Jul 20 2009

Big Brother vs. Kindle

I was reading Publisher’s Weekly and learned that Amazon had mysteriously refunded Kindle owners for their purchases of George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984 because the e-books were illegal copies.

Can’t have illegal e-books floating around the Kindlesphere.  I get it.

What I don’t understand is why the publisher of these titles doesn’t make the book available – legally – to Kindle users.  Would all these same readers have purchased paper copies of these books?  Probably not.  Would they be rereading these classics on the train, in their backyards or carpool lines?  Probably not unless they were in eighth grade.

I don’t know the process a publisher goes through to do this, and I’ve read the arguments against e-books. I don’t own a Kindle and have never read an e-book — but I know that it’s a driving force in the future of publishing.  If When I publish, I’ll want my book available to anyone who wants to read it, no matter their preference of how to do so.

I tend to think of technology as only taking us forward, but in this case technology people back — back to classic books. There is no down-side. Nothing negative. I know e-books take the heart and soul of book publishers and trample them. I know that industries will suffer if there are no more paper books. I’m not talking about getting rid of books – I am just curious why ‘older’ books would not be available on Kindle and if it’s a philosophical or business decision on the part of the publisher.

What would some of our own favorite, classic authors would think of that?  So many writers were trailblazers. Countless authors charted new territory.  They took risks with their words.  They made people happy and angry.  Authors, over the course of time, have ruffled many feathers and set the course for changes in history.

So, perhaps the future of publishing should have a new motto.

In my mind it would be…

What would Jane Austen do?

I think she’d want to set a precedent for something new.  I believe she would gleefully agree to do something no author had yet done.

And considering the futuristic nature of George Orwell’s novels, I have to think he’d be on board as well.

(I know that the author isn’t the publisher, don’t worry, I’m just sayin…)


Posted under Publishing | 3 Comments »


3 Responses to “Big Brother vs. Kindle”

  1. By Natasha Fondren on Jul 20, 2009 | Reply

    It is available. :-) Someone else thought it was in the free domain, and published their own version.

    I LOVE that! We should all make buttons: WWJAD?

  2. By Melanie on Jul 22, 2009 | Reply

    I still find it ironic that it was 1984 that was removed from the devices. You can’t write this stuff.

    I think you make an excellent point about writers and how, if given the option, they would probably be open to whatever method gets them read. I see no problem with it!

  3. By ame i. on Jul 23, 2009 | Reply

    My husband gave me the newest Kindle for Valentine’s Day. Our daughters share my older one.
    I’ve always been a constant reader and I’m out of shelf space b/c I tend to keep my (400+) favorite books. I only buy Stephen King’s & Dean Koontz’s “real” books now. Before having a Kindle I borrowed books written by many many many other authors from the library but the drive & the wait time for the books I wanted was annoying.
    I’m curious to know if one of the authors I’ve “found” since owning a Kindle had rather I read their works on my Kindle or not at all.
    I pay on average $9.99 for the books I download. I’ve put over 50 books on my Kindle (and enjoyed them) that I would not have bought from a bookstore.

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