Amazon needs to work on its Kindle DRM policy, because the following story is ridiculous.
Basically, the way Kindle and the Kindle iPhone app are set up today, users have no idea how many times they can download a book, nor can they easily know how many devices can be used to read said book.
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:
“How I find out (sic) how many times I can download any given book?” I asked. He replied, “I don’t think you can. That’s entirely up to the publisher and I don’t think we always know.”
I pressed – “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?” To which he replied, “No, I’m very sorry it doesn’t.”
As the author notes, this isn’t so bad if you’re buying a beach book or something you’ll read once and be done with it. Where it does get shitty is with reference books, which the author would like to read today, on his iPhone 3GS, and perhaps in a year, on the theoretical iPhone 4G, powered by unicorn tears. With certain books, you could be limited in such a way that your reading material does not follow your gadget’s natural upgrade cycle.
At the very least Amazon should update its policy. The best case scenario would be to allow consumers to actually, you know, literally own the books they’ve just bought. [Gear Diary]