Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Kindle Comments that I am tired of

I am really getting tired of reading these comments, and many are from non kindle owners.

  1. The Kindle does not support PDF.
    True, but do you really care? Follow me close gang. The Adobe “Portable Document Format”, frankly isn’t. Sure, you can take PDF file from a Mac, to a PC, to a Linux box just fine, but only if they have large displays. A PDF file is formatted to a specific size, usually 8.5” x 11<”. So take that file to ANY device with a small screen, and its going to be tough reading. The answer here is to have Adobe fix PDF, or use a different file format.  And if you say “But I MUST have PDF support!” Fine, you can use a convertor to convert the PDF and upload it to your kindle, or you can just email to your kindle and it will be converted and sent wirelessly. So while its true that the kindle does not natively support PDF, you can read PDF files on your kindle.
  2. The Kindle is a closed system!
    Not really. Its an ebook reader, not a general computing device. As a comparison, I give you the iPhone. Apple markets the iPhone as a lifestyle device, you can read email, play games, listen to music, run random applications, oh, and its a phone. Then Apple says “BUT, you can only install applications that Apple develops, or that don’t compete with Apples current or future product offerings. If you try to install other applications on it, we will see you in court.” See THATS a closed system. Compare that to the kindle, its an ebook reader, you can read ANY electronic content that you want on it, put a text file with directions to a meeting, a recipe, a PDF file (see point #1), anything you want. OH, you want to crack it open and run other applications? That's stupid, but go ahead, Amazon doesn’t support or encourage it, but they wont call their lawyers on you for doing it. How is that “closed”?
  3. The Text To Speech (TTS) feature is bad for writers!”
    A variant I have also heard is “Amazon is removing TTS, that's unacceptable!”
    No, what's unacceptable is that you frakkin care. Let me make one thing clear, there are many people with physical disabilities that can benefit from TTS and they have no choice but to use it or a similar technology; I am NOT referring to those users in this rant.
    DOOD, TTS sucks. Really, listen to TTS read Poe’s “The Raven”, you will want to puncture your ears after 5 seconds. Imagine C-3PO reading it, TTS is 100 times worse. Really, there is no flavor, no bias, no love, no hate, its mechanical! How is that bad for writers or for the actors guild? If you listen to the TTS read “The Raven” and you think “Wow, that sounds better than my inner voice” you should shoot yourself. As for Amazon removing it, they are not removing it, the writers guild is, so blame the guild not Amazon.  
  4. “I wont pay $9.99 for a book!”
    Ahmen sister.
    The publisher is selling the ebook for 10% less than the physical book?! Are they high? The publishers claim that in the price of a book a very small fraction (< 10%) goes towards the physical plant (paper, printing, warehouse, distribution, etc) so that means that an ebook is still pretty expensive. So 90% of the cost of a book goes into marketing, authors, editors and overhead? That is either bullshit, or the publishing industry needs to get their business in order.
    From Harper Collins:
    We still pay for the author advance, the editing, the copyediting, the proofreading, the cover and interior design, the illustrations, the sales kit, the marketing efforts, the publicity, and the staff that needs to coordinate all of the details that make books possible in these stages. The costs are primarily in these previous stages; the difference between physical and electronic production is minimal. In fact, the paper/printing/binding of most books costs about $2.00…
    Via Futurismic
    If that’s true than the publishing industry is due for a major upheaval.  Either way, PaulC will not be purchasing any ebooks for anywhere near $9.
  5. “I paid $350 for the ereader, books should be free!”
    ok, and you should work for free too. Look man, DONT BUY BOOKS. At least don’t buy books that cost $9. If you can’t do that, if you HAVE to be reading the current NY Times best seller, then maybe the kindle isn’t for you. For me it makes perfect sense. I am just finishing “Moby-Dick” next on the list is “Frankenstein”, “Great Expectations”, “The Complete Sherlock Holmes”, and the complete “Tarzan” series, all free. Go to FeedBooks and see all the public domain books, including some awesome scifi! And not to be too harsh, but if your reading list is exclusively pulled from the NY Times best cellar (pun intended) list, then you need to consider broadening your horizons.
  6. “Books should be free!”
    I agree, books should be free, as in  “free speech” (not as in “free beer”). And all of my books are, see this post.