I love to read. It is really my only hobby; I never go a minute without a source of new information to occupy my attention. I’m known for taking books to my kids’ soccer games. When they are not playing, I’m reading. This makes a great impression with the other parents. Try it sometime.
So you can only imagine my excitement at the new Kindle 2 from Amazon. The Kindle 1 was a cool idea with awful ergonomics, so I decided to wait. Kindle 2 had it all. I couldn’t wait to order one, but decided to hold off a few months to see how the new device shook out in the market. Buying the first or second model year of a new car is always a bad idea, so I just wanted to be sure.
I am glad I waited. The shake out was poor, but not for the reasons I expected. It has nothing to do with the device, which seems to be fine, but rather with the company selling it. I will not be buying a Kindle 2 (or 3 or 4 for that matter), nor will I ever buy anything from Amazon in the future. Why? First, ‘vanishing’ 1984 and Animal Farm from customers’ devices is so creepy and boneheaded it is a permanent turn-off. Second, a company that would rather sell books to the possessor of a stolen device instead of helping the rightful owner reclaim his property is just not my kind of people.
Forget pulling an Orwellian move on actual works of Orwell for a second (my mind still reels). The removal of the books was supposedly because the sellers were not authorized – in essence that the books were stolen. But had the kid bought a paper book from a bricks-and-mortar book store, paying full price on the assumption that it was a legitimate transaction, my understanding of the law is that unless the true owner comes forward to claim the property, the buyer would have done nothing wrong and would very likely get to keep the book. After all, he didn’t know it was stolen and paid full price. Now combine that with essentially colluding with actual thieves of actual Kindles and my head starts to hurt at the illogic and sleaziness of it all.
Now Amazon will chug right along without paying any attention to my one-man boycott. And Barnes & Noble will not see a massive swing in quarterly earnings because of my switch. But trust is the most valuable commodity in any business transaction, especially when dealing in China. PassageMaker’s motto is “Trust & Transparency” for a reason.