Three Key Questions About the Kindle

It would be cool to have all my work materials on a little platform like the Kindle (or, heck, just on pdf so I didn't have to carry them!). But so far the Kindle doesn't seem for me. Cory Doctorow gets at some of the reasons in Amazon releases some Kindle source-code when he says he can't warm to the Kindle until he understands what he can do with it.

1. Is there anything in the Kindle EULA that prohibits moving your purchased DRM-free Kindle files to a competing device?

2. Is there anything in the Kindle file-format (such as a patent or trade-secret) that would make it illegal to produce a Kindle format-reader or converter for a competing device?

3. What flags are in the DRM-free Kindle format, and can a DRM-free Kindle file have its features revoked after you purchase it?

No one at Amazon will answer these questions. I've asked them of my contact there, a manager who wrote me to tell me about the existence of Amazon's DRM-free option for Kindles, and he hasn't replied to my questions over a period of several months and several re-asks. Then, an O'Reilly exec asked Amazon to clarify this, as O'Reilly is releasing all its books as DRM-free editions for the Kindle, and he, too, has been stonewalled. Then I wrote to their press office, on behalf of the Guardian newspaper, and they didn't even deign to reply with a simple “no comment.” Just radio silence.

Someone should start a betting pool on when we get the answers.

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