treats its warehouse workers badly, pays very little tax and tracks its users. Its platform will delete books that people have already bought.

Here are some updated ethical alternatives to , Kindle and :

Thanks to everyone who gave suggestions for alternatives, if you have any more suggestions (or feedback on these alternatives) please reply to this post.

@switchingsocial how about adding ( as a whatsapp, messenger and skype alternative?


A lot of people have suggested, it seems to be a very popular platform!

However, it still seems quite oriented towards technical users?

@switchingsocial @ninjafoss Might be because I'm a technical person but I'm genuinely surprised by that reaction. Doesn't seem to me any more technically demanding from an end-user perspective than any other chat client -- sign up, add your friends, start chatting.

It's very full-featured, yes, but as a replacement for AIM or FB chat or Skype it seems to me to be on the same level learning curve-wise.

@wraidd @ninjafoss

This is of course a matter of personal taste, but the site strongly implies people should click on "launch now", then they are taken to a slightly confusing screen.

It's unclear what the user is meant to do next, or even what the screen is for. The biggest icon encourages users to click on the directory, but this is just a list of technical topics.

I guess this isn't a problem with the software itself, but its presentation?

@switchingsocial @ninjafoss mm okay, I see where you're coming from.

On the other hand, the "Login" and "Register" buttons aren't exactly hidden, and the "press x to start a chat with someone" is right below that, so like. yeah, it's not front and center but it's still right there.

(I love matrix conceptually so I might be a teensy bit defensive, sorry X) )


Hey, no offence taken, I guess we are talking about two different things anyway (me the site, you the actual software).

I'm trying to be careful to only present options on that non-technical people can easily get a handle on.

Part of the reason FB Messenger, Whatsapp etc are popular is that they are so familiar. People can easily default back to a familiar app if the alternatives look too complicated 😕

@switchingsocial Yep, I identified that particular bugbear as well.

Of course, at this point it's a question of known vs unknown -- Facebook is always going to be more "usable" than a new service because people already know how to use it. And all their friends are already there, etc.



There is some hope though, for example US teenagers have genuinely been abandoning Facebook in large numbers over the past couple of years:

Yes they went to other non-open platforms, but they did leave. It shows if there's an alternative they prefer they will go to it.

@switchingsocial It's a little funny to me that you recommend Ring, though -- my experience with Ring was much harder and less successful than Matrix has ever been. XD


Really? I guess this shows how much of a personal choice it is.

I had tried all sorts of alternatives but they didn't want to work with my computer, then Ring worked perfectly.

I guess Matrix is better for group chats, while Ring is more for one-on-one calls?

@switchingsocial Matrix does one-on-one just fine.

Honestly I'm very leery of steering anyone towards non-federated alternatives these days. I mean, the problem with FB isn't that it's closed, it's that they control the gate and therefore have access to all your data. If a different centralized platform gained prominence in FB's wake it's not as though the same problems wouldn't still be there (even if the owners pinky-swore to Not Be Evil [tm]).

@wraidd Yup, the problem with FB isn't just the management but the structure, it's inherently going to corrupt whoever controls that amount of data, no matter what their original intentions.

I'm dubious of supposedly privacy-friendly platforms like MeWe which have no structural differences to FB. If they became popular, they would rapidly turn into another FB.

Good intentions aren't enough, users need structural protections so that they can change providers without leaving the network.

@switchingsocial Exactly why I said I don't recommend non-federated alternatives anymore. ;)

Unfortunately, as far as chat goes, for federated options you have Matrix, XMPP, and Tox, and that's it I think. And they all kind of suck in terms of ease of use, at least compared to Messenger/Hangouts.


XMPP is ok once you've registered an account, something like Conversations is a great and easy to use app.

But registering an account on XMPP is sort of scary, there's no obvious site to go to and sites that do exist tend to look a bit odd.

It would be nice if there was some equivalent of for XMPP.

@switchingsocial XMPP is also chat-only. No vox/video options.

Honestly I like disroot's approach to things -- sign up with us and we give you all of it. I'm working to do something similar for friends and family, which is a pain in the butt because LDAP hates me -_-

@switchingsocial @wraidd @matrix I guess onboarding for new users could be improved, but as far as i know there is a "bigger" UI change planned for Riot to simplify the UI/UX.

@ninjafoss @matrix @switchingsocial Probably. Both Matrix and Riot are still under heavy development.


I can't comment on that much on buying proper from AMZN itself since I've been vastly cutting down on purchases.

But wrt the Kindle, mine has never ever had been connected via wifi. Everything is dumped straight from the connecting PC. Strictly speaking, epub/mobi is such a static format that planned obsolescence is never an issue and if you don't connect to the internet security isn't an issue wrt to the Kindle either.


Thanks for the feedback!

It's a fair point that the Kindle can be used to view certain non-DRM files, though Amazon doesn't promote it in this way.

Just one thing though, as far as I can tell Kindle doesn't support epub?

@eloisa @switchingsocial

Yup, you can still partake of the ecoystem legally if you so wish, and the DRM is trivial to strip. I suspect at this point Amazon is offering DRM only as a fig leaf for the publishing houses.

@SlightDashOfColour @switchingsocial oh! Didn't know about the striping. I noticed some é-books for sale are DRM free as per request of the author, though.

@switchingsocial just a note, not everything in the kobo store is DRM, it’s the publishers choice!

@switchingsocial I have to look at this list. I have stopped using #Amazon except for #GoodReads, but that's mostly because of the "built up community" there.

@switchingsocial Thanks for the list!

I'm a long-time user of Kindle e-reader (starting from Kindle Keyboard model) and I really like it, but I don't like how Amazon treats their workers and how closed their ecosystem is.

I try to buy in other online stores, if possible. So it's really nice to have a list like this for my future e-book purchases.

@switchingsocial i truly love my kobo reader! thanks for the list of other places to purchase ebooks 👍

Several publishers like Angry Robot sell DRM-free epubs of all their published works off their own sites.

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