Getting Ripped Off On Kindle Content

Amazon’s Kindle e-Reader is hugely popular and I can understand why. If you are a voracious reader and perhaps travel a lot, then the ease of taking hundreds of books with you within the mere 250 grams of the Kindle is fantastic. I personally don’t own a Kindle but have downloaded the free app on both my iPad and iPhone. It syncs through Whispernet which basically works as follows:

  • I purchase Patti Smith’s autobiography “Just Kids” for $9.99 through the Kindle app on my iPad.
  • It goes through my Amazon account and is paid for by the credit card linked to that account.
  • When payment has been processed (in a matter of seconds) the Kindle app downloads the book to my iPad (also a matter of seconds, depending on the size of the book, obviously).
  • I start reading and get to page 23 before switching off the iPad.
  • That evening I switch on my iPhone to read in bed (the iPad really is too heavy for that and it’s winter, so sticking my arms out of the covers is too cold).
  • I launch the Kindle app on my iPhone which automatically detects that there is new content to be downloaded and proceeds to do so.
  • “Just Kids” appears in my Kindle library and if I click it it goes straight to page 23 as it has synced my ‘furthest’ position in the book with the iPad from earlier on.
  • I love this system. It really makes it so easy to read at any given moment without having to lug your book(s) around with you. One word of warning, though. If you have a toddler, as I do, who likes to play with your mobile devices, try not to let him start up the Kindle app and start flicking through your book as you will lose your place… synced over ALL your devices 🙁 **Learned the hard way**

    Reading on the iPad and iPhone isn’t as great as on the Kindle itself because Kindle uses e-Ink and the iPad/iPhone screens are lit and therefore cause more eye-strain. The advantage is, however, that you can read in bed without a light on.

    But now for my angry rant about Kindle content (and other e-Reader content, for that matter, as this problem seems quite universal).
    I paid $9.99 for the Kindle version of “Just Kids” and was disappointed to find that it did not include any of the photos that are included in the hard copies of the book. When I checked back at Amazon for the other copies I was frustrated to find that the paperback including photos is sold for $6.98 with free shipping.

    Why are publishers as obtuse about the great possibilities of digital media as the record companies are? They are charging more for an electronic version of a book which they do not need to print / distribute / wrap / mail etc. I can only read it on a Kindle device (if I ever switch to another e-Reader I cannot read the books I paid for), I may not lend my books to a friend (DRM restrictions) and in the above mentioned case, I paid more for the electronic version of the book despite the fact that it contained less content (i.e. photos).

    I want to purchase legal content, but refuse to be ripped off like this, so if an electronic version of a book is stripped and costs more, I shall buy the paperback version. Actually, by my reasoning, even identical versions of a book should be cheaper in the electronic edition. I’d love to hear from a publisher who can explain to me why it should be more expensive.

    And while this is going on, the publishers and record companies keep calling downloaders thieves?!?

    9 comments on “Getting Ripped Off On Kindle Content

    1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Suzanna Noort, Merel Zwart. Merel Zwart said: RT @suzero: Blogged it: Getting Ripped Off on Kindle Content http://www.suzannanoort.com/blog/2011/02/getting-ripped-off-on-kindle-content/ […]

    2. I bought Just Kids on my kindle, too, and was equally disappointed about the images. They’re an important part of this book.

      BUT I just got an email today from amazon saying a new version is available. Did you get that email? Have you downloaded the new version. Are the images there? I’ve made a lot of notes (as I’m preparing for my book club’s discussion of it next week) but it might be worth losing them to get the new edition with the images.

    3. UPDATE: This morning I received an e-mail from Amazon informing me that they have an updated version of “Just Kids” with typo-corrections and some photos. To receive it, I had to reply to the email with a simple “yes” – but they warned me that my highlights, notes and last position would be lost.

      I did the update and am pleased to say that it has some photos in it now! Syncing position between my iPad and iPhone appears to be fu**ed, though.

    4. Wow, Elaine, we posted our comments at exactly the same time! 🙂

      • This does suck! Iown an Aluratek e- reader! regretably! Wished id of known about AMAZON putting DRM on the books Ive bought! Anyone know good program to remove it…..I HATE THIS going back to buying the books!!!! ASSES!~ lost my business.

    5. well actually on old books you can go to amazon and get most for one pence – 2nd hand as opposed to 6.95£ for kindle or so – its a no brainer!!!

      the electronic versions of books are > too expensive!

    6. I agree with all of the above. It is very frustrating. However, because I travel a lot I put up with these little foibles and rip-offs, that to me is the lesser of two evils. One or two paperbacks or up to 3,500 on kindle? A no-brainer as far as I’m concerned. It is not always possible for me to have buy hard copy of a book as postage to a non-uk address can be very prohibitive so basically I put up with what kindle has to offer. But I am always acutely aware of the fact that there are an awful lot of tricks publishers and retailers go to to maximise their profits from e-books and will take the time to condemn these practices whenever I can.

    7. I purchased 2 books through cloud Kindle. I read them once each with a view of reading them again in the future (as I do with most books I like that are on my real shelf at home). However this was not to be. First, the backstory …

      The other day Amazon attempted to charge me $79 on what they call Amazon Prime but there was not enough funds in my credit card for the transaction. I decided that I didn’t want Amazon Prime so I went to Amazon and attempted to disable the Amazon Prime function but was unable to locate the link. I looked up their help menu and followed the instructions to remove the Amazon Prime function but still could not find the option to disable it. I let it go for a day, reconsidering whether I even want the Amazon account at all (I’ve only purchased 2 books – the ones on my cloud Kindle). So I decided to cancel my account with Amazon. I received a warning that should I decide to delete my Amazon account I would also be deleting access to my purchased books on cloud Kindle. I thought this to be very deceptive of Amazon. I also realised that I never really owned those books, they existed in some cyber ether. I paid $30 for them, money I could have used to buy them at my local bookstore.

      I was angry and truly felt ripped off by this corporation. So I’ve deleted my account and I will never again open another. Instead I will continue to buy from my local bookstore with friendly faces and sometimes not so friendly because they’re human beings afterall is a much preferred option.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *