I missed this when it first blew up last week (thanks a lot, missing LJ-feeds!), but apparently there was an online dustup about the fact that Kindle owners can have more than one Kindle (or iPhone) on a single account. There’s no requirement that the machines all belong to the same person, or that they all live at the same address, either. This lets people who download a book onto their Kindle share it with friends.
Apparently, this came up in a NYTimes article, and some authors went on a name-and-shame campaign against the reader named in the article because the article made it seem that she was bending the rules. Dear Author covers the situation pretty well, and makes some good points about e-books and book-sharing.
Me, I think it’s great that Kindle readers can share. That brings me closer (but not to) the point that I’d be willing to get one. People: Share my books with your friends and I will be happy!
Oh, and writers shouldn’t call readers “thieves.” Duh.
On that note, John Scalzi points out that Amazon.com has a new patent that would track e-book piracy by altering the text of the book in unique ways–essentially substituting synonyms for words in the book.
Scalzi, quite sensibly, calls bullshit on that. Jane at Dear Author likes the idea better, although she seems to be promoting an idea similar to but not identical to what Scalzi’s talking about.
For me, I hate it. I have zero faith in a computer’s ability to substitute synonyms sensibly. In fact, readers would probably be astute enough to spot the switches.
And it reminds me of certain horror stories, such as the English author who who discovered that the editors who published their book in the U.S. were concerned enough that American readers would be confused by British terminology (“They went back to his flat.”) that they did wholesale search-and-replace. At which point one of the characters delivered a line of dialog “apartmently.” Ungood.
I’m with Scalzi on this one (and I hope that “apartmently” story is apocryphal).