A quiet revolution -- appropriate for book readers -- is happening among a small group of customers of the Amazon Kindle who think $10 is too much to pay for an e-book.

An electronic book on a Kindle should cost less than a book printed on paper because the electronic version is more restricted in its use -- it's not something physical you can lend to a friend, goes their argument, according to a Wired story. The restricted copy-protection technology prevents the e-books from being copied. Ask Napster how that battle went.

It sounds like what they want is what has happened with music, DVDs, newspapers and other forms of entertainment that have shifted to the Internet. They want to pirate them for free, and have the expectation that anything digital should cost less than the CD, movie, newspaper or book that they can hold in their hand. Or at least not cost more than the real thing.
I'd rather be worrying about the $359 price tag that Amazon puts on the wireless device, which looks like a fun gadget to read with and looks pretty enough that you'd think it was designed by Apple. After all, WalletPop named it one of the 15 hottest products of 2008.

But for $359 you could buy a few years' worth of books to read and not have to worry about recharging the battery or having the expensive toy stolen. Going to the library would save a lot more money, but you wouldn't be able to loan them to friends -- they can use their own library card.

But back to the e-book price complaints. About 250 Kindle readers are using Amazon's book-tagging system to mark e-books priced more than $10 with the tag "9 99 boycott."

Amazon's pricing of e-books seems odd, with some costing more than their paperback version. The Wired story points quotes a customer who purchased a digital copy of "Small Favor" for $10 in June, then the Kindle price jumped to $13.94 and is now down to $8. The paperback is $10.

And once you buy a book for the Kindle, it's not like a regular book that can be resold to a used book store. That's part of the fun of buying paper books. By trading them in for credit at a good used book store, you're almost exchanging them for free for other used books. It's like having a personal revolving library with your local book dealer.

Try getting that online for $359.

Aaron Crowe is an unemployed journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read about his job search at www.AaronCrowe.net





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