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August 10, 2011

Kindle Gives Me Culture Back


Those are the two biggest facets of my Kindle ownership. Amazon's hardware is set up to help me read the moment I slide the power switch to awaken my Kindle. I hold it and flip its pages one-handed. That's helpful for me when I feed an infant. 

I feel guilty sliding onto Amazon.com and purchasing books without thinking about the follow-on cost. It's simple with Kindle--one click when I've the description of the book on screen and my credit card pushes the title to my Kindle within minutes. I've spent more on books during my first two weeks of Kindle ownership than I've spent on apps during a year inside iOS. It's no wonder Steve Jobs wants iBooks to gain traction. 

I need to offset my paid purchases with free titles.  I know there are more than 36000 free classics online at  Gutenberg.org and I know that Calibre can convert my gray files into e-book format if I take the time to review the work. I've also listed a dozen free watering holes for e-content below the break.

I would like to see the day when Kindle advocates in Ireland are given broadcast minutes to refute the "poor entertainment industry" profiled by Robert Levine. There are many reasons why the entertainment industry is wrong, not the least of which is the way Calibre exposes the bloat that oozes behind the traditional gatekeepers in the publishing world.

As an educator, blogger, writer and reader, I know we need to create our own media texts as self publishing authors, with work readable in portable formats. We need to show those in the Irish education sector how to produce fresh content at a less expensive price point for primary and secondary school students. As a third level creative transmedia institution, part of the Limerick Institute of Technology focus needs to be towards preparing graduates with Kindle publishing skills.

The easy availability of Kindles, Kobos, Sony e-Readers, and Nooks means a change in the remix culture has already hit the Irish High Street. You can buy an electronic tablet as your book reading platform for less than you will spend for an iPhone. Buying an e-reader delivers long-lasting value-for-money. Big players like Amazon are sorting out the business and delivery models quietly behind the scenes, effectively disintermediating publishing houses. Authors and readers benefit by the result.

But because real jobs (in the publishing houses, retail sales channels and booksellers) are on the chopping block, you will hear newspapers, musicians, film studios, and their trade groups making a lot of noise about digital piracy. Their bleatings are false enthymemes. As Jason Goff says, the "claim the newspapers, music and film industries are making less due to digital piracy is farcical. This real problem is the inadequate availability of legal, timely, competitively priced and wide-ranging choices of affordable digital-content offerings. This was perfectly pointed out by Rene Summer, Director of Government and Industry Relations at Ericsson, in this article File-sharing Is a Symptom Not the Problem."

It grates me when Digital Rights Management tactics locks my Kindle and Audible purchases against easy drag-and-drop of content onto my other devices. Fortunately, I'm able to work around everything that Amazon, Audible, and Apple have put in place and I can shift my content where it needs to play. I also know how to appear as an American or British customer so I can get titles and tracks when they are restricted for sale to Irish customers.

I do not understand the business logic behind region-locked DVDs but I have all the gear needed to convert anything for playback on my television, iPad, and mobile phone. I don't believe I'm a criminal for wanting to reuse digital material that I have purchased in the manner I deem most appropriate.

And now, it's time to read today's Guardian on the Kindle.

Jason Goff -- "Thoughts on eBooks" on his blog, August 9, 2011.

Robert Levine -- Free Ride: How Digital Parasites are Destroying the Culture Business, and How the Culture Business Can Fight Back ISBN 978-0385533768

Amazon.com Top Free E-books: Includes a very informative “most popular content” page linked where you’ll see the top free and paid e-books.

Amazon free public domain e-books: Hundreds of them

FeedBooks includes new and public domain content.

Project Gutenbergis the largest source of public domain books. I have bookmarked http://m.gutenberg.org/ on my Kindle.

FreeKindleBooks.org: Much of the same as with Project Gutenberg.

ManyBooks has nearly 30,000 free eBooks for free that work on my Kindle. I surf directly to http://mnybks.net with my Kindle.

eReaderIQ.com fives updates of non-public domain freebies from Amazon.com. Includes email alerts when prices drop.

Baen Library is an essential place for SciFi diehards.

FatWallet's Free Kindle E-Book Thread frequently updates when Amazon releases free e-books.

Rip Remix has licenses for educational use.



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Great article. As for Robert Levine, the description of the book is a pure shill for an old media that's refused to adapt to new technology. I've never in my aging life spent more of my income on movies, books, music and other consumable content as I do online.

I can't comment on something that's not released yet, but the description alone is laughable. I note that the book's not available for Kindle. Perhaps that makes sense.

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