Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Hard Decision

That's it, it's over, I won't buy and/or recommend Kindle anymore.
I'll keep on using Amazon as an information provider, as a discovery tool, as a source for free ebooks, but I won't buy paying ebooks from them anymore. Similarly, I won't add reviews to their products, or give them any way to use my reading

My reasons ? It's not playing fair anymore.

It wants customers to use other places as a showroom ? Fine with me, for ebooks they're the best Showroom in town, and I'll make my choosing there, but will buy elsewhere.

It asks exclusivity ? Fine, I'll buy exclusively elsewhere.
I won't comment more on these subjects, it's already been extensively covered on the web.

These elements were already over the top, but I still had a tiny margin in me to accept this but...
The last straw ? It doesn't show the DRM status of ebooks it sells. I'll buy books where I can choose with this criteria.

I know, you english readers don't have this last problem... but it seems, Amazon HAS changed it's stance on DRMs indications.
The day of Amazon's French Kindle store opening, I found out that the DRM status was not displayed on it, and wondered if it was a glitch, or a strategic decision. (Amazon Kindle France and DRMs : different strategy or Bug ?)

I tried then and mobilize about it, but with no great result. Of course, it could be a bug, or a temporary situation.
Roughly a month later, I contacted them through the support service, and the only answer I got was :
"It's nominal (no bug), but we'll express your concern to the appropriate department (ie. When Hell Freezes Over)."
 (Amazon's answers regarding DRMs on Kindle France)

Bragelonne /Amazon meeting

Next, came Bragelonne's (one of our main SFF publishers) meeting with the Kindle France team (Insatisfait par les réponses Amazon à Bragelonne sur les DRMs (Mis à jour)).
What came  out from that meeting is that Amazon can't deal with Bragelonne's (through it's distributor Immateriel) choice of protection scheme : marking. Since it can't (won't ?) mark books, rather than leaving them completely unprotected, they prefer putting DRMs. (But didn't refer that fact to Immateriel/Bragelonne until asked about it).

Please note that this "upgrade" is not only Amazon's doing, it's also the case for FNAC, which partnership with Kobo has led to the same situation.

Nonetheless, Amazon's inability to propose marking forces Bragelonne to compromise on it's no DRMs stance.

But it's not over : if you read my analysis of Bragelonne's report (not translated yet, sorry), you'll see that Amazon has led Bragelonne to believe DRMs where a necessary part for customers to have access to the full "Amazon" functionality : lending, text-to-speech etc...
As I surmised, and was later confirmed by more knowledgeable sources, this is complete bullshit, as it mixes specificities from mobi/azw files, with the DRM's implementation. And if it WERE in fact true, how come that same problem was only  evident in the French store sold ebooks ?

But that's old again ! Why choose to manifest now ?

Well, the new change is in fact a few days old : The Kindle France Store is not the only one to no longer display the DRM status of ebooks : The Italian and Spanish stores share that same "particularity".

This proves (to me) that it's in fact a strategic choice to not disclose the presence of DRMs to users, which is against French law, European directives, and the customer's and public's  interest...
As you may know, DRMs are one of my pet pieves. So, in addition to the others predatory moves, has pushed me over the tipping point.

So, from now on, I will stop giving money to Amazon.


  1. I am so glad I started following your Blog, you hooked me on the line. I knew when I first started reading your interesting points of view on various topics that we shared the same thoughts, but this Blog is definately the sinker!

    I am 100% in agreegment with your disgust with Amazon's predatory acts. I am so glad I did not spend any of my money on Kindles for Christmas!

  2. Thanks Carolyn for following and commenting here !
    I hope you find enough English language posts, and if it seems lastly a high number have been in French, I will keep on posting in English :)

    I unfortunately had already bought quite a lot of Christmas presents through Amazon before... But next year, they won't get any money from me !