Sorry, Evil Genius, but the Kindle IS closed

image imageI’m a Kindle 2 owner myself and have talked up the K2’s good points and shared tips with fellow users.

Even so, as long as Amazon taints bestsellers and so many other books with proprietary DRM, I’ll consider the Kindle a closed system—at least in ways that count for many readers.

Open systems, moreover, don’t include the capability for the hardware provider to zap books—even 1984! Nor do open systems let publishers prevent disabled people from using text to speech.

Looking beyond the machine, if the Kindle is so open, how come my publisher can’t even get a DRMed edition of my novel removed from She couldn’t offer The Solomon Scandals at the Mobipocket Store without tolerating a DRMed version of my novel at in addition to the nonDRMed file. Trouble is, the DRMed edition remained at even when we withdrew from the Mobi store. Is that really openness?

Dave “Evil Genius” Slusher is a good guy, but I’d very respectfully disagree with his recent thoughts on the Kindle’s so-called openness. And the same for you, Paul.

Related: Mitch Ratcliffe’s comments.

Image credit: Creative Commons photo from Quinn Anya Domrowski.

About David Rothman (6824 Articles)
David Rothman is the founder and publisher of the TeleRead e-book site and cofounder of He is also author of The Solomon Scandals novel and six tech-related books on topics ranging from the Internet to laptops. Passionate on digital divide issues, he is now pushing for the creation of a national digital library endowment.

4 Comments on Sorry, Evil Genius, but the Kindle IS closed

  1. And this is why everyone who wants to keep their content and use it the way they want strip the DRM out of the books they buy. No TTS blocking, and no way for the company to remote delete a purchase.

  2. blah blah blah, more Kindle-bashing from David. What else is new?

    LOL :-)

    I love you anyway David!

  3. I couldn’t care less about the kindle itself. I just want to buy ebooks from amazon and use them on other devices (and not iphone). So, as far as i’m concerned “Amazon e-books” is a closed system, whether the kindle itself is or not.

    (with respect to just the kindle, i side with evil genius because he’s right–you can get kindle books, especially free ones, from places other than amazon.)

  4. Hi David, sorry first contact in years is a squabble but that’s the way the Nookie crumbles.

    The Kindle STORE is closed as in Amazon is the only game there. The Kindle DEVICE is not closed because I can put arbitrary files on there. I wrote my post because people keep saying that you MUST buy books from Amazon to put them on the Kindle which is factually incorrect. I have hundreds of books on mine, I paid Amazon for 5, I paid Book View Cafe for 1, I paid Pragmatic Programmers for 1, I paid Fictionwise for ~100 of them, I got a few dozen for free from A couple are freely available from the writers’ websites (Doctorow, Stross). The balance are either self-generated, or have been emailed to me by writers or publicists.

    My post is factually correct. You are not required to pay Amazon to get readable books on a Kindle. You can criticize the store and the DRM and all of that criticism is valid and useful but outside of the scope of my very focused statement of fact.

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