An Open Letter to Amazon

Dear Amazon,

AmazonKindleToday you seem to have made a move toward WalMart evil, and I am appalled. When I was told that people with the Kindle App for Windows 8 couldn’t read non-Amazon books, I knew there had to be a mistake. Instead, a friend shared this email from customer service with me:


click to read full email

click to read full email

Money quote: “Unfortunately, .mobi files can not be downloaded on the kindle for windows 8 application as these books are not compatible for kindle for windows 8. Only kindle ebooks can be read on the kindle application for windows 8. I understand it is disappointing and we are really sorry about it.”

To complicate things, this is a new and apparently deliberate action. Feedback from a different friend: “Been using Win8 since Dec. I haven’t had trouble opening anything gotten from non-Amazon sites (Smashwords, Project Gutenberg, web captures, manual, etc.) so far as I’ve noticed.”

NOTE: Only people who have the new 2.0 app seem unable to read these files.

This is part of their “improved” app, and something they are not calling a bug or a mistake.

I have recommended Kindles to students for years, and one reason is the ability to put my own work on there and see how it will look when published digitally. Sometimes you see errors or problems that didn’t show up when you were simply looking at a manuscript or screen.

I have been a loyal customer of yours for too many years. I have defended you against those who compare you to the Great Satan WalMart because unlike WalMart, you have reached out to small businesses and made it easier for them to exist and grow. I understand about bookstores and don’t diminish the impact you’ve had on them, but in the bigger picture you’ve given thousands upon thousands of people the ability to run businesses from their homes by selling through you. In the world of used books, this has been huge. I love books. I love the ability to put my fingers [digital or physical] on books from all over the world with one-stop shopping.

Bottom line: If the future of the Kindle is to become a reader for books bought on Amazon only, you just lost a loyal customer. Sony, here I come.



Filed under amazon

12 responses to “An Open Letter to Amazon

  1. Based on the comments on Neowin I’m not convinced that the Kindle app for Windows 8 _ever_ supported Mobi files.

  2. All I know is that I’ve found two people whose Windows 8 Kindle Apps do support them–but both had them prior to the 2.0 release and have not upgraded to it.

    • But do those people have the Win8 app or the Win7/XP/Vista app?

      That is 2 different apps, and so far as I can tell it was only the older app that had this ability.

  3. It looks like the specifically Windows 8 Kindle app didn’t come out until late December. Which means those machines might very well have had the older Windows 7 app on them instead.

    • Certainly possible. All I know is that Amazon seems not to be concerned about it.

      • Well, you can’t tell what Amazon thinks from what the front line support peons say. Remember, it was a support peon who responded to complaints about a self-published pedophilia manual with a form response stating Amazon didn’t pull content just because some people complained about it…the day before Amazon woke up and pulled the content.

        I will note that the first versions of the Kindle app for iOS didn’t support user-generated content either—which made a lot of people grumpy given that Amazon had just bought MobiPocket and killed off the planned iOS MobiPocket reader app. But the iPad version I’m using now does. So they might could add it later.

      • That is exactly my hope–that whether this is an error or Amazon testing the waters, the reaction will make them correct it. I’ve defended them all day against people who think this is deliberate and the mark of things to come. I hope I’m right.

  4. Denise

    I wish the .mobi files I had on the kindle 3G wifi would have transferred with my Kindle content to the Kindle fire. It was a pain transferring it manually, but I did with the “click and drag”. But when the fire went crazy and Amazon replaced it, there’s no way to do a kindle-to-kindle transfer beyond the stuff on the cloud.

    I started sending stuff to the cloud, but now it’s no longer backed up on my computer. Stopped because I’m not sure I want all of it on an Amazon-controlled cloud. Plus, then I have to transfer each book individually to the kindle through its email because the .mobi files are .pdf. So much work . I have books not downloaded fom third-party sites because it’s so much work. I don’t know of an easier way. The only **easy** exception I’ve found is if someone has emailed me a Kindle-friendly file, I can forward it to the Kindle’s email and it will be on the doc section.

    None of it makes sense to me. In fact, I let the frustration bring me to tears. These books “in limbo” were gifts from authors. I want to support the indie sites, but it’s difficult.

    Two Amazon clouds, an iTunes cloud. Libraries of books on indie sites. Why can’t everyone get along?

  5. Pingback: My Fountain Pens (by request) |

  6. Pingback: Open Question: Did the Kindle App for Win8 Stop Supporting Older Kindle eBook Formats? (Did It Ever Support Them?) - The Digital Reader

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