S.G. Browne

Of Kindles and Turntables

First of all, you have to understand that I’m a SportsCenter junkie. I love watching highlights on ESPN during every SportsCenter broadcast. And when the NFL season comes along, you might as well just hook up an IV to my television and leave me on the couch.

Which is why I don’t have a regular cable TV package.

I have what is called Basic Limited Cable at a cost of about $20 per month, which provides me with about 40 channels — including FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, Golf Channel, FX, and the Sci-Fi Channel (which is now the SyFy Channel – a separate blog if there ever was a need for one).  But no TNT, TBS, USA, CNN, MSNBC, Comedy Central, or ESPN.  That’s how I cured my addiction.  I took it away.  Made it impossible for me to get my fix.  Which is probably why I spend all of my time on Facebook and Twitter now.

So I don’t have On Demand movies.  I don’t have HBO or Showtime.  I’ve never seen an episode of Weeds.

I don’t have TiVo.  A DVR.  A Blue Ray.  Or a Wii.

I don’t own an iPhone or a Blackberry.  My cell phone is an LG ENV.  I have texting.  But I don’t have e-mail capabilities.

While I do own an iPod and a laptop and have my entire library of music on iTunes, I still enjoy buying CDs.  I even own a turntable and I love vinyl.  It sounds better than digital music.  Maybe not as convenient, but it’s much richer and warmer.  Go out and get Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon or the Beatles’ Abbey Road on 180 gram vinyl and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

While not a complete Luddite, I’m definitely averse to getting sucked into becoming dependent upon all of the modern technological amenities.

Which brings me to Kindle and e-books.

While I understand the convenience and economy of using e-readers and realize, as someone who loves trees, that e-books reduce the need to chop trees down, I still enjoy the tactile feel of a book in my hands.  And, I have to admit, I enjoy seeing my novel sitting on my bookshelf amid all of my favorite authors and books.  It’s the narcissist in me.

My issue with the deletion of the Orwell novels in the recent fiasco involving Amazon and Kindle isn’t so much that the books were removed from the Kindle library.  I understand that.  They were bootlegged copies uploaded using the Kindle stores’ self-publishing system, so the publisher of 1984 and Animal Farm asked for them to be removed.  Fine.  But the customers who had already purchased the novels should have been able to keep them. Yes, I know Amazon admitted it made a mistake by deleting the customers’ copies, but apparently they did the same thing previously with books by Ayn Rand and J.K. Rowling.  So why didn’t they learn their lesson then?

Reaching into your Kindle electronically and replacing your book with a credit is not only unacceptable but it raises questions as to the ownership of electronic book and music collections.  Apparently, because of the Kindle terms of service, you don’t actually have full ownership of the books you purchase.  Amazon can delete anything it wants from your e-reader.  The justification on the basis of intellectual property is beside the point.  The power to be able to do this at all is, while not exactly Big Brother, definitely disconcerting. And another example of why I’d rather have to dog-ear a page to mark my place.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go listen to Van Halen’s first album on my turntable.

Filed under: Just Blogging — Tags: , , , — S.G. Browne @ 8:55 am


  1. Let’s say for the sake of argument YOUR book was illegally uploaded to Amazon by some yahoos who do not own the rights, and 50,000 copies were sold. You did not receive a penny. I’m willing to bet 100% of the consumers who purchased the book, and later had it deleted from their Kindle by Amazon, had no idea it was an illegal copy they purchased. And I bet 99% of those consumers would want YOU to be compensated when they purchase a book YOU wrote. So, I don’t see what the big deal is about Amazon crediting the accounts and deleting illegally purchased e-books, except for the fact that Amazon should’ve sent out an email before doing so. Well that and the fact that it was Orwell. Who can resist going all Big Brother with a story like that? That’s my two cents. PS I understand your love of the paper book, but I have to say I LOVE my Kindle.

    Comment by Gretchen — July 23, 2009 @ 9:54 am

  2. I agree about actual books. I have a Kindle, I love it, and as a constant traveler, it is pefect for me, as I could never carry the amount of books with me I can store in my Kindle. And yes, I am acutely aware of the trees I am saving by purchasing e-books as opposed to physical ones. But I will never entirely give up real books, I have grown up with an outlook that money spent on a book is never money wasted, and I like the feel of holding the book in my hands, and everything about them.

    That is interesting about Amazon removing books from Kindles and replacing them with credits. At least they did that instead of “Too bad Charlie.” I get the reasoning, but definetely smacks of the big brother. Which is definetely ironic, since it was Orwell.

    Comment by Don McCoy — July 26, 2009 @ 10:12 am

  3. While I can appreciate the technology of the kindle and ebooks, there is nothing (for me,at least) that can replace the old fashioned book.
    Opening a new book and the new book smell takes me back to grade school when I first fell in love with reading. Adding to my bookshelf, allows me to visit old friends at times and the best part, they can’t be deleted and be replaced with a credit.

    Comment by Helen Letourneau — September 25, 2009 @ 9:39 am

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