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Amazon provides yet another reason why you shouldn't buy a kindle and why the old-fashioned paper books are far superior to their e-brethren. From the David Pogue's blog:

This morning, hundreds of Amazon Kindle owners awoke to discover that books by a certain famous author had mysteriously disappeared from their e-book readers. These were books that they had bought and paid for—thought they owned.

But no, apparently the publisher changed its mind about offering an electronic edition, and apparently Amazon, whose business lives and dies by publisher happiness, caved. It electronically deleted all books by this author from people’s Kindles and credited their accounts for the price.

This is ugly for all kinds of reasons. Amazon says that this sort of thing is “rare,” but that it can happen at all is unsettling; we’ve been taught to believe that e-books are, you know, just like books, only better. Already, we’ve learned that they’re not really like books, in that once we’re finished reading them, we can’t resell or even donate them. But now we learn that all sales may not even be final.

For the ultimate in irony, the book in question is George Orwell's 1984.

I will remain very happy with my very large collection of books printed on dead-tree matter, than you very much.


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Jul. 18th, 2009 01:03 pm (UTC)
I've also seen it reported that Amazon hadn't checked to make sure it had the rights to the book before releasing it on Kindle and pulled it when their rights grab was pointed out.

So don't blame the publisher on this one, blame Amazon, blame Amazon.
Jul. 20th, 2009 02:27 pm (UTC)
That's exactly what I'm doing -- whatever happened with the publisher is irrelevant as far as I'm concerned.
Jul. 18th, 2009 01:38 pm (UTC)
Good grief! That's like the publisher coming into your house, snatching the book off your shelf, and flipping you the bird on his way out.
Jul. 20th, 2009 02:27 pm (UTC)
Exactly. One of the comments on the two sites I linked to said almost the exact same thing.
Jul. 18th, 2009 02:40 pm (UTC)
This is actually good news. How? "Hundreds of kindle owners" Either hundreds of people actually bought 1984 because they wanted it (boggles the mind!) or a bunch of students now have an excellent excuse as to why their homework is late.
Jul. 20th, 2009 02:28 pm (UTC)
"I'm sorry, Teach, but Kindle ate my homework."
Jul. 18th, 2009 02:42 pm (UTC)
Add that to the list of reasons why I'll always prefer the dead-tree matter form myself. The visceral experience of curling up with a good book, the feel of the paper, the smell of the ink... it can't be duplicated with technology.

That and I don't really like the thought that with an e-book, someone somewhere is keeping track of what I'm reading and when. Not that I'm paranoid or anything, but it is information that can be tracked.
Jul. 18th, 2009 05:26 pm (UTC)
I don't really like the thought that with an e-book, someone somewhere is keeping track of what I'm reading and when.

That's indeed eyebrow-raising. If the "book" were on my computer rather than on a Kindle, and Amazon went onto my hard drive and erased it, I'd be livid.
Jul. 20th, 2009 02:30 pm (UTC)
Like I said, the whole "delete at will" is just another reason that I don't like Kindle or e-books. I'm with you completely on the visceral experience.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 20th, 2009 02:28 pm (UTC)
Re: chocolate rations are up
Sometimes, the truth is just so mind-boggling that there's no way to satirize it.
Jul. 19th, 2009 05:40 pm (UTC)
Now, now. Each system has its advantages and disadvantages. Reading on my iTouch, for example, allows me to carry hundreds of books in a couple of ounces, which is good for my fibromyalgia; it also gives me instant, readable copies of the classics with nothing fancier than wireless access.

The Kindle, admittedly, is a DRM-soaked piece of corporate cock-sucking shite.


I did hear the "publisher didn't own the rights" version of the story. The irony is not lost on me, but I do think the capability of the (Kindle-specific, as far as I know) technology is the chilling part, not the specific incident.
Jul. 20th, 2009 02:35 pm (UTC)
It's the technology that allows Amazon to rescind a purchase and remotely delete it from the Kindle that I find most disconcerting -- I don't care who was at fault over selling an authorized version of 1984. I have my own personal reasons for preferring the old-fashioned variety of books (I understand that there are plenty of reasons -- such as yours -- to prefer electronic versions), and Amazon's actions here just make me that much more leery of ever buying into anything like the Kindle.
Jul. 20th, 2009 02:44 pm (UTC)
We're more or less agreeing on this point. I was just saying that, as far as I knew, Kindle's Whysper (sp?) system is the only one that allows this to happen. It's that specific aspect of the technology, not ebooks themselves, that are the problem.

I like print books too, and I do think they'll "always" (i.e., for the life of our culture) be around. VHS and DVD didn't kill movie theaters; they just shifted user patterns. That's what I'm expecting will happen with ebooks.
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