Are Kindle Hacks good for books?

Just deleted a post that linked to two Kindle hacks and 1 Nook hack –

  1. How to get free browsing and US range and prices outside the US. 
  2. How to break DRM of Kindle for PC books (although Amazon has already fixed that).
  3. How to get Nook books to work on Sony Reader.

The reason is that it was really hard to decide whether these hacks are good for books and for people who love books.

DRM Hacks have lots of consequences – only a few of which are good.

It’s very fashionable to break DRM. You are the grand protector of poor, trampled rights.

However, what does it really do?

This is what happens when you hack the DRM of books –

  1. The hacker and anti-DRM people get a sense of satisfaction. 
  2. Ethical people feel that they can now share their ebook with friends. They do.
  3. Unethical people feel that they can now get ebooks for free. They do too.
  4. Publishers get even more paranoid.
  5. The amount authors make becomes less.
  6. Publishers push back even more against eBooks and eReaders.
  7. Progress is stalled.

Why do ‘Good and Open’ people and companies want to impose their moral values on other people?

Who owns the right to decide what moral or ethical model books are sold under?

  1. Is it the author?
  2. Is it the Publisher or the store?
  3. Is it readers?

If a hacker says that things should be free or free of DRM – Is he really entitled to decide that?

Or is it a prerogative of the content creator which the hacker is usurping?

What will free international Internet browsing do?

Nothing much. Amazon was going to release the feature in 2010 anyways.

Bandwidth isn’t free so if people start abusing the workaround too much, Amazon will have to shut it off until the formal feature release date.

What will international kindle owners buying US books from outside the US do?

Just give Publishers another reason to stall on eBooks.

Consider the cycle –

  1. Someone in Spain feels they are entitled to read whatever they like.
  2. They figure out a workaround.
  3. Just to make sure everyone knows how cool they are – they publish it on a big, huge blog.
  4. Now 50% of international kindle owners start buying books whose international rights aren’t allowed for the Kindle.
  5. Publishers freak out. In this case especially so as the payments will go to whatever Publisher has the US rights.

You’ve just managed to get Publishers even more stressed out.

It makes them less likely to embrace eReaders and eBooks.

Don’t think all these hacks serve books or people who love books in any way. Can’t really peek into the future so who knows what effect these hacks will have.

What do you think – Do hacks like these accelerate progress or stall it?

DIY Kindle Mod for Europe wireless use

Important Note: Modding the Kindle 2 to work in Europe is an ongoing project by – Its not yet finished. In no way is this blog affiliated with it. This post covers it because it is a rather interesting endeavour.

There are some really interesting mods and hacks being done for the Kindle (most in the software). However, this one will take the cake if it succeeds.

Kindle Mod for Wireless Access in Europe

Its interesting to see the steps to mod the Kindle for wireless access in Europe. There are a few main steps –

  1. Remove the lower back and then the back.
  2. Remove the battery to be able to get to the wireless modem.
  3. Remove the  CDMA/EVDO modem and put in a UMTS/HSPA modem that works in Europe. 
  4. Solder in a SIM Card holder and attach a SIM Card.  
  5. Put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

There’s the usual unscrewing things and taking apart things and putting them back together. We do get a rather good look at the innards of the Kindle –

Kindle Already has a SIM Card Slot - Wonder Why.
Kindle Already has a SIM Card Slot - Wonder Why.

A few key takeways from the modding process –

  1. Kindle has one (or more) USB host port(s).
  2. People have an amazing proclivity to assume Amazon doesn’t pay for bandwidth i.e. the whole ‘it would be nice to get free Internet on a netbook’ comment. 
  3. WiFi ought to be possible and some would say a better choice than HSPA.

Most of all, it’s hard not to notice …

It seems to be rather easy to mod Kindle hardware for Europe.

If you think about it, there are just two main steps

  1. Replacing a US wireless network modem by a wireless modem suited to European networks.
  2. Adding a SIM card holder and a SIM card to the rather fortuitously placed SIM card slot.

It’s almost as if Kindle 2 were designed to be easily moddable for use in Europe. Too bad the European mobile networks want the whole cake for themselves.

Coming back to the mod

It seems to be stuck at the software part. Perhaps someone will help unblock it and help demonstrate a Kindle with Internet Access in Europe.

Text Messages from the Kindle

For more Kindle Tips please check out our Kindle Tips app – 133 Kindle Tips for just $1. It has 130+ tips for your Kindle and lets you get the most out of your Kindle.

Now, on to the tip for sending text messages from the Kindle.

Courtesy Woody Woodward at Kindle Korner (and via Kindle Chronicles) here’s a pretty cool tip –

Our Kindles have the ability to send SMS “TEXT” messages to cell
phones by using e-mail gateways. Any Web-based e-mail that works with
Kindle may be used for this. Simply address the e-mail to the 10-digit
cell phone number at the appropriate gateway.
e.g. for ATT cell customers
This is a (unverified) list of gateways for various cell services.
US Cellular:
Virgin Mobile:

So there are three steps to texting via your Kindle –

  1. Use your normal email program on the Kindle. You can learn how to use email on the Kindle at the Kindle Top Tips post. (hack# 11 on the list)
  2. Take the number you want to text to, say 4258943912, add the appropriate gateway for that number, let’s say AT&T –, and you have
  3. Text away.

Do let me know if you run into problems or find any new gateway emails. Also, these should be free.