Update on the Amazon ebooks fiasco

Me, from a few hours ago:

Came across this account of a Kindle user’s ebook library being wiped, and Amazon account cancelled by Amazon. Worse, she wasn’t explained why this happened, and what she could do to remedy the situation.

[…]

Respond better, please, Amazon? I’ll be reminded of this every time I think of hitting ‘Buy’, and perhaps use Apple’s iBooks more often instead. (I don’t know that Apple’s terms are better, but they certainly can’t be worse!)

Since then, there have been some updates.

From Simon Phipps’ article:

Update @ 23:55 – Linn just contacted me to say her account has been mysteriously re-activated and she’s busily downloading her books. Hopefully Amazon will have more news for us all soon. Even positive arbitrary actions disclose how much Kindle customers read only with the grace of Amazon, of course…

Update @ 00:30 – Amazon PR just wrote to say: “We would like to clarify our policy on this topic. Account status should not affect any customer’s ability to access their library. If any customer has trouble accessing their content, he or she should contact customer service for help. Thank you for your interest in Kindle.”

Note that the Amazon PR quote still makes no attempt at explaining what happened, or whether the whole thing was a simple mistake. The person concerned was in contact with Amazon, was she not? Very reassuring, indeed.

At least she’s got her content back. The worrying thing is, that may have been due to the publicity this received. What would have happened otherwise?

On the same topic, Coyote Tracks writes:

Open or even de facto standards like RTF, MP3, MP4 and EPUB-when kept free from DRM-are what we need to be strongly advocating for. The music industry has mostly given up on DRM; it’s time for the publishing and video industries to follow their lead. (You’d think that merely knowing the RIAA was, in any way, more progressive than you are would be enough to shame you into action, but sadly not.) Some DRM is worse than others-Apple’s tends to be better at staying out of your way than most and, as far as I know, wouldn’t let Apple do what Amazon did here even if they wanted to […].

Seriously, why can’t I own my ebooks the same way I own my paper books?

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