Kindle Users Up In Arms After Amazon Remotely Deletes Orwell Books

In a move that has enraged many Kindle users, Amazon has remotely deleted copies of George Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984 without their approval or knowledge.

There is an obvious and sweet irony in the fact that the world's largest online retailer is acting like the Big Brother figure describe in Orwell's famous "1984" novel.

Amazon apparently purchased the digital rights to the books from the wrong publisher, MobileReference, a brand of SoundTells LLC.

The New York Times said that US publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt did offer an authorised version of "1984" although "Animal Farm" was unavailable.

The newspaper also reported that Amazon will be changing their systems so that in the future, they will not remove book from their customers' devices.

A spokesperson for the company told The Register that "These books were added to our catalog using our self-service platform by a third-party who did not have the rights to the books".

Although the books have been automatically refunded, it is the way Amazon handled the whole process that has flummoxed many of those who had purchased the book.

It is not the first time that Amazon single-handedly took controversial decisions regarding books on its online stores. It deranked thousands of adult-theme books with gay content.

The bungle which happens at the beginning of April saw dozens of books disappearing from Amazon search results. Ironically though, at that time, the Kindle platform appeared to be untouched.

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Our Comments

What the overwhelming number of Kindle user may have failed to realise is that Amazon essentially converted a physical item - the book - into a digital commodity that is licensed, rather than bought. Only when Amazon will get rid of digital rights management will users be safe from any such actions.

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