News & Reviews
Amazon CEO apologizes to Kindle users for Big Brother tactics
Amazon, which recently shocked readers by deleting e-books they’d
purchased such as George Orwell’s
"1984" and "Animal Farm" from their
Kindle devices, has pulled an about-face and apologized to consumers --
many of whom complained about the company’s increasingly dogmatic
Amazon originally iced the titles due to unauthorized e-books at the
Kindle website but it went further, vaporizing them from the Kindle
devices of consumers themselves. The move raised concerns about whether
we can actually "own" a book that we purchase in digital format, since
the online retailer can repossess them at anytime without prior
It’s one thing to delete unauthorized e-books from your own site, quite
another to effectively enter the homes of consumers and seize our
e-books. After some heavy criticism from customers about Amazon’s Big
Brother tactics, CEO and founder Jeff
Bezos issued an apology.
"This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold
copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our ‘solution’ to the
problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our
principles," said Bezos in a statement.
"It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we’ve
received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help
make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission."
The Orwellian ruckus is the second "painful mistake" from Amazon in
recent months, and its second apology. Back in April Amazon un-ranked
more than 57,000 books that it considered "adult" content -- most of
which included gay and lesbian themes.
Many users decried the move as censorship, and after taking heat Amazon
blamed a technical "glitch" for the problem. Still, many users at the
time said it was just another example of Amazon’s attempt at
homogenizing the literary landscape.
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