Much Ado About Amazon’s Kindle Mishap


We covered the news that Amazon removed books from subscribers’ Kindles last week.

There is, however, more to the story.

Despite reimbursing the customers for the deletions, the act demonstrates existing ambiguity when it comes to online customer rights. As reported previously, however, the publisher in question, Mobile Reference, did not change their mind about the electronic availability of the books—they illegally added them to Amazon’s catalog.

An article from Betanews corrects David Pogue’s report that the “publisher changed its mind about offering an electronic edition,” and emphasizes that the deleted books were added by a third-party (Mobile Reference) without the proper book rights through Amazon’s self-service platform.

This is confirmed by an article from The New York Times that states once Amazon was notified of the copyright infringement, Amazon removed the copies from devices of customers. Spokesman Drew Herdener stated that should similar circumstances arise in the future, the company will not remove books from the Kindles of their customers. They did not mention if the self-service platform’s monitoring system would change.

This article at Information Week breaks down some of the legal specifics of the Kindle issue, highlighting that the Kindle license agreement is unclear about Amazon’s right to delete purchased items from their devices.

Kindle customers wonder why some were not notified about the deletion by Amazon, whether Amazon would send representatives to private homes to collect print books they had published without the proper rights, and note on the irony of Orwell’s 1984 as one of the reclaimed books in this thread.

Enough drama? Kindle customers can also be found poking fun at the issue here.

Nina Moog is a writer and director of photography based in Germany. She holds an MA from the University of St. Andrews and an MSc from the University of Oxford, where her thesis focused on photographic representations of prisons. More from this author →