unjapanologist: (fetchez la vache)
So Amazon is now selling the Kindle in Japan, meaning they also have a Kindle store. I might be tempted to think this would enable Kindle-owning me to buy e-books from the Japanese Kindle store, seeing as I live in Japan and already have an account on amazon.co.jp to buy print books.

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unjapanologist: (Default)
The suspension of Digital Manga from the Kindle Store over unspecified "content violations" has been reversed, which Digital Manga attributes to the outpouring of support from fans who took action. That was fast!

While I'm glad Digital Manga can continue to sell via Amazon, I'm profoundly unimpressed with the robustness of Amazon's judgment here. If they can be swayed by one group of people yelling loudly about their interpretation of the vague content guidelines, they can be swayed by other groups, including those whose interpretations are not so benign and who may want to stop others' voices from being heard on Amazon's massive platform.
unjapanologist: (fetchez la vache)
It seems Amazon just suspended Digital Manga Inc. from publishing on Kindle entirely. Reportedly, this was done over an ill-defined "content violation" related to Digital Manga's yaoi titles. It's not the first time that yaoi titles are the subject of censorship kerfuffles, but apparently Amazon is still not planning to clarify its famously vague guidelines about "pornography" versus "erotica".

(Apple is engaging in disturbingly similar practices, apparently keeping out yaoi titles and other LGBTQ content from its iBooks store. Digital Manga was told to remove its yaoi titles from its iPad app on February 2. It's a bad, bad thing when distributors get to control what appears on people's reading devices and can use drm to lock people even further into their walled gardens.)

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ETA: The text above contained a reference to taking my business to the The Book Depository, but [personal profile] eggsbenedict points out that The Book Depository was bought by Amazon last year. I don't know exactly how this is impacting the running of the company, but removed the reference just to make sure. Apparently Amazon also owns Abebooks and a bunch of other book-related companies, including some I use and give money to, such as LibraryThing.

Again, I don't know what being owned by Amazon means for these companies and if it has any influence on, for instance, their content policies. Maybe there's no influence. However, it does seem clear that I'm absolutely unable to buy legal copies of some of the e-books I want or need for work without financially benefiting Amazon. It's not a sign of a healthy system if it's completely impossible anywhere in the world to buy a legal copy of a certain book without somehow going through this one single distributor.
unjapanologist: (fetchez la vache)
I recently bought the Kindle edition of this book. $89 for an e-book is beyond obscene, but I rather desperately needed it for research and there was still room in the budget. I considered getting it as a one-month rental for the equally obscene price of $40, but the rentals page explained that the number of highlights that can be made in a rental book is sometimes limited, and I have a tendency to highlight and annotate about half of everything.

This book, by the way, is the 'official' publication of a PhD thesis that used to be available online for free - I found references and broken links to it from 2008. It's a very interesting and relevant work, and it makes me weep to know that scholars have to lock up this kind of research in $89 vaults just because they need 'real' publications to keep their careers alive.

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unjapanologist: (Default)
From the department of research-related things that happened while I was too busy to remember I have a journal... The latest issue of Transformative Works and Cultures contains a book review by me of Boys' love manga: essays on the sexual ambiguity and cross-cultural fandom of the genre (ed. Antonia Levi, Mark McHarry, and Dru Pagliassotti). Like most academic books, this one contained a few weaker chapters, but I found it very informative in general. It puts a nice amount of emphasis on fan-related topics, which is why I'd heartily recommend it to English-language fan studies researchers who want to find out more about yaoi/boys' love -although nothing beats actually reading some, of course.

(Random e-book note: the Kindle edition of this book costs half as much as the print edition, $19.25, but that price still made me go "whoa" for a second. I've been conditioned to tolerate e-book prices up until $13 or so. Anything above that makes me think twice about purchasing something.)


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