Amazon embraces the Orwellian spirit

Books, Technology

[Updated here.]

kindle-resizedImagine this: You go into your favorite bookstore and purchase a book. You take it home and begin reading it. That night the bookstore sneaks into your house, takes the book back and leaves the money you paid for the book in its place. That would be pretty messed up, right?

Well, that’s fairly close to what Amazon has done to Kindle users who had purchased copies of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” and “1984.” After the publisher changed their minds about selling electronic versions of the books, Amazon remotely deleted the books from the electronic reading devices.

While Kindles are fairly sweet and probably the wave of the future, this has to be a huge consideration for potential adopters. There’s already such a hurdle to overcome when commiting to abandoning traditional print books in favor of an e-book reader. Stunts like this certainly won’t make the transition any less daunting for people. If they’ve paid for it and have it in their possession, most consumers consider that they own an item (especially after they paid $300 for the e-reader itself). Amazon has shown that in the electronic world, that’s not necessarily the case. Remember, all formats are equal, but some are more equal than others, my brothers and sisters.

See also: ASU sued by blind groups over use of Amazon’s e-book device

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