in the right, they should've told Amazon something similar and left the script up. Stupid laws like this only survive because people crumble in the face of silly threats.
  • by ProteusQ (665382) <dontbother@nowhe r e . c om> on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:45PM (#27171815) Journal

    What are the best open ebook reader options out there?

    • My opinion, Iliad (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dusty00 (1106595)
      I personally love my Iliad from IRex. It's the most expensive eReader on the market, but the hardware is the most feature advanced (16 shade grayscale long before the Kindle 2, stylus touch screen).

      On the other hand, what I think will end up being it's biggest strength is currently it's biggest weakness, it's OS is Open Source. Near as I can tell, IRex basically launched the product with only the bare minimum features and is looking to the Open Source community to help polish it off. Though they do h
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Oscar_Wilde (170568)

      The iLiad Book Edition [irextechnologies.com] is a good choice. The hardware is nice and the firmware is open source. It's also very expensive.

      You could also look at the BeBook [mybebook.com]. It uses the same 6" panel as everyone else, has excellent wide and open format support and the firmware is open source. It's also sold under many other names, Hanlin V3 being the most common.

      I've bought a BeBook. It should last me long enough that a better and probably cheaper generation of devices will come out. There's no need to go for the top of the l

  • by Demonantis (1340557) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:54PM (#27171967)
    Amazon isn't the only one that does this. Apple does this with their products. A lot of printing companies do this with ink cartridges. Car companies often control the supply of replacement parts. Secondary purchases are a huge economy everywhere. I don't like that use of the DMCA, though. Its implications really scare me. What if I modified my car then release the notes on a web page. Could the manufacture DMCA it down? Should this be an acceptable use of the DMCA? I think that DMCA notices should really come with a danger to misuse. If there isn't companies could DMCA their way out of webpages that attack their product. It would really make the company think about it be before it brought down it's huge club of injustice on an individual.
    • Car companies often control the supply of replacement parts.

      Car parts for newer models are often only available from the Original Equipment Manufacturer for a limited time due to licensing agreements between the car maker and the parts makers and the fact that aftermarket parts manufacturers have to tool up to make the new parts.

      In the USA the Federal Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975 made tying of the parts to the warranty illegal. The car maker cannot require that you buy their parts or supplies (like Toyota-brand oil or wiper blades for example), and they cann

  • by belmolis (702863) <billposer@nOSpam.alum.mit.edu> on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:06PM (#27172141) Homepage

    Leaving aside the issue of users' rights, as far as I can see Amazon is just plain wrong on the law and lacks legal justification for the takedown notice. What the DMCA prohibits is the distribution of tools for overcoming technical measures for protecting copyrighted materials. The first program generates a MOBI ID from a kindle serial number. The second program rewrites a non-Amazon ebook so that it contains the id that will allow it to work on the Kindle with the given serial number. Neither program modifies or copies the Kindle's software. Since the ebooks in question are not produced by Amazon, no material whose copyright belongs to Amazon is affected in any way. In other words, this software does not defeat any technical measure of Amazon's for protecting copyrighted material since Amazon has no copyrighted material at stake here. The DMCA is inapplicable, and the takedown notice invalid. Indeed, it is so clear that this software does nothing to defeat protection of copyrighted material that I would say that the takedown notice was issued in bad faith.

    What this software actually does is allow for interoperability, which is explicitly protected by the DMCA.

    • Very nice (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Overzeetop (214511)

      Well said. You get a complimentary lawyer cap for the day.

      I hope the script writer sees this, as it's a very good response to their takedown.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dare nMc (468959)

      It appears the "MOBI ID" of the kindle would also allow the stripping of amazons DRM using the same software that strips DRM from mobi books.
      So while the intended application should be DMCA safe, having the MOBI ID is one step closer to stripping DRM from amazons books. (still not a clear DMCA violation, but I can see some point)

  • by pvera (250260) <pedro.vera@gmail.com> on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:22PM (#27172391) Homepage Journal

    The purpose of the tool is not to allow non-Amazon content into the Kindle. Instead, it is to allow non-Amazon eBook sellers to be able to sell content for the Kindle. It has NOTHING to do with your ability as a user to bring content into your Kindle without paying Amazon.

    I should know, I owned a Kindle 1 for 7 months and currently own two Kindle 2s (hint: if you only have one Kindle, don't show it to your wife and go LOOK HONEY, SEE HOW COOL THIS IS!!! because she'll immediately take over it and you'll end up buying a second one). I have had no issues bringing content into any of my Kindles:

    1. Any content that I can read with Stanza and/or Mobipocket Creator (both free) can be converted into formats that can be read by the Kindle.
    2. Amazon provides you with a unique email address to email content to be converted directly into your Kindle. 10 cents per conversion.
    3. Amazon provides you with a second unique email address to email content to be converted, then emailed back to you for free. Yes, free.
    4. Using the basic web browser, you can pick any web-based file that is compatible with the Kindle and it will download it just like if you purchased it from Amazon. There are plenty of websites that cater directly to the Kindle, and there is a huge drive to make Project Gutemberg and others fully compatible with the Kindle.
    5. Amazon charges you for subscribing to feeds. Or you can use the free tool at Feedbooks. These clever people figured out a way to package an RSS subscription as an eBook, and it has an auto-update link. Open the book from your Kindle, click on Update and it downloads a new version of the file. Tedious? Sure, but it is free.
    6. Annoyed about having to connect to your PC just so you can move your content into your Kindle? Don't feel like paying the 10-cent tax? Easy, simply dump your eBook files into a folder in your website, password protect it if you are paranoid, then open it from your basic browser. You can now download your own books from anywhere, which is great if you don't like clutter or in case you delete the wrong book by accident.

    Now, of course, it sucks if you are trying to make a buck selling eBooks for the Kindle outside of Amazon and you are using a format that requires the ID of your device. If all you want to do is sell the content, then you might as well go to http://dtp.amazon.com/ [amazon.com], list your books for free and let Amazon do all the work in exchange for a cut of the action. Amazon will not charge you for access to the DTP area, or for listing your books, they only take a cut of your sales.

    I emailed Amazon's Kindle Feedback address earlier this week to complain about not being able to upload my own files to the storage area (one of my favorite features is that I can re-download my content at will), expecting to get a canned response. I actually got a person to reply to me, so it looks like at least some of those emails are being read. The person that replied hinted that maybe I wanted to send my files through the 10-cent tax generator, but he would still pass my message to the powers-that-be.

    The one thing that is still completely unacceptable is that the Kindle client for the iPhone only works with purchased work, you can't add your own books (yet) unless you jailbrake your phone.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:58PM (#27173005) Homepage

    Amazon sells the Kindle. Fine. Amazon sells eBooks. Fine. Amazon wants to restrict what a Kindle OWNER can do with his own hardware? Not fine.

    Either Amazon should back down on this or they should discontinue the Kindle. They can't really do what they are doing without running afowl of some legal crusader in the near future.

  • by JustNiz (692889) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @06:31PM (#27174431)

    remind me again why I should buy a product that doesn't do what _I_ want???

  • by BlueStrat (756137) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @07:18PM (#27175085)

    Remember kids,

    "Don't swindle that Kindle!"

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