Posts Tagged ‘Kindle’

New Kindle Will Download Books Abroad – But Not in Thailand

October 7, 2009

New Kindle Will Download Books Abroad –

I was excited to see this article in the New York Times that there will soon be an international version of the Kindle – available from October 19th.

I checked the site and looked at the country information for Thailand. But I saw the message:

Kindle Not in Thailand

Kindle Not in Thailand

The same is true for Singapore and Malaysia. BUT it will be available in Laos and Cambodia but without wireless access. You use your PC to download then send it to the Kindle via a USB link.

Kindle in Laos

Kindle in Laos

Given the relative wealth of the countries that seems strange. I guess there are technical, legal and licensing issues involved. Since Laos and Cambodia are small markets it is less trouble to negotiate than for larger markets like Thailand.

Maybe they are negotiating with the carriers here but did not have an agreement in place in time.

Even if the Kindle does become available here I would be wise to wait one update cycle to let others work out the kinks. I am tired of being an early adopter.

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Kindle Drawback

September 12, 2009

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 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.

Gadget Makers Can Find Thief, but Don’t Ask –

September 8, 2009

Anger at Makers When Gadgets Go Missing –

Kindle 2 Stolen

I was surprised to read this. I assumed that if somebody stole my phone, or the Kindle I don’t have, the phone company or Amazon would “brick it” (to use the latest vernacular: brick (v) – to turn a piece of expensive electronics into something as useful as a house brick).

But as Oscar Wilde is reported to have said said “assume is to make an ass out of you and me”.

I guess that Amazon and the phone companies in the US don’t want the hassle – and the recriminations if they brick a device because of an illegitimate request.

See the hassle Flickr got itself into when trying to comply with a DMCA takedown request. This issue is interesting because it seems to show how hasty Flickr can be in responding to complaints. Where have I seen this before? Here.

In other countries it is routine for carriers to brick a stolen phone if the original owner can provide the unique id of the phone (its IMEI).

Cynics will say that Amazon will resist bricking a stolen Kindle as it can continue to sell content for it. I don’t know if they are that cynical, it is more likely they don’t want to open a new can of worms. Business is so complex and legal issues so abundant I can understand their reluctance.

But in this case it seems like the right thing to do, given that they verify the applicant’s identity as the owner of the device and not a pissed off boyfriend.

I don’t know what Thai phone companies will do if you report your phone stolen. I should find out.

Digital Domain – Texting? No, Just Reading My Textbook on the Phone –

September 8, 2009

Digital Domain – Texting? No, Just Reading My Textbook on the Phone –

To read a textbook on the iPhone, students may need to do a lot of scrolling left and right.

To read a textbook on the iPhone, students may need to do a lot of scrolling left and right.

This is the post that got lost in the cloud on Sunday. I’ve finally found the time to re-write it.

I think this NY Times article about the difficulties of reading textbooks on tablet computers and smart phones is missing a point.

Textbooks authors, their editors and designers design the books for print. They artfully consider the layout, the diagrams, illustrations and white space for a large (expensive) printed work. The versions available for readers are typically PDF files of the printed work.

There’s an opportunity for authors and publishers to re-design their books for easy reading on a screen. The Kindle does not have colour but you can get around that with careful design as newspapers do. I think an iPhone or its ilk may be too small to read a full textbook, but I am sure designers could improve the experience a lot if they focused on it.

There needs to be a business case for the publishers to invest in this of course. But once one publisher shows how to profit from truly superior electronic versions of their books I expect the field will take off.

Newspaper internet sites don’t make me browse a PDF of the newspaper. The articles and pictures may be the same but they present it differently. I doubt the journalist who writes an article does anything differently knowing that her work will be displayed in the print edition and on the web.

We are just at the start of the move from paper books to electronic and we’ve got a lot of learning to do. But the principles of separation of presentation from content are well understood.