Despite my less than glowing review of the DX, I want to
state up front that I really am a fan of Amazon’s e-book reader. The idea is
great and the execution is generally pretty good, even if the price is still entirely
But lately when it comes to Kindle service, the e-tailer has
seemed like the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. Customers who had the Kindle
2 found that the case they paid an extra $30 for was cracking their device –
and Amazon was charging $200 to repair them. (It has since dropped that
Now, the company has remotely deleted every legitimately
purchased copy of “1984” and “Animal Farm”. The New York Times reports the
publisher of those books changed its mind about offering an electronic edition
of the classics and Amazon capitulated to those whims.
It’s akin to a Waldenbooks store manager breaking into your
house and taking back the copy of the last “Harry Potter” book because a publisher
said so. Never mind that the e-books were paid for.
David Pogue rightly points out that Kindle sales are apparently
not final, which gives fence sitters yet another reason to stick with the bound
Sure Amazon may reverse itself in a few days and return the
books to owners or offer some sort of additional compensation beyond the refund
it supplied people who bought the book (though there’s no guarantee it will do
The message, though, is clear: You, as the customer, are
secondary to its partners. Thanks, Amazon. Thanks a lot.
UPDATE: Word is trickling down that Amazon made the move because the publisher that uploaded the books using a self-service platform did not have the publishing rights to them. That said, it vowed it would not repeat this should the situation present itself in the future. So the reason behind the action makes a bit more sense now — but the action itself is no more correct than it was before the explanation.