karen_w_newton (karen_w_newton) wrote,

Kindlegate and the blame game

I guess the Kindle has arrived. People are now talking about Kindlegate. Apparently, Amazon could have done a much better job of training their customer service reps about how Kindle's DRM limits are applied.

In case you're not up on DRM, it stands for “digital rights management.” When you buy a book from the Kindle store, it comes with software that allows it to work only on your Kindle. You can't copy it to your PC and then copy it to someone else's Kindle. DRM makes a lot of people grind their teeth. It's supposed to prevent ebook piracy, but mostly what it does is annoy the heck out of people. So, to keep people from buying one copy of a book and then sharing it with large groups of people, Amazon allows Kindle book buyers to download that copy to six different devices. Sounds like a lot, doesn't it? At $359 a pop (almost $400 for the DX), who would ever have more than six Kindles?

But, devices doesn't mean just Kindles. It can mean iPhones and iPod Touches with Kindle apps. And when you upgrade one of those devices, it has to be registered again. So, believe it or not, someone has actually reached the upper limit and been unable to download a book they bought— not pirated— because of this policy. See, when you unregister a device, it doesn't free up a license to download. You have to call Amazon for that. And when this guy did call, the customer rep told him that there was a limit on the number of times a book could be downloaded, even though it never says that when you buy the books. Sounds a lot like double secret probation, doesn't it?

So, do we blame Amazon for not thinking about how easy it would be for a Kindle owner to reach the device limit? Or do we blame Amazon for not training their reps better? Or (my favorite) do we blame them for insisting on DRM in the first place?

p.s. Only fair to add— I still love my Kindle.

Tags: e-books, ebooks, kindle

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