Well, and if I thought that Kindle might be about to miss a trick I was embarrassingly mistaken it seems. As Econsultancy reports, Amazon has recently launched a simple self publishing tool to help bloggers spread their word on Kindle.
Amazon will turn your blog feed into a Kindle suitable format and there you go – all you have to do is sign up for Kindle Publishing for Blogs. Oh, and pay the subscription fee of course. And the commission (70 per cent).
None the less, if they are hoping to ensure that Kindle continues to rocket – it seems they are at last going the right way about it.
A nice article in the New York Times today again highlighted the growing panic that was first kindled with the introduction of Amazon’s eminently portable e-book reader. Ursula K. Le Guin was amongst those literary stars to find her work online illegally, and she is quoted as saying “Why do they think they can violate my copyright and get away with it?”.
I reckon because, well, they know they can. Despite the Pirate Bay guilty verdict, and increasing legal measures to cap illegal downloads, they still happen – and happen in their millions. What’s to stop books following in the footsteps of films and movies by becoming just the next file to share with your friends? There are already plenty of sites where you can find pirated copies of e-books, although whether they are there by the contest of the site owners remains a point of contention.
Motoko Rich at the NYT suggests that if publishers jump on the bandwagon more quickly than their peers in the music industry, they might manage to nip novel piracy in the bud by offering an easy legal alternative. Which seems a sensible enough solution – if the traditional houses can move fast enough.
Lots of people jump to the defence of pirating activities by suggesting that they are a way for writers to gain exposure and for readers to access work they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. The thing that bugs me about this is the sheer number of writers out there – too great a choice is paralysing. And if anything by anyone can be uploaded to be downloaded free, from world famous authors to bedroom hopefuls, what happens to quality control?
Well, I don’t really know what I expected to happen – but I’m still pretty shocked by the fact that Pirate Bay (a file sharing site) has been found guilty. The four co-founders have been sentenced to a fine of £2.4 million and a year in jail each. Actual jail. Of course the defendants plan to appeal, which will probably drag on for ages, but the whole thing seems pretty crazy.
Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi had this to say over Twitter:
“Stay calm – nothing will happen to TPB, us personally or filesharing what so ever. This is just a theatre for the media.”
“Really, it’s a bit LOL. It used to be only movies, now even verdicts are out before the official release.”
He hit the nail on the head quite nicely there. I don’t really know what my position is on filesharing. I like having physical things most of the time – but I’m also happy to pay way more for gig tickets these days seeing as I’ll listen to music my friends pass on to me without a second thought. Not so sure how I’ll feel about it if e-books continue to grow in popularity though.
On the other hand, with the rebellious attitude he and his friends sported throughout the trail, I can’t help thinking that Peter may have been courting that self same media to some extent.
Even though I love getting my hands on shiny new bits of technology, from fancy phones to sleek laptops, e-book readers – and e-books in general – have never really appealed to me. There’s something so satisfying about the tactile sensation of a book and when I find books with unusual typefaces or that are interestingly bound I’m instantly attracted to them. And it because of this possibility for endless textural variety (when it comes to paper, ink and font choices) that I see e-books as limiting possibilities rather than expanding them.
I know that e-books could actually provide a more environmentally friendly alternative than the ridiculously massive collection of ‘real’ books I own, but I don’t know if I’m un-selfish enough to give them up. Although maybe I won’t have to, and maybe e-books will end up coming to me far before I would’ve gotten round to them.
Just in the last month it seems like everyone is jumping on the Kindle bandwagon, what with Samsung announcing plans for their own reader and Google partnering with Sony to take on Amazon. But the news that really got me thinking was Amazon’s release of an e-book reader iPhone, a free app that means your phone works just like an e-reader.
Not having to specifically spend money on a dedicated reader is obviously a bonus and so is the thought that, should I accidentally forget to pick up novel I’m reading on the way out the house, I’d have dozens of novels to choose from in my pocket. No more bus journeys cursing my forgetfulness and staring out the window in a sulk – that sounds pretty tempting.
On the other hand, I’m pretty certain that no matter how snazzy the e-book readers become, even if they end up good for curling up with and sturdy enough to be used when you’re in the bath, they are never going to surpass paper and ink for me. But just maybe they could complement it.