Amazon Kindle: big brother is watching, and deleting books

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Amazon Kindle, you’re not having a great week. On the heels of my post regarding a class-action lawsuit filed against Amazon, last night every legitimately-purchased copy of 1984 and Animal Farm were remotely deleted from Kindles. Hear that? That would be me, beating my head on my desk.

The publisher of the Orwell titles had a change of heart concerning
electronic availability of the books and so Amazon deleted all
downloaded copies from, quite literally, thousands of Kindles last
night as we all were sound asleep, which I find a little
unnerving. Amazon did immediately credit account refunds at least, but
can you imagine, say, drifting to sleep after reading a chapter, and
waking in the morning to have the entire book deleted and ten bucks added to your credit account? No explanation, no heads-up? Yeah,
no. I might be disappointed-but-accepting if there was some kind of pre-delete explanation from Amazon attached to the whole mess.

The move sealed the decision of books versus Kindle for Gizmodo’s Adam Frucci. He added:

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

Endgaget’s Laura June weighed in on the Kindle issue, too, opening with the first thought that came to my mind upon initially reading the titles involved in the ordeal: If you’re into keeping tabs on irony, check this out.

UPDATE: Amazon spokesperson, Drew Herdener, issued a statement saying:

These books were added to our catalog using our
self-service platform by a third-party who did not have the rights to
the books…When we were notified of this by the rights holder, we
removed the illegal copies from our systems and from customers’
devices, and refunded customers….We are changing our systems so that in
the future we will not remove books from customers’ devices in these



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  • That is outrageous! I thought I would really like a Kindle, but now forget it. I don't want Amazon or anyone else telling me what I can read. Whenever I hear about a book being considered for banning or, now deletion, I go right out a get a copy. I'm right there with you with the head banging!

  • Glad to see I didn't buy all of this shelving for nothing.

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