August 19, 2020

Imagine a world without Jeff’s Store of Everything: Amazon. Warehouse workers urinating in empty bottles to save time and thus their job would be a thing of the past 1. Amazon workers dying of a heart attack or suffering other disabling injuries, all to ship the rest of humanity cheap products, would stop 2. People would be better off. The world would be better off 3. So, let’s stop giving our money to the richest douchebag of this world: Jeff Bezos 4.

Okay, so… without Amazon we have to buy our e-books elsewhere, but we also have to say goodbye to all the books that we’ve purchased there so far. Huh?!

Yes, our books have to go. And that’s because we never really owned our books. In reality we purchased the right to read a few (or a lot - ouch!) books on a Kindle, and a Kindle only 5. Isn’t that odd? Yes! It would be very odd if all (paper) books on our shelves would disappear at once if we decided to go and buy books at another bookstore.

How is this possible?!

DRM, digital rights management.

Think of DRM as a lock. Because of DRM, our books are locked up and we can’t get them off of our device, or out of our Amazon library. At least, not in a readable form. Crap!

The funny thing about DRM is: it doesn’t work, and the makers of digital locks know it 6 7. You see, an e-book is locked by some form of encryption and our e-reader holds the key to unlock, or decrypt, that book. Many people know that it isn’t a good idea to keep a key next to its lock. And thus ugly laws such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act were invented to keep people from circumventing these silly locks. This means that if we unlock one of our own books, or merely go search and find the key to do it, we’re engaging in criminal activities.

DRM obviously is sh*t.

Being a law abiding citizen means that

we won’t be able to lend a book to a friend;

we won’t be able to read our books on different e-readers;

we don’t really own our books;

and we’ll loose some (or all) of our books for dumb reasons 8 9.

Moreover, locked up books and devices make submissive people. We have to ask (or actually pay) the douchebags of this world for permission and we never really know how long we have it.


  1. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/17/amazon-warehouse-bernie-sanders

  2. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/oct/17/amazon-warehouse-worker-deaths

  3. https://www.wired.com/story/amazon-walkout-climate-change/

  4. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/11/the-pandemic-is-helping-the-rich-get-even-richer-its-time-to-tax-their-obscene-wealth

  5. Sure, we can read “our” books elsewhere, but only via the Kindle app. We can’t read these books on another brand e-reader.

  6. Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free. Doctorow.

  7. Free Culture. Lessig.

  8. Amazon once removed the books 1984 and Animal Farm from people’s e-readers, see https://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/18/technology/companies/18amazon.html

  9. When Microsoft closes its e-bookstore, any book bought there will stop working, see https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-47810367