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My dad had asked me what a Kindle was, and I explained the basics, it's an electronic book reader with nifty features.  It also violates my sense of fairness regarding digital rights.  You can't lend the books out, you can't share them, you can't back them up.  The books are covered under a license to the data.  So you don't actually buy anything, you are just being allowed to use the data.  Word quickly got around of a "kill switch" in Kindle, but Amazon.com swore up and down it was just a precaution, it wouldn't be used.

Bull.  Fucking.  Shit.

On July 17, word got out that several customers who purchased e-books for the Kindle found titles deleted.  The purchase price was refunded to accounts, but without so much as a by your leave, Amazon.com deleted the books.

The books in question?  "Animal Farm" and "1984" by George Orwell.  As Thom Holwerda put it on OS News, "Amazon has used up the world's irony."  One blogger asked if Amazon.com was going to break into people's houses and burn their hard copies, too.

The issue is that the publisher decided it didn't want the books to be electronic.  It could be the publisher just didn't want it (possible), or it could be they had the rights to the print editions but not the electronic versions, so they had no right to release them (plausible).  Either way, everyone who bought those books found them missing in what is turning out to be an epic PR disaster for Amazon.com's fledgling Kindle reader, just like the server shutdowns for Wal-Mart's DRM music or Major League Baseball's deal with M$' Silverlight.  Sam Diaz on ZDNet summed it up thusly:  "Imagine buying a DVD at Wal-Mart and then, a few days later, someone from the Hollywood studio that produced that movie breaks into your house, takes that DVD out of your collection and leaves a refund on the dresser for you - all because that studio suddenly decided that it didn’t want Wal-Mart selling its DVDs."

Fuck the Kindle, if I can't read a book on my Linux box and back it up so I don't lose it, I'll stick with my trusty hard copies.  Besides, they look nice, and I love books anyway.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jul. 19th, 2009 11:32 pm (UTC)
The only thing that would make it more ironic is if they had also deleted everyone's data of "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury.

For my own uses, I don't see a practical side to the Kindle anyway. I'd rather have the physical book. But I can see where it could be handy for college students. But to erase the book a student was going to use to cram for a test in English Lit without any warning is just mean.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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