Vegans Protest the Mandatory Leather Cover on the Kindle Oasis

Kindle Oasis-Rustic CoverHere's a story which could either grow to be a major faux pas for Amazon or simply fizzle out (it's too early to tell). TNW reports on a new petition on Change.org:

That didn’t take long – just a little over 24 hours after the Amazon Kindle Oasis officially dropped, the company is already receiving backlash about its charging cover, which comes in exclusively in leather.

A petition on Change.org is asking Amazon to add a vegan leather option for readers who are uncomfortable with genuine leather. The Kindle Oasis comes with the charging cover included, which leaves little choice for animal rights supporters to get a new, tiny Kindle with “months” of charge sans-cover.

The problem here is that some vegans won't let any leather products in the house. And that means they're not going to buy the Oasis just to pitch the cover (which is admirable; that would be wasteful).

Edit: In addition to that petition, eBook Evangelist has pointed out that there are similar complaints in Amazon's support forums. Some say they are sticking with their existing Paperwhite or Voyage, while others are disagreeing snarkily. Some are more eloquent in their support of a boycott:

Also disappointed with Amazon not offering a version that does not support the killing of animals. As a 15 years strict vegetarian (close to vegan) I can't buy this product. This is a deal breaker and I am saddened and honestly surprised to learn Amazon did not think of this before launching. I expected better from Amazon. This does not only apply to vegans but also vegetarians, of which there are hundreds of millions in the world.

But I'm not sure this is a real story yet. While I had heard from several directions that vegans were unhappy about the mandatory leather cover, that petition only has 185 signatures. Depending on your viewpoint, that is either a tiny number or just the beginning.

Do you think this is that the first of a swelling wave of protest, or simply a tiny disgruntled minority?

 

About Nate Hoffelder (11577 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

28 Comments on Vegans Protest the Mandatory Leather Cover on the Kindle Oasis

  1. My guess would be that strict vegans are too small a minority, and their concerns too risible in the eyes of too many people, for this to make a real impact. But you never know; I would have bet against TG rights ever attracting the level of public support they now enjoy. If the strict vegans can somehow make it a partisan issue they might get somewhere. Personally, right from the moment I heard about the leather cover I thought Amazon would have been better off to offer an alternative, like a metallic one.

  2. Glad Amazon has gone with a leather cover, would choose a leather cover over a synthetic one every time.

    Cows, tasty inside and upholstery on the outside!

  3. Not that I plan to buy a kindle, but a faux leather cover makes more sense for people who like to read at the pool or beach, or while cooking, or…. Seems like Azon might have thought about how people will use their device.

  4. For all we know, Amazon only uses leather from cows that died of old age. 😉

  5. I agree. I am vegetarian and I do not want to support animal abuse.

  6. I suspect that people like me who ordered this are a small fraction of Kindle users. My uneducated guess is that most people read books on the Kindle app on a tablet or phone, with a fairly sizable but still minority group using a Kindle eink device, with an even smaller number of those using Voyage and an even smaller still buying Oasis. The thought that there are any sizable number of Vegans in that last $300 luxury eReader group is to me, laughable. It’s probably not worth making a Vegan friendly version for Amazon, and I doubt Amazon is about to stop selling leather to appease them.

    I’d further surmise that a small percentage of people signing that petition would actually be interested in an Oasis. Signing does not equal I am someone who would buy a $300 eReader.

    • Most of the people signing will have no interest whatever in buying an Oasis. For them it’s simply another opportunity to campaign for the true faith.

      • The issue is not that the animals were killed but how they lived. Please go and view a video of how chickens are raised in factories. Otherwise you are a coward.

        • Seen it Redrum. I promise not to buy any chicken leather covers. But seriously, your methods of persuasion are not going to be very effective with name calling.

      • The point, I think, is that Amazon is giving people a reason NOT to buy their product when they don’t have to … why in hell NOT offer an alternative; especially one that would almost certainly be less expensive?

        Bezos is an idiot.

        • They have Kindle, Kindle PaperWhite and Kindle Voyage in various configurations for less money. You can also download the Kindle app onto your phone or tablet. Or buy an Amazon Fire tablet with the reading functionality built in. TONS of options.

          You also can’t buy a 7 series with vinyl bench seating. At some point, you have to say no to endless iterations and options, and define your brand. And Oasis isn’t the I’m a vegan and don’t want a case brand.

        • yup.. very bad call on this one.
          unless besos was intentionally trying to create his own Apple Newton type innovation. we all know how that went for Apple.

  7. They might have a better chance of success targeting the environmental angle instead. E-readers have long been touted as more environmentally friendly than paper, so Amazon should probably be asking themselves whether it makes sense to support an industry filling the planet with an abundance of walking methane factories. The EPA estimates that 26% of US methane emissions come from domestic livestock burps and farts, and a further 10% from the processing of manure.

  8. I think it’s about time MickeyD started offering some faux meat burgers.
    Joking aside, cows may indeed contribute to environmental problems, but i’m not sure how clean the manufacturing process of faux leather is.
    Maybe this is one of the reasons vegans protest on moral grounds, not environmental, which is a moot point anyway, since leather is a by-product.
    I hope this dies out quickly. To me, premium product = real leather.

  9. This story is a nothingburger. They’re trying to gin up an artificial controversy. There are tens of thousands of vegans out there. If they can only get a couple of hundred to sign their petition, it’s not even going to be noticed.

  10. This will not gain traction.

    The Vegans I know do it because it is a dietary choice they made, not a whole lifestyle. One of them uses leather products.

  11. Count me in as a lost to purchase due to the leather cover. I’ve been waiting to replace my Paperwhite 2 for some time, and was really looking forward to this release. I cannot and will not buy this device if it means supporting the factory farming industry. I don’t expect Amazon or anyone else to stop selling leather, but I would expect a flagship device to offer a more ethical option if the cover is going to be included.

  12. wow, i did not see that one coming from the complaints about the mirage..umm, i mean the oasis.

  13. I recently bought a Paperwhite Kindle and shopped specifically for a NON-leather case to put it in. I am a vegan and have done my best to avoid leather products for many years (often having to pay ridiculously inflated prices for cheap leather substitutes). Had I still been in the market for a new Kindle, I would definitely reject the new Oasis out of hand if my only option was to get it with a leather cover.

  14. Joseph S. Wisniewski // 19 April, 2016 at 10:31 pm // Reply

    “that petition only has 185 signatures.”

    507. It’s gaining about 100 a day.

  15. Even at 507 it’s unlikely there are 507 potential buyers. And even more than that – it’s just not a number that gets any attention.

  16. Can’t we just compromise and make the covers from the skin of vegans? Surely no rational person could have a problem with that.

  17. I’ve protested to Amazon, as a vegan. I want to buy my FIRST ereader, having used the phone (Kindle) app for some time. Never with leather. I believe in Live & Let Live. Thus my bitter opposition is the unthinkable lack of choice in cover.

    • If you really want an ereader I suggest the Voyage anyway. It’s very light, doesn’t come with a case and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. I love the Voyage.

  18. Steven McGaughay // 12 June, 2016 at 3:23 pm // Reply

    This was going to be my first Kindle and I was ready and willing to pay £270 for it. Not now, no way! I buy loads of Vegan products via Amazon, just type Vegan in the search bar and see what comes up. It’s not the lack of an alternative so much as their ‘just go buy something else’ attitude that annoys me. They have just lost a lot more than an e-reader sale here. Prime Canceled, Account Closed, I’m off to e-bay. F**k you Amazon!

3 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. e-book-news.de » Verbuchung statt Tabletisierung: Kindle Oasis plus Akku-Cover startet, ab heute vorbestellbar
  2. Vegans Protest the Mandatory Leather Cover on the Kindle Oasis | The Passive Voice | A Lawyer's Thoughts on Authors, Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing
  3. Open up Kindle Oasis cover and see where you left off

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