Achilles heel in Amazon Kindle – KindleGate: Confusion Abounds Regarding Kindle Download Policy

Achilles heel in Amazon Kindle – KindleGate: Confusion Abounds Regarding Kindle Download Policy

Dan Cohen highlights that the way Kindle and the Kindle iPhone are set up, you have no idea how many times you can download a book, or how many devices can be used to read it. His excellent article discusses the problems facing anyone who’s bought a Kindle as it seems that Kindle can’t tell (as far as I understand) how many times you have downloaded an ebook, especially if you are synced up to iPhone.
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Here’s what happened to Dan.
‘Making the situation even more confusing is the fact that the DRM information actually varies by publisher, and to find out how many times they will allow you to download a book you have to visit the legalese. Sometimes the info isn’t there, either. The worst part is this was all confirmed by an Amazon tech support person:
Dan – “How I find out (sic) how many times I can download any given book?” I asked.
Amazon tech support, “I don’t think you can. That’s entirely up to the publisher and I don’t think we always know.”
Dan – “You mean when you go to buy the book it doesn’t say ‘this book can be downloaded this number of times’ even though that limitation is there?”
Amazon tech support, “No, I’m very sorry it doesn’t.”
Now, this might be ok for light summer reading but with reference books, for example, which you want to read today, on your iPhone 3GS, and next year, on the theoretical iPhone 4G, it gets very tricky.
Dan points out that with certain books, you could be limited in such a way that your reading material does not follow your gadget’s natural upgrade cycle.
Over on Gear Diary the discussion continues with “Amazon should update its policy so this info is out in the open and easily accessible. The best case scenario would be to allow consumers to actually, you know, literally own the books they’ve just bought.
Amazon tech support – “if some of the books will download and the others won’t it means that you’ve reached the maximum number of times you can download the book.”
Dan asked him what that meant as the books he needed to download weren’t on any device as he’d deleted those devices and wanted to reinstall.
Amazon confirmed his worst fears.
There is always a limit to the number of times you can download a given book. Sometimes, it’s five or six times but at other times it may only be once or twice.
The worse news is…
Once you reach the cap you need to repurchase the book if you want to download it again.
So if Amazon/Apple wants you to upgrade your Kindle/ iPhone/ iPod touch every year or two, this means that although the books remain in your Kindle library online you may not be able to download them once you upgrade your hardware.
And there is no way to know — at least according to what the customer service rep told me.
You can read the full articles  here:  http://www.geardiary.com and here http://gizmodo.com
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