Stare Into Space

Kindle Swindle

Posted on | November 9, 2011 | 2 Comments

I’ve been in ‘streamlining’ mode of late, getting rid of a lot of old books and whatnot. It got me thinking about the benefits of a Kindle so I started researching.

While I was checking out Kindle hardware, Amazon kindly recommended a Kindle-format book that I’ve been planning to buy. It would cost me €7.71 to have the relevant zeroes and ones beamed to my Kindle (if I had one).

To compare, I popped to The Book Depository (where I buy a sizeable chunk of my books) to find I could get the actual, physical, hold-it-in-your-mitts, dead-tree version of the very same book shipped to my door for €6.37. And when I’m done with that, I can loan it to a friend or bring it to a second-hand book shop or use it to start fires in government buildings.

It seems unlikely I’ll be getting a Kindle this Christmas. I don’t feel I’m being unrealistic with this—I understand that there are people all along a book’s production chain that need to buy baked-beans and fingerless-gloves and stuff but it’s hard to shake the assumption that providing a virtual copy of a book should be, at least, a little cheaper than printing one and having a postman deliver it to another country. I tried pricing a few other books with very similar results.

“Pah!” I snort.

Get your head out of your arse, Amazon.

Or am I missing something?

UPDATE:

@timmaughan pointed out that I am missing something. Namely that it’s the publishers setting these costs and forcing them on Amazon. This seems quite believable but it seems odd that the largest vendor of both physical books and ebooks in the world (ok, I’ve just assumed that fact but I’d put some money on it being the case) can’t bring a bit more clout to negotiations. As we digest this new information, let me close the update with:

Get your heads out of your arses, Amazon and the publishing industry. I’m a freakin’ book-snob yet I’m thinking of buying a Kindle. I’d have scoffed, scoffingly, if you’d told me that a couple of years ago. There’s no way, however, that I’m putting my book-snootiness aside just to pay more money for something that has no physical presence outside of some transistor-states. Whoever is at fault for this stupidity doesn’t matter. The end result is the same to consumers like me—we’re not buying a Kindle.

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Gerry Hayes

Gerry Hayes

I mostly sit around all day and drink tea. Occasionally, I write stuff and send it to strangers so they can humiliate me and deride my efforts. Other than the self-harm to dull the shame of failure, it's not a bad life. Like I say, there's tea.

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