Taking Sides: Abandoning my Kindle

Around three years ago, my Dad got me a Kindle Touch. I’d been resisting e-readers, in part because of ongoing file format and DRM shenanigans and in part out of a false sense of economy.

Once I slapped a leather cover on, to make it more book-like, I discovered that I did like reading on an e-ink reader. (I’m still less convinced I like reading on LCDs, though text looks gorgeous on my iPad Retina Mini.)

Some months ago, I read George Packer’s New Yorker piece with mixed feelings. I bought some books from non-Amazon sources—particularly from Angry Robot and O’Reilly—but mostly I felt content to work within the Amazon ecosystem. It was smooth, frictionless. They made it just so easy to buy books.

Last week, the ongoing battle between Amazon and Hachette drove me over the edge. I’m even agreeing with Farhad Manjoo.

Charlie Stross summarized the impact most ably:

Amazon’s strategy against Hachette is that of a bullying combine the size of WalMart leaning on a much smaller supplier. And the smaller supplier in turn relies on really small suppliers like me. It’s anti-author, and in the long term it will deprive you of the books you want to read.

I find Amazon’s behavior, finally, unconscionable and untenable, and they’ve driven me to seek my e-book fix elsewhere. I’m giving up that beautiful frictionless ecosystem, plunging into the thickets of the DRM and file-format wilderness. I’ve bought myself a new e-reader, a Kobo Aura HD.

Expect a series of blog posts on negotiating this unkindled world.