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Friday, 3 September 2010

The Kindle - it's fine until it goes wrong

Back in July 2009 Amazon showed the power they have over Kindle customers by automatically deleting George Orwell's 1984 from user's devices, a title they had initially given away free in the public domain section of their Kindle market, after realising that the book was not, as first believed, in the public domain. When users plugged their devices in to update the book vanished.

At the time Amazon spokesperson, Drew Herdener, said in an e-mail message that the books were added to the Kindle store by a company that did not have rights to them, using a self-service function. “When we were notified of this by the rights holder, we removed the illegal copies from our systems and from customers’ devices.”

That move angered customers who felt that they should own the content on their own devices, but Amazon stuck to their guns. However Amazon's control over the Kindle has once again been causing problems for users. A letter to The Consumerist from a lady named Natalie who finds she is locked out of her own Kindle.

She wrote - "I am having major Amazon issues. A month ago I bought a kindle and was really excited to use it on vacation. I bought a few books and when I was done, I bought another. Then they froze my account, so I called in and logged a case.
Within 48 hours I got a call back, saying it was an error on their side and they'd unfreeze it for me, but I'd just need to re-order the book. I thought no problem, thanks for the help. So I bought the book a second time and it automatically freezes me out again. I call in and log another case, but get no phone call back as promised from an account specialist.  Then, I continue to call 3-4 times a week, along with a few emails too, for the next 4 weeks. Amazon probably has about 20 calls or emails to return to me at this point. I have heard NOTHING back from them on this, other than one automated reply on creating a new account instead. I don't want to create a new account b/c it has none of my kindle information or any of my other personalized information.
I just want my account unfrozen and whatever I say to customer service doesn't get through. Any advice? Thanks!" READ THE ORIGINAL STORY HERE

This is the thing that is keeping me from buying a Kindle - well, that and the fact that my Sony eReader is bloody awesome. In fact the only reason I can see for supporting the Kindle is that Amazon's eBook store is second to none, but I don't want to be tied down to that one particular store and I certainly don't want anyone to have the ability to delete titles from my account. Lately I've used both W H Smith's and Waterstone's eBook stores and bought a dozen eBooks - all these are in the ePub format and although containing DRM, I know that I can use them on more than the one device and there is no way anyone can delete them - well, unless I decide to do so myself.

I have no doubt that Amazon will eventually have to support ePub but until they do I'm avoiding the Kindle.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

So far I've had nothing but good experiences with my Kindle. I use it every single day.