TageBook

Sharing in the Digital Age

There is a growing need in our increasing isolated digital world to share.

My wife has an Amazon account linked to Kindle books.
I have my account and own set of books. It is frustrating not to be able to connect those two accounts. To not even be able to lend the “not lendable” books to each other is irritating. ((Thanks publishers!))

I would like nothing more than to read some things she has purchased and she’d like to enjoy some of the things I have purchased in return.

The problem is not limited to Amazon’s Kindle.

In Audible((Also owned by Amazon)), I have a growing collection of audiobooks and it’s silly to have two accounts for one family but there is no way for me to share my books with my wife or for her to share the couple of books she collected before we were married.

This would be a moot point if we had started out with a joint account. However, as single people we each had our own account. Even thought I am able to add her to the Amazon Prime plan for the family, we cannot combine any of our other services and are forced to maintain separate accounts and permissions.

The best Amazon was able to suggest when I contacted them was one of two things.

1. To deregister the Kindle or Kindle app we happened to be using and register it in the other person’s name. Not an ideal solution by any means.

2. I was offered a refund on the books I purchased through the Kindle store. Then the offer was taken away since I had “too many” books already. In the words of the Amazon rep I got a reply from,

>I can understand the inconvenience with this. To help you out, I would like to issue refund on your Kindle content orders, if you have placed fewer orders. So that you would be able to buy the content again after registering to your wife’s Kindle. But, you have placed many orders for Kindle content. So, I’m unable to issue refund on all the orders.

So the only solution is to deregister and reregister as my wife and I trade-off using it. This includes redownloading and resyncing any books we had made progress on. That is the only solution for this problem.

Amazon has revolutionized many industries and changed the book buying world. However, this is an area which has seemingly received little to no attention.

Perhaps it has and perhaps it is the publishers not wanting the risk of “piracy” to rob them of their sales. I would love to be able to limit sharing to a physical address, or even just a single other Amazon account. This is not piracy.

Perhaps one day there will be a way to share digital content between two linked accounts. Perhaps there will come a time when technology will catch up with their analog equivalents.

Reverence for the printed page

I have a great reverence for books.

I will not defile a book with marking it up. I will not highlight, underline, circle, or scribble in the margins. I treat a book as a sacred collection of thoughts painstakingly assembled by its author. In a recent conversation with a friend ((And published author)) we discussed our love for eBook.

Me: I love Audible. I love Kindle too. SO MANY BOOKS!

R: And this coming from a guy who told me he didn’t read anymore!

Me: Kindle changed all that. True Story: My dad gave me a book to read and review. I couldn’t. I bought the kindle book and am halfway through.

R: You know, I have an actual library. I mean, probably close to, if not over, 1000 books. And I prefer the Kindle too.

Along with our love of the electronic book, we also share a reverence for the printed page.

Me: My dad has a library in his house. I want to have a library one day. I still love the sight, touch and feel of the physical book. But the benefits of eBooks are too much. I also have a certain reverence for the printed page. I will not defile it with highlighter, or pen/pencil marks. eBooks mean I can highlight without lasting marks. ((Yes, I know I’m weird))

R: No, you’re not weird, you’re RIGHT. I HATE people who defile books.
I won’t even fold the page down to mark my place.

I love the ability to highlight and make notes on Kindle books. I can mark up the book without a permanent smudge on the book itself. In addition, I can also see popular highlights throughout the book if I choose. I can read a book for review, mark it all up, and in the end, the book remains exactly as I received it. A pristine book, ready for the next person to enjoy, or me to re-read.

The Kindle app for the iPad has reignited my love of reading. According to GoodReads I have completed 15 books so far this year. That is more books than I’ve read in any single year since I graduated college in 2004.

The Kindle app is so amazing because in addition to allowing me to mark up a book without the permanence, it opens whole new worlds through the printed pages. In an instant, I can buy and start reading nearly any book my heart desires. For each of those books I can tweak the font size to make it easier to read through sleepier eyes. As flexible as physical books are, the fact remains I may not have the book with me.

If I leave my book at home I will not be able to read it at work or on the train. However, with Kindle books, I can read on my iPad, iPhone, or any computer within arm’s reach. I mainly read on my iPad or iPhone. The phone is an ideal reading device for a crowded subway car or those moments when I am waiting in lines.

I constantly have my phone or another electronic device on or near me so reading electronically is never a problem. The Kindle’s syncing and ubiquity stack up well against the pros of physical books without many of the cons. ((As I consider them.)) In addition, they do not need a large amount of space in my home to keep.

One day, when I have a house to call my own and I’ve given up the nomadic lifestyle of apartment living I will have a library. I will collect the great books I have read to fill the shelves. Who knows, I may even prefer reading on paper again by then. I want to have the quiet, comfortable room surrounded with the tomes I’ve spent my life reading and learning from.

But until then, I prefer the portability of Kindle and an endless library I can pick up and move once the lease ends.