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Amazon Expands Kindle To the PC 149

Posted by timothy
from the begun-this-price-war-has dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Windows users will be able to use a new Kindle Books application to purchase, download and read e-book titles from Amazon's Kindle Store service. The PC application will be offered as a free download and will support Windows 7, Vista and XP systems. The news comes as Amazon is suddenly finding itself with a fresh crop of competitors in the e-book reader market. Earlier this week hardware vendor Spring Design entered the market with its Alex device, while publisher/retailer Barnes and Noble presented an even more serious challenge to Kindle when it unveiled its Nook reader device." Worth noting, if you're in the market for any such device: the base Kindle's price is now down to $259.
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Amazon Expands Kindle To the PC

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  • by symbolset (646467) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @02:25PM (#29866007) Homepage Journal
    Don't care for the DRM. I could really use a book reader though, and the Android version once liberated may have interesting other applications.
  • by rinoid (451982) * on Sunday October 25, 2009 @02:26PM (#29866025)

    Now you can use your DRM-laden "books" from Amazon on your Windows computer!

    Why do so many fawn over Kindle and other like devices with DRM in text, IN TEXT!@, after spending years railing (often against the wrong targets) against DRM in music?

    -- maybe this will mean a more useful crack for said DRM --

  • by causality (777677) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @02:42PM (#29866175)

    Now you can use your DRM-laden "books" from Amazon on your Windows computer!

    Why do so many fawn over Kindle and other like devices with DRM in text, IN TEXT!@, after spending years railing (often against the wrong targets) against DRM in music?

    -- maybe this will mean a more useful crack for said DRM --

    No shit. To anyone in marketing who might be reading this, I'll fill you in. How to make sure I never, ever buy your product for any reason:

    • Use any sort of DRM scheme.
    • Unilaterally and remotely exercise control over the hardware that I have paid for, such as when the book 1984 was forcibly removed from Kindles after its purchase in order to shift some of the cost of the publisher's mistakes onto the end-users.
    • Use a proprietary or encumbered file format when a widely-supported standard file format is available.
    • Attempt to track/data-mine my activities so you can send me unsolicited advertisements for items I will make it a point to never buy if you somehow manage to successfully send me the unsolicited advertisements.

    This list is not intended to be exhaustive.

  • Why Windows XP? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mysidia (191772) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @02:47PM (#29866231)

    As a MacOS and Linux user, I feel really left out put off by this move, why support only Vista and XP...?

  • Re:PDF's? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by longhunt (1641141) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @02:54PM (#29866293) Homepage
    At work I get all of my project manuals and specification manuals in .pdf. Its the most miserable format ever for book-length documents. I hate trying to hunt through an 800 page manual one screen at a time to find the one paragraph I need that no one bothered to bookmark.
  • MIsleading (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@@@slashdot...org> on Sunday October 25, 2009 @03:14PM (#29866423)

    It's not for the PC. It's for Windows only. I don't see any other OSes there.

    Also, I already have a better "Kindle" on my PC. It's called a "PDF reader". ^^

  • Now if only there was a way to open the eyes of the masses who don't consider any of the above. This goes beyond saying "they don't care" -- it simply never occurs to ask the question, or think about it. at all.

    If we can find an effective way to do that, then DRM'd sales will take a hit. Until then... people will buy it out of ignorance.

    If I weren't aware of the DRM, and ebook prices were cheaper than paperback equivs, I'd buy a kindle - it's an impressive-looking device that -- by all reports -- works well at what it's designed for. For most people, that's all that matters.

  • Re:Cross platform? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Sunday October 25, 2009 @03:26PM (#29866519) Journal

    It also happens because of Open Source/Linux/GPL community. Just see the comments on slashdot [slashdot.org] when Spotify decided to be nice for the Linux guys and released a closed-source library for them to use develop their own Linux clients. But since it was closed source (for various reasons not even dependable of Spotify), everyone just bitched and said how worthless it is and told them to fuck off.

    Yeah, thats the way to get more support for Linux.

  • by Amarok.Org (514102) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @03:27PM (#29866521)

    There's another option entirely - we know the limitations and are OK with it.

    I own a Kindle, and was well aware of the DRM restrictions before I bought it. Sure, there are lots of people who have plenty of perfectly legitimate gripes about the DRM, and it *will* restrict them from doing things that they want to do. So they don't purchase it... fine. No problem.

    I like the Kindle, and the DRM doesn't prevent me from doing anything I want to do. I wanted an easy way to buy and carry books with me when I travel, and the Kindle does that for me. I don't tend to re-read books when I'm done with them, so if the Kindle service suddenly died, I wouldn't be too broken up about it. Sure there was the initial investment in the reader - but at least for me, the cost was reasonably trivial. I mean, I spend more on bar tabs in a month than I did on the Kindle. The fact that the books I purchase and read are a bit cheaper in electronic version, I've probably saved 25% of the cost of the reader in the few months I've owned it. After a year, it's a break even proposition if you're only looking at the total costs. But for that initial investment, I got the convenience of the reader and the opportunity to read a whole lot more than I would have otherwise. Win-win, in my book.

  • by Johnny Loves Linux (1147635) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @04:04PM (#29866771)
    I actually read some of the postings and I didn't see any evidence of "bitching". I did learn of an open source client called despotify [despotify.se] that does support Linux and Mac OS X which I would be much more comfortable with. Now I'm guessing from your tone that you're not much of a Linux user or a Free(dom) software kind of guy so you might not grok why the offering of a free closed source binary is not unlike offering the free services of a prostitute who may or may not have several STDs on the condition of a) No condom allowed b) No permission to comment on the quality of the sex with anyone else. If the prostitute is "good looking enough" or a guy is desperate enough he might think it's worth the risk of having his dick fall off, but as a rule not every guy thinks some possibly good sex vs. the possibility having his dick fall off is a great bargain.
  • by causality (777677) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @04:11PM (#29866805)

    There's another option entirely - we know the limitations and are OK with it.

    I own a Kindle, and was well aware of the DRM restrictions before I bought it. Sure, there are lots of people who have plenty of perfectly legitimate gripes about the DRM, and it *will* restrict them from doing things that they want to do. So they don't purchase it... fine. No problem.

    I like the Kindle, and the DRM doesn't prevent me from doing anything I want to do. I wanted an easy way to buy and carry books with me when I travel, and the Kindle does that for me. I don't tend to re-read books when I'm done with them, so if the Kindle service suddenly died, I wouldn't be too broken up about it. Sure there was the initial investment in the reader - but at least for me, the cost was reasonably trivial. I mean, I spend more on bar tabs in a month than I did on the Kindle. The fact that the books I purchase and read are a bit cheaper in electronic version, I've probably saved 25% of the cost of the reader in the few months I've owned it. After a year, it's a break even proposition if you're only looking at the total costs. But for that initial investment, I got the convenience of the reader and the opportunity to read a whole lot more than I would have otherwise. Win-win, in my book.

    I just want DRM to die. It's a failed concept, and like all failed concepts it deserves to die. It's also a particularly asinine one, based on the automatic assumption that the person who is buying from you wants to infringe your copyrights even though that person has given no such indication. Only sociopathic assholes celebrate the idea of "guilty until proven innocent," and that's even if their customers are willing to put up with it.

    I don't want my dollars to support a DRM scheme even if that DRM scheme is perfect in every way and never interferes with anything I could ever want to do with the device. There are both abstract and pragmatic reasons for that. I thought I'd focus on the pragmatic reasons since most people seem unable to care about much else. In a way, the reasoning here is similar to why you don't give broad, sweeping, unnecessary powers to a government and then complain when they are abused. The mild/agreeable DRM schemes are like the nicer politicians who probably won't abuse the power. There is no guarantee that their successors will be so benevolent.

    So yes, Amazon might be using an agreeable DRM scheme right now. They do, after all, want to establish marketshare and get this to catch on, and right now Kindles are far from ubiquitous. It's in their interests to play nice right now. They have enough business sense to understand that pissing off their (relatively) early adopters will doom this product. However, they have not signed any written agreements stating that they will perpetually be this way into the future. In fact, it's a safe assumption that they reserve the right to change their system or its software at any time, and probably without notice (this is standard fare for commercial EULAs). Strictly in terms of business decisions, the bigger and more widespread the Kindle becomes, the more tempting it will be for them to add restrictions. This is not in my interests.

    Additionally, this company has already demonstrated with the 1984 deal that they have no qualms about allowing a publisher's mistake to become the customer's problem. I'm a philosopher, so I did not actually need to see a demonstration; just that they had the technical and legal ability to do this was enough for me, for that guarantees it was only a matter of time. In other words, you don't carefully design technical (remote control) and legal (EULAs/agreements) powers like that for the hell of it. You do it because you intend to use them. This is not in my interests either.

    I'll say this much about my abstract reasons: my freedom and autonomy are extremely precious to me. They are certainly more precious to me than saving a few bucks. I won't tra

  • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Sunday October 25, 2009 @04:17PM (#29866845) Journal

    The story is almost full of comments about the closed-source nature of the spotify library. I do also use Linux myself, not on my primary desktop, but on servers and time-to-time messing around in Linux desktop too. Based on your nick I suspect you love the philosophy of Linux and GPL, which you guessed right, I dont that much as it's beside my area.

    But the point here is that while Linux has less than 0.5% desktop market share, it still the bitchiest one and while *demanding* software, libraries and drivers from companies, goes into huge "fuck off" mode when they provide such as closed source for whatever reason (providing them as open source, free for all to use GPL'd may hurt their business, or it may violate their licenses with other companies).

    It's great that even on Slashdot many Linux users see this issue and understand why companies dont support Linux more, but then theres the other growth who have got the whole GPL thing too much into their head without understanding the real issue.

  • by causality (777677) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @04:31PM (#29866937)

    What does everyone suggest as a replacement for DRM? Do you honestly believe that people can be trusted on an "honor system" to purchase books honestly when they could download them for free in seconds? If there was a place to download all the latest releases, nicely formatted, in the correct format and all, I know that I'd probably download them for free more often than pay.

    If DRM actually stopped piracy then you'd have a point. It doesn't. The pirates just see it as a challenge, something they can use to prove their "eliteness" by breaking the DRM scheme. The result is that paying customers bear any inconvenience caused by DRM while people who pirate do not. This has proven to be the case with music, movies, and video games. There is absolutely no reason to think e-books will be different (if anything they are easier to pirate as they are smaller than movies and games). The consistent, predictable creation of situations where the pirate has a better, more usable, less restricted product than the paying customer should tell you something about the effectiveness of DRM.

    Imagine if you were a writer, trying to make a living at it, as hard as it is already, and you had no control over what you created. It wouldn't sit well with you either.

    While I appreciate the emotional appeal, the assumption of what I would do in a hypothetical situation, and the assumption that all writers unanimously feel the same way about this topic, this isn't valid reasoning.

  • by fooslacker (961470) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @05:15PM (#29867171)
    I actually love my Kindle but it's about the device itself. I would much prefer one that was actually open. I am currently waiting to lay hands on a nook to see if it's a viable replacement but from everything I've read so far it is lacking in the actual reading experience and battery departments. My hope is that the Nook and competitors actually force Amazon into a more open position but I may be dreaming.
  • by causality (777677) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @06:02PM (#29867395)

    The story is almost full of comments about the closed-source nature of the spotify library. I do also use Linux myself, not on my primary desktop, but on servers and time-to-time messing around in Linux desktop too. Based on your nick I suspect you love the philosophy of Linux and GPL, which you guessed right, I dont that much as it's beside my area.

    But the point here is that while Linux has less than 0.5% desktop market share, it still the bitchiest one and while *demanding* software, libraries and drivers from companies, goes into huge "fuck off" mode when they provide such as closed source for whatever reason (providing them as open source, free for all to use GPL'd may hurt their business, or it may violate their licenses with other companies).

    It's great that even on Slashdot many Linux users see this issue and understand why companies dont support Linux more, but then theres the other growth who have got the whole GPL thing too much into their head without understanding the real issue.

    There's another side to this, though.

    If I am a company and I know that a portion of my customers strongly value software freedom, and then I release software (at no cost or any cost) that does not support such software freedom, and then I receive a backlash, that's my fault. That would be my own failure to understand the market I intended to reach. It would be like an automaker who only manufactures blue cars and expects that to work well in a market that overwhelmingly wants red cars. If the automaker blamed the market for that, it would be quite arrogant of them.

    Now, I might decide that this market is not reachable, and decide that I won't bother producing anything for it. That'd be my prerogative. But if I am to try to reach them at all, I need to do that correctly by giving them what they want the way that they want it. A half-assed effort to do that which backfires is not the community's fault. What would I expect, exactly? For that community to give up ideals and principles which are very dear to it just to use my product? The scenario you mention above was not just a failure, it was a predictable failure.

    If we are truly honest, and cut through all the marketing and bullshit, there's only one real reason why every IT-related company would ever use proprietary formats instead of open standards. They are afraid of competing in an open market, with a level playing field, on the basis of who can produce the best implementation of those open standards. As a customer or a potential customer, their fear of doing this doesn't interest me. In fact, if they were forced to do this, the result would be lower prices and better interoperability for everyone. So why, again, should I feel sorry for a company that doesn't want to do things this way and caught a little flak for it?

    Really, the loyalty, benefit of doubt, and sympathy that is shown to corporations that would not hesitate to exploit or take advantage of you in any way that they can is staggering (ever heard of vendorlock?). I for one am not buying it.

  • oh sure (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:16AM (#29869191)

    I'm all over this opportunity to collect a bunch of books that I don't really own my copies of and can be deleted without my consent. >g

Given its constituency, the only thing I expect to be "open" about [the Open Software Foundation] is its mouth. -- John Gilmore

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