Great news: Amazon remotely deleting books from users’ Kindles

posted at 4:38 pm on July 18, 2009 by Allahpundit

Most of you will have already read about this at InstaGlenn or elsewhere but I want to use our little platform here to help make the publicity as painful as possible so that they’ll never do it again. I was set to splurge on the DX for my mom’s birthday; now I’m leaning towards Broadway tickets. If there’s a more sensational example in recent years of a company with an up-and-coming product shooting itself in the foot, I’d like to know what it is.

The books that ended up being flushed down the memory hole by Big Brother Bezos, incidentally? “Animal Farm” and “1984.”

An Amazon spokesman, Drew Herdener, said in an e-mail message that the books were added to the Kindle store by a company that did not have rights to them, using a self-service function. “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,” he said.

Amazon effectively acknowledged that the deletions were a bad idea. “We are changing our systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers’ devices in these circumstances,” Mr. Herdener said…

Justin Gawronski, a 17-year-old from the Detroit area, was reading “1984” on his Kindle for a summer assignment and lost all his notes and annotations when the file vanished. “They didn’t just take a book back, they stole my work,” he said.

Property law experts are using this as an object lesson on the difference between ownership rights and digital licenses, but how relevant is that in this case really? Quote:

Amazon’s published terms of service agreement for the Kindle does not appear to give the company the right to delete purchases after they have been made. It says Amazon grants customers the right to keep a “permanent copy of the applicable digital content.”

The counterargument, per Instapundit’s wife, is that Amazon’s actually protecting property rights by yanking stuff that violates copyright out of people’s hands. Technically true, but commercial law has traditionally let purchasers of stolen goods keep them so long as they made the purchase in “good faith.” Click here and scroll down for a legal explanation of the term or see, e.g., sections 1-201(9) and 2-403 of the Uniform Commercial Code. If the holder of the Orwell copyright wants justice, by all means let him sue Amazon and the unlicensed publisher of the digital books for damages. That’s the surest way to get Bezos and company to more closely police the copyright status of books being sold in their Kindle store. Why they’re not already doing that is frankly unfathomable to me, but doubly unfathomable is them reaching into your virtual bookshelf to forcibly repurchase a book you’ve already bought. Exit question: Is this a dealbreaker for would-be Kindle purchasers?

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Are you a chiropractor?

whitetop on July 18, 2009 at 8:58 PM

No, an interior designer, but I have seen my fair share of chiropractors. Maybe I picked up on their lingo a little too much:)

sherry on July 18, 2009 at 9:14 PM

JohnTant on July 18, 2009 at 8:55 PM

Well I was desperate one time and took notes on my iPhone….. Although it won’t replace good old fashioned pen and paper anytime soon.

Rightwingguy on July 18, 2009 at 9:22 PM

I loved my Kindle 2(RIP). Even the optional leather cover couldn’t save it from a 6 and 7 year old. I love *real books too, but I’ll get another Kindle again when I can swing it, I liked carrying around that many books effortlessly without cluttering up the house with them.

But yeah, what happened with those books being pulled sucks.

DrAllecon on July 18, 2009 at 9:47 PM

+ 7 Trillion

bluelightbrigade on July 18, 2009 at 10:04 PM

Can Amazon make the Stimulus bill disappear?

ICBM on July 18, 2009 at 4:45 PM

+ 7 Trillion

bluelightbrigade on July 18, 2009 at 10:05 PM

Exit question: Is this a dealbreaker for would-be Kindle purchasers?

As a person who already doesn’t trust computers or most electronics, you’d better believe it.

4shoes on July 18, 2009 at 10:14 PM

It’s downright Orwellian that this happened to an Orwell book. Kindle should just say “what book?” to be really consistent.

AP… no, it’s not a deal breaker. Amazon will make it right with their customers. My wife and I sell stuff through Amazon and, trust me, they’re ALL ABOUT making money.

Mojave Mark on July 18, 2009 at 11:18 PM

I will always read in Printed Materials, so that way-when I do want to reread it again I can just go to my book shelf and pull it out.

hawkman on July 18, 2009 at 11:42 PM

Can Amazon make the Stimulus bill disappear?

ICBM on July 18, 2009 at 4:45 PM


It wouldn’t be missed. Nobody ever read it.

ItsForTheChildren on July 18, 2009 at 11:47 PM

As a person who already doesn’t trust computers or most electronics, you’d better believe it.

4shoes on July 18, 2009 at 10:14 PM

Yeah, me too. I’m pretty sure my microwave is plotting with the toaster to burn my bagels…..damn machines.

Oldnuke on July 18, 2009 at 11:53 PM

Glad I stuck with the paper versions, as all real conservatives do.

federale86 on July 19, 2009 at 12:02 AM

I think the Kindle is a big fat waste of money unless students carry their text books on it which would be fine but anyone that has super-important ‘notes and annotations’ better back them up religiously or print them out religiously if they don’t want to risk losing all their work. That’s just plain old common sense these days.

Otherwise, who reads more than one book at a time, and who wants to carry around a big plastic battery operated gizmo that resembles an etcho-sketch that cost more than 30 books combined, and is sensitive and subject to all kinds and types of environmental damages, to read a book off of?

Seems extraordinarily silly to me when you can pick up any book you want for a fraction of the cost and when you’re done you can hand it off to anyone you chose, or donate it, so they can enjoy it too.

SilverStar830 on July 19, 2009 at 12:12 AM

I like the newspaper function of the kindle. I may still pick one up later this year.

Chubbs65 on July 19, 2009 at 12:27 AM

Amazon earned a pair of black eyes over this theft.
I’ve owned a Kindle for 5 months, have nothing but good vibes from it. Just goes to demonstrate, yet again,
always take regular backups to your home computer.

richardb on July 19, 2009 at 1:12 AM

Exit question: Is this a dealbreaker for would-be Kindle purchasers?

Yes — and I work in IT, so am not frightened of technology, and was genuinely on the fence about it. No more. In a way, I’m grateful — I love my books, and was jittery about changing something so fundamental to my being. Now I won’t.

loneloc on July 19, 2009 at 1:36 AM

I’m tactile and love the feel and smell of good old fashioned paper books. However, I also read voraciously so the Kindle appeals to me for convenience sake. The only thing stopping me is the price…that’s a lot of dough for me.

What Amazon did is utterly ridiculous and deplorable. BUT, it wouldn’t stop me from buying a Kindle when I can swing it. Because I’m fairly certain they will make damn sure that it doesn’t happen again.

Plus, situations like this do pop up from time to time with all this new-fangled digital and internet stuff (series of tubes!) I remember when ebay used to pull items (NON counterfeit ones) for sale constantly due to alleged Copyright infringement, neglecting to understand the First Sale Doctrine.

Lori_Z on July 19, 2009 at 1:39 AM

Patent and copyright are in shambles, thanks to corporate slime and Congress. These are things the Framers of the Constitution struggled over, and they were not dummies.

Wherever you come down on this issue, remember this. Amazon revealed something very important. They can promise all they want to never do it again, but they have the power to do it, any time they want to.

I will never buy a Kindle.

Feedie on July 19, 2009 at 2:09 AM

I have not tried the Kindle, In my state I can go online and order any book in my library system and have it sent to my home library. Also my library has a location where they sell donated books and use the money for their programs. Add in Goodwill, second hand books stores and discounts from Borders and I have all the reading matter I need. After I read the book, if I don’t want to keep it, I can donate it to my library or Goodwill

jeannie on July 19, 2009 at 5:22 AM

I think its not too much to ask that if you buy a book, you get the hardcopy AND the digital version.

Cheesecakecrush on July 19, 2009 at 7:10 AM

There are software companies who’ve attempted to remove or disable (presumably illegal) copies of their products when users attempt to register them online with hacked serials or in some cases, access their sites for upgrades/patches.

You can imagine how well that went over with the unsuspecting customer who mistyped some 16-digit serial, turning it into a hacked number.

I’ll be sticking with paper for this lifetime.
Reading a blog or a news story is one thing, but there’s something about running my finger over a plastic screen for the length of a novel that just doesn’t do it for me.

sanguine4 on July 19, 2009 at 8:59 AM

Count me in as another potential Kindle customer who will now rethink such a purchase. Color me old-fashioned, but I like to own the items I purchase.

Ryan Garns on July 18, 2009 at 4:42 PM

I recomend the CYbook. I’m an electronic book fan (I now read mainly on my computer now), but wouldn’t buy a Kindle; because they keep the control of your device, what you can put on it etc. From what I hear, the Sony book is better too.

Hope on July 19, 2009 at 9:00 AM

Project Guttenberg animal farm

What Guttenberg carries for Orwell for free.

Dr Evil on July 19, 2009 at 9:03 AM

progressoverpeace on July 18, 2009 at 5:13 PM

It hadn’t occurred to me that statistics might be kept. It seems Amazon could program access to customers’ notes, as well.

Kralizec on July 19, 2009 at 9:44 AM

I love having my Kindle since I read incessantly, especially when I travel, and hate carrying around a lot of books. However, I only purchase ebooks from Amazon every now and then. There are too many other sites where books are less expensive or where classics are free. Also, you can slip a card into the Kindle and back up the books onto it.

serpentineshel on July 19, 2009 at 9:55 AM

DX for my mom’s birthday; now I’m leaning towards Broadway tickets.

This is the most disturbing thing about this post. Showtunes, or … showtunes?

My God man. How about a Glock and some range time? Or, a new leather bound Bible? Maybe a George Straight CD collection.

Show some respect for your Momma.

faraway on July 19, 2009 at 10:02 AM

Otherwise, who reads more than one book at a time, and who wants to carry around a big plastic battery operated gizmo that resembles an etcho-sketch that cost more than 30 books combined, and is sensitive and subject to all kinds and types of environmental damages, to read a book off of?

SilverStar830

I read many books at one time. I’ve got six on my nightstand right now:
* “The 5000 Year Leap”
* Beck’s “Common Sense”
* Levin’s “Liberty and Tyranny”
* Dobson “Bringing Up BOys”
* Brigitte Gabriel “They Must Be Stopped”
* Red Sox – A Retrospective of Boston Baseball”

cannonball on July 19, 2009 at 10:15 AM

It was just a coincidence that those two books were selected.

Johan Klaus on July 19, 2009 at 10:29 AM

In George Orwell’s “1984,” government censors erase all traces of news articles embarrassing to Big Brother by sending them down an incineration chute called the “memory hole.”

Talk about life imitating art. I was thinking of picking up one of these Kindles but now that I know that Big Brother Bezos will monitor and erase any “unauthorized” books, I think I shall stick to my paper books and audio books.

mizflame98 on July 19, 2009 at 10:30 AM

Exit question: Is this a dealbreaker for would-be Kindle purchasers?

Oh, you betcha. I was about to treat myself to one, but I think I’ll go with the Sony instead.

flipflop on July 19, 2009 at 10:35 AM

Ok. Look. As a computer god professionally I wrangle with the ethics of this crap on a daily basis. Strangely – or perhaps not so strangely – I resist buying things like Kindles and other technological advances precisely BECAUSE I know how it can be used to track your every move and purchase. I also know that anyone like me can hack pretty much any computer device and wireless is child’s play simple if you are bored enough and curious enough OR unethical.

We step into a public bathroom and count on common decency to protect our privacy. The digital world works on very much the same level of trust, which is to say you should have none, because people are generally rotten squids in this day and age and not to be trusted.

Your phone is tracking you. Your laptop is not really secure. Your neighbor is probably leeching off your DSL. If you knew all the ways your privacy was violated on an hourly basis you would not be here reading this post, you would be curled up in the fetal position somewere in the woods thinking you are invisible until my husband flies over with heat sensing radar and reads the tattoo on your arm noting the gps co-ordinates where he saw you in a log that goes into a database.

So. What do you do? Well you certainly don’t surf the web and comment on sites like this if you want to stay invisible digitally for a start, so the fact that you are here commenting tells me you either don’t know or don’t care about your own personal digital fortress. If – after reading my post – you are still wiling to comment on a website online anywhere, then you may as well go out and buy a Kindle 2 – I don’t like the DX. Too big. The price just dropped $60 before this scandal. I got one as a gift before the price drop. I never thought I would use it, but my husband bought it for me for Mother’s Day and I loved it so much I bought him one for Father’s Day. We can share books we buy. So now he knows what I read and that it’s not all romance novels and that I am actually more of a crazed right wing radical than he ever suspected and I know that his Howard Stern addiction is at least as bad but Too Fat To Fish is one funny f’ing book. And the US Govt probably has us on both the pervert watch list and right wing radical watch list and I don’t care.

The copyright thing – as a published author myself – I agree with. Pirated software can be seized. Pirated books SHOULD be returned. In a lot of cases the buyer is just SOL. At least in this case they got their money back.

I have a Treo and thought that was adequate for eBooks, but the Kindle is So much better. I just wish it had back lighting. Then it would be perfect.

Features I love:

Tex-to-speech – almost everything they sell the Kindle can read outloud to you – through your car stereo. I commute 4 hours a day. It’s a very nice feature. It’s not Audible, but still awesome.

You can DL you Audble books to it and play them through the car stereo. ’nuff said there.

If you are listening to an interview on talk radio or NPR and a book sounds interesting, you can buy it or just get a sample read to see if you want it within 2 minutes. Almost every book is available.

If you are the reading equivalent of garage band afficianado – alternative authors are all over the place for you on Kindle. It is changing the way writers write and the way authors get published. the fact that it does more to protect your right to your work is a plus AS FAR AS I’m concerned. You can’t get my work on Kindle, btw. Which depresses me a little. Perhaps someday.

It’s making college texts cheeper, more accessible and easier to lug around campus.

It makes getting print papers easier – I get Investors Business Daily and may switch my WSJ subscription over because the print arrives in the mail and the day is over by the time I get today’s edition. I still like the actual paper. Sue me.

The book clutter in my home is gone. I used to have a room full of books and now it’s pared down to two reasonably sized book shelves with only signed copies and first editions and a few dogeared keepers I will never part with – and a “written all over” copy of Liberty and Tyranny – some books you need in print. I’d already bought the eBook for the Treo when I realized as I was reading it that I needed to keel notes. The Kindle has all kinds of notes features and easier to search for than post-its after you’ve made them.

Buy one. If you love to read, you need a Kindle.

BrideOfRove on July 19, 2009 at 10:47 AM

Is this a deal breaker? — Definitely.

If I didn’t have an iPhone (with both Kindle and Stanza on it to read eBooks), I would have bought a Kindle for myself. In fact, I was going to buy my oldest daughter, a book nut, a Kindle for Christmas but that plan has just changed. I hate the idea of a *ANYONE* reaching into my privacy and infringing. I don’t care what the legal ramifications of my purchase(s) are/were, they should *NEVER* have the ability to withdraw the purchase from me. The proper method would be to notify all customers of the “problem” and inform them of Amazon’s solution, which would be for them to offer to replace the digital copy or refund the money at the customer’s discretion and timetable. Obviously, the Kindle has more functionality than just the ability to read an eBook, so why would they remove unique data (as the example of the young man who had his notes destroyed/removed…which means he gets to report to his teacher that “Amazon ate my homework”…heheh)?

From now on, I’m only buying my eBooks through Stanza and I’ll just buy my daughter an iPod Touch this Christmas and get her Stanza as well. This is the beauty of capitalism and choice, the mistakes lead to the loss/penalty of funds for the offending company and the success of the opposition.

Geministorm on July 19, 2009 at 11:14 AM

I’m a little confused on the legality issue. Are you all saying that if I buy a stolen car, even though I don’t know it’s hot, and the police track it down to my house – I can keep the car? Do we actually have a Federal law on the books that makes it ok to steal by proxy? Interesting.

BrideOfRove on July 19, 2009 at 11:21 AM

Well, there’s one service I won’t be using.

Spiritk9 on July 19, 2009 at 11:36 AM

- I resist buying things like Kindles and other technological advances precisely BECAUSE I know how it can be used to track your every move and purchase. I also know that anyone like me can hack pretty much any computer device and wireless is child’s play simple if you are bored enough and curious enough OR unethical.

We step into a public bathroom and count on common decency to protect our privacy. The digital world works on very much the same level of trust, which is to say you should have none, because people are generally rotten squids in this day and age and not to be trusted.

Your phone is tracking you. Your laptop is not really secure. Your neighbor is probably leeching off your DSL. If you knew all the ways your privacy was violated on an hourly basis you would not be here reading this post, you would be curled up in the fetal position somewere in the woods thinking you are invisible until my husband flies over with heat sensing radar and reads the tattoo on your arm noting the gps co-ordinates where he saw you in a log that goes into a database.

Part of my job has always involved network security, sometimes for government agencies, sometimes just for the company I work for.

For the most part, while it is “possible” to track every individual’s whereabouts through their electronic devices that have GPS, phone signals, Bluetooth, etc. the reality is that there is no government entity big enough to or with enough time to manage this data. If any entity wanted to find a specific individual, it would take time. Once found, if they wanted to track their activities, this would also take not only time, and agreements with other entities (phone companies, other agencies, etc.) but most importantly, resources. Committing man-hours, equipment and processing time to such an endeavor is not very worthwhile in most cases. Always in the back of the minds of the security investigator’s/researchers’ mind is the cost vs. reward ratio, is the target worth the effort?

In the end, I can use an alternative OS (linux in my case), use a server with a strong firewall, use proxy services to hide the origination of my packet stream on the internet, use a MAC filter on my wireless (which I agree, is the worst security headache) in addition to security keys and passwords, and essentially make my footprint so small that no agency would even take the time to look in my direction. Behind every security investigation, no matter how refined the filters and triggers, a human makes the decisions how who and what to chase. Unless you are causing someone a problem (attempting to infiltrate, causing a DoS, stealing resources, etc.) no one is going to look twice at you because you just aren’t worth it. Most ISPs are in a constant battle with ‘kids’ from other countries spamming their customers’ networks looking for vulnerabilities and don’t even have time to do more than the most cursory of evaluations of their customers’ traffic, let alone police them to any degree beyond possibly limiting their bandwidth usage…

Basically I saying that its not (yet?) quite as Orwellian as you make it seem.

Geministorm on July 19, 2009 at 11:37 AM

Geministorm on July 19, 2009 at 11:37 AM

I agree and disagree. I agree that your only security is in not drawing attention to yourself. I disagree that that is not Orwellian. The “Unless you are causing someone a problem” part is the place where freedom get’s stomped and even before technology made it harder to slide under the radar that was true. MY point is – there is no point in fearing it because privacy is an illusion that never really existed anyway so buy the damned Kindle if you want one and stop making a Federal case out of this one incident being the death of Amazon. Orwellian would be if Amazon said nothing and reserved the right to do this sort of thing at will. I prefer a company that learns from its mistakes and is honest. My mother worked for Sony. You think they don’t and won’t screw up? Think again.

We lost the right to privacy a long time ago.

Unless you are causing someone a problem (attempting to infiltrate, causing a DoS, stealing resources, etc.) no one is going to look twice at you because you just aren’t worth it.

Now there is the stuff of Science Fiction in today’s world.

You use Linux? What flavor? Even those OS’s are based on the honor system. They CAN be hacked but it would be like sticking your hand into a hornets nest because geeks sophisticated enough to enjoy using Linux can hunt you back – and they will. It’s not that its any safer than Windows, it’s that it’s a suicide mission for the true anarchists online.

BrideOfRove on July 19, 2009 at 12:24 PM

Deal-breaker? No.

Data point to consider when picking an e-book device? Yes.

Thanks to this stupidity, the Sony and Bookeen readers will get a closer look.

Bezos botched this one rather badly, but it’s fixable – Amazon needs to make the right moves – stronger and clearer customer-can/customer-can’t statement, etc..

Mew

acat on July 19, 2009 at 12:30 PM

When I say “You” I don’t mean you. I re-read that last post and it sounded like I was talking about you directly. I meant the – post topic “You” as a generality.

Peace.

BrideOfRove on July 19, 2009 at 12:34 PM

Note the weasel word:

we will not remove books from customers’ devices in these circumstances

What they’re saying is that in other circumstances they’ll still do this.

When I purchase something, I assume that it is mine to do with it what I will and whoever sold it to me no longer has control.( kinda sorta the definition of ownership).

Apparently that doesn’t apply to Amazon.

They have F**ked up big time. I am a heavy book reader and have been thinking about the convenience and space saving this device might have saved me.

NO MORE.

DO YOU HEAR ME (AND MANY OTHERS I WOULD GUESS) AMAZON?

jcw46 on July 19, 2009 at 12:37 PM

Glad I stuck with the paper versions, as all real conservatives do.

federale86 on July 19, 2009 at 12:02 AM

Real conservatives don’t make arbitrary rules for “real conservatives.”

Also: While I’m as creeped out as anybody else by Amazon’s behavior here, I was not aware that using a Kindle meant forswearing paper altogether. Did you know you can go see a movie in a theater and then go right home and watch a movie on DVD? Did you know the two aren’t contradictory whatsoever?

Jim Treacher on July 19, 2009 at 12:46 PM

The smarter thing to have done would have been to have paid the company that does own the rights whatever royalties fees they were going to pay to the company that uploaded the books without permission—compulsory licensing is not unknown in US copyright law. If additional damages were to be sought beyond this royalty payment, the copyright holder could extract them from the infringer, not from Amazon or its users, who acted in good faith.

hicsuget on July 19, 2009 at 1:04 PM

Strange, my posts aren’t posting…and then there’s one that pastes two posts together…wth?

Geministorm on July 19, 2009 at 1:06 PM

Otherwise, who reads more than one book at a time…

SilverStar830 on July 19, 2009 at 12:12 AM

Me. I have a book on the nightstand for my night reading. A book in the car to read when I am waiting to pick up the spouse. A book on my desk to read while I am waiting during slow internet times. A book on the coffee table to read while I am “watching” a show the spouse has chosen. And a book in my backpack that I carry with me in case I have to wait at a doctor’s office or some such.

But I still don’t want a Kindle.

myrenovations on July 19, 2009 at 1:55 PM

In “The Tipping Point” Malcolm Gladwell explains how folks who buy new products are often “mavens” (people who, as social leaders, set trends). Accordingly, this could be a BIG mistake by Amazon.

In the epilogue in the paperback edition he tells of how Lexus went overboard during their first recall to make their customers happy. What could have been a PR disaster was, instead, a non-event.

Amazon needs to think of a way to emulate that.

Pythagoras on July 19, 2009 at 2:03 PM

Too many other options to waste my time on Amazon. I do like their grocery website, however – stores around here keep dropping stuff I like.

Anyway, many moons ago I used to use a palm IIIc as an eBook. Not like the modern ones, but not bad either. PDAs, tablets, etc… and none of them single-purpose consumer devices that cost too much for what they do.

Merovign on July 19, 2009 at 2:07 PM

Otherwise, who reads more than one book at a time…

SilverStar830 on July 19, 2009 at 12:12 AM

Me. I’m currently reading 4 books, 3 for reading enjoyment, one for work/professional. Only the technical book is paper, the others are all on my iPhone, which I’m reading with Stanza. I got rid of my 46″ DLP TV a few months ago, since then reading books has become more of an obsession than any time since I graduated. I used to have more books than I could shelf (even after I would go out and buy more 8′x4′ book cases), and I would find that I had accumulated box upon box of books that weigh a ton. Moving those books out of the way to reach the Christmas paraphenalia this last year is what convinced me to finally go digital. Right now I’ve got 157 books downloaded and able to be read at my leisure. When I’m sitting in an airport, on the plane, in a hotel room, at a restaurant if I’m alone, late at night when the kids and wife are asleep but I’m not, when I’m in the “library” (a guy’s favorite reading place), etc. Having the book(s) you’re reading handy whenever you want to read…I have to say that eBooks are even more awesome than Pandora/mp3s for me.

Geministorm on July 19, 2009 at 3:30 PM

Is this a dealbreaker for would-be Kindle purchasers?

The deal-breaker for me is an electronic book. Paper for me, thanks.

Grafted on July 19, 2009 at 3:39 PM

Geministorm on July 19, 2009 at 3:30 PM

Safari

Worth every dime.

BrideOfRove on July 19, 2009 at 4:48 PM

Exit question: Is this a dealbreaker for would-be Kindle purchasers?

What would-be Kindle purchasers?

Aronne on July 19, 2009 at 5:29 PM

ITS ALL GEORGE BUSH’S FAULT, HIM AND HIS EVIL VICE PRESIDENT!!

WAKE UP PEOPLE, LOOK AT THE TITLES OF THE BOOKS???
HAVE YOU EVER READ 1984???
SOMEONE DOESNT WANT THESE BOOKS SOLD AT ALL, AND CERTAINLY NOT IN A ELECTRNIC MEDIA FORMAT.
GO DOWN TO THE BOOK STORE AND BUY THESE BOOKS AND READ THEM, THEN LOOK AT THE WAY OUR GREAT COUNTRY IS HEADED

Conservativesailor on July 19, 2009 at 6:30 PM

Wherever you come down on this issue, remember this. Amazon revealed something very important. They can promise all they want to never do it again, but they have the power to do it, any time they want to.… Feedie on July 19, 2009 at 2:09 AM

Bullseye!

Reminds me of “Prodigy”‘s heavy handed practices back in the day. How did that venture turn out for IBM/Sears?

As for Amazon they’d better do some bowing and scraping to the offended customers – starting with a gift certificate for a years worth of FREE top-shelf book downloads! Also, a public lynching of the exec(bigbrother) that ordered the snatch would be an enjoyable youtube production… Last, an ironclad/boilerplate legal committment to never play that “memory hole” trick again would be in order!

“Let’s Roll”

On Watch on July 19, 2009 at 8:08 PM

Deal breaker? Absolutely.

skydaddy on July 19, 2009 at 10:37 PM

BrideOfRove on July 19, 2009 at 10:47 AM

Very informative and amusing!

4shoes on July 19, 2009 at 10:41 PM

I had a great comment, but Amazon took it.

profitsbeard on July 20, 2009 at 12:11 AM

I bagged myself a Sony 505 ereader in the Play.com sale in the UK, and it is fantastic.

For those of you who are still skeptical about ereaders, they are much better than you might imagine. For one thing, the screen is not a standard LCD display – they have worked on the technology to make it easy on the eye. The Sony screen is more like an etch-a-sketch display than a regular monitor screen.

It is also surprisingly easy to get used to the ereader format. You just don’t notice it after a while, as if you are using a book.

There are some gripes: it can read PDF documents so I’ve uploaded all my music software manuals onto it (Cubase 5, Native Instruments Komplete 5 etc.), but the small display struggles with making them readable. You can zoom in, but it rearranges the format and you sometimes lose images when you do. So PDF is not perfect.

Would I buy a Kindle after their deletion strategy? Of course. The whole point is that the books you buy are all essentially dependent on DRM, and DRM can be made obselete very quickly. Its quite possible the books you download today will not be readable in a few years because the DRM format will have changed. Its a risk you take with anything digital.

To be fair, books do decay and get grotty too if you don’t look after them. And if you read them a lot they do get worn. Digital doesn’t – the format just winks out of existence.

Go and get one if you don’t have one already. It’s renewed my love for reading. Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment beckons as I write. Just don’t buy anything important on digital format – keep your essential documents on paper.

dcpolwarth on July 20, 2009 at 3:46 AM

Wherever you come down on this issue, remember this. Amazon revealed something very important. They can promise all they want to never do it again, but they have the power to do it, any time they want to

Feedie on July 19, 2009 at 2:09 AM

I am not saying they can, but what if –

they could pull a part of a text anytime?

Who would miss small deletions, subtle changes in nuance, or progressive re writes?

This is happening in Bible translation, and is little publicized, as Bible publishing houses substitute words for more ‘meaningful’ words unbeknownst in some cases to the readers

Seems to me we are approaching a point where the purchase of print may become no guarantee of the content

entagor on July 20, 2009 at 8:19 AM

This technological dinosaur was unaware of the existence of such a thing. Seems like a great idea, but not under these conditions. No thanks.

SKYFOX on July 20, 2009 at 8:34 AM

Imagine for a moment, if you will, Amazon having sent the book police around to round up any hard-back copies that they might have sold in violation of copyright, had this instead involved paper copies!

It just would not have happened.

Oh, they might have sent out letters requesting, perhaps even “demanding” their return. But more likely, they would have worked out some formula for damages to the copyright owner based on copies improperly sold — depending, of course, on how persistently the copyright owner persued the matter.

But in this case, Amazon over-reacted because . . . well, they could.

I sense they felt compelled to follow completely through once the focus was on them. And even though they no doubt had thought it through — in the sense that they knew it was trouble — they still acted.

They had to have been focused so exclusively on avoiding any possibility of a further economic comeback by the copyright owner, that they acted even though they may have only marginally underestimated the public relations disaster it would cause them. Their choice came down to their own economic protection. And they felt justified because they convinced themselves they were legally in the right. And that overrode all else.

Reminded me a little bit of another Orwellian tale, a short story that I hadn’t read in years . . . “Shooting An Elephant.”

Thanks for the general link to the Project Gutenberg Australia, Dr Evil on July 19, 2009 at 9:03 AM.

Anyone can pick up the link to the short story there.

Trochilus on July 20, 2009 at 9:08 AM

entagor on July 20, 2009 at 8:19 AM

You said it better, but I’ll spout off too.

I’m also concerned about the apparent ability to edit, without your knowledge, books that you’ve bought. Sure, it would be nice to be able to fix typos, but who’s to say that they wouldn’t remove an “offensive” paragraph or line of dialog from a classic novel?

Printed books provide us with a record of who we were, where we came from, what we’ve gained and what we’ve lost. We can’t afford to loose that. This is a bit melodramatic, but I tend to get that way over our society’s lack of appreciation for history.

I happen to have all 10 volumes of the 1927 edition of The Standard History of the World, subtitled “A narrative of political events and a record of civilization from the earliest historical period to the present, embracing a general survey of human progress and achievement, civil government, religion, literature, science and art.” It concludes with formation of the League of Nations. You have to know that has things in it that some would wish to edit today.

Straying a bit from the topic, what calculators did to math education, search engines have done to history.

Bludgeon on July 20, 2009 at 10:12 AM

Electronic Book Burning. (EBB)

PappaMac on July 20, 2009 at 10:49 AM

I think that the two titles were quite ironic. I back all my books up onto a separate SD card, especially my notes. As long as I get a reasonable explanation (and this was one) and a refund, I’d consider this one a “things happen” issue and let it go. (I would have probably been less nice if I had been the kid working on an assignment… my son uses my Kindle for the same thing.) If it continues to happen, then we have a problem. Currently, I have over 600 titles over the last 2 years on my Kindle. I’ve gotten great customer service and so far I’m pretty happy. So I guess, we’ll see what happens.

2nd Ammendment Mother on July 20, 2009 at 11:03 AM

and just as a sidenote:

If it’s a really important book, I’m going to buy a hard copy and preserve anyway. Otherwise, there is just a lot of stuff I read for fun and will never read again.

2nd Ammendment Mother on July 20, 2009 at 11:05 AM

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