Sunday, July 19, 2009

Amazon Erasing Digital Books Should Come As No Surprise

Kindle users were angered when their "1984" and "Animal Farm" copies were deleted from their e-readers because of a copyright issue. I would have been pretty annoyed (or very pissed if I were the student who lost all his notes for his summer assignment with his copy) but not surprised. Appearance is not the biggest difference between physical books and ebooks. A digital format offers a vastly greater amount of control by those who control its distribution than an analog format. An ebook is data to Amazon. Amazon has created a data architecture whereby they can monitor and manipulate everything they sell to Kindle users, which is pretty brilliant, though I don't like buying into that level of control myself. It's the way they executed their solution to their copyright problem that caused such a public relations fiasco. If they had given customers a bit of warning, say, in an email the day before to explain the need for the refund, most people would have had no problem.

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