Friday, July 31, 2009

e-books and digital ironies

We don't yet have the Amazon Kindle, or anything similar in terms of price range or range of available, easily downloadable e-books in Australia.

It was amusing to read of the recent contretemps in the US, where Kindle owners found that the copy of 1984 which they had bought and downloaded had been erased (and a refund credited to their account).  The Amazon version is that it was an illegal download.  It is disquieting, however, to think of the 'digital tether' /sense of burglary (and consequent extremely poor publicity) involved in this.  Read more in this NY Times article and the NY Times tech blogger also commented here.

Oh, and since 1984 is out of copyright in many countries, free e-books of it are not hard to find.  Lookee here, for instance.  Various formats for various devices, including a plain ole computer (eg. pdf).  It's also interesting to note that the setup of the Kindle is such that whatever you have on your Kindle you can't lend, as you might lend a physical book (or can lend, if you have an e-book in a shareable format such as .pdf).

And that the book involved should be George Orwell's 1984?  There's something deliciously ironic about that, isn't there?



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