Popular for its massive website which originally provided the world with literature, and now just about everything, Amazon has hit news again today regarding its ebook reader the 'Kindle'. Sadly, not in such a good light.
In an act of bizarre irony Amazon has remotely deleted copies of the George Orwell novels, Animal farm and Nineteen Eighty Four off of an abundance of Kindles last night. This news came with little explanation from Amazon, instead simply refunding the purchase price of the piece of literature. Many people the world over seem to be outraged with this act, which begs Amazon to reevaluate its interpretation of the definition of 'ownership.'
Apart from it being ironically Orwellian not much is known as to the reasoning behind the act, apart from the fact that their publisher for the novels in question a certain, MobileReference, have changed their mind about the supply of this content on the Kindle. Amazon then simply removed all previously purchased copies by remote deletion and those in the middle of getting to grips with these famous pieces of literature could no longer continue the story.
Commenters with Amazon released the following message from their customer service department, along with the inevitable deletion of content:
The Kindle edition books Animal Farm by George Orwell. Published by MobileReference and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) by George Orwell. Also published by MobileReference were removed from the Kindle store and are no longer available for purchase. When this occurred, your purchases were automatically refunded. You can still locate the books in the Kindle store, but each has a status of not yet available. Although a rarity, publishers can decide to pull their content from the Kindle store.
While this publisher's version is obviously no longer, it seems that other versions of the novel are indeed available. Still no news as to the reason why this happened, hopefully I can insert an explanatory update in due course.
This seems to have had a negative impact upon some bloggers, accusing Amazon of essentially book burning and providing a parallel example of this occurrence in a more physical nature, IE: representatives from Amazon ransacking houses and removing these copies of literature. Whichever way you think about this, I do feel that this will likely be a bit of a knock for Amazon. I don't have a Kindle, but I think that perhaps an email to all those who purchased a copy, outlining the intentions of the publishers before the deletion would not have gone amiss, if only just to keep customers informed as to what is happening with goods which have been legally bought.