Amazon Deletes Copies of 1984 and Animal Farm from Kindle Ebook Readers

July 18th, 2009

I don’t understand why anyone would buy a Kindle. Then again, I don’t understand the popularity of many things.

Via: New York Times:

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.

As one of my readers noted, it’s like Barnes & Noble sneaking into our homes in the middle of the night, taking some books that we’ve been reading off our nightstands, and leaving us a check on the coffee table.

You want to know the best part? The juicy, plump, dripping irony?

The author who was the victim of this Big Brotherish plot was none other than George Orwell. And the books were “1984” and “Animal Farm.”

Scary.

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4 Responses to “Amazon Deletes Copies of 1984 and Animal Farm from Kindle Ebook Readers”

  1. FRLVX Says:

    Well ins’t that handy…don’t even have to burn the books anymore. I’ve spent so much time in front of the computer, I look forward to unplugging and reading a ‘real book’. Let them come and try to ‘delete’ my books.

  2. Georgia Washington Says:

    Entertain the thought that the publishers of the famous Orwell titles did this on purpose for two reasons: 1) for the free publicity & 2) to wake us up!

  3. Cloud Says:

    Oh, funny. Rupert Giles is vindicated!

  4. shoe2one Says:

    I do think that this summed it up nicely:

    The juicy, plump, dripping irony!

    Just wait till they start changing ’em.

    And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'”
    – George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 3

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