Jumping Off the Amazon Ship


I have finally had it with Amazon.

No, I am not talking of Bezos deleting 1 star reviews of Hillary Clinton’s new book on how the Russians are to blame for her losing to Trump. Though that’s also a factor. It is firmly part of the globalist empire and the day when they start censoring more than just book reviews can’t be too far off.

I’m talking of their “reform” to the highlights system.

Here’s how things work. When you buy books from Amazon you aren’t really paying for the actual product but for “access” to it, the terms of which can be changed at will. The most famous and ironic case was the removal of copies of Orwell’s 1984 from users’ libraries back in 2009, though that was more of a kerfuffle than anything sinister.

More recently, though, they started enforcing publisher limits on the amount of notes and highlights you can export from your Highlights page. What’s even worse is that each publisher has different policies on the amount and length of highlights they allow you to export. These limits tend to be more stringent for academic works – that is, the ones were you can actually be expected to make a lot of highlights. So imagine plowing through some massive opus, making copious notes and highlights on the way, and then discovering that you only have access to the first ten of them.

Judging from my forum thread at Amazon, many people have similar complaints.

Just spent over an hour talking with six different Amazon customer service reps. Most did not even know what the Your Notes and Highlights Page was. They kept passing me higher up until I got to someone who understood the issue. I explained to him that I have thousands of dollars and hours invested in reading and highlighting Kindle books for research and teaching (I have over 1300 Kindle books), and that I can no longer access all my highlights. He said he was sorry, but this is the new system and that nothing can be done. It’s very frustrating because it always worked before, and I no longer trust the Amazon ecosystem.

Customer Support confirmed that the new system is here to stay:

I am sorry about the trouble with exporting your book highlights. Each title in the Kindle Store has limits as to how much of the content can be highlighted or exported, this is set by the author of the book. These limits may vary by title, and cannot be changed.
We don’t have a way to roll back the current reading app version for you.

Fortunately, I transfer my notes/highlights to Evernote as a matter of course whenever I finish a book, so I haven’t truly “lost” all that many notes, except in the case of a few books which I hadn’t finished reading when the new system came online.

Still, in a world where many other content access industries have either adapted (e.g. Netflix for movies, Steam for video games) or been superceded by altogether more “open” solutions (e.g. Sci Hub for scientific articles), Amazon’s boorish decision to rush headlong back into the Triassic of e-book publishing can’t be tolerated.

What makes Amazon’s new policy all the more ridiculous is that not only can many books be downloaded/pirated from sites such as Library Genesis, without any restrictive DRM attached to boot, but there are even software tools to strip the DRM off Kindle books (e.g. certain plugins for Calibre), which you can then read from open source book readers.

But this is where we – or at least, I – hit a snag. The problem is that Kindle for Android – the software that I use to read more of my ebooks on my cell phone – is genuinely good. I have yet to find an e-reader with anything close to its functionality and capabilities.

  • Integrated with the web, mobile, and Kindle e-book reader versions.
  • Books can be organized into collections.
  • Highlights and notes can be easily accessed, including from the web, and exported.
  • Very powerful navigations, with instant access to Table of Contents and a “summary view” with quick scrolling.
  • Nice aesthetic/functional with many different fonts, backgrounds (white, night, aged paper, etc.).
  • Access to popular highlights.

Though it has some very big, and now critical, negatives as well:

  • Uses the proprietory .mobi format.
  • The newly enforced restrictions on numbers and length of highlights.

If anybody has suggestions for book readers that contain most of Kindle for Android’s pluses with none of its minuses, that would be highly appreciated.

The other aspect of DeAmazoning is of course the tedious work of downloading all your Kindle books, renaming them, integrating them into your non-Kindle book library, and stripping the DRM of all of them. Not particularly looking forwards to this part, which will probably take at least a couple of evenings, but I suppose it has to be done sooner rather than later.

Again, any tips will be appreciated, and if/when I’m successfully finished with transitioning to another system, I’ll be sure to write up a guide.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. The problem with Amazon is not as trivial as your minor complaint. The problem with them is the same as with Faceberg, Goolag and the rest. They need to be broken up because they are virtual monopolies in their key areas. Amazon is especially dominant in online booksales, but their reach is extending ever further. Goolag in search, Faceberg on social media and so on.

    We’ve seen the political consequences when there is a complete private concensus on these platforms. All basic bitch libertarian talking points “yes but if its not the state doing the suppression, then its fine!” has exposed the idiocy of those who espouse that ideology and their utter blindness to the faultlines of capitalism and the inherent danger of oligopolies or outright monopolies forming.

    That’s the real problem with Amazon, not these minor issues.

  2. They need to be broken up because they are virtual monopolies in their key areas. Amazon is especially dominant in online booksales, but their reach is extending ever further. Goolag in search, Faceberg on social media and so on.

    Why not use something else? There are alternatives to Goolag and others.

  3. Don’t “buy” (more like “loan”) Kindle “books”. Unless it’s a throwaway purchase.

    Mystery meat format accessible on “readers” remotely controlled by the Bezos empire, DRM laden, can’t print, “not available for customers in your country”, and at the mercy of someone getting a random “muh copyright” heartburn, modulated by random national laws (or possibly having your Amazon account closed)? No thanks.

    Sounds like Stallman’s “The Right To Read” to me.


    “Wenn ich Kindle höre … entsichere ich meine Browning” (with apologies to Hanns Johst)

  4. All basic bitch libertarian talking points “yes but if its not the state doing the suppression, then its fine!”

    You may want to get other libertarian friends because even in libertarianism, when there is suppression going on, needs to be kicked a bit.

    I gotta say, Amazon has immense economies of scale and Japan-tier quality of execution (not to mention being the biggest animal in the “cloud” business though its cloud model should not be considered “the way to do cloud” by any means). That counts for something. I don’t want to go back to the times where bookstores “lost your order” after 3 months of waiting…

    Did I mention they also want to go into SPAAAACE for unclear reasons? Yes, Cyperpunk’s Slimy Megacorps is here, but somewhat friendlier.

  5. Actor James Woods had a tweet promoting hard copy books over ebooks because the former can’t be altered (knowingly or unknowingly). Interesting point and the tweet was out of the blue. Woods is a smart guy (MIT math & poli-sci) and I’m guessing he has knowledge of this happening. I had sworn off ebooks until I recently got a $400 Amazon e-giftcard. And seeing as how I don’t have a lot of shelf space in my apartment and a relatively empty Kindle… But I would never trust Amazon (or any other tech company) with my notes or highlights. Already too much is revealed in the books you buy, the books you browse, or even titles you search for. The coming AI would have a field day analyzing this stuff and I don’t need Amazon and some future totalitarian government having access to my thoughts or pattern of thinking. Like the IC and Vatican, it’s pen and paper for me with notes. I know I’m a little unimportant fish in a big ocean, but since I’m that fish I take me seriously.

  6. Avoiding the Amazon (Google, Facebook, etc.) ecosystem is a laudable aspiration, of course, but not overly realistic for people who want something that works and don’t want to spend an inordinate amount of time and effort figuring out alternative (usually inferior) systems. Yes, all those things are big problems, but I myself have never needed to “print” anything from them, the national restrictions are annoying but not critical (for my part, I still maintain my US account, despite being in Russia), and the chances of them nuking your account (to date) have been minimal.

    That said, with the latest changes to its highlights system, Amazon has for all intents and purposes stopped “working” for me – hence the final jolt I myself needed to actively start searching out alternatives to it.

  7. Anatoly, they gotta get rid of your piddling HBD notes and highlights to make room for The Destroyer of Worlds.

    Amazon Web Services Can Now Host the Defense Department’s Most Sensitive Data
    Next Gov

    Amazon Web Services has a new market for its cloud computing, analytics, and storage services.

    This week, the Defense Department granted the cloud computing giant a provisional authorization to host Impact Level 5 workloads, which are the military and Pentagon’s most sensitive, unclassified information.

    “This further bolsters AWS as an industry leader in helping support the DoD’s critical mission in protecting our security,” the company said in a statement. “The AWS services support a variety of DoD workloads, including workloads containing sensitive controlled unclassified information and National Security Systems information.”

    Already, DoD is using AWS to host sensitive, mission-critical workloads, including the operational control system for the Global Positioning System. The provisional authorization allows military customers an easier route to use AWS for a variety of other IT services.

    In total, three commercial companies—AWS, IBM and Microsoft—are now able to host and store the military’s most sensitive unclassified data. AWS has expanded its defense business, it remains the dominant cloud service provider in the intelligence community by virtue of its $600 million contract with the Central Intelligence Agency. AWS’ C2S cloud hosts classified information for the 17 intelligence agencies.

    The company’s Beltway presence continues to grow in lines with its federal market share. AWS recently announced a new corporate headquarters and up to 1,500 jobs in Fairfax County and expects a new East Coast computing region to come online in 2018. Called US-East, the region will essentially be a mass of computer networks operating by AWS entirely for government customers, including the Defense Department.


  8. TheUmpteenthGermanOnHere says

    Damn! No recommendations from me right now, since I will first have to evaluate all those tools and apps I bookmarked in the past but never put to use because they seemed to apply to a problem already solved.
    I would guess, though, that your first requirement – multiplatform capability – is the one that no alternative will be able to satisfy to the same degree as Kindle. My solution will be to sell my Kindle, then decide on one reading device and finally settle on the software to use. (For people who – like me – read a lot of PDFs, a single piece of software was never going to cut it anyway.)
    Re the monopoly question: in search, mail, maps and OSes there is none. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube need to be the focus of attention – with at least the first two being invulnerable to breakup or secession threats because their point – their only point – is that “everybody” is on there. De facto their participants are publishers. It’s a First Amendment issue that needs to be fought as such.

  9. What about the poor quality control in editing and transferring material into Amazon ebooks? Most of it seems like text with formatting was copied — especially line breaks. It is mostly annoying but a constant reminder that your books are now contingent on proprietary formatting and software.

    Project Gutenberg – at least back in the day – required plain ASCII text. There was an explanation that over the life of the project text files formats had been in constant flux and were unstable.

  10. It is best to pirate all your media

  11. I recommend Kobo’s ebook system. They accept epub and have excellent software. Try out the Android app if you’re interested.
    As a Japanese company, they’re probably less interested in political correctness than Amazon.

  12. Be enough of a brainlet to be using a kindle
    JUST Shocked when (((they))) use it to monitor ur reading habits and censor crimethink

  13. Greasy William says

    Could Amazon win back your business if they offered you a free Miss Zimbabwe calendar?

  14. RadicalCenter says

    Not future totalitarian government. It’s here. They already have a record of all our searches, all our purchases, all these comments, all our emails, all our Skype and FaceTime conversations. It’s almost over.

  15. RadicalCenter says

    Venus Williams and her brother in bikinis? I’m blind! I’m blind!

  16. OT

    What is this belligerence towards both North Korea and Iran? I’m quite sure that starting a war will destroy the Trump presidency. Obviously Trump is desperate to look “strong” in spite of having his whole team kicked out of the White House.

  17. The Plutonium Kid says

    Take your Trump hysteria elsewhere.

  18. Greasy William says

    Trump comes from the Israeli school of foreign policy: speak loudly and carry a small twig.

    NK has been totally out of line and should be destroyed ASAP. The Iran stuff is worrying but ultimately Trump isn’t actually going to do anything.

    Trump has completely outsourced foreign policy to pro Iran McMaster so you don’t have to worry about the US attacking Iran.

    Keep in mind that Trump has also threatened to unilaterally destroy Obamacare, which he has the power to do but everybody knows that he actually won’t.

  19. Greasy William says

    The Left is really pissed at the chick who runs Myanmar.

    What the hell is it with the Left and Muslims? I get that they love Muslims in the West cause they want to use them against whites, but the people of Myanmar are Asians, not white. Why does the Left care what happens in non white Myanmar?

    It’s too bad Muslims aren’t more hostile to gays. I’d love to see Muslims take over some country in sub saharan Africa and create a humanitarian crisis of killing gays just because it would be interesting to see which side the Left would take.

    Here is what we know for sure about which sides the Left would take in conflicts between non white groups:

    Blacks v Gays: Gays
    Muslims v Women: Muslims
    Muslims v Asians: Muslims

    If we ever see a Muslim v Gays battle, at this stage I’m gonna have to guess that the Left sides with the Muslims. As recently as last week I would have said they would side with the homos, but I really no longer think so.

    I would also like to see who the Left would support in a black v Muslim war. That one is much tougher. I know that they would side with Muslims over Latinos in any potential conflict though.

  20. Correction- Kobo is a Canadian company that was bought by the Japanese e-commerce conglomerate Rakuten. I still recommend them. There is an app that makes exporting notes and highlights easy. http://www.kobonotes.com

  21. I use a very, very good anti-virus software (“eXterminat It!”) that goes into the root of the operating system looking for the bad guys. I typically run it once a week. Within a week, “eXterminat It!” will find up to 20+ tracking trojans put on the system by Google Search that Avast missed.

    I switched to Bing for search. Results = 0 tracking trojans.

    Beware of anything associated with Google. As with Facebook, YOU are the product they sell to advertisers.

    Amazon is not much better. I query a firetruck for my grandson on Amazon. Then, I’m inundated with advertisements for fire trucks for children for the next two weeks in my casual browsing across the Internet.

  22. Do you not know that monitoring of everything on internet is happening now? Access onto internet has control points and logging. Every search, site, comment may be monitored. That is not only NSA or government agency work.

  23. On the current trajectory Trump is going to turn out to be a worse President than Obama, possibly even W.Bush.

  24. Greasy William says

    Trump is the greatest President in US history and one of the greatest men in all of human history. Get on the Trump train or go to Hell.

    I understand the alt-right/Paleocons being all “salty”, as the kids say, about Trump bashing their precious Iran, but going after Trump because he bashes Venezuela and North Korea? C’mon now.

  25. European-American says

    If we ever see a Muslim v Gays battle, at this stage
    I’m gonna have to guess that the Left sides with the Muslims

    Maybe they don’t have to choose!

    “in al-Andalus homosexual pleasures were much indulged in by the intellectual and political elite. … Both pederasty and love between adult males are found. Although homosexual practices were never officially condoned, prohibitions against them were rarely enforced, and usually there was not even a pretense of doing so.”

  26. I would also like to see who the Left would support in a black v Muslim war.

    Libyan war 2011 was such, to an extent: https://yandex.com/images/search?text=libyan%20war%20racist :

    blacks thumb down.

  27. “They already have a record of all our searches, all our purchases, all these comments, all our emails, all our Skype and FaceTime conversations. It’s almost over.”

    Yep, the Deep State is keeping extremely close tabs on everyone at every moment. The Jew Boogeyman is upon you. Best be wary how you discuss matters on the Interwebs moving forward, you just might disappear, never to be heard from again. Boo!

  28. YetAnotherAnon says

    “Trump is the greatest President in US history”

    Eight months into office DACA is dead*, but the Wall isn’t started, the US is threatening to support ISIS against the Syrian Government, free speech is suppressed by academic institutions.

    OK, I don’t in the end worry too much about what he says**, it’s what he does that’s important. How is the project to Make America Great Again going? And why can’t the Commander in Chief secure the Mexican border? Where is the beef? Is the 2016 agenda that got him elected still the 2017 agenda?

    Acta, non verba. What’s he doing?

    • but we’re told may rise again as amnesty.

    ** much reporting on Trump is by those who hate his (2016) agenda.

  29. Maybe there’s no “precious Iran”, and we really were opposed to US foreign intervention out of first principles just as we said, and not because we hated Jews or loved the Shi’a. North Korea would not have nuclear weapons if the US just didn’t break an agreement they made with them in 1994. An outcome which would be superior to anything that can happen now. I’m not a big fan of a nuclear North Korea, but neither am I a fan of a Second Korean War, especially if it will involve (as seems likely) the use of nuclear weapons. I prefer that Trump stays out of this, instead of discrediting nationalism for another fifty years (“nationalists like Hitler and Trump start world wars and nuclear wars, they are dangerous”). Probably the best realistic outcome now would be some kind of “double freeze” agreement with the fat kid involving a freeze on large-scale joint US-South Korean military exercises and North Korean missile and nuclear tests. Ideally this would involve a freeze of North Korean nuclear forces (they would be kept but not expanded any more) with North Korea never becoming a de iure nuclear power (somewhat similarly to Israel or perhaps Pakistan), the wording of the agreement would be tricky but would boil down to something like international observers would be allowed to inspect nuclear facilities but not allowed to inspect the actual nuclear weapons (which I guess Kim wouldn’t be too eager to show). Then ideally nothing would happen in that corner of the world until forever or something. It’s not a very good regime, but it’s not the job of the US to change it. I also don’t think that every country in the world without exceptions should be a gay-friendly democratic market economy. (This also applies to Muslim countries who wish to stone to death any woman wearing a miniskirt – let them do that.)

    speak loudly and carry a small twig

    Okay, that was funny.

  30. “I would also like to see who the Left would support in a black v Muslim war.”

    The Libyan war of 2011 was such, to an extent: https://yandex.com/images/search?text=libyan%20war%20racist

    Blacks were given a thumb down.

  31. FWIW I still like Trump and would definitely vote for him over pretty much everyone except someone like Rohrabacher or Tulsi Gabbard (ha!), but I don’t think it can anymore be reasonably denied that he’s been neutered and the US is now run by a coterie of generals and Goldman Sachs alumni.

  32. would definitely vote for him over pretty much everyone except someone like Rohrabacher or Tulsi Gabbard (ha!)

    But that’s a low bar, voting for him over someone like Rubio or Biden. If that’s what matters, I’m still totally a Trump supporter.

  33. Trump’s new belligerence towards Iran is ominous. Though if I had the choice of a US war against Iran or one against North Korea, I’d choose the former. At least a war with Iran has a much lower chance of turning nuclear.

    On the other hand, if his only demand is renegotiating the “sunset clauses”, then I’m not sure it’s totally unreasonable. A country not intent on developing nuclear weapons and not subject to a harsh sanctions regime has little reason to continue with uranium enrichment.

  34. Daniel Chieh says

    I can’t wait for my oxytocin injections!

  35. Greasy William says

    Guys, McMaster runs foreign policy for the WH. McMaster loves Iran. Look at actions, not what Trump says in speeches written for him by Jewish, Iran hating, Stephen Miller that Trump himself likely doesn’t even understand.

    I don’t even think Trump will act against NK, but IF he does we should support him. NK’s behavior is way out of line.

    I would also support US involvement against Venezuela.

    Keep in mind that I am actually more opposed to going to war with Iran than are all of you put together. Iran isn’t like Iraq which just fell apart without Saddam to manage the zoo. If the Mullah’s go, Iran will be ruled by much more competent, secular crypto Nazis. Give me the idiot mullah’s any day.

  36. How dumb can you be, how greedy can one be, to fall for the scheme of content for profit. If it is only your notes, and advertising, no privacy, a hardware-software prison, traffic analysis, political influence, do not matter, then oh…

    An intellectual deserves no mercy, if your readers cater to Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, do not understand the underpinnings of any content served, then you are a twenty-first century prior that sells relief for fee.

  37. I would also support US involvement against Venezuela.

    First question: what involvement? Strongly worded letters? Embargo? Blockade? Firing few hundreds (or thousands) $1M missiles on $100 tents and rusty shacks? Invasion and another jungle war, because desert wars got boring?

    Second question: WHY?
    There are arguments for US involvement with NK and Iran, but I never ever heard any comprehensible argument why is Venezuela US enemy? Why shall US care what is going on there? Really, why?

  38. Greasy William says
    1. I would support doing what we did in Afghanistan: use bombing and special forces to help the opposition. The Venezuelan gov is hanging by a thread, we can topple them effortlessly.
    2. Multiple reasons: 1. It would boost Trump’s popularity 2. It would really piss off the Left and the people of Latin America 3. The Venezuelan gov is Left wing and I oppose allowing Leftist governments to exist anywhere 4. It would remind the world that Latin America is US property. They nominally have independence but at the end of the day, we own them. Always have, always will.

    I am totally with you guys on Iran and I will even admit that I am starting to get a little nervous. When it comes to the Iranian nuclear agreement part of me does want it ripped up just to spite Obama but I really don’t want war with Iran because I believe that such a war would lead to freedom for the odious Iranian people and allow them to choose less retarded leaders for themselves. Another possibility is that Iran just does what NK did when Bush pushed them out of the nuclear deal that they had signed and goes ahead and develops nukes. And we are seeing now how that turned out.

    This whole thing doesn’t even make any sense. I thought that McMaster was running foreign policy? Now we’re hearing that Trump may decertify the nuclear deal. What the hell is going on in the administration?

    The absolute worst part about any potential war with Iran, however, would be that I have been mocking paleocons for years about their fantasy war with Iran but Trump’s idiocy may actually get them what they want.

    Trump is doing the right thing on NK though. The sooner Kim is out, the better.

    Hopefully NK and Venezuela are destroyed and that is enough to convince Iran to work out some sort of agreement with Trump.

  39. I remember reading of a far right anti-immigration political party somewhere in Scandinavia that organized a gay parade through a heavily Muslim neighborhood to highlight the inherent contradictions of being both pro-LGBT and pro-Muslim immigration. Here’s an article (in Russian, sorry) about a Russian LGBT who requested and received refugee status in Germany only to find out that his fellow refugees didn’t share his idea of European values. Then the Germans themselves turned out to be indifferent to his suffering. Finally, he requested that Russia take him back, but was met with a rather snarky response by the Russian authorities. It’s an updated for the times Kafkaesque tragicomedy.


  40. I can’t wait for my oxytocin injections!


  41. What about Rand Paul? And Rohrabacher has a history of supporting jihadis (mujahideen in Afghanistan in the 80’s).

    I think the only way now to have a president who does the right thing is to have someone who is 100% duplicitous. He or she spouts the globalist-neocon line, has a perfect history of supporting the correct causes, etc., with the intention of getting into power and throwing in monkey wrenches whenever possible to do the right thing. Like undercover agents in organized crime. I sometimes saw this in Obama, who said all the right things (according to neocon globalists) but would pull back and not commit on some neocon plans in the Middle East.

  42. It’s enough if he’s a de facto undercover agent: someone who is pozzed so much, that he doesn’t understand that reforming the system aggressively is dangerous and could unleash forces he couldn’t control. On the other hand he needs to want to reform the system, i.e. he has to understand that things can’t go on that way indefinitely, that it’s not very efficient, that it needs to be reformed. Essentially what we need is an American Gorbachev.

  43. Greasy William says

    Good point. By foreign policy standards, Obama was the best President in US history. I’ve always said this.

    I never got why Paleocon and WNs were so hostile to Obama. He was the best that they were ever gonna do.

  44. Well, I think that it was generally recognized in alt-right(ish) circles that in foreign policy terms Obama was much better than Dubya or a hypothetical Hillary presidency. He was still weak and so we got Libya and the Syrian mess. He also eventually became a bear-baiter.

  45. Greasy William says

    want to see non appearing comments

  46. Greasy William says
    1. Criticizing Obama’s admittedly horrendous domestic policy is weak sauce if you truly believe that preventing wars is more important.
    2. Libya was not Obama’s fault. He stayed out of it for as long as he could. Ultimately he intervened thanks to overwhelming pressure from our allies and from the Deep State. It isn’t fair to criticize him for a decision he resisted with all his might. That would be like criticizing Horthy for sending troops to the Eastern Front.

    3. Obama probably does deserve some blame for Syria, but Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states were demanding that he step in. Western Europe also wanted action. Ultimately Obama went with the smallest level of intervention that he could. Never established a no fly zone despite huge pressure to do so.

    Obama always and everywhere looked for the most realistic peaceful solution available. Overall Obama was a traitor and the worst President in US History, but he likewise was unquestionably the best President in US history if we are just looking at foreign policy.

  47. From that Lenta article:

    Бежавший в Германию российский гей захотел дать эмиграции задний ход


  48. Well, that is a witty phrase. I would guess one would not see something like that in Western mainstream media. Imagine German cucks writing something as ironic like that!