You’ve no doubt heard of Amazon – the biggest retail bookseller on the web. The secret to Amazon’s success is that Amazon makes it incredibly easy for an author to promote his or her work. Maybe you’ve heard of Amazon’s Kindle. Originally, Amazon’s idea was to create an electronic “book” which you can load with the content of your choice.
It was a ground breaking move at the time and one that left other online book sellers literally scrambling to try to compete.
Amazon has worked long and hard perfecting Kindle and have even come out with a “new and improved” version of the hand held device. When book buyers complained that they didn’t want to purchase yet another $350 + hand held single tasking – Amazon listened and began offering Kindle titles via the iPhone or an iPod Touch.
If it’s not enough for your iPhone to act as a phone, an mp3 player and a hand held computer/video game device – now it can act as your own personal library.
Amazon has won many kudos for the ease of use of the Kindle reader – which can actually read selected books to you – but they’re also winning praise for having the business smarts to offer the Kindle titles for the iPhone as well.
So what’s not to love about Kindle?
Well, one of the “concerns” expressed by those who have not embraced Kindle is that they LIKE the experience of reading a book. They LIKE the feel of the book in their hands – they LIKE turning pages. The words on the page are just PART of the experience for these old school bibliophiles.
Now, there’s yet another reason not to love Kindle. Tt turns out that the book you thought you “purchased” from Kindle is a bit more ethereal than many people realized.
Recently, Paul Biba of the Teleread blog wrote about how you really DON’T own your Amazon ebooks.
It turns out – Kindle users discovered that what Amazon selleth – they can also taketh away. The debate raged on in the blog as to WHY exactly Amazon decided to remove the George Orwell novels 1984 and Animal Farm from Kindle customers who thought they had purchased the ebook.
When you buy something – it’s yours – right?
In the case of Kindle – as Kindle users are discovering – they couldn’t be more WRONG!
In true social media fashion – first the topic was hotly debated on blogs – then the “truth” was revealed via the New York Times post Some E-Books Are More Equal Than Others.
I should clarify – the TRUTH of the moment. The stories were flying and Amazon was getting a taste of what it’s like to be in the center of a social media shit storm. A few hours after the original blog post, the New York Times published the full story. Amazon Erases Orwell Books From Kindle.
Kindle users have learned some hard lessons about the new digital age of books. Kindle titles can’t be passed along to others – they can’t be resold when you’re done reading them – and now users are learning that you can’t count on the title being available beyond the here and now.
One Kindle user was using a Kindle copy of the Orwell classic for a summer class. When Amazon repossessed his copy – it took not only the book – but his notes and work as well.
Meanwhile, Amazon finds themselves in the middle of a social media PR mess once again.