Articles Tagged: Amazon

Medialoper Bebop Episode 27: Brain Decline

In their first podcast of 2012, Jim & Tim wonder if you’ve heard that new Van Halen song. Kirk could care less. But it does lead to a discussion about various band reunions as well as the various incarnations of Van Halen. (4:37 – 11:04)

Then, there is general worry at a British study that says brain decline starts in the mid-40s, not the early 60s. (11:05 – 19:55)

Also, speaking of decline, has any retailer had a swifter decline than Best Buy? Probably, but who can remember? Kirk traces it back to when they got into a public spat with the DuroSport Electronics Corporation. (19:56 – 29:18)

Finally, the latest inductee into the Medialoper Bebop Great Albums Hall of Fame, Horses by Patti Smith. Even though it’s Kirk’s choice, Jim is going to use this opportunity to link to his article about seeing Patti live in 1996, as well as Kassia’s article about her love for Patti Smith. (29:19 – 47:10)

All that, and the new Van Halen song! On Medialoper Bebop Episode 27: Brain Decline.

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Medialoper Bebop Episode 22: Time Change!

This week, Kirk, Tim and Jim are reeling from the ramifications of the reversion back to Pacific Standard Time, so there are fewer topics, but more digressions!

First, a look at Amazon’s Kindle Owners Lending Library, and what it might mean for the Publishing industry, and you, the Consumer. Yes, you!! (07:20 – 21:00)

A voicemail from Commissioner Loper leads to a plot to capture Jay Fung, who still doesn’t know that he’s been mentioned on nearly every single podcast for the past couple of months. (21:02 – 23:00)

Then, a Musical Moment to Die For: The Dream Syndicate – Then She Remembers. (23:02 – 25:02)

Finally, Jim reveals his amazingly simple 21st Century plan to fix the problem of Daylight Saving Time, something that has been publicly affecting our lives since at least 1983. (25:03 – 33:32)

Here’s what’s in Jim’s mix this week: John Doe, Deer Tick and some rare Smiths. (33:33 – 37:54)

All that, and commentary from our special guest, Siri!!

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How To Fight eBook Piracy

In a remarkable piece of investigative journalism the New York Times has discovered evidence of widespread ebook piracy. Again.

The surprise here is not that the paper has rediscovered piracy for the umpteenth time, but rather that, despite the paper’s many discoveries, it has failed to gain a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding piracy. Instead, the paper chooses to play to the worst fears of the publishing industry, while demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of what motivates consumers of digital media.

NYT columnist Randall Stross theorizes that the widespread availability of pirated ebooks combined with growing consumer adoption of digital reading devices like the Kindle, may ultimately lead to massive piracy of the sort that the music business experienced during the Napster era. Apparently it’s just a matter of time before Kindle owning consumers pirates wake up the fact that they can save 10 bucks by downloading bootlegged ebooks from RapidShare instead of buying direct from Amazon.

The scenario might actually seem plausible if you had no knowledge of either RapidShare or the Kindle. Let’s pause for a moment to compare the ebook acquisition process from both sources:

Kindle:

  1. Find the book you want by searching the store that’s conveniently integrated into your Kindle device.
  2. Press the buy button. Yes, you just spent $9.99. Painless, wasn’t it?
  3. Start reading.

RapidShare:

  1. Find the book you want by searching the… Wait a minute. It turns out that RapidShare has no on-site search engine.
  2. Turn to Google or some other search engine to find the exact URL for the book you want to download. This might take a while, but fortunately pirates have loads of free time.
  3. Once you’ve found the exact URL you’ll discover that you can’t download the file immediately. Instead, you’ll be told that all of the free download slots are in use. You’ll have to try again in two minutes. Repeat this step until a slot opens up (it might be hours, it could be days).
  4. Alternately, consider paying for immediate access. For a mere 6.99€ you can download from RapidShare without waiting. That’s only 20 cents more than the price of the book you’re about to steal. A small price to pay for sticking it to The Man.
  5. Once you’ve downloaded your book you’ll need to find a way to move the file to your Kindle (Whispersync might be convenient, but it’s not the pirate way).
  6. Prepare for the likelihood of some slight formatting problems with your new book. In most cases you’ll be able to figure out the intended meaning of the poorly OCR’d text. And you’ll just have to get used to the page numbers that are embedded in the middle of each page.

If publishers can learn one thing from other forms of digital media, it is the importance of a quality consumer experience. Consumers place a premium on convenience and ease of use. As a result, free is not always the clear choice.

The best way to prevent piracy is by making it easier to buy a product than it is to steal the same product. Despite my many reservations about Kindle’s proprietary DRM, Amazon has made the Kindle book buying experience frictionless. Publishers who fear piracy should work to emulate the Kindle discovery and purchasing process.

Right now the number one tool against ebook piracy isn’t DRM, it’s Whispersync.

Digging Deeper Into Amazon’s Orwellian Moment

When media historians write the history of DRM they may well devote a whole chapter to the day that Amazon customers awoke to find that their Kindle editions of “1984″ had vanished into a memory hole and that Big Brother Bezos had apparently turned George Orwell into an unperson.

You would be hard pressed to invent a more apt or ironic example of the dangers of DRM. Surely this will be the incident that finally raises consumer awareness of the risks involved in buying DRM protected media.

And yet, after digging deeper into this story, I’m not convinced that this was a DRM issue at all. At least, not in the truest sense.

Further, this incident raises a host of interesting rights related issues that have largely gone unexplored in the days since.

Consider the following: (more…)

Why Kindle’s DRM Free-for-All Is Bad for Consumers and for Amazon

The Kindle is popular for a reason.

Amazon has created the most painless ebook experience any consumer could possibly ask for. No other system makes the discovery, purchase, and transfer of ebooks so frictionless. As a result, Kindle has become the standard everyone else in the ebook business will have to match just to compete. So far no one comes close.

But Kindle has a dark side that is starting to emerge with startling regularity.

This past weekend Dan Cohen was surprised to find that he could not re-download some of his Kindle books. After several lengthy exchanges with Amazon customer support Cohen was informed that some (but not all) Kindle books have download limits. Or maybe it’s a limit on the number of devices they can be transferred to. Or it might be both…

To be honest, Amazon’s customer service department isn’t entirely sure of what limits are imposed on DRM protected Kindle books. (more…)