I’ve been techno-lusting after a Kindle for quite some time. The idea of free wifi anywhere I go, with which to connect to Wikipedia and Google Maps, is a big draw, but so too was the idea that I could buy and read a book any time and anywhere. I guarantee you the first thing I’d do when I got it, would be to try to hack it, use its wireless network capabilities the way I wanted rather than the way prescribed by Amazon. That way, I could take my existing e-books (most of which are for now-public-domain classics) and read them any time I please, without having to pay Amazon for something I already own.
Still, even the prospect of hacking it to use it for my own nefarious ends doesn’t supercede the fact that I’d be paying big bucks for what amounts to a really good LCD screen on a device with internet access to a scant minimum number of services via the cell phone network (e.g., slow). So, I’d probably end up using it to replace my current paper-based library using Amazon’s e-book store. However, on hearing the latest news, I’m hard pressed to justify such a purchase motive when the Digital Restrictions Management allows for such gross misuses by Amazon as this:
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 epic fail about this particular move is that the author for which Amazon decided to retroactively nullify all existing e-book purchase contracts, was none other than George Orwell.
Hat tip Wil Hwheaton (he seems like a nice guy) via Twitter.