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Old 09-04-2009, 07:56 AM   #1
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Amazon's Apology for the Orwell Incident

Just arrived in my email today:

As you were one of the customers impacted by the removal of "Works of George Orwell" from your Kindle device in July of this year, we would like to offer you the option to have us re-deliver this book to your Kindle along with any annotations you made. You will not be charged for the book. If you do not wish to have us re-deliver the book to your Kindle, you can instead choose to receive an Amazon.com electronic gift certificate or check for $30.

So, the choice is:
1. Return an (illegal?) book at no charge.
2. Get $30 for a $4.79 purchase.

Priceless!!
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:01 AM   #2
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Take the money and RUN!
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:05 AM   #3
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Take the money and RUN!
I've already sent in my acceptance of the $30!!
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:23 AM   #4
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hm, very interesting. i guess they're really feeling the media backlash. i wonder whether they negotiated the rights to that book ? if not, seems an odd action to take, to return it...
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:23 AM   #5
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I've already sent in my acceptance of the $30!!
30$ in exchange for a >5$ book is a sweet deal.
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:26 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by zelda_pinwheel View Post
30$ in exchange for a >5$ book is a sweet deal.
Especially if one was a prudent consumer and happened to make back-up copies of all purchased books and keep them in a place beyond Amazon's reach.
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:26 AM   #7
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Especially if one was a prudent consumer and happened to make back-up copies of all purchased books and keep them in a place beyond Amazon's reach.
nice move.
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:34 AM   #8
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Interesting. One wonders what is behind this decision on their part. Also curious that they think they can restore all the annotations. I wouldn't have expected that data for every customer to still be floating around this long after the deletions.
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:38 AM   #9
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Interesting. One wonders what is behind this decision on their part. Also curious that they think they can restore all the annotations. I wouldn't have expected that data for every customer to still be floating around this long after the deletions.
yes, i'm surprised by that as well.
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:44 AM   #10
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Interesting. One wonders what is behind this decision on their part. Also curious that they think they can restore all the annotations. I wouldn't have expected that data for every customer to still be floating around this long after the deletions.
The fact that the only way to get an updated, or re-issued, verion of a book you have purchased is to ask for a refund (which triggers Amazon to remove your copy from your account & your K) and then repurchase it, suggests that your purchases live in a static environment at Amazon that is not updated. If you delete the copy off your K and then re-download the title from your archives, you simply get the same flawed copy. Also, I remember reading somwhere that annotations are stored in a separate file linked to the book file. These annotation files may not be affected by the book's deletion, or could be recovered from back-ups of the server.
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:46 AM   #11
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And they say you can't resell an ebook. Looks like quite a few people did just that, and made a profit in the process.
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:49 AM   #12
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And they say you can't resell an ebook. Looks like quite a few people did just that, and made a profit in the process.
sheesh, you'd only need a few of these recalled books to reimburse your kindle completely !
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:10 AM   #13
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Interesting. One wonders what is behind this decision on their part.
Their lawyers have probably told them that if they get sued for deleting eBooks, they will lose. This is probably their way of trying to keep the users happy and prevent legal action.

Companies (not just Amazon) don't do things like this out of the goodness of their hearts. There's usually a financial/legal reason under the covers.
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:53 AM   #14
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Especially if one was a prudent consumer and happened to make back-up copies of all purchased books and keep them in a place beyond Amazon's reach.
It would be highly immoral - and perhaps even fraudulent - to accept the refund if you still had the book, don't you think?
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:05 AM   #15
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I'm not sure what all of the confusion is about on this apology. Folks talk about the 'greed' of companies trying to make a profit. But I see it as natural as our need to eat and sleep.

I am sure that there is a financial consideration. They are trying to sell more Kindle's and are trying to make a profit on those Kindles. The backlash on their erasure grew much larger than they expected. It, no doubt, gave some folks second thoughts about buying a Kindle. And then, Sony announced an upcoming connected reader. Amazon felt they needed a strong move that would not only make things 'equal', but would even pull them ahead in by showing their generosity. This has nothing to do with reimbursing the injured parties and everything to do with marketing more Kindles, and I applaud them for their strong response.

I am a Kindle owner, and I don't and never did have any problems with Amazon. As an analogy, it would be stupid of me to be upset because I fed a wild animal and it bit me. They act just as I would expect them to.

However, I must say that this apology doesn't really put things even for me. The fact is that they have shown the ability to reach into my device and change existing things. This is an ability that can be used in the future. Even if Amazon doesn't choose to, others certainly might try to exploit that ability. Let's say the government wants to find anyone who has a book that describes how to accomplish terrorist activities. Or J.K. Rowling sues to find out how many Kindle owners have copies of Harry Potter (a book that is not legally available as an ebook).

Taken altogether, I still like my Kindle and I would still recommend it to others. However, all is certainly not perfect with the picture. With this large rebate Amazon has 'promised' not to use this capability again. However, it is tough to put the Genie back in the bottle and only time will tell how others will use the courts to try to exploit this capability.

MLH
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