Free Kindle Coming Soon

Is it true? Will Amazon give away a free Kindle to any and every reader who wants one? That looks like what you can expect by November—just in time for Christmas 2011.

According to Tech Crunch, Kindle prices have been consistently falling for a good reason. It’s all part of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ master plan. The speculation is that every Amazon Prime customer will receive a free Kindle. Of course, Amazon may find a different way to bundle their eReader that will have mass appeal and compel all digital book consumers to flock to Amazon’s cyber shelves.

But what is the fall-out of this master a-Kindle-for-everyone plan? There’s a lot to consider.

As a reader, which would you rather have: tons of print books on your shelves, taking up space and requiring sturdy boxes and strong arms to move? Or a free, small, light-weight device where you can read/store thousands of digital books and take them anywhere you go? $25 for a hardback, $16 for a paperback, or $2.99 for an ebook? No contest, right? But what will happen to traditional publishers? They are still clinging to the print-book publishing model and will soon be sinking like a dinosaur into a tar pit if they don’t embrace digital and POD technology. Evolve or perish. The time is now.

With the increasing accessibility of digital and POD publishing, true self-publishing (not publishing via a subsidy/vanity press) has never been faster, easier, or more affordable. That’s a completely different blog post, but definitely something Amazon’s master plan will support and encourage.

With this free Kindle plan, it will force other manufacturers to also make their readers free, but aside from B&N (with the Nook), no other company has the same volume of digital content available. Easy. It wipes out the companies that can’t compete.

The publishing industry is changing at an exponential rate. Are you on board for Amazon’s wild ride? What are your fears? What changes will you celebrate?

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Amazon and The 1st Amendment

…with liberty and justice for all. But the question is—justice for whom?

The self-published book The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-lover’s Code of Conduct is available on Amazon. Despite the cyber-wide calls for a boycott of the online megastore, Amazon has decided to keep the book available for purchase, citing the author’s 1st Amendment rights.

Now, I’ll start by mentioning that I’m a doting mother and have a law-enforcement background, so those two factors play a strong role in my disgust with the situation. Child molestation is a crime—legally and morally. The young victims are scarred mentally, emotionally, and often physically, for the rest of their lives. As far as I’m concerned, the rights of innocent and helpless children should ALWAYS come before the rights of anyone who seeks to exploit them for money or for prurient interests.

I don’t believe an “author” should have the right to promote, instruct, or encourage pedophilic acts. And I’m pretty sure the founding fathers of this country would drop their fountain pens and load their muskets to protect their children from pedophiles, no matter what the 1st Amendment says. And I would be right beside them with my Beretta.

Now, that being said, I’m also in the publishing industry and this situation raises serious concerns about censorship. September 25 – October 2 was banned books week when millions of readers (myself included) embraced the 1st Amendment and celebrated the freedom to read what they choose. And, as writers, we celebrated the freedom to write without fear of being censored.

So, I guess the question is—where is the line between social justice and personal liberty? On which side do you stand?

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