King Ludd

A friend of mine was making money as an Amazon.com book reseller. He told me he despised Kindle because it was going to kill the publishing industry. That got my thinking wheels spinning.

I read the following article that had to do with the new trend to self-publish:

http://mobile.latimes.com/wap/news/text.jsp?sid=294&nid=33146179&cid=16689&scid=-1&ith=1&title=Business

I wonder what the economic effect of the horse/carriage industry was after the invention of the car and the economic effect on the ship travel industry after the invention of the airplane. I would assume those industries despised the new inventions as they would soon decimate their own industries.

This led me to read about Luddites which led me to read about a concept in economic development referred to as the ‘Luddite fallacy(the belief that labour-saving technologies (i.e., technologies that increase output-per-worker) increase unemployment by reducing demand for labour).  I never knew about this term but I believed in it because I saw it everywhere. When you go to the movie theater and you pay a kiosk instead of a person. When you check your own groceries out at the grocery store. When you buy a book online instead of going to a bookstore. When all of these jobs are outsourced by machines, what happens to our economy?

Here is a quote taken from the Luddite fallacy link above:

According to neoclassical economists, labour-saving technologies will increase output per worker and thus the production of goods, causing the costs of goods to decline and demand for goods to increase. As a result, the demand for workers to produce those goods will not decrease. Thus, the “fallacy” of the Luddites lay in their assumption that employers would keep production constant by employing a smaller albeit more productive workforce instead of allowing production to grow while keeping workforce size constant.[1] Economist Alex Tabarroksummarises the neoclassical presentation of the fallacy as such:

If the Luddite fallacy were true we would all be out of work because productivity has been increasing for two centuries.[2]

However, the Luddite fallacy is fallacious only at the macroeconomic level: overall employment in the economy will not decrease, but individual workers who do not possess the skills to utilize new technologies may become unemployed.[1]

What are your thoughts on this?

Stop the Amazon.com Kindle Ripoff

I just wanted to read PDFs on my Kindle. How hard could that be? I guess if you’re reading this you’re in the same boat. If life was easy one could just connect their Kindle, via USB, to their computer, grab the PDF on that computer and drag and drop it into the ‘Documents’ folder of my Kindle. Unfortunately, Kindle does not naturally read PDFs. How could this be?

The good news is Amazon.com gave its customers a path to follow if they want to read PDFs for free. The bad news is they provided a solution that is long and round about. While this technique is not illegal it does smell of trickery and it kind of reminds me of the salami slicing technique used in the movie Office Space.

Here’s how to get PDF’s on your Kindle in a way that is readable and free.

Log into your Amazon.com account

Manage your Kindle Account

Your Amazon.com Kindle email

Caution: If you do use this email, you may be charged 15 cents to send a PDF to your Kindle.

Amazon.com wants you to send and email to joe@Kindle.com and attach your PDF. They will kindly convert your PDF into a Kindle friendly format and add it to your Kindle all for the small price of 15 cents. They think the price is so small that you won’t care. You do this 100 times, that’s $15.  If 100 million people start doing this Mr. Bezos might be able to join Steve Jobs’ country club.

Tip: Here’s a better way that’s free

Before I tell you the right free email to use, let me point out a change you need to make to your Kindle managment panel on Amazon.com. Make sure you change the default value to $0.00 (just like in the image below). By default Kindle sets it to a value of a few dollars. Hey Consumer groups out there, what do you think of this?

If you don’t want to incur this charge you need to use the @free.kindle.com address. I found their instructions for this free email confusing so let me make it as crystal clear as I can for those out there that are as slow on the draw as I am.

Amazon.com wants us to add our username before the @free.kindle.com.

But what is our username?

Well, after google-izing for a few minutes, I found the answer. Big Ups to the following links:

http://publishingcentral.com/blog/ebook-publishing/how-to-convert-pdf-files-into-kindle-ebooks

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=110454

http://www.novapdf.com/kb/send-pdf-to-kindle-213.html

Feel free to read these links or keep reading below for my people friendly solution.

What is your Amazon Kindle email?

In our example above it was joe@Kindle.com. In this example, our username is ‘joe‘. So you add this username before @free.kindle.com which will give you the email address of joe@free.kindle.com. Use this email to send the PDF you want Amazon to convert to a Kindle friendly format . (obviously, substitute your username for ours).

Wait approximately 5 minutes and you’ll get an email that has a link to the converted PDF file. Click it and download it to your computer.

After the delivery is made, you can transfer the PDF file to your Kindle through the USB connection from your computer. That’s it. Whew! All that for a PDF.

note: Kindle DX officially supports PDF files so you can transfer them directly to the device via the USB connection, no need to configure and send emails to Amazon.