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[[!meta title="Dear Amazon,"]]
[[!meta author="Daniel Silverstone"]]
[[!meta date="2010-11-11 10:15:21 +0000"]]
[[!tag life]]

I am a proud Kindle owner. I love my Kindle and try to buy books in an
electronic format whenever I can. However, I am in a bit of a quandry.
You see; I won’t buy a Kindle e-book if it’s more expensive than the
paperback plus P&P. For example, I recently considered buying [One Day,
by David
Nicholls](http://www.amazon.co.uk/One-Day-David-Nicholls/dp/0340896965)
but one look at the price list had me in severe confusion. How is it
that a £9.99 hardback, which is only £3.99 in paperback manages to cost
you £6.49 in Kindle format, despite being a 564KB file? Even the most
expensive 3G data contract I can find suggests that the bandwidth cost
for that book is a mere 28 pence. I can’t imagine the Kindle format book
had anywhere near enough effort put into it to warrant the price hike;
nor can I imagine that the publisher never found the 70% cut option when
uploading the book.

Therefore I can only assume that you Amazon, as the distributor and
retail outlet, are not trying to explain to publishers that e-books are
intrinsically of lower value than paperback books due to their severe
restrictions and thus that they really shouldn’t be more expensive than
a paperback book.

If I buy the paperback, I can read it, then lend it to a friend who can
read it before returning it to me; and I can do that as many times as I
like. Myself and my partner can both read the same book, using visually
different bookmarks, and, perhaps most importantly, there’s nothing you
nor the publisher nor the author can do to stop me doing this. Yet if I
buy a Kindle e-book, only I can read it, on <strong>my</strong> device.
I can’t lend the book to a friend without lending them my entire Kindle
which stops me from reading my other books in the meantime; and I cannot
share the book with my partner because not only does it exclude me from
the rest of my bookshelf in the meantime; but the device isn’t really
designed to allow that.

Given all that, you really should be displaying big scary warnings on
any Kindle book page where the paperback (or hardback) is cheaper than
the Kindle book. If the publishers are refusing to understand that an
electronic copy, with the restrictions you put on them, is less
valuable; then it falls to you as the distributor and retailer to
protect your customers.

Also, I believe there’s a feature where you say “Simultaneous Device
Usage: Unlimited” on your Kindle pages. This appears to imply that the
e-book is DRM free, making it possible for me to let my partner read a
copy, or allow a friend to read the book. Why not make a point of
highlighting such books in a way which gives them more advertising on
your page. Make yourselves look better to your customers and encourage
publishers to allow a wider use of their e-books.

I assume that you are familiar with the [Lost Book
Sales](http://lostbooksales.com/) website and that you actually care
about losing money because your platform is being misunderstood and
mistreated by your suppliers (publishers).

Bah.

Oh and while I am at it; Dear Gov’mint, please drop the idiotic VAT on
e-books; or else add VAT to real books. Kthxbye.