Sold only by Amazon. And only if they like your face?!

 

Some magazines in Kindle-format are only sold by Amazon. You’d be technically correct to say that’s monopoly. But you can also get the publications in .mobi or .pub formats from download sites on the Internet. They’re counterfeit and illegal and so I don’t use them or promote them. But, admittedly this is a black-market which is promoted by what’s probably an irregular commercial distribution of digital content.

Downloading freely over the internet
The opportunity for illegal downloads to become popular even among normally law-abiding people is also brought about by an additional constraint. Somebody somewhere decided that even if they have the magazine, they just won’t sell it to you because you’re from a different country! Are you calling that racist now?

Kindle titles for your country are not available at Amazon.co.uk.
Kindle titles for your country are not available at Amazon.co.uk.

You’d think that it’s the publishing house that does not want to sell it to you.

But The Economist website allows you to subscribe to the digital copy in all formats, except for the Kindle. That’s only available from Amazon! I then also checked the Time website – they admittedly provide a digital subscription for the Kindle Fire (but probably because it reads the same format as the Apple iPad). The formats readable by the more common liquid-ink Kindles are only legally available from Amazon. Agggrrrgh!

Buy digital Economist online for tablet, smartphone etc...
At an EU-level it’s a recognised issue with the digital single market. The jargon means that even if you’re meant to enjoy free movement of goods and services across EU borders (and so, buy things from any EU country without legal or administrative obstacle), that still is not fully practicable when you buy online. Read more about the Digital Single Market here.

And if you’re thinking that this is only an Amazon problem, you’re mistaken. Apple only opened iTunes to the whole of the EU in September 2011. I remember it making the news: “Apple launches iTunes Store in all remaining EU countries” and “iTunes store now available in Malta“.

The market is starting to budge. Let’s make it happen by raising our voices and putting the pressure as consumers.

Revealing the next internet success story

When did you last think you need to create the next internet craze and become rich? Friends ask me if I have an idea for the next ‘big thing’. My reply is that everbody has ideas – yes of course, including me.

But, the internet is only just a tool for every one of the next big things. For years to come, every one of these is going to be a distributed system, and so one whose success is based on the collective effort of its users. Users who create content, share experiences, co-build knowledge and collectively solve tomorrow’s problems.

You only need to browse the list of Newsweek’s Digital 100 Revolutionaries on the 2/9 July double-issue. Or read this week’s Time story about Salman Khan’s Academy that teaches kids over YouTube. Or look around you, at the apps you use most frequently. None of these would survive if the users were simply ‘users’ – they are also contributors and co-creators. That’s what social media really is about.

Are you planning the next successful internet success story? Then you must be thinking about actively engaging your users in true Web 2.0 spirit.