Thursday Midday Links: Amazon Bows to Pressure & Bluefire Brings Digital Lending to iThings
A day after Amazon released a statement stating that it would not remove an objectionable book containing what the self published author described as a way to be a better pedophile, Amazon has reversed its stance and the book is no longer in the catalog of self published Kindle titles. The controversy reached mainstream with news reports on AP wire, CNN, and BBC. As other news organizations have noted, Amazon still sells objectionable content concerning pedophilia and other illegal acts:
It is currently accepting pre-orders for the hardcover version of ‘I Am the Market: How to Smuggle Cocaine by the Ton, in Five Easy Lessons’ by Luca Rastello.
And in 2002, the United States Justice Foundation, a conservative group, threatened to sue Amazon for selling ‘Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers.’ That title is still available through Amazon.
Perhaps those concerned can voice their complaints loud enough to have even more books removed. There are already one star reviews on the books by David Riegel, author of Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers, that started being posted yesterday. In googling, I found that Amazon had removed another title regarding pedophilia in 2000 under pressure from Evangelical Christians, although it is offered for sale from secondary sellers on the site. Oh well. (I blame all the people who brought this up for my knowledge of the NMLBA’s existence. I could have lived without that but now I inflict it on the rest of you.)
Bluefire App has been updated to allow for library rentals. This means you can use your local digital lending library with Bluefire. Basically, you download the digital book from your local library and then copy it over to iTunes and then sync. It’s important to remember, though, that downloading an ePub book requires two steps. First you download the “ASCM” file and then you double click on that file. Your computer should open Adobe Digital Editions (or the Sony Reader Software if that is how you have it set up). ADE will then download the actual book. The book should be found in My Documents/Digital Editions folder. I have a tutorial with pictures here as does Bluefire here. Yay, Bluefire!
New York Times will have a separate ebook bestseller list beginning in 2011 which means that authors like the Harlequin Presents authors who are routinely showing up on the USA Today list and the self published authors that are ranked high on Kindle might show up instead of others. I suspect, however, that the ebook bestseller list will largely mirror that of the print list because frankly ebook reader tastes aren’t so different than digital reader tastes if the existing top selling lists at Amazon are any marker. There will be one list for fiction and one for non fiction which leads me to wonder if there is going to be a future abrogation of format distinctions between hardcover, trade, and mass market and what that means for bookselling.
Further, given that Amazon has at least 50% of the market, if the Times list doesn’t track very closely with the Amazon list then its methodology will be put in question. And if Times list is tracking digital books and Amazon does retain 50% of the market, what is the use of the Times list in the first place?
Borders has partnered with a fulfillment company to offer free two day shipping for $79 AND free shipping on returns. This is the cost of an Amazon Prime membership (which I have and love). Amazon offers Prime eligible shipping for things other than books but it does not offer free shipping on returns. This is smart by Borders.