Thu, Jul
23
2009

Another Reason Why eBooks Won't Replace Print Media Utterly

Kindle

Courtesy The Vanity Press: the publisher can’t take away the book you bought without a warrant.

Interesting story by David Pogue in the NYT about e-books:

This morning, hundreds of Amazon Kindle owners awoke to discover that books by a certain famous author had mysteriously disappeared from their e-book readers. These were books that they had bought and paid for—thought they owned.

But no, apparently the publisher changed its mind about offering an electronic edition, and apparently Amazon, whose business lives and dies by publisher happiness, caved. It electronically deleted all books by this author from people’s Kindles and credited their accounts for the price.

The author in question, funnily enough, was George Orwell.

Whoops. Can’t do that with print media. And if they can do this because a publisher has second thoughts about offering an e-book addition, then somebody can delete or alter eBooks for more nefarious reasons.

In fact, I recall an episode of TVOntario’s 1970s-era series Read All About It, where an alien tyrant named Duneedon was trying to grab control of the town of Herbertville for some reason and, to do that, he was setting himself up as a prominent citizen in line to be mayor by altering all of the history books about the town. Of course, his attempt to change the books involved changing the print editions — a fact the kids at the Herbertville Chronicle caught when they compared the books’ current editions with the older editions.

Of course, in the world of eBooks, he wouldn’t have to fuss about with new print editions. He’d just feed in the change to Amazon, pull a few strings, and presto!


Kenneth Oppel Blogs!

I thought I’d tell the world that one of my favourite authors is now blogging. Kenneth Oppel, author of Airborn, Skybreaker and Starclimber to name but three, has joined blogspot and is posting pictures of his book being taken into space for some light reading by Canadian astronaut Bob Thirsk. There are few things cooler than that.


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