Amazon Kindle: the Web makes Amazon go bad crazy

Mark Pilgrim has a great, incisive post about the Amazon Kindle e-reader that sums up almost all of the reasons I won't be buying it — it spies on you, it has DRM (which means that it has to be designed to prevent you from modding it, lest you mod it to remove the DRM), it prevents you from selling or lending your books, and the terms of service are nearly as abusive as the Amazon Unbox terms (and worse than the thoroughly dumb-ass Amazon MP3 terms).

Mark only misses one anti-feature of the Kindle: it comes with EVDO wireless through Sprint, which means that, inevitably, there will be world class Awful Crap that Kindle owners will confront, because it is impossible to involve a mobile carrier with a technology without infecting that technology with Awful Crap. When you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

Act I: The act of buying

When someone buys a book, they are also buying the right to resell that book, to loan it out, or to even give it away if they want. Everyone understands this.

Jeff Bezos, Open letter to Author's Guild, 2002

You may not sell, rent, lease, distribute, broadcast, sublicense or otherwise assign any rights to the Digital Content or any portion of it to any third party, and you may not remove any proprietary notices or labels on the Digital Content. In addition, you may not, and you will not encourage, assist or authorize any other person to, bypass, modify, defeat or circumvent security features that protect the Digital Content.

Amazon, Kindle Terms of Service, 2007

Here's the biggest mystery of the Internetiverse for me today: why is it that Amazon, the most customer-focused, user-friendly company in the world of physical goods, always makes a complete balls-up hash out of digital delivery of goods? You'd think that they'd be the smartest people around when it comes to using the Internet to sell you stuff you want, but as soon as that stuff is digital, they go from customer-driven angels to grabby, EULA-toting horrors. Why does the Web make Amazon go crazy?


(Disclosure: If you buy a Kindle and then give them money to read Boing Boing, they send us some of it )