So, those of us who have Kindles might have noticed over the past couple of months, many new titles by favorite authors haven't been available to buy for download. This is because Amazon and Penguin have been unable to agree on a contract, even though every other ebook retailer (B&N, Sony, et al) apparently has an agreement about ebooks with Penguin, many of them apparently for the same prices Amazon offers. I don't know all the whys of this, or who won't agree to what. I just know:
1. Jim Butcher, Nora Roberts, J. R. Ward, Ilona Andrews, Charlaine Harris, and Rachel Caine are ALL Penguin authors. :(
2. People should really stop e-mailing authors complaining and/or asking about this. They have no control whatsoever over Penguin and Amazon's disagreement. I've seen countless author blog entries or website announcements apologizing for something the author can't control, and therefore really shouldn't have to apologize for.
3. That said, I get why people are upset. It is really, REALLY frustrating as a reader, and not just for the obvious convenience of purchasing and instantly downloading new titles being temporarily lost. Amazon's kindle format is a proprietary version of mobipocket. Kindles are also compatible with non-amazon mobi files, but these, even sold by other retailers, are ALSO not being made available to purchase or download, and that pisses me off. If Amazon and Penguin can't agree, fine, but don't punish readers by taking away every legal avenue they have to purchase content from non-amazon retailers. That is just petty and really, really stupid in my opinion. Alienating part of your customer base is not good business sense.
4. I don't know if TPTB assume people will just buy the print book, I don't know if they're hoping for that or not. I do know that a LOT of Kindle owners are refusing to do that, which is really sad. It isn't the author's fault this is happening, after all. I myself am...not buying the print books, or most of them. A few notable exceptions are for series' I already own all the print books for. Jim Butcher's newest, for example. But the biggest reason I bought the kindle was to avoid adding to the ridiculous clutter that is my bookshelves. I've been telling myself all this time, for two months, that I will just wait and buy the Kindle versions when Amazon and Penguin settle, and these titles become available. But it's been really, really frustrating.
But, in my search for other mobi versions to buy, I noticed something strange. Each time, I could add the book to my cart, but when I went to purchase, I got an error stating something like "this title is not available for purchase in the US". Hmm. Not available in the US...interesting! So, since ebooks don't go anywhere physically, I tried changing my location in "manage your Kindle" to...Canada! Suddenly, I can download all the ebooks I've been missing, thank goodness, as it's just in time for Ilona Andrews newest to come out on Tuesday, Magic Bleeds! The one downside - I'm paying the Canadian price, which is slightly higher than the US, I assume because the dollar right now is not very strong. But it's not much difference, and I still get to buy all the books in my preferred format, as legally as I can given the circumstances. (I'm sure saying I'm in Canada when I'm not is a, er, shady area.)
So, for all of you with Kindles, you might want to change the address under "manage your Kindle" to that of a Canadian or other overseas friend willing to temporarily loan you theirs. Or, failing that, find the address of a Canada based bookstore to use.