Kindle’s Dark Heart

Having pissed off a bunch of folks with my last article about Amazon’s alarmingly autocratic actions, I feel the need to apologize. I do acknowledge that a small percentage of Kindle owners can, in fact, read at least at the third grade level.

Since I’m inspired to say the above, I’ll go ahead and make sure that this horrible strike against — yes — your freedom stays on your radar. We are now entering the sixth week of the embargo. Five hundred publishers are locked out of Amazon’s Kindle store, and they’re just the tip of the iceberg. More will come. Amazon has made what feels like could be a successful bid to dominate the ebook market. After years of convincing small presses to go their way, this action doesn’t just throttle what you can get on your Kindle, it is designed to destroy small presses. Kitchen table outfits that speak for the weird, the disenfranchised, the new, and the experimental have come to rely on income from ebooks.

Six weeks is good enough to start shutting them down. If this goes on, then more and more will begin to wither and die. These are the people who, mainstream or not, represent the underground. They are where writers can go when their book is shrugged off by the big boys. They are the champions of banned books, and books that would never see the light of day. This isn’t just about electronic publishing. This is about the future of our literary culture.

Do you want to decide what you read? Or do you want the editors at Amazon to decide? And, if they deep six something, and there are no outlets for that author… What happens? You can bravely say the internet will save us, but, will it? An indie movie can gain steam through Youtube and be watched by the mindless, bored masses… But how will a censored book get out there? In the wordy world of the internet, and with a generation of poor readers, it’s a needle in a haystack. This is the future of our literary culture at stake, and, if it goes their way, they will have the power and opportunity to squash anything they want and you will never know it.

Think about it for a second before you leave angry comments about how many books you read a year. Also, as a public service, here’s a link telling you how you can read any epub file on your Kindle. So, if you actually have a soul and care, you can bypass the Kindle store and buy epub files directly from the distributors and publishers, or on Google Play, or iTunes…


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