Books Erased from Kindles by Amazon

Yesterday, Amazon remotely erased hundreds of copies of 1984 and Animal Farm from users' Kindles, according to the NY Times. The books in question were deemed unlicensed copies, and Amazon erased them without permission and credited users' accounts.

These actions appear to break Amazon's own terms of use, according to the Times. The terms "grant customers the right to keep a 'permanent copy of the applicable digital content.'" The Times also reports that this is not the first time Amazon has stripped Kindles.

Beyond the obvious concerns here, this dramatizes why readers should not consider ebooks to simply be electronic verisons of printed books. Per my interview with Ted Striphas, ebooks are completely different entities–they offer different users' rights, have modes of distribution, and are evolving very different expectations than printed books.

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Glad you posted about this. I hope you’ll allow me my slightly harsh approach when I say that Amazon’s actions with the Orwell works and its Kindle device are outrageous and beyond excuse. In fact, I suspect they may be illegal. There is certainly a damn good civil case to be made. I call what they did vandalism. I’m not the sort to give Amazon a pass on this and have completely severed my own site’s ‘associate’ links to Amazon’s Kindle, any downloadable content, and advertising.
I think Amazon is asking for resistance from bloggers and web sites, which means breaking the rather unprofitable connection to their products. There are better ways for us to make a few dollars. Amazon is not literature’s friend. It is the enemy.
Just about the only people I would trust to provide ebooks via an online ebook device are the Mozilla people. If those guys work with someone to make an ebook device and somehow manage the distribution of content from publishers we’ll really have something that will take off. Like Firefox. Seriously.


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