Practical Technology

for practical people.

Think you own your Kindle books?


During the night of July 16th, while Amazon Kindle owners slept, Amazon was quietly deleting their copies of George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm. Most people who are upset about this were upset and surprised that Amazon would unilaterally delete their books. They’re missing the real points.

Whether Amazon had the right to do this is an argument for another day. There is no question that they badly mishandled it. At the very least, Amazon should have told their buyers that it had turned out they hadn’t the rights to sell e-copies of those books and that they were going to need to remove them. That appears to be what Amazon will do in the future, or that Amazon will let people who bought copies in good faith keep them while not selling any more copies in the future.

Fine, but none of that touches on the real problems. Amazon is telling you that you will never own any book you buy for your Kindle. This is the old DRM (digital rights management) trap that won’t let you make back-ups of your DVDs snaring yet another media’s users.

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