The Book vs. The Kindle: funny videos about the Kindle's user rights shortcomings.

Spotted over at the EFF Deep Links blog: a series of humorous web videos produced by the folks at Green Apple Books which extol the virtues of paper books over Amazon's Kindle e-book reader.

Above, an episode which examines how the Kindle fares for folks who might want to resell their book after they're done reading it (this is what lawyers and people who know what the letters E-F-F stand for refer to as the "first sale doctrine").

The Book vs. The Kindle (Hugh D'Andrade,


  1. Amen to that! I just went out and got me a new Library card last night to go read some real paper books. Srew the Kindle Screw the MPAA the RIAA and all this DRM shit!

    Can i get books for the kindle at my public library? lol no!

  2. I can’t wait until the Kindle kraze blows over and is finally shuffled down the memory hole.

  3. I wonder if this was the same stupid argument people had when mp3 players came out.

    Music? not on CDs? MADNESS!

  4. That’s very cute, and quite apt.

    I’m a librarian and a Kindle DX owner, so I’m kind of on both sides.

    The kindle is fantastic for loading up with free books (Project Gutenberg!), out of copyright materials and articles/documents that I’ve had sitting as PDFs on my computer for ages. I’ve only bought a couple of books from Amazon, it seems like a nice delivery system, but my reading tastes are a bit off of amazon’s track.

    Even with their boasts of a quarter million books there’s so much just not available. The price point of $9.99, while better than hardcover, isn’t much better than a new trade, or better yet, a used trade edition.

    I’m still buying used books (and making use of my library obviously) and selling them back at the great Myopic books here in Chicago.

  5. Eventually the Kindle or something like it will win for some things, like undergraduate textbooks, where the popular ones weigh 10 pounds and switch versions often enough that there’s no resale value anyway. If it were a better pdf reader and allowed annotations and could search pubmed or arxiv it could be a sweet research tool.

  6. Funny, the clip shows off one advantage of the Kindle– those people all had to schlep on down to the bookstore, versus just clicking a handful of keys.

  7. @5 above
    “Funny, the clip shows off one advantage of the Kindle– those people all had to schlep on down to the bookstore”

    You say that like that’s a bad thing ;-)

  8. “Eventually the Kindle or something like it will win for some things, like undergraduate textbooks…”

    Not gonna happen. Publishers, colleges, and professors all make way too much money off textbooks for them to go away.

  9. Actually, I haven’t sold any books in years. Or given away books, save for two Dilbert reprints. So its a complete non-issue for me. If I deem a book to be not worth keeping anymore, I simply put it in the paper bin. (Were we live, trash collection’s already divided into paper/organic/recyclhable packages/rest).

    And upon checking the app store, seeing that one can buy the current Perry Rhodan pulp as an app; I realized that there are even books/magazines I’d pay “full price” for, but which I wouldn’t really keep, because in my old age, I wouldn’t reread them.

    So for disposable reading material – let’s call them one-read-sense – the DRM on a kindle’s limiitations isn’t much of an issue, either.

    That said, the very fact that they actually delete content from privately owned devices killed, stuff bought from their store, makes it a total no-buy for me. I’d was a pretty sure buyer when they’d gotten around to sell in Germany, but not anymore. I’ll check out the other brands and will simply read free novels or ripped stuff, from books I already own on paper.

  10. $80 for less than a metric ton’s worth of used books? Please show me where this magical place is!

    At least the “We’ll buy 6 of the 387 books you brought in” part is at least accurate.

    (Don’t get me wrong–I’m an enthusiastic participant in the used book market. I sell and buy at The Strand in NYC, etc. I don’t begrudge the paltry prices I get for them, since nobody’s going to get rich buying and reselling used books. Just had to giggle a little at this.)

  11. if your “books” have no resale value and you don’t really own them then maybe you should torrent them. Eventually Amazon will get the message as the record labels slowly have.

  12. I wonder would Bernard Black would have to say about the Kindle…

    He probably just hit Manny over the head with it.

  13. @edosan:

    That’s exactly why it WILL happen.

    Imagine – no need for new editions, yet you completely cut out the used sales.

  14. Since one big reason to sell books is to free up shelf space, and this is one thing the kindle (and its ilk) do well-it’s a non-issue. If you count on regaining a part of your purchase cost, may I recommend the library-which is basically free?

  15. #11, I pretty regularly walk out of Green Apple with $60-100 in hand, having entered with a couple of grocery bags of trade paperbacks. They really do kick down like few other stores, as long as you bring them quality material.

  16. are you even ALLOWED to sell a kindle full of “books”?
    (I can see the quotation marks becoming added to “books” like i- is added to everything now…)

  17. BookGuy- Exactly. $80 for only about 10 books? And in cash, no less? Used bookstores where I live will only give credit towards other used books.

  18. I was given the first edition of the Kindle as a present, and since paperback books here in Australia can cost 19 to 22 AUD (~16 to 18 USD), for a while I used it a lot, and it was pretty cool. The look of it didn’t bother me, I could eat a sandwich during lunch and not have to hold a book open while I read, I could start a new book immediately after finishing the old even if I was away from my bookshelf at home, and it was like each book I bought was half-price (not to mention all the out-of-copyright books I could download free!).

    I still buy paper books, though. At first when there wasn’t a Kindle version, or when I had a real itch to start reading a new book and I hadn’t brought my Kindle with me, or it was out of batteries. But then mostly it was because there’s a lot of book-reading overlap between me and my friends, and with a Kindle book you can’t just say, “Hey, I read this great book, want to borrow it?”

    So my Kindle is now sitting in a drawer, while I’ve got a paperback in my purse ready for the train ride home.

  19. perhaps it would just be best to stop giving the Kindle any coverage at all. At least until they honestly try to get it right. It could very well be they are capitalizing on the free publicity with no intention of behaving honorably.

  20. Yesssssss, excellent.

    I was hoping to see something like this pop up, and I’m so very happy it has. I can’t wait to see the other episodes.

    Kindle is a gigantic piece of overpriced shit. May it rot forever in some Nigerian landfill.

    Come to think of it, THEY WILL.

  21. @#8- Bookstores are fun places to meander through. I know, I do, I enjoy.
    Then again, there’s the “book experience” and there’s “reading”. Ebooks of whatever variety’ll get you to the latter much faster…

  22. @cicada Well, that’s a tautology. “bookstores are fun because I enjoy them” I actually like them, too, but it’s been ages since I really used one. For novels, tips from boing boing and amazon recommendations based on my and others’ shopping work much better than my random browsing and with textbooks I miss out the amazon reviews.

  23. ooh! ooh! 10 billion points goes to whoever guesses what WWF hype man the guy on the left is inspired by!!!! Oh man I’m bursting with the answer. Vince McMahon might kill me for mentioning the name though. The WWE is no stranger to copyright.

  24. Nothing will replace the pocket book. Evvvaaaarr!!!

    hi, i’m new. i just noticed the knidle size.

    i like the tactile feel of my airline travel paperbacks.

    oh and wouldn’t you know it, the hardbacks are usually equally compact.

    i love my dads library….i must post it.

  25. Strangely, whenever people are whining about the kindle, nobody mentions the free and open alternatives. Not one word about the Hanlin/BeBook, that will happily read open standards stuff + quite a few closed ones. Sure, you’ll have the same issue in terms of resale with other readers but why is this an issue in the first place? How is it even possible that you can purchase a book and not have the right to resell it?

    Readers will get an increasingly big share of the market in the coming time. Support the open ones that won’t lock you to a single vendor.

  26. Correction: should read ‘eReaders will get an increasingly big share …’

    Apologies for the extra post.

  27. I never really thought about the reselling or the inability to resell Kindle books. I still like reading a real book. Especially at the pool or beach or somewhere where you’re afraid you’re Kindle will get damaged or stolen. I actually wrote a humorous blog post on the 5 huge problems I have with the Kindle at

  28. I’m pretty sure I read it here first, but isn’t one of the arguments in favor of used book stores that the resale value of a book increases the perceived value the consumer is willing to pay? If people can’t sell their old books, how might that affect the publishing market?

  29. Copyfighters are so fucking annoying. I agree with nearly all their positions, but they’re so smug and insufferable that I want to go throw away my CDs and buy old DRMd iTunes tracks in protest.

  30. That was a long trip just for the punchline “where’s the book”.

    As a lot of commenters have already said here, on what planet do you get $80 selling used books? If the book store even wants to buy it from you, you get practically nothing for it. If the message here is that with “real” books you get some of your investment back the message is lost on me. Books have their own advantages over Kindle bits, but don’t try to claim that resale value is one of them. If you want to show benefit, make a video of someone dropping a book on the floor and someone dropping a Kindle on the floor. Then again if they did make a video of that, I’m not going to watch it because this video was such a waste of time.

  31. I like the idea of the video, but as others have said, getting $80 for used books would be quite unusual. The video loses some of its power because of this obvious exaggeration, because the situation is so implausible.

    I could see the guy paying a lot if they’re signed first editions or something, but then the value isn’t the book’s text, but the collectible aspect of it.

    The “first sale doctrine” is good, but making it out to have more monetary value than it does is kind of shady of the filmmakers.

  32. i call foul! that first seller is kate r, who works there. no wonder she got so much cash for her books.
    she is also the vivacious Lady Satan of SF burlesque circuit

    is it a leatherbound kindle? it needs to go with my leatherbound wallet.

    Grand Wizard of Wrestling?
    missing the turban, but has the crazy glasses

  33. Yes, enough about the Kindle. Bookstores are where its at. Especially the kind where the books are hand selected, and reviewed with those little “staff picks” cards attached to the shelves. Love that.

    I can’t remember the name of it, but I visited the coolest little bitty independent bookstore near Seattle recently that specialized in all the Beat writers and poets. They had a wonderful display of books that had been legally challenged in one way or another over the years with a bookmark inside explaining the case and the outcome. Plus they had bookbags hand made in the Congo, for sale for a donation.

    Small independent bookstores rock. My hope is that the Kindle will support a culture of reading that in turn supports a wide variety of bookstores along our mainstreets in towns the world over.

    I think its cool if you don’t buy a Kindle due to philosophical objections. But for god’s sake, loosen the deathgrip on your wallet, go to the corner bookstore, and lay down a little dough.

    Support your small local businesses before its too late! Or else…

  34. There’s only one thing I really care about, I don’t want t carry an entire library with me! A ebook reader is perfect for travels etc.
    Neither ebooks or real books will put the other out of bussiness. People will still buy paper books to actually own and hold them, but ebook readers will carry on because there handy and you can carry an entire library with you at all time.

    I’ve long thought that publishers should do tri-sales, you should be able to buy a book which comes with a CD containing the ebook and audio book of it for a good price.

  35. I love Green Apple Books, but this $80 cash (not even store credit!) transaction is far beyond dubious for that li’l stack of paperbacks. Can we assume one of them has verified margin doodles by Pynchon?

  36. Calm down everyone, the e-book will not replace the printed book no more than photography replaced painting. Why do people who claim to love printed books have such a limited and narrow view of the media form they say they love? If they really loved it they would realize that the printed book does more than just hold content, and to that end so is the e-book. They both have their own characteristics and ways to contain and display the content and have various unrelated affordances.

    There’s a book arts blog in NY that covered this same issue. The guy who writes is makes handmade books but owns a kindle and wrote about why.

    I think he made a lot of sense in explaining the differences.

  37. “I wonder if this was the same stupid argument people had when mp3 players came out.”

    Music was already stored on a medium and required a device to play it back. That just made it easier.

  38. @Trent Hawkins you are so right. Everytime a new media form comes around there is a backlash which is always about trying to make comparrisons based on the content of the form not the form itself. At the end of the day both books and the kindle can hold the same content but they have different forms and both are viable and useful in their own contexts.

    I think that many of the folks that are trashing e-books like the kindle are just showing their ignorance as they don’t realize that they are two different forms that both have a reason for existence. I love to read and I’m both a printed book lover and enjoy the Kindle.

    If you don’t want an e-book then don’t buy one but that’s no reason to trash an entire form because you feel that your preferred form is threatened. By doing this the anti-kindlesits are actually doing their preferred medium a disservice. The only similarity between the two forms is that they both contain the same content (words in the current debate) but each form has very different qualities, benefits, and drawbacks.

    Let’s all not forget that books themselves are a technology and at one point were the latest and greatest form for content. While printed books don’t necessarily last as long as cave paintings or stone carvings they do have lots of benefits like portability and accessibility.

    One great benefit of the new form is that it frees up the old form to be explored in new and more creative ways and if the form is as important and needed as the anti-kindle folks say books are then they will evolve and take on additional roles much like painting did as photography became the dominant medium for portraits and documentation.

    If you really love printed books look at all of this as a great new way to appreicate and focus on the form of printed books and if you are not sure where to start just do some searches on book arts or take a look at some of these wonderful sites:

  39. Amazon’s Kindle wireless reader had a huge hurtle to overcome in order to become
    more than just a gimmicky gadget that would be forgotten in a couple months after its glitzy launch.
    There’s something about going to the store, purchasing a hardcopy book, and rifling through the pages
    that e-books have never been able to compete with. Most of the backlash stems from the fact that the
    platforms on which those books have been displayed historically haven’t been up to the task.
    The screens are too small, too bright, look too much like computers, and make you feel as if you’re
    still jacked into the high-tech matrix that traps us all every day of our working life.
    Essentially, people buy books to get away from computers. What’s more, “book people” love books.
    How could the Kindle overcome that?
    See More Kindle Information HERE

  40. i actually just got a kindle and i love it but i still read plenty of real books even though i like how i can text,email, and play music and games on the kindle

  41. “Can i get books for the kindle at my public library? lol no!”

    I can.
    -your argument is invalid-

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