There are a number of books that aren’t available for the Kindle yet. Here’s a list of the ones I’d most like to see making it to a digital format:
Eventually I went further than musing and went out and bought myself a Kindle and I am very happy with it. Beyond the books I buy from the Amazon store, it’s capacity to show PDFs is also very useful and I end up carrying quite a bit of material around with me. Having reference books to hand is also a boon, as they tend to be weighty things that I’d rather not have to physically lug around. Some books, especially if they’re not new novels often aren’t available. I particularly miss Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable and The Lore of the Land: A Guide to England’s Legends, from Spring-heeled Jack to the Witches of Warboys. There’s always a link on the pages of these books to tell the publisher that you want this book in Kindle format.
However, what surprised me, is that sometimes a book can disappear. A friend of mine recently bought the Kindle edition of History of Western Philosophy, by Bertrand Russell and I wanted a copy for myself. The Kindle edition had vanished. I dutifully clicked the link, but as the page indicated that it was up to the publisher to decide what is available, I emailed them Routledge. They responded:
I guess you will need to contact Amazon as we don’t decide on what they want to sell or not.
That was surprising, it seems it was pulled by Amazon for some reason. So naturally I contacted Amazon next. They also responded:
Occasionally books are removed from the Kindle Store for various reasons. We don’t have any details about why this particular book may have been removed.
Currently we are unable to guarantee when the title will be available on our website.
So, the publisher is blaming Amazon and Amazon are providing no information of any kind. The person who bought the book on their Kindle still has it, it hasn’t been deleted in a recurrence of the 1984 debacle, which is a relief. But some kind of information from someone, somewhere would be nice. After all, all I want to do is give them my money.
At last, it’s once more possible to buy a Kindle edition of History of Western Philosophy
I was never particularly enamoured with the idea of getting a Kindle or similar ebook reader; I saw it as an expensive toy that would force me to re-buy books and, unlike the iPad, couldn’t even display comic books. I held onto this belief firmly until I was recently stuck in a hotel room in the outskirts of Milan with nothing to read. I had brought a book with me, of course, but I finished it earlier than anticipated and I was from then on bereft of prose. Had I a Kindle I would have been able to tap into the hotel wifi and pick up a new book, either free from the Gutenberg Project or something from Amazon’s ebook store; even PDF format books published under a Creative Commons license that I could have uploaded. But I had none of these and it pained me.
I realise though that, being an electronic device, I’d still have to put my book away on the flight during take-off and landing, an irritation that a paper novel doesn’t suffer from. And finally, I have an open question regarding regional licensing. All media is licensed for a region, and rights in one region do not necessarily transfer.
An example of this was when, upon learning that I had nothing to read, I logged into my LoveFilm account. I pay to have a certain number of streaming films every month, which means not having to wait until the physical disc arrives. However, I learnt that LoveFilm’s license to stream movies was only valid within the UK. Even though I was a UK resident and paid my bill in the uk, the fact that I was physically located in Italy meant they couldn’t give me access to my movies. I hope the Kindle doesn’t have this restriction, I haven’t tried looking into it yet, but I would certainly find this irritating.
I haven’t bought a Kindle, and there’s a chance I never will. But I am certainly less opposed to it than I used to be.