John Rogers Of LEVERAGE Fetishizes His Kindle

February 12, 2009

Oh, I did that headline to spin his head a little bit.

He does not fetishize his Kindle.

But he does love it and strikes back at the anti-eBook people with his post:

In Defense of the Kindle

This point I liked:

But I believe it’s worth noting as a pre-requisite for Kindle discussion that people who fetishize books as books are just that — fetishists.

Oh, he made other good points, but the weird love of paper gets under my skin too.

One thing Rogers wrote, however, I cannot allow to go unchallenged. This:

The DRM is indeed evil, if you ever want to transfer those books to another mass-market reader. Of which there are none.

Emphasis added by me.


The Sony Reader created the damned market for eInk eBook readers! Sony has sold well over 300,000 of them. The Sony Reader is in England, France, and coming to Germany, The Netherlands, and Italy. The Sony Reader is in physical stores, where people can fondle it. The Sony Reader has been through three generations. The Sony Reader still has an SD slot. The Sony Reader can read ePub. The Sony Reader can borrow books from public libraries, for free!

I detest the Kindle. Let me spell out why again:

1) You can buy only from the Amazon Kindle eBook Store. Can you say monopoly and restraint of trade? (Yes, I do have the same issue with the iPhone App Store, so STFU.)

2) Because Amazon has a distribution monopoly, it can act contrary to the interests of both publishers and readers. Like a — say it with me — monopoly.

3) Amazon owns MobiPocket. Amazon screwed all of their MobiPocket customers by tweaking that file format for the Kindle. Anyone who invested in DRMed MobiPocket eBooks over the past five-plus years has to buy them again for the Kindle.

4) The Kindle cannot do ePub files. Again: the book publishing industry has finally settled on a standard to foster a mass-market: that’s ePub. Amazon could have included ePub support in the Kindle 2. Amazon instead chose to still ignore the existence of ePub.

5) The Kindle cannot borrow eBooks from any public library. Note that among the eBook file formats offered by public libraries, a vast selection are in Amazon’s own MobiPocket format! So the Kindle screws customers twice here!

6) Amazon grabs a thieving 65% of the sale price of an eBook. Robber baron, anyone?

7) It’s fugly. Both Kindle 1 and Kindle 2.

Don’t tout the wireless feature of the Kindle. Really, have you no ability to delay your gratification? The iPhone can also grab eBooks wirelessly (and will soon do ePub too!). The Sony Reader will have wireless at some point (probably this year) — and it will allow people to buy from any eBook store, not restricting them to Sony’s own store.

So, Kindle? Um, no.

Enjoy The Lockdown!

John Rogers is an executive producer and co-creator of one of the best new series on TV: Leverage. Don’t hold his Kindle love against him. Watch the show!

Quote: Morris Rosenthal

February 12, 2009

Heavy Iron At Tools Of Change

I can’t imagine a life spent on the lecture circuit talking about a brief shining moment and selling T-shirts.

A great summary of some points from the Tools of Change conference.

Wow, there were several gallons of snake oil being peddled! It made me very cranky and I tweeted back (not being there in person) my displeasure. Some more posts about that later.

— via Twitter from ePublishing

Sony: We’re Working On Mac Interfacing

February 12, 2009

An unofficial — yet surprisingly public — statement was made by an alleged Sony representative in the audience of a seminar at the Tools of Change conference today:

Unfortunately, only one person caught that and I couldn’t get the identity of the speaker, who walked out after stating that.

Given what’s happening with both the Stanza eBook reader as well as the abominable Kindle 2, Sony must be feeling some real pressure.

Stanza: iPhone, Adobe DRM ePub, and Palm Pre Too?

February 12, 2009

A surprising revelation about the Stanza eBook reader for iPhone, via Twitter:

This, however, has not yet been publicly announced. You’re getting it here first (or at least very early!).

What Lexcycle formally announced is itself a big eBook bombshell:

Lexcycle Announces Support for Adobe eBooks in Stanza Reader

NEW YORK, Feb 11, 2009 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Lexcycle, the company behind the award-winning Stanza electronic book reader for the iPhone and iPod Touch, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Adobe(R) to license PDF and EPUB rendering technologies as well as support for Adobe’s eBook content protection technology. The integrated technology will allow Stanza users to enjoy eBooks sold or loaned by any retailer or library, who distribute eBooks protected with Adobe Content Server 4.


Starting next quarter, Stanza will be able to read EPUB and PDF files secured with Adobe’s content protection technology from Adobe Content Server 4. The EPUB format has gained significant traction among major trade book publishers and industry groups such as the Association of American Publishers (AAP). With the upgrade, Stanza users will be able to purchase or borrow Adobe eBooks from the hundreds of retailers, academic and public libraries who distribute Adobe eBooks worldwide.

That is simply astounding! Suddenly there will be over 1.3 million devices out there that can borrow ePub eBooks from public libraries. And purchase them from any eBook store that offers Adobe-wrapped DRMed ePub (which, right now, is most of them).

Stanza eBook reader suddenly becomes a competitor to the Sony Reader — and simply trumps the Kindle 2 (which cannot do ePub).

And this is very, very enticing:

JavaScript is one of the programming tools used to develop for the Palm Pre. Can Lexcycle have actually hinted that the Pre is their next target device?