Thursday, May 28, 2009

Going from the Kindle 2 to, or adding, a DX

When Amazon released the Kindle 2 in February, many Kindle 1 owners decided to sell their Kindle 1's to get a Kindle 2.
  Soon, some Kindle 2 owners will move to or add Kindle DX units.

Amazon has a terrific feature which allows one person to share Kindle books purchased from Amazon with up to 5 other Kindle units IF the other Kindles are under that person's account -- meaning the account owner pays for all Amazon Kindle books ordered by any of the other Kindle users.

However, when it comes to subscriptions to Kindle versions of newspapers or magazines, this can't be done. Amazon explains that publishers have demanded that a newspaper or magazine be allowed on only one unit. A subscription owner can't share a morning newspaper with another household member, even, except to give up the Kindle for awhile.

Books purchased from Amazon are backed up and kept on their servers for owners to re-download when wanted if these had been deleted from the Kindle to save the mind from the sight of too many books in the listing.  Amazon even backs up (with approval) any highlighting or notes made so that these are also downloadable with the book as needed.

Preparation by Amazon
Amazon will need to address one area of confusion that will arise (and already has caused some unhappiness when an owner receives a Kindle replacement for a defective or malfunctioning unit).

The problem is the inability to open, for viewing on the replacement or subsequent Kindle, any older magazine or newspaper issues that were purchased more than 7 issues past.
  In the non-Kindle world, owners like to stack up older magazines to read individual articles later or to revisit them.

For Kindlers who buy magazines and want to keep them for reference (the library concept again, including the NY Sunday Times with its book reviews and its Sunday Magazine), the benefit is the ability to search their Kindles for references in those older book reviews or world news.

This traditional use of older periodicals is possible currently only if a Kindle owner keeps these older issues on the current Kindle and also keeps the current Kindle -- but it's not possible if wanting to view these on a replacement Kindle, even when upgrading and spending more for the next unit.

  When the old Kindle (even a malfunctioning one) is gone, so are the older issues.

The reason for the problem
Newspapers and magazines are kept on Amazon servers for only the last seven issues or so.  But these issues can stay on the original Kindle and of course they can be backed up onto the owner's computer(s) -- and therein lies a problem that will be seen more when customers add a DX to the household or move to the DX from the Kindle 2.

Why? Because many have decided to order a DX for reading the newspaper at home or for reading PDFs while at the office - while using the Kindle 2 as a more portable device outside the home for reading current news and books.  Or they are selling their Kindle 2, with old subscription issues on it.

Decision to be made
An individual who owns both a Kindle 2 and a DX will have to decide which unit will get the periodicals -- the one used when commuting to work?  Or the big one at home, which is marketed as better for newsreaders and PDFs?

As before, the DX is better for reading newspapers but older magazine articles won't be openable on the DX even if the user's Kindle 2 is sold.
  As mentioned, this happened to many when moving from the Kindle 1 to the Kindle 2.

There IS a solution, and I hope Amazon addresses this before the situation is a surprise to new DX owners moving from the older Kindles:
Allow Kindle owners to upload, to an Amazon area, the older magazine issues - those older magazine files have fields that give the specific ID of the older Kindle unit and, as a result, the older issues can be read only on the unit that has an ID matching the device ID number in those fields.

  Amazon could have a batch process in place that would replace the files' fields for device ID information with the ID for the owner's new current Kindle device.
This is a DRM (Digital-Rights-Management) or copyright issue - a very hot topic right now in the e-books area.  Respect for Copyrighted works is important to most creators of work, and to their publishers.
  However, there's such a thing as unnecessarily restrictive execution of copyright protection procedures that don't permit an owner of a purchased magazine to be able to read older issues except with one device which may no longer be functioning or which has been sold to another person.

  I've talked with customer representatives about this but they have received no information as to how this will be handled for the DX purchases.  I'm hoping Amazon will have a solution in place before the release though.

  A post to a forum today reminded me that Customer Service, while very responsive to any problems with individual Kindles, moves slowly on some issues important to Kindle owners such as the long standing one in which customer Ted Inoue has requested that Amazon let him know if his darker fonts installed by many happy Kindle owners might void the warranty.  He presented the recommended font-set sampes to the Developers via Customer Service some time ago.

  The Kindle-1 customizable-screensavers-installation (similar in scope of external modification) received assurances from Customer Service that the install would not void the Kindle 1 warranty.   Inoue is still awaiting word on his recommended font-sets (they exist as trials or tests) for use by Amazon, as are other Amazon customers, hoping to keep using the added fonts that help with screen-contrast issues for some. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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