Amazon Kindle for the rest of the world but not for me

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So Amazon has announced the availability of their e-book reader Kindle for, among other countries, Germany and Austria. The reader may be pre-ordered on, and will be shipped after October 19th. Costs? About 190€.

It’s good news for anyone who likes to read and especially good news for anyone who likes to read and be able to automatically download new books for a cheaper price than their physical brethren.

It’s bad news though for everyone who doesn’t feel too comfortable with the possibility of a company barging into your home and removing a previous purchase without warning (but with putting the purchase price back into your purse). Sound extremely weird and paranoid? Well, it’s not, because that’s exactly what happened a few months back.

Apparently a company had offered books on the Kindle marketplace for which it, as it turned out later, didn’t have the rights. So when Amazon discovered that tricky situation, they snuck into the Kindles of the people who had already bought the books and removed them. To add irony to injury, the books were “Animal Farm” and “1984” by George Orwell.

And even though Amazon promised to not remove books in the future without warning, I’m a far too suspicious mind to really believe that. Because as long as they can, they probably will.

The Google Trap

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Went and saw a discussion at the Thalia-bookshop here in Vienna about a new book by an Austrian journalist titled “Die Google Falle” (The Google Trap).

Unfortunately, it was the worst panel discussion I’ve ever witnessed.

Here are a few points they should consider next time they hold something like that:

    • Apart from the author, don’t just invite marketing hacks. Telling people about the wonders of Adwords will not counter the arguments of someone who fears world dominance through data-mining. Find someone who knows about the Internets well enough to counter certain arguments by the author.
    • When selecting a moderator, make sure he knows what the term “moderate” means. If he’s more fervent in detailing horror scenarios about the abuse of data collected by Google, he should not have been the moderator.
    • If you bring up all the evil things Google does, let audience members who clearly know more about the subject matter than anyone on stage talk about it. That’s what makes events like that interesting.
    • Make sure the author knows how to behave. Having him accuse a member of the audience (!) of being a Google fanboy, only because he didn’t share the author’s sentiment about the evils of collecting information about a visitor’s screen-resolution, is not just ridiculous, it’s simply not professional.
  • Generally, I can’t say a whole lot about the quality of the book, as I haven’t read it. But gathered from the quality of the arguments brought forth during the discussion, I’m pretty sure I’d be better off spending those 20€ on something more worthwhile.


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    I just found out that three books I thought I’d have to return to the specialty library in a week, will not be due until the 8th of January. Which really kind of made my day.

    I know, getting all excited about a bunch of books that are not even mine seems a tad unusal, but you need to understand my situation. I keep renting books for my thesis, and before I know it (ha!), let alone have read, understood and excerpted the book, it’s due again. And with these certain libraries, the ones that hold the books that are really interesting to me (and no, I’m of course not referring to these notorious “adult bookshops”), it’s really a bit of a pain. You can’t rent for longer than 28 days, and after returning a book, you need to wait for another three days before being able to rent them again.

    This is especially tedious when you’re like me, who can’t just rent one book, but at least 3 or 4. I know, my own fault, but I just can’t help it. And well, usually it ends like this: 4 books taken out, 2 books half read, no excerpts, no gain. But pain! Because I need to return them, then rent them again.

    I guess you will now understand my utter joy upon discovering that the advent of the holidays has given me an extra three weeks with my precious books.