Amazon should come clean about e-book policies

At NBC, Joel Johnson puts the truth of Amazon's remote ebook deletions bluntly: "You don't own your Kindle books, Amazon reminds customer

If the world's governments determine that customers don't have the same right of ownership over digital goods as we do over our material goods, the least they could do is force companies Amazon to be truthful about what is sold, and what is actually just rented.


  1. Amazon’s DRM ebooks also come with “clipping limits” which limit the amount of text you can hilight and share.  These limits differ for each book and are not clearly listed on the product pages.  End Clipping Limits!

  2. “NBC’s Joel Johnson”. That has a funny ring to it, but congratulations on a new gig Joel.

    Also, agreed.

  3. Realize this isn’t about Amazon, people.  This is just a single example of how ALL online purchases that don’t actually ship something physical to you are conducted.  Those MP3s you buy on iTunes are exactly the same as the ebooks you buy on Amazon.  You are leasing a copy of a digital product, and any company that sells it to you can take it back if you don’t protect yourself.

    1. What?  Apple and Amazon sell non-DRM music (not MP3s on itunes) that you can copy and use with other players.  They can’t take them back.

    2.  Big fail on your assertion about iTunes. Even back in the days when iTunes music did have DRM, it was quite easily overcome by the average consumer. And, today, music on iTunes is DRM-free. Has been for years.

  4. This is why I have firmly resisted jumping on the e-book train. If your property is a bit of data that can be remotely deleted when some corporation decides you haven’t paid them enough money, it’s not your property at all.

  5. That is very disappointing — not only from the point of view of DRMs and purchases, but from the whole life-in-the-cloud trend. The benefits are so many, but remember Amazon also hosts a lot of services (like Netflix, for example). What happens if they decide to pull the plug? What if you are a start-up leveraging the low cost of the cloud and Amazon decides your service violates some obscure policy? Suppose you build the most advanced, interesting, divine online book retailer in the world and it is hosted on Amazon’s servers?

  6. The first thing I do to every ebook and song I purchased on line is rip a copy.

    I’ve been doing that since the first publicized instance where Amazon removed a student’s book, including his notes, from a Kindle.

    If I buy it, it’s mine.

  7. These licensing deals represent a failure to adapt analog business models to digital economics. They will die as the analog publishers (music, movies, books) die. Sure, it seems greedy, but they are dying – what should we expect? Innovation requires too much coordinated action by too many players. We’re just stuck here until the wheels fall off. Like the economy generally – it’s not the future challenging us, it’s the past.

    Here’s an example of one of the many ways filmmakers are ignoring Hollywood publishers:

    …which is entirely appropriate considering the studios routinely use accounting fraud to rip off the creators anyway:

    1. “These licensing deals represent a failure to adapt analog business models to digital economics.”

      I dunno…I can’t think of any “analog” business model regarding book sales that left it possible for the seller to take the book back after you purchased it.

      Amazon’s model is, in fact, a digital-age business model. It’s exactly digital technology that allows this to exist. You can love on our digital age all you want, but this model is a good example of the negatives that come with all the good.

    1. Not just the pubs. It’s a tawdry two-way tale of hot e-tailer-on-publisher quid pro quo. Seriously, you should download it to your kindle.

  8. You realize, people, it’s the same with everything you leave in the Cloud.  The owners of the facilities can disappear, or can delete or modify your data or any software or facility you use, or demand higher payments for access or use, at any time.  This is  why it’s been pushed so hard.  Possession is 9/10ths of the law, and to the extent you depend on the Cloud for access or use, your existence online can be ransomed or destroyed at any moment.

Comments are closed.