Kindle brings up the PDF versus print debate again

This is scary: a number of Amazon Kindle owners learned . 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.

10 comments

  1. Did they even give any warning? I feel bad for all the people who were in the middle of a book, and now have to track down other means to finish it.

  2. Sorry, I thought you guys stated that purchasers should have understood the possibility.

    I think they should have, or at least had it plainly explained to them by Amazon.

    or… maybe Amazon just did?

  3. The point everyone seems to be glossing over is the fact that the books pulled were found to be illegal copies that shouldn’t have been sold in the first place. I don’t think this is a sign that the Amazon e-jackboots are coming to knock down your Kindle’s door.

    And yeah, I’d have to say that anyone who uses a product in which the DRM is inherently tied into the parent company should probably already be aware of the possibility. That’s one of the issues a lot of folks have with services like Steam. Sure, chances are Valve won’t go belly up but if they do guess what? Everyone is SOL with their Steam purchases.

  4. Okay, yeah, it’s becoming more clear Amazon simply didn’t make sure they were dealing with the company that actually holds the rights to the Orwell books. So, A+ to Amazon for quickly covering its ass legally; D- for the manner in which it was done.

    Again, for DRM or any electronic product tied to its creator, this must be making e-consumers nervous.

  5. In general, DRM is okay – it just keeps you from copying the DRM files you download. Copy protection for the publishers is something I can get behind. However, formats that require a continued relationship with the source (like the Amazon Kindle e-books, apparently) are the ones I’d be wary of, as you never know when the source will assert its authority and change its policies.

  6. Not knowing the first thing abouy how Kindles operate, how exactly do they “take” it away from you?

    Thanks in advance.

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