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Amazon Stymies Lendle E-book Lending Service

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the pulling-the-rug dept.

Books 237

CheerfulMacFanboy writes "CNET quotes Lendle co-founder Jeff Croft: 'They [Amazon] shut the API access off, and without it, our site is mostly useless. So, we went ahead and pulled it down. Could we build a lending site without their API? Yes. But it wouldn't be the quality of product we expect from ourselves.' Croft also said 'at least two other Kindle lending services got the same message' yesterday.'"

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237 comments

Read... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35569844)

Without the functionality being sanctioned by Amazon's own API, we aren't sure if there is a legal sinkhole waiting to ruin us.

10$ says Amazon has their own 'lending' service come online involving modest per-loan fees within 6 months.

Capitalism At Its Finest (1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35570008)

Yep, this is yet another fine example of Capitalism the free market cheerleaders don't want you to know about. They want you to think that Capitalismis about choice, Well that is true if you are rich. The poor well according to the rich and free market drones fuck them as they are nothing more than "scum of the earth." The solution is simple, communism. That's right boys and girls, communism. No more greedy rich to have power over someone else. Everyone will have the same rights and power. There will no longer be haves and have nots. Of course the fucktarded uneducated USians will fight tooth and claw over this like neanderthals going after their meat. Meat consumption should also be banned worldwide, why treat sentient/semi-sentient life forms like scum? With communism there will no longer be the Amazon's of the world and people will be free to create and share all arts with no barriers.

Sincerly,

Signed: The Rest of the World

Re:Capitalism At Its Finest (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35570042)

tl;dr

But people need to realize that a corporation carving out a piece of the free market to be under its control is harmful to freedom and choice like a monopoly is.

Re:Capitalism At Its Finest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35570102)

Yes, under communism everyone can be poor.

Re:Capitalism At Its Finest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35570586)

Ah, spoken like a true USian capitalistic pig. In communism there is no rich or poor. Everyone is taken care of and no one has more or less power than the other. You USians prefer to look down on others and keep them in the fucking dirt. The first step would be to just simply change the trade from the USian dollar to the Euro and then *poof* no more US. After that there will be a huge push for communism as Capitalism has failed the poor and minorities just like it has in the past.

Sincerly,

Signed: The Rest of the World

Re:Capitalism At Its Finest (2)

a2wflc (705508) | more than 3 years ago | (#35571086)

Under communism, who would have invented and marketed the kindle (or iphone or other devices), and why?

Re:Capitalism At Its Finest (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570608)

Lenin was not poor. Everyone in the cabinet in the USSR were not poor.

In fact the poor to rich ratio in the Former U.S.S.R. was pretty darn close to what it is in the United States right now. From where I am standing, Both Communism and what we call Capitalism are 100% identical in screwing the public to favor the top elite.

In fact show me ONE form of government that is fair. Because I cant find one that exists ANYWHERE on this planet.

Re:Capitalism At Its Finest (1)

kj_kabaje (1241696) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570654)

Anarchy (as in Barcelona region of early 20th century Spain)?

Re:Capitalism At Its Finest (5, Interesting)

Eivind (15695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570320)

Nah. Somewhere in between is better.

We do need some system of rewarding people who work hard, or else, evidence shows, people will just slack, and you end up not with everyone equally rich, but instead with everyone equally poor, so to say.

On the flipside, we do also need mechanisms for ensuring that capitalism is a servant of the people - and not it's master.

I tend to think the scandinavian countries hit the balance close to optimal, but offcourse I'm biased, being Norwegian myself. Some people would say we're -too- socialist, while others would say we're not -enough- socialist, to a certain degree it's a matter of personal taste, I guess.

But I think it's fairly clear-cut that capitalism in the USA, needs *more* moderating influence, and that it has gone too far in the direction of giving power to the wealthy.

Re:Capitalism At Its Finest (4, Interesting)

LordNacho (1909280) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570598)

Being from another Scandinavian country myself, I have to disagree. The nanny state is huge, and people are no longer able to be responsible for themselves. Everyone thinks about their rights, not their obligations to society. Also, there's a great deal of Jantelov thinking, which is basically an institutional form of jealousy. The scandies need to consider that they're no longer in an isolated, homogeneous part of the world, where everyone agrees about what the public pot should be spent on.

But anyway, that's not the main point I wanted to make. It's not that giving power to the wealthy is the main problem. (Sure, it can be a problem, no doubt.) The problem is giving power to large institutions. Microsoft, AT&T, Shell, etc... government is yet another example. If you ever work with or for one of these behemoths, it's understandable why you're frustrated. Large organisations lack common sense in their decision making, and they lack common empathy in their dealings with ordinary individuals. Due to their size (and influence) they're also able to live beyond their useful age, holding up resources (people, mainly) from more productive uses. Unfortunately, the west has institutionalized a system where the big firms work with the big governments to make sure neither of them is ever renewed. If organisations were smaller, we'd have a much more healthy society, where useful firms live, and old, unproductive ones die.

Re:Capitalism At Its Finest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35570674)

This. Dear God, this! Currently, the two sides of the political spectrum are big government and big business. What we need is for both to be small.

Re:Capitalism At Its Finest (2)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#35571440)

Sure, but your socialistic policies and programs work much more smoothly and efficiently because you also have severely restricted immigration, a 90+% homogeneous population, and less people in your country than the Los Angeles metro area. Kinda easy to make blanket statements when your total immigrant population is half a million people across the entire country.

Re:Capitalism At Its Finest (3, Insightful)

WorBlux (1751716) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570336)

The DMCA is not a result of trade in the marketplace. It is the result of trade in the political economy, that is to say of state power and privilege.

Re:Capitalism At Its Finest (1, Troll)

C_amiga_fan (1960858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570514)

>>>They want you to think that Capitalismis about choice, Well that is true if you are rich.

That is so easily falsifiable:

I am not rich. I am one of the poor working class, and yet I have freedom of choice. I CHOOSE not to buy comcast (getting my TV for free). I CHOOSE not to buy circuit city (which eventually went bankrupt). I CHOOSE not to buy sony or verizon or toyota or..... I also choose not to buy software, instead preferring to use free options (OpenOffice, VLC player, Winamp, etc).

Now contrast that with the monopoly of Government, which forces me to use the shitty post office, forces me to fund Amtrak even though I haven't ridden a train in 30 years, forces me to buy Hospital insurance even though I don't want any (I'd sooner leave my fate to god), and so on.

Give me capitalism (choice/free market) versus monopoly any day.

Re:Capitalism At Its Finest (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35570646)

"I am not rich. I am one of the poor working class,"

Really? so what is your yearly income, because I am betting you are actually in the top 35% income bracket in the USA based on current numbers and noth the old out of date pre 2007 numbers. IF you are making $50,000 a year you are in the top 35% and not "working poor" in fact I will not call you working "poor" if you make over $35,000 a year.

Before you tell me you are "working poor" you had damn well be working at mcDonalds for minimum wage and living in a slum renting a shithole.

Re:Capitalism At Its Finest (-1, Troll)

C_amiga_fan (1960858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570684)

>>>so what is your yearly income

It's 1% as large as rich people like Gates or Trump or other "rich" CEOs earn. And only 0.1% as much as the megacorps earn.

Re:Capitalism At Its Finest (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35570736)

So when you get sick you aren't going to go to the ER that you didn't pay for right? No medical insurance types in my experience for 90% of cases it is don't pay and pray. When the crap hits the fan then it is well just help me out this once. Or I'll pay (which many do), or "I would pay but I can't pay 10k that is a ridiculous amount" (which many do as well).

Second: this article shows that our free loving capitalism can be equivalent to monopoly control by the government. There are a lot of industries where a large company has defacto monopoly power at least until the slow process of replacing them gathers steam eg. MS Windows/Office in the enterprise, Kindle for eBooks, the handful of large phone APIs (Apple, Android). These companies have the power to tell independent developers that their software isn't wanted on their app store/using their API. My theory is if you want the benefits of an open system (independent vendors building stuff for your device) than you should have to live with the consequences (Playboy might want to make a app for your device Jobs, change your shirt and suck it up).

Re:Capitalism At Its Finest (2, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35571002)

forces me to buy Hospital insurance

So many stupid US people grumble about being forced to pay for other people's healthcare, blahblahblah.

They don't seem to realize that they're ALREADY paying when some uninsured person queues up at ER and either eventually gets treatment and/or dies there (that still costs money). Even just turning them away costs money and time (won't be surprised it lowers the effectiveness of the ER in treating actual emergencies).

Guess where the money comes from?

Guess how efficient the "long queues at ER" method is at providing healthcare?

Just look at how much healthcare costs per capita in the USA and what the US citizens get for it, and then compare with other countries.

Re:Capitalism At Its Finest (-1, Troll)

C_amiga_fan (1960858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35571172)

>>>They don't seem to realize that they're ALREADY paying when some uninsured person queues up at ER

Not true.
The money does not come from my pocket (via taxes), but comes out of the pocket of the Corporation that owns the hospital. They are the ones who have to absorb the loss.

As for me I plan to get insurance when I'm old (i.e. my body starts breaking down), but certainly not when I'm young and never get sick. That makes no sense. When I'm young paying ~$200 in cash for annual visits makes more sense then paying ~$5000 to the insurance megacorp.

Re:Capitalism At Its Finest (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570582)

Choice is available for the rich or the educated. I can easily crack the DRM on their books so their lockdown does not stop me and I am not rich (By USA standards, I'm filthy rich by world standards). Problem is the rich are scared that you can be poor and educated.

Because eventually the poor that get educated will learn they are getting the poop end of the stick.

This is barring systems set in place to distract the poor and make them complacent.

Television, the lottery and welfare are designed to protect the rich from getting killed in their mansions (Yes your 3800sq foot home in an exclusive neighborhood IS a Mansion) by the poor.

Re:Capitalism At Its Finest (-1, Flamebait)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570652)

"why treat sentient/semi-sentient life forms like scum?"

So that excludes you, eh?

USians? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35570664)

I prefer Utards.

Re:Capitalism At Its Finest (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#35571334)

Conversely, instead of this stupidass rant, you could just get a Nook and not have these ridiculous restrictions that Amazon has for book lending. Because, you know, choice.

Re:Read... (1)

whrde (1120405) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570084)

pffft. no way would a big company do that, why that would be anti-competitive.

Re:Read... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35570148)

Actually, in this case it wouldn't be anti-competitive.

Just shitty.

Re:Read... (4, Interesting)

JeffSpudrinski (1310127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570492)

I know a perfect way to bypass Amazon's API to loan and borrow books.

Let's consider having a building where we can store them paid for by our taxes. Then we can go and get free memberships and atually have a real book.

Let's call it a "library".

Then we can borrow and lend and no one can stop us.

In all seriousness...this very thing (and similar cases of "big brother-ishness" from Amazon and others) is why I have been anti e-reader. You're granting power to a company to control what you read and how you read it...and you are paying them to do it to you.

Don't give up freedom for convenience. Amazon has gotten too large in this market and wields too much influence.

While I hate to see it happen, I foresee some sort of federal regulation of "e-reader's rights".

Just my $0.02.

-JJS

Capture (1)

Tokolosh (1256448) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570592)

...While I hate to see it happen, I foresee some sort of federal regulation of "e-reader's rights".

-JJS

This is the usual starting point for capture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capture_%28politics%29).

Re:Read... (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 3 years ago | (#35571384)

But, libraries carry e-books. and you can borrow them to all you want. It's the one place where some DRM policy almost makes sense. (enforcing 'borrowing' over keeping). Almost. Of course, some people'd like to screw with that system, too:

http://www.examiner.com/libraries-in-albany/the-upper-hudson-library-system-boycotts-harpercollins-new-ebook-policy [examiner.com]

Re:Read... (1)

tixxit (1107127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35571690)

Amazon is a bookstore. If you want a book not available at one bookstore you can just go to the next... or go to the library, which conveniently also has e-books you can borrow. Considering that about 1.5h of my day is spent reading during my workday commute, e-Reader convenience (purchasing, size, and weight) will most always beat out the freedom that several hundred sheets of paper gives me.

The caveat that you (currently) can't lend out e-books bought from Amazon is a small issue for me. I VERY rarely lend out books to people. I'm not an asshole, it just isn't something my friends often ask of me (or accept when I offer). If I saved $0.25 on every e-book I ever buy (vs. paper edition), then I'd save more than enough cash to simply buy my friends the books they wish to borrow from me.

Re:Read... (1)

rcharbon (123915) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570620)

If I could 'rent' a book from Amazon or my library or a publisher for a reasonable fee, maybe $1.15 [wordpress.com] , I would. I might even pay a little more.

Re:Read... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570902)

Lending service? Not likely. They probably feel "lending" eats into the sales profits.

That said, I think it was foolish to use Amazon's API for any length of time without a plan to build their own infrastructure and databases. To depend on a for-profit's web API was just asking for someone to pull the plug.

They still need to build their own service, but now they are out of action until they do. Sad for them, but that's the way it goes. Depending on a commercial entity to "not change" is just a bad idea.

Don't see the issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35569856)

Isn't this just an online equivalent of Book Crossing?

http://www.bookcrossing.com/

From a publisher's perspective, at least Kindle ebooks are leant temporarily and to a fixed number of recipients.

Hay guyz (5, Insightful)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569864)

Let's make a web site that completely and entirely depends on some interface provided by large perpetually hungry company!

And compete with that company!

Re:Hay guyz (3, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569928)

It's interesting that the "quality they expect from themselves" depends entirely on them not actually doing any work themselves. I know I could build a quality [insert product here] if I were given enough time to research and develop. The fact that they say it just wouldn't be good enough, rather than it would take too long, is kind of sad.

Re:Hay guyz (3, Insightful)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570116)

I think they mean that without the API, the most important features are missing. Unless your research and development includes hacking Amazon, I don't see what you could accomplish.

Re:Hay guyz (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570462)

I think they'd have been better off just saying that it would be illegal to do it without the API, rather than saying "It's possible, but it would suck". I don't think they'd have to hack Amazon's servers directly, just break Kindle DRM, but that's still illegal.

Re:Hay guyz (1)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 3 years ago | (#35571064)

They're not talking about piracy. They're talking about the kind of legit site they could pull off without the API. And they're right, It would suck.

Re:Hay guyz (1)

morgauxo (974071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35571128)

It's not all about work. Anything they built that would work without the api would likely require some sort of inelligant hack no matter how much work they put into it. Most likely it would stop working every time Amazon saw what they were doing and made a change. It would become a constant game where they would find a way to make it work. It would work for a few days and Amazon would break it again. Few people would use it because it would be so unreliable.

Re:Hay guyz (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35570290)

Interestingly, lots of companies have made their main communication line (E-mail) and quite a few documents run via Google. My own company will be doing this as well. This will not end well.

Re:Hay guyz (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35570428)

Why would you buy a book that can:

a) be remotely disabled

b) be remotely altered

c) decide when/where/how you read it.

All under the control of Amazon... a profit driven company.

It's basically sleepwalking into 1984.

Re:Hay guyz (1)

Amnenth (698898) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570490)

Parent post gave me a laugh, since Nineteen Eighty-Four [wikipedia.org] was in fact one of the first things to be remote-killed.

Re:Hay guyz (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570692)

Yes, because it was being sold by a company who didn't have the publishing rights to do so. All users who had purchased the book also had their money refunded after Amazon responded to the issue. But hey, make it sound like it was completely baseless and arbitrary on Amazon's part rather include all the facts.

But (0)

fireylord (1074571) | more than 3 years ago | (#35571130)

It was, in that they removed the book silently and arbitrarily, which they had no moral or legal right to do this, and hid behind their corporate facelessness until the press eventually outed them.

Re:Hay guyz (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570740)

Your post gave me a laugh, since the reason 1984 was disabled remotely was because of copyright issues in that the person who posted it to the store did not have the rights to it and therefore, neither did Amazon. Yes, it was a little hinky in that if it was a physical copy, they probably wouldn't have come to your house to take it away, but if it was a physical copy, they probably wouldn't have reached the point where it had a deal, had a plan for reprint, made it through publishing, was distributed to stores, then sold off the shelves before someone realized there were legal issues.

Also, everything about getting your books electronically can also be applied to all content anywhere and especially over the internet, where every aspect of the interaction is driven by or on commercially motivated resources and systems.

Re:Hay guyz (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35570804)

You clearly don't yet understand.

Amazon don't get to decide what I do with my physical book after I've bought it.

They do get to decide on every aspect of it if I buy an electronic copy. Copyright governs "copying" . In the digital world absolutely any use of any kind INVOLVES COPYING.

For digital material "copyright" becomes a pervasive access control mechanism - which it was never meant to be.

It's not acceptable. But hey... you keep on kidding yourself that it's all ok.

Re:Hay guyz (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35571582)

Nobody said that it's "okay", but it helps to put the situation in context rather than "OMG they deleted content from your kindle -- CENSORSHIPOMGBBQWTF!!!11!!"

Re:Hay guyz (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570658)

Because I can strip the DRM convert it to epub and remove their ability to steal the book back from me.

Every ebook I purchase is cracked and striped of DRM to protect myself.

Re:Hay guyz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35571572)

Hmm. In some English countries this would be considered an abuse of market powers.
I hope our local libraries (and blind societies) - when there is no alternative - strips off and converts, then lends the books out.
What you do is write to the author/publisher asking for right of transfer and WHAT this is valued at. If they come back and say 1 cent, then off you go, and transform the format. If they say 'no' - well the copyright convention is thrown out the window - all bets are off.

Maybe this is why there are so many rips available.

Re:Hay guyz (2)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570714)

I'm not sure what people are expecting, anyway. The eventual goal of every content producer (even those who create physical products like DVDs, CDs, books, etc) is to charge for every consumption of their product. That's why you have to register your videogames with EA to play them, now. It's not enough to spend $60 on a game or $20 on a book and then let someone else in the household enjoy it, lend it to a friend, or sell it to a used book store. You need to pay $60 for the game or $20 for the book and then everyone else in your household has to. And then your friend. And the used everything can go screw themselves.

No rational person would agree that this is right, but it is the direction we are going and there's nothing we can do about it, as far as I can see.

Re:Hay guyz (2)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570914)

Let's make a web site that completely and entirely depends on some interface provided by large perpetually hungry company!

And compete with that company!

That's a high risk, but not necessarily a stupid strategy. The key is your exit strategy. If your exit strategy is "I'll keep doing this forever, dogging Amazon's heels and making money off of *their* business," then the overall strategy is obviously stupid. That's why I'm supposing their exit strategy looks like this: grow fast enough and become popular enough with Amazon customers that Amazon would rather buy you and expand your service than pull the plug and piss people off.

In this case Amazon pulled the plug before things got that far, but that's not game over. You take your know-how (and to some degree your customer base who being early adopters may have multiple eBook capable devices) and play footsie with Barnes and Noble, Google, and whomever else plays in this space. They don't have Amazon's clout, so they'll be delighted to offer something Amazon can't. Not only does that open up new exit routes with Amazon's competitors, you're *still* a thorn in Amazon's side.

And the worst case failure isn't the albatross around your neck it used to be. You walk away having made a solid effort and customers satisfied with *your* part in the affair. That means you have experience and credibility to bring to your next effort.

the Right to Read (0, Offtopic)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569892)

Human are naturally unwilling to express their creativity which is why we need to restrict the right to read [gnu.org] so they have financial incentive to do stuff, right?

You have no right to be lazy [idler.co.uk] , educating yourself and being productive out of enjoyment. To aim for an Ancient Greek society with technology as a replacement for slavery is insane. Your only right is the right to be worked^W^Wwork. Everyone who doesn't enjoy this right is just lazy - remember to be divided and conquered and engage your bitterness to turn against your fellow man even while he wants a better life for you. Then turn your brain into a tradable commodity. Hemos pasado!

Re:the Right to Read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35569996)

Quite why people have to rely on other people's imagination for entertainment is a mystery.

Can't they create stories themselves? For the past 20 years I have imagined the emergence and development of an entire African country. I have no need to share this with anyone else, it entertains me.

Re:the Right to Read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35570230)

I prefer imaging sci-fi, It requires less suspension of disbelief.

Re:the Right to Read (1)

Warwick Allison (209388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570238)

Shut up Qaddafi, you anonymous senile coward.

Re:the Right to Read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35570264)

OK, I invade your country and seize the tantalum mines. Your move, El Presidente.

Signed,

Col. Steve Jobs

so what you're really trying to say is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35570048)

you've read some old books?

'will of the people' blockdead, stymage continues (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35569904)

it's just business. too big to fail. unfortunately, that doesn't pan out well for the billions who are 'too small to live'? as it always is, with those foulcurrs' bogus (always fatal) 'math' being foisted on us. we should know they're less than above 'smallness', because they teach (make us do) real sex during their religious/family/business 'trainings', & tell us to have less/no babys without approval. spoils our appetite (for life)?

Re:'will of the people' blockdead, stymage continu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35569920)

because they teach (make us do) real sex during their religious/family/business 'trainings',

Seriously, what in the hell are you going on about. And where do i get in on training programs where they make us do real sex.

catholicism still has sex-ed programs available (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35569972)

there are many otheres. it's all hush hush since the shysters took over, butt we've heard that some extreme unction recipients are still giving 'trainings', & many of their former 'trainees' are still, on the hole, active. the minimum age is 6-7 if you're still interestdead?

it's not like they are not ruling us though. so the training, must be required?

alter(ed) boys co. too big to fail also (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35570044)

main businesses; birth, death, marriage, tithing, divine interventions etc... spin-offs; easter bunny, santa claus, revirginations, holycosts, crusades (real estate) etc...

is that why monkeys don't have a hymen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35570104)

no, the (irish)catholics do old school (get drunk, beat 'em to death) jesus et al (not experimental mutation). all their names start with o, so it would have been; do monkeys have an O'hymen? make sense now? there may be a fouled strain (not irish) of pseudo-catholics involved with the nazi mutants & the eugenatics in other ongoing life0cidal skulduggery.

in (a) real life, only babys rule.

Re:'will of the people' blockdead, stymage continu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35570074)

I think he is having a Jared moment.

eBook Fling not using API (4, Informative)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570136)

I've used the eBook Fling [ebookfling.com] site, and they don't seem to use an API. Their site is built around their users following a number of steps to lend eBooks to each other, each step described in an iFrame below which the Amazon site is displayed.

They're probably still good to go, although the site has a number of deficiencies. For example, Amazon only allows US-based Kindle owners to lend books. They're not clear about this (you can't find it on the site) and eBook Fling doesn't tell you either. So I've wasted an hour or so finding out what was wrong with either eBook Fling or my Amazon account, until an Amazon rep finally figured out that I wasn't US-based.

No problem... (3, Insightful)

curious.corn (167387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570146)

... on TPB business goes on as usual.

Har, har, har

Re:No problem... (1)

Kazymyr (190114) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570250)

Avast, you scurvy scallawag!

Trust (3, Interesting)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570270)

I trust warez release groups more than Amazon. That's so wrong.

Dear Amazon (5, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570198)

While I understand that the Kindle is sold somewhat as a loss-leader and a mechanism to try to sell ebooks for absurd prices (it's bad enough that paperbacks are $9; to charge that same price that costs you NOTHING to duplicate, NOTHING to store, NOTHING to ship, NOTHING to advertise is...hard to swallow), at some point even your lawyer-swaddled management must recognize that if one too blatantly attacks all *reasonable* means of use of that hardware, the only things left are going to be people who are willing and able to use your hardware WITHOUT your consent/cooperation, ie pirates.

  Cutting off Lendle (and with a classy c&d sent from a 'do not reply' email address and no recourse to appeal or discuss), secretly editing books, purging books that people have purchased - all of these things simply indicate that you as a vendor are untrustworthy. Therefore the trusting will go elsewhere, the unscrupulous will continue to use Kindles and here's the kick: you're not going to see a DIME of their activities.

Re:Dear Amazon (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570384)

that costs you NOTHING to duplicate, NOTHING to store, NOTHING to ship, NOTHING to advertise is...

And quite a lot of time and effort to produce.

There is a difference in price between hardcopy and digital versions.

Re:Dear Amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35570600)

There is a huge difference. Buy any book published pre-2005 and find they did a bad OCR job that they didn't even spell check. Then pay the same price as the well formatted and edited paperback.

I mean really a spell check and find-replace on the same errors made by the OCR job they did would lower the mistakes from 2 per paragraph to 1 a page.

I could cut the spine, scan/OCR these books and have a better quality ebook version myself in an afternoon. /endrage

I wish so many of my favorite books were not mangled junk at the same price.

Re:Dear Amazon (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 3 years ago | (#35571556)

"There is a difference in price between hardcopy and digital versions."
orly?

http://www.amazon.com/Absolution-Gap-ebook/dp/B001ODO61G/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1300800486&sr=8-1 [amazon.com]

Absolution Gap, by Alastair Reynolds 2008
Paperback: $8.99
Kindle Edition: $8.99

Those prices look pretty damn identical to me.

Re:Dear Amazon (1, Informative)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570398)

(it's bad enough that paperbacks are $9; to charge that same price that costs you NOTHING to duplicate, NOTHING to store, NOTHING to ship, NOTHING to advertise is...hard to swallow),

Advertisement is still a cost, and they have to make back their up-front costs such as advances, layout, editing, and proofreading. If that cost them $50,000 and they expect to sell 10,000 copies, then that sets the price at $5 minimum just to recoup their costs. I have no idea about costs or sales numbers but I expect a big selling author will sell a lot more than that, but again they have to offset that against authors that don't pan out.

I agree about your other points, though, Amazon have never behaved in an ethical manner, which is why I've never bought anything from them. Well, I think I might have bought one book back in the early days. Not sure.

Re:Dear Amazon (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570672)

I do know what the costs are and printing and logistics are 50% of the cost of the book.

Re:Dear Amazon (1, Troll)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570432)

Therefore the trusting will go elsewhere...

Such as the Public Library...soon to be closed by budget-slashing consevatives to fund the Defense of the Wealthy Act of 2011.

Re:Dear Amazon (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35570440)

Am I the only one who gets fed up of the complaints about the prices of E-books and Downloaded computer software, where the argument is based solely on the fact there is no physical medium, and therefore it should cost less than it's physical counter part. There are a lot more factor's which go into determining the value of a product than the cost of materials alone. Convenience and Novelty spring to mind as things which people are happy to pay for in a wide range of products.

How much these are worth to you is a personal thing, but I'm more than happy to pay a full paperback price when i buy my e-book in exchange for the convenience on not actually having to go to a shop. then there are the additional features you get from an E-book, such as searching and note taking, the fact that all my books are backed up on servers etc. All of these things are added value.

Let's be clear. I'm not necessarily saying that the price of e-books isn't to expensive, but simply that there is a lot more to the value of a product than the cost of its materials (you just need to look at 'Designer products' to see that). So fine, if e-books are too expensive, vote with your feet and don't buy one, but the evidence seems to be that people are willing to pay the current prices, and in the end that's what really determines the value of a product.

Re:Dear Amazon (2)

Tim C (15259) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570480)

Two points:

1) Printing, binding and shipping are a relatively small part of the cost of producing a hard-copy book, at least when producing them in bulk

2) Publishers can and do specify minimum prices that Amazon cannot go below (in order to make a profit, even if there's nothing contractual in place)

On the prices at least, you are directing your ire at entirely the wrong target.

Re:Dear Amazon (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570758)

Incorrect unless you are talking a 1,000,000 book printing order for a best seller. MOST books published are short runs that are only 10,000 -50,000 printed and can run up to 50% of the cost if there is ANY color pages inside. small cheap paperback with color cover are cheapest and if under 500 pages can be as cheap as 25% of the book cost in shorter runs. This is for crappy Perfectbound and in the typical paperback size called "royal".

I know because I have published 2 books. unless you are a NYT best seller your book printing and shipping charges from publisher and logistics in the warehouse are high.

Re:Dear Amazon (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570482)

have you ever held a kindle? thought about the hw inside? it's not that expensive to produce..

Re:Dear Amazon (1)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570786)

NOTHING to store, NOTHING to ship, NOTHING to advertise

It doesn't cost nothing. It costs less, much less, but not nothing. Servers and bandwidth aren't free.

Advertising... from whose perspective? Amazon advertises the Kindle on TV, and that certainly isn't free. For individual books, having your book appear in a store alongside 600,000 other books isn't advertising. You need to do much more than that in order to promote your book.

Re:Dear Amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35571268)

A 300k book is effectively zero cost in bandwidth terms today. Amazon's home page, less linked files like css, javascript, and images is over 100k. Storage is likewise. 1m 300kb books is a tiny 286GB. Yes, GB, that's well within the smallest harddrive you get in bargain bucket computers. Don't forget you only need a single copy of a digital file. Sending an ebook is smaller than going to an amazon product page, something they do 10s of million times a day.

The only costs are Amazon's infrastructure, but ebooks don't even show up as a statistical anomaly compared to their core business of being a store. They're merely leveraging their more than ample resources for alternate usage.

Advertising is a different matter. Eyeballs cost. Any author can easily get off their lazy butts and engage reader to build their own fan base. If authors fail, maybe what they write is simply crap. Presumably you've read some of the free/low-cost books? Joe Unemployed writes drivel, gets it into a store, and wonders why they're only getting single star reviews.

Re:Dear Amazon (4, Informative)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570916)

"to charge that same price that costs you NOTHING to duplicate, NOTHING to store, NOTHING to ship, NOTHING to advertise is...hard to swallow"

Especially if you don't grasp the concept that bandwidth, server storage space, and advertising (with the same requisite bandwidth and storage costs) AREN'T FREE EITHER. But hey, keep thinking that the latest churning of Harry Potter or the Twilight series are hosted off some 20gig harddrive hooked up to a old PII in some guy's basement.

Amazon gets their cut *after the publishers*, the same scrupulous people that were at the root of the 1984 / book deletion mess in the first place (but who am I to get in the way of some perfectly good nerd rage?).

So pick different authors, like C.J. Cherryh (4, Interesting)

Warwick Allison (209388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570214)

CJ Cherryh sells her books cheap and DRM free, see http://www.cherryh.com/, at least those for which she can wrest the rights back from publishers. Such direct book sales from authors, cuttong out publishers AND bookstores (brick like Borders or vaporous like Amazon) will get progressively easier. Just like the music industry will eventually learn, gouging your customers always loses in the long run.

Re:So pick different authors, like C.J. Cherryh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35570496)

Just like the music industry will eventually learn, gouging your customers always loses in the long run.

The music industry has been 'learning' for 10+ years now and is still gouging. You must mean galactic long run?

Re:So pick different authors, like C.J. Cherryh (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570626)

On the same level, actor/writer Wil Wheaton self-publishes via his own site http://www.wilwheatonbooks.com/ [wilwheatonbooks.com] . Short stories have a price which you can pick yourself, books are published via Lulu.

I do too! (1)

rcharbon (123915) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570640)

My book [chasingthe...rshigh.com] is $2.99, DRM-free, and comes in multiple formats. But it's about running, so there's limited interest on Slashdot :-)

Re:So pick different authors, like C.J. Cherryh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35571246)

Not all publishers obsess over DRM. Baen (Webscription) is very much anti-DRM. They also give away vast quantities of books in their free library and on their CDs. The CDs also being DRM-free, as well as free to distribute and thus hosted on random sites on the internet.

Horrible font rendering on that web page (0)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570278)

What's up with the font on Lendle's web page? It's awful! I'm using Firefox 3.6.10 on XP.

Pardon my ignorance (3, Interesting)

grizdog (1224414) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570342)

Does this sort of thing happen often? If Oracle decides I have too many weeds in my yard, will my Java programs stop working?

Seriously, is the wave of the present/future APIs with all sorts of tests in them so they do different things for different users? Sounds both intriguing and insidious.

Re:Pardon my ignorance (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570430)

no. it only happens when you build your service over an existing web/server service. if it was just sw running on their own servers, they couldn't be cut off.

it's like if you build a service called semirandomsearch, and the service was just fetching google searchs and then rearranging them in blocks of 10, so every page would have the same results as a regular google search but the results were in random order on that page. and then google would block you off from their "api"(doesn't matter if you use the googleapi or just the web google search directly, they could/would still do it) and then you would be in the same position.

"Seriously, is the wave of the present/future APIs with all sorts of tests in them so they do different things for different users?" well, doh a lot of internet services do that already and have always done, it's so that you can read your mail but your friend will read his mail and not yours. it's just extrapolated from there.

Re:Pardon my ignorance (1)

grizdog (1224414) | more than 3 years ago | (#35571262)

Thanks for the reply. I guess I was thinking of API at a lower level than is the general use - showing my age.

I understand and appreciate your answer, but the question still lingers - I'll use Java as an example - it is a bad one since the source is available, but assume for a moment it were not - what if swing (showing my age again) had tests throughout it saying that if the panel/frame/container/whatever was going to appear on wikileaks.org, then abort the program? I mean no one would ever do that, but what if they did? Could they? Has it already happened?

I'm not really feeling paranoid (yet), I'm wondering more about technical feasibility.

Re:Pardon my ignorance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35571302)

An API that contains no "if/then" code and presents identical information to each user isn't much of an API, it's more of a text document.

This isn't so much a wave of the present/future as it is the status quo, and it's been around since the first username. Heck, a physical lock and key performs a bunch of tests to do different things for different users.

Re:Pardon my ignorance (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35571482)

Welcome to "the cloud". If they don't like you they refuse service, and it's totally within their rights, even if it destroys your business or stifles your ideas. Kind of like what they did to Wikileaks. Same Amazon, same story.

And this is why piracy becomes so common (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35570374)

You have a legal, reasonable way to borrow a book that you only read once. It is then taken away, now your option is buy the book or copy if from someone else.

When will big business get it into their heads that "borrow" is not a dirty word and that "final sale" isn't the be all and end all?

Re:And this is why piracy becomes so common (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570402)

So you're saying that piracy would be less common if people could share their files with people they didn't know on the Internet?

Re:And this is why piracy becomes so common (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570648)

When the barriers to entry lower enough that new players have a shot at getting in. I mean, you might as well ask why Uncle Curmudgeon wants you damn kids off his lawn: it doesn't matter, it's not like the whole neighborhood is composed of grumpy hermits.

The free market sees stuff like this as damage and routes around it. It just takes time for viable competitors to step up, especially when there are significant financial and legislative burdens to entry.

At the moment, you really can't have a successful ebook business without an ebook reader, i think was the lesson of Borders. That may change if someone decides to develop an agnostic reader, but until such a time, the barrier to entry from the ebook side is quite high, because you need the hardware. And the content isn't exactly cheap to develop either, if you want to do a good job. And the advertising is especially important for a new business.

So the answer is.. lower the barrier to entry. And I think that'll happen. I'd lay even odds that in the next decade or so a coalition of public libraries will put out their own eBook reader. And unfortunately it will be inferior in almost every way to the hardware offered by for-profit companies (being designed by the same committee that got a camel from a horse), except one: it'll have access to these libraries' library of ebooks.

Dangers of platform exposed (1)

wamatt (782485) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570468)

This highlights the issue of building a business around open API's.

Techie's naively celebrate openness and API's and a lets "build together" attitude, but when a corporate entity ultimately controls the whole ecosystem, your neat business idea is vulnerable to failure as it's built on a stack of cards.

API's are techie solutions. The real world continues to use commercial contracts to enforce partners to behave. The Web 2.0 movement would be wise to address the thinking around this going forward.

So crack the DRM.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570546)

Honestly, if Amazon wants to be hostile, out a link on the websites to point users how to crack the DRM and continue lending their books.

Screw amazon if they want to be jerks.

book lending in internet times? (1)

chorch (2023264) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570562)

These old "physical" business models dont apply to this era. They are condemned to fail. Copyright owners will have to find clever ways to get money from their creations.

A spotify for books (1)

martijnd (148684) | more than 3 years ago | (#35570772)

.. and tv series, and movies , and everything else digital .... unlimited subscription based access for a low monthly fee.

THATS where it is going.

Not independent author websites (too many too cluttered), or even pirated content (still too much hassle) , or itunes (why pay for a track?)

Simple, uncluttered access to everything you (n)ever wanted.

It will take a few years, it took the music industry 10+ years, so expect this to happen around 2020 or something.

Funny thing, the Nook... (1)

fallen1 (230220) | more than 3 years ago | (#35571032)

can still lend books and do it natively. Yes, I know, you cannot lend all the books you buy but at least you can lend some of them and the list is expanding. SOME is better than NONE, and here's to hoping Barnes & Noble can keep pushing for publishers to allow more books to be loaned out.

If the publishers are smart, they will realize that allowing eBooks to be loaned out greatly increases their chances for more sales. If not, I hope more authors will self-publish and creative groups will make apps to facilitate loaning.

eBooks are not books (2, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 3 years ago | (#35571534)

Calling these things eBooks ought to be considered deceptive labeling.

It's not a book if you can't lend it.

It's not a book if you can't resell it.

It's not a book if it won't last thirty years under ordinary casual home storage conditions.

It's not a book when a public library can't buy one copy and lend it out as often as they wish.

It's not about feel of the cloth covers or the smell of the dust or the silverfish living in real books, it's about replicating the functionality all books have had for five hundred years.

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