Last July 18, the Web was abuzz with the news that Amazon has deleted George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm from its Kindle e-book store, and apparently also remotely deleted them from the Kindle devices of readers who purchased them.
The move angered many consumers and generated lots of criticisms despite the refunds that Amazon gave to those buyers.
“I never imagined that Amazon actually had the right, the authority or even the ability to delete something that I had already purchased”, Charles Slater, an executive with a sheet-music retailer in Philadelphia, who bought the digital edition of “1984” for 99 cents last month said.
The digital eBook bought for the Kindle devices are sent from Amazon via wireless networks – apparently, the company can also use that to make the eBooks vanish.
Yesterday, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos apologized for the remote-deletion of the two eBooks. In a post on Amazon’s Kindle Community forum, he wrote:
This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our “solution” to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we’ve received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.
Amazon has received blistering criticism for the move, which removed purchased files from Kindles while refunding the purchase price to a customer’s account. The books in question were offered for sale by an Amazon publishing partner that did not have the rights to distribute them in the United States.
“Stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles” – very well said Mr. Bezos. 🙂