Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Electronic Media and the Two-Way Connection

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So the big book news recently is about Amazon deleting an ebook from its Kindle e-book reader--and the huge public backlash. Yes, it didn't help that the book was George Orwell's 1984. You'd think that 1984 might be a public domain book, but for this version, as Ollivander says, apparently not.

I've read a variety reasons why Amazon did it, from discovering that this was a pirated version to belatedly realizing it only had U.S. and not international distribution rights for this version. Whatever the reason, Amazon discovered it shouldn't be distributing this, and it acted quickly to undo the damage and refund people's money.

The news has not been consistent about when Amazon notified customers about their actions. If it was contemporaneous with their actions, that's about all they can do. If it was later, yes, customers had a right to be indignant.

But it seems to me that most people who are complaining about this don't take exception to how Amazon did this but that Amazon has the ability to do it at all. They worry that the next step is for the government to unilaterally withdraw things from publication by demanding that Amazon erase the offending items from Kindle.

Yes, what is downloaded can also be uploaded--but this incident actually highlights why that functionality is useful. Amazon needed to recall a book. What other practical way is there to do it? I asked a publishing industry professional how Amazon should have handled this, and she said Amazon shouldn't have sent it out in the first place.

That's fine in a perfect world, but in the real world, people make mistakes. I hope Amazon wouldn't be fooled by someone attempting to sell product from major authors or major houses, but what about all the tiny e-publishers springing up? Publishing is much easier to get into now that e-publishing and print on demand has reduced overhead costs. So it's much harder to verify who you're talking to and what they own.

I understand people are particularly sensitive about books because of book burnings and book censorship. However, book piracy is a bigger problem than book censorship right now. People are trying to sell illegal versions of copyrighted books right out in the open. Ebay has kicked a couple of pirates off recently thanks to some vigilant authors.

Individual illegal print copies are effectively impossible to trace. Electronic media is traceable, and pirated copies can be removed from existence. Yes, that has some Big Brother overtones, but it also reduces the hit-and-run anonymity of media pirates. For now, that outweighs a threat of censorship.

[side note--my store software does not have the functionality to offer ebooks yet, but that is planned for a future revision]


Sherrilyn Kenyon Dark-Hunter and Dark-Dreamer books in paperback and many in hardcover
Laurell K Hamilton Merry Gentry series in hardcover; Kiss of Shadows also in large print, Bloody Bones - new HCDJ OOP!, Strange Candy, Cerulean Sins, Danse Macabre,
Anthologies - (HC) Cravings, My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding, Man of My Dreams, Dates from Hell; (PB) Tapestry, Stroke of Midnight, Midnight Pleasures, Love at First Bite, Dead After Dark,
Karen Marie Moning - (HC) Spell of the Highlander, Darkfever
Christine Feehan - (HC)Dangerous Tides, Dark Demon, Dark Possession, Dark Celebration
Kelley Armstrong - (HC) Stolen, Bitten
Mary Jo Putney - (HC) The Marriage Spell, A Kiss of Fate

JR Ward - Lover Unbound HC
Angela Knight - Master of Swords HC
Maggie Shayne - Prince of Ice HC
Cameron Dean - Eternal Hunger HC
Susan Krinard - Kinsman's Oath HC
Lynsay Sands - A Quick Bite (Argeneau 1) HC
Kerrelyn Sparks - How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire HC
MaryJanice Davidson - Undead and Unappreciated HC SIGNED
Patricia Rice - Magic Man HC
Susan Carroll - Midnight Bride HC
Jacqueline Carey - Kushiel's Scion HC
Shana Abe - The Dream Thief HC
Kathleen Nance - Phoenix Unrisen

Kinley MacGregor - (HC) Return of the Warrior, Taming the Scotsman, Claiming the Highlander, A Dark Champion; (PB) Knight of Darkness, Master of Desire, Warrior
Eloisa James - 2 in 1 HC A Wild Pursuit/Your Wicked Ways
Hannah Howell - Highland Groom -HC
A Regency Christmas Carol - anthology with Mary Balogh
Karen Ranney - The Scottish Companion, When the Laird Returns
Suzanne Enoch - Twice the Temptation

Wildest Dreams

Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kenyon

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