John Rogers Of LEVERAGE Fetishizes His Kindle

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!

4 Responses to John Rogers Of LEVERAGE Fetishizes His Kindle

  1. Andrew Timson says:

    I followed your link from Rogers’ blog. While I agree with many of your points, I do have some questions:

    1) Only if you buy DRMd titles. DRM-free ones are available from other sources like Fictionwise and Baen Webscriptions.

    4) Who actually sells ePub? Last I checked, Sony sold their own proprietary format, and while Adobe’s reader supported ePub their store still only sold PDFs.

    6) How much work is Amazon doing to create the files? Are they being handed a Word document or something else that then then have to convert, or are they given finalized Mobipocket files that they just have to sell? And perhaps more importantly, who are they taking the 65% from, everybody or just the self-published? 65% is a heck of a lot less than your typical retailer + publisher.

    The Kindle is not ideal, and there are changes that I would like to see. I’m just not sure it’s quite as bad as you’re making it out to be. ;)

  2. sticky says:

    Love the show, hate the Kindle. I buy my books in Mobipocket (for my blackberry) wondering what will happen if Kindle goes away…

  3. Keishon says:

    Excellent post.

  4. Mike Cane says:


    Sony actually sells ePub in its eBook Store. But they don’t specify which is which, unfortunately. Most of the short stories are ePub.

    The UK store from Waterstone’s is all ePub — Sony doesn’t have an eBook Store there. PanMacmillan sells DRM-free ePub. Another UK store I can’t recall offers ePub. Depending on the screwball 19th-century right restriction, you can or can’t buy these UK books.

    There’s also free ePub available:
    Over 900 Free ePub eBooks!

    Fictionwise might also sell ePub, but that site is so slow, I’m leery of checking it right now.

    PenguinUSA sells ePub. On most US major publisher sites that also sell eBooks, the format is ePub.

    See also The ePub Blog

    It’s not much work to create a Kindle file — not nearly as much as ePub. The 65% cut is outrageous.

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