Kindle Drawback

Ever since it came out I have been gnashing my teeth that the Amazon Kindle isn’t available in Thailand.

But when I read this review of a book on wedding photography on Amazon.com I started to wonder if it’s all it is cracked up to be.

The reviewer said:

DON’T buy the Kindle version! Two problems; one annoying and the other serious:

First, the formatting for the Kindle is about like a text file dumped into a word processor. The chapters run together, there are no links from the table of contents to the locations in the text of the book, and the tables (important tables to understand the main point of the book) are totally unusable.

Second, the whole book orients itself around a concept he calls “pDNA” which others have discussed. With a print copy of the book you get a code which allows you onto the website which the book describes as an essential part of the book.

You don’t get the code with the Kindle edition, and they (the author’s website) won’t give it to you if you ask and explain that you bought the Kindle edition of the book. You can buy the code from the website for $20.

That makes your $9.99 Kindle book cost $29.99. There is now a warning on their website that you don’t get the code with the e-book, but you do with the print or audio versions.

I don’t know if that was added after my complaint or before. It was not a part of the advertisement for the Kindle version.

So, it’s a really fine book, but the e-book version is incomplete and defective.

I wonder if the formatting problems are unusual for typical. That is inexcusable on the publisher’s part. Even a PDF of the book with no consideration for the best format for a mobile device, would be better than what hes describes.

And not giving Kindle customers the secret code for the web site sounds penny pinching and stupid. Especially when it is US$20 and the Kindle version costs US$9.99. The incremental cost of serving another customer on the web is close to zero. Why discriminate and piss off Kindle customers?

It’s great that Amazon did not censor this critical review. It would be better if they strongly encouraged a) better formatting for Kindle books and b) a non-discrimination policy. I have a feeling Jeff Bezos would agree if he knew what was going on.

I made a comment on his review to this effect.

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One Response to “Kindle Drawback”

  1. BKKPhotographer Says:

    There is an interesting discussion at http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/14/does-the-brain-like-e-books/ about the different reading experiences and how we react to presentation.

    I think it is a lot of what you are used to. We were all brought up with paper books. The e-book experience is novel. It’s better in some ways but worse in others.

    I bet the people who say that a paper book experience is better because of the feel of the paper, the smell of the leather binding would, in the early days of the motor car have said that the horse experience is better because of the smell of the horse and the clip-clopping of its hooves.

    (That was an excessively long sentence.)

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