August 23rd, 2010

The Popular Posts

Why Kindle Sucks And The Book Industry Is A Bunch Of Idiots

Ferrett's post today on e-books reminded me to do a post I've been meaning to do for months but keep putting off. Now that it's in my brain I'm going to do it.

First off - what the fuck is wrong with book publishers? How can they not realize that digitizing books for the Kindle and iPad and whatever is the stupidest thing they could have ever done and will ultimately destroy their industry.

Are they really unable to learn from history?

Here is the deal: Every time you take a what was once a physical product and digitize it, you make extra money in the short term and fuck your industry in the long term. That's because people rush out to buy the new format when it comes out. Therefore, when CDs first came out people bought a shitload of copies of Dark Side of the Moon. When DVD's came out everyone bought Apocalypse Now - even though they already owned that record and movie on different non-digital formats.

Then, give it enough time and people figure out how to pirate it, because anything that has been reduced to zeros and ones can be pirated and put up on the Internet. Sure, it took a while for this to happen to CDs, because we had to wait for the Internet to become popular. It took a while for DVDs too, because we had to wait for the Internet to become fast enough to make it realistic.

But, today Virgin Records has gone from being the place you go to buy DVDs to the place you go to find out what's new on DVD so you can download it from Kick Ass Torrents.

Now, the music industry will be able to save itself by going to a model where they make money from concert tours instead of record sales. The film industry will save itself by creating a lot of 3D films, because then you have to go to the movie theater and buy a ticket (at least until big 3D home televisions become popular.)

But, the book industry? As soon as people figure out how to torrent and send books to Kindle and iPod, they are fucked. What are they going to do make money? Author tours? Or only publish books that they can license to Hollywood?

That's fucked.

Now, here's why any and all of you who use Kindle or iPads or whatever to read books suck.

First off, there is something essential about the experience of reading a book that you are missing and I don't get how it doesn't bug you. Reading a book is a tactile experience. It feels nice. You have a book cover so people can see what you are reading and start a conversation with you about it. You can lend a book to your friends. And, they are cheap! Brand new you get three or more nights of entertainment for between $9 and $30. That's a fucking bargain!

And, as long as people continue to create and publish physical books, there will be used bookstores where you can get books even cheaper! Two or three bucks for your nights of entertainment!

But, each and every time you buy a Kindle or order an ebook you bring us that much closer to the point where the publishing industry stops printing books. This will suck on so many, many levels.

First off, students and poor people will be fucked. When I was at my most poor I could still buy a used book and have something to read. If I was in the post-book Kindle era I would have been fucked.

In other words you are helping to create a future where the only people who will be able to read fiction are those who can afford a Kindle or an iPad.

All this just so you can save a few bucks.

And, you know what, that sucks.

Shame on you.

And shame on the book publishers who are letting this shit happen.