From the Wall Street Journal dated July 17th:
On Thursday, some Amazon.com customers discovered that e-books they had bought by George Orwell had disappeared from their Kindle e-readers.
It wasn’t a scene from Orwell’s dystopian classic, “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” The customers reported on Amazon’s discussion boards that Amazon refunded them the cost of that book as well “Animal Farm,” and used its “Whispernet” wireless access to their Kindles to wipe away the e-books. Some were surprised and upset, to put it mildly.
Amazon, in all of it’s infinite wisdom, decided to remotely delete an ebook from reader’s Kindle devices because it wasn’t supposed to be sold as an Kindle ebook in the first place.
Why does this not come as a surprise to me? Because it doesn’t. Let me tell you something, I had downloaded the Kindle app for the iPhone when it was first released. Was excited thinking that I could utilize Amazon’s $9.99 pricing for hardcovers that I might possibly want to read but then I learned that I couldn’t download the ebooks as back ups.
You see, if you don’t own a Kindle device, your ebooks are stuck on your iPhone (and I’m not addressing those who have jailbroken iPhones.) As another reader told me on Twitter: You don’t own Kindle ebooks. As a reader, you are only paying for the privilege to read these ebooks. He seemed, as a Kindle user, happy with that. I wasn’t and I quit purchasing Kindle ebooks from then on.
So far it seems as if people don’t know jack shit about ebooks in how to sell them, render them and market them. No. As ebook readers, we have to mine the field that seems to be bobby-trapped with DRM, geo restrictions and copyright issues. Personally, it’s dissatisfying to see ebooks still in the fucking dark ages.
I love ebooks but it gets harder and harder to convince everyone else to embrace the format when you have a large company like Amazon pulling a big brother moment with deleting ebooks. Sigh. At this point, I just hope as an early adopter I don’t get screwed over.
All Amazon really needed to have done was made the ebook unavailable in it’s catalog. Usually if the mistake lies with the company, the consumer gets to keep the goods, no? but not in this case. Strange that. Wonder what this whole controversy will do for Amazon’s Kindle sales?