Let’s do a bit of namedropping first. I had the pleasure of interviewing Amazon’s CTO Werner Vogels. What a pleasant Dutch man he turned out to be. He loves his job, he seems to love life as well. The interview being about Amazon & tech, we also talked about books and e-books and e-readers and inspired by the whole setting, I decided to purchase a Kindle. At last. The one with the wee light in it. And a purple cover. I was so excited when it arrived! And it came with a mystery: the German/French packaging contained a sunflower seed. Which I didn’t plant, to my regret. But all was light and joy, for a few weeks. I was back to adolescent reading levels, but with type and light settings adjusted to my ageing eyes. Glorious.
No Audible, no library, no Unlimited
I transferred my American Amazon account to a British one and started browsing. I couldn’t transfer the Audible-books I’d purchased in previous years to the British account – even though Amazon owns Audible and log in is the same for all sites – but I could keep those in the American Audible app. I couldn’t use the Kindle with my Dutch library membership (grmbl) so I signed up for Kindle Unlimited. Unlimited reading – in a rather limited collection. If you haven’t been reading long, it’s probably a good option, but I’ve been devouring books for decades and developed a specific taste. It did not match well. To finds new books I rely on the Goodreads community. It’s where I hunt by browsing and reading recommendations from book friends. It works much better than automated rating & ranking. None of the books on my ‘want to read’-list where to be found in Kindle Unlimited, so after two payments, I stopped the subscription.
I then transferred my account to the Netherlands. For a day. I knew there was no Kindle Unlimited here, but to my dismay there is no Goodreads connection either. (FYI: that’s like losing Facebook on your mobile). Back to being British and an email was sent to Dutch Amazon. A bot replied in Google translated Dutch. A very pissy mail was sent asking the same questions and a human answered. Turns out if I keep my British account I can’t purchase books in the Netherlands, as one can only purchase a maximum of five books internationally. Ever. It is possible to purchase books from Dutch Amazon from my desktop computer and then manually transfer them to the Kindle using USB. However, as soon as I sync, they will disappear.
Tell you what, I’m out of love and in a huff. I know it’s not the tech causing this ridiculous situation, it’s copyright, IP and DRM. But I want authors to get money from the books I buy. I’m back to reading vast quantities, so please let me buy books! They are all data now, why is this still so difficult?