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Kindle brings up the PDF versus print debate again

July 17th, 2009: Allan Sugarbaker says...
Kindle brings up the PDF versus print debate again

This is scary: a number of Amazon Kindle owners learned buying an e-book doesn’t always mean you get to keep it. Merely because a publisher decided to change its corporate mind and stop offering certain books in electronic form, those who paid for said downloads had them automatically removed from their Kindle devices. Sure, the price of those e-books was credited to each buyer’s account by Amazon, but I’m not fond of the idea that electronic ninjas can sneak into my home and take back products I’ve legally purchased. Wow. I mean, way to kneecap the electronic medium’s struggle toward acceptance as legitimate, “tangible” product. Bravo, Amazon. Wasn’t there a signed contract between Amazon and the publisher to avoid just such a thing?

The implications for the game industry are chilling. If Wizards of the Coast had been able to reel a few of its PDFs back in like this, instead of merely pulling the plug on all further downloads a few months ago – I’m sure the company would’ve been smart enough not to do it. At least, I hope so. It’s one thing to deprive a small percentage of customers of their George Orwell books (yes, 1984 was one of the revoked titles – Big Brother loves the irony), but it’s another thing to deprive your entire fanbase of products that are out of print. After all, obscure Forgotten Realms supplements aren’t likely to be reprinted soon.

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