Big Brother Amazon Remotely Deletes Purchased Copies of 1984 and Animal Farm From Thousands of Kindles

Illustration for article titled Big Brother Amazon Remotely Deletes Purchased Copies of 1984 and Animal Farm From Thousands of Kindles

Amazon basically guaranteed that I'll never buy a Kindle last night by bending to the wishes of a publisher and deleting every single legitimately-purchased copy of 1984 and Animal Farm from all Kindles remotely. Ridiculous.

Apparently, the publisher changed its mind about having electronic versions of Orwell's books. So Amazon removed them from the store and in the process remotely deleted the books from the Kindles of anyone who bought them, depositing a refund in their account in the process.

If there's a better argument for dead-tree books and against the Kindle, I'd like to know what it is. If you can't be sure that you own something after you pay for it, what's the point? How many people were halfway through these books that they paid for and now are shit out of luck?


Amazon says this is a "rarity," but even once is too many times for bullshit like this to happen. Once I buy a book from Barnes & Noble, I never have to worry about them breaking into my house and taking it back, leaving me a pile of singles on my nightstand.

And of course the fact that this happened to 1984, of all books, makes this even more surreal. [NY Times via Boing Boing]

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If consumers continue their ignorant and spineless behaviors with regard to digital properties, scenarios like this will become increasingly commonplace. Customers SHOULD HAVE refused to agree to Amazons conditions of acceptable usage of the Kindle. They should have demanded that Amazon guarantee the availability of purchased books FOR LIFE. They should have demanded that the books be transferrable to other people (so you could sell the book when you finished with it, or give it away to a friend). They should have demanded that functionality be built in to allow loaning a book to a friend.

Is no one bothered by the fact that if libraries were being proposed today, they wouldn't have a chance in hell of legal survival? Imagine if someone proposed opening a digital library online and providing ALL BOOKS, without permission of the publishers, to the public for very minimal cost on a limited time basis. Now add in music, movies, videogames, and other forms of media. Such a site would be buried in litigation, and it would lose each and every single case. We have let this happen. And every single person who purchases a "license" for a work that is restricted in absurd ways lends legitimacy to this new paradigm where nothing is owned, and useless middlemen (publishing companies provide absolutely no useful service any longer and should all go the way of buggy whip manufacturers) control your property.