back to article Amazon accused of remotely wiping punter's Kindle

It’s bad enough that when you ‘buy’ an e-book, you’re really only renting it, but now we hear that at least one e-book seller will, it has been alleged, wipe your device if it sees fit. Norwegian writer Martin Bekkelund tells the story of a chum, called Linn, who claims to have had her Kindle remotely wiped by Amazon UK. Linn …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Up the Amazon without a paddle.

    Best turn wi-fi off on your Kindle and stick to shuffling files onto it via USB.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      True.

      Yet you get idiots like Marc Benioff trying to convince everyone that "the cloud" is the way forward. Err, no thanks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        At one time, Microsoft toyed with the idea of shutting down windows via the internet. That was to be used for things like

        getting ride of pirated copies of Windows, or getting rid of early editions of Windows and force people to upgrade. Shades of 1984 eh?

    2. Gerhard Mack

      It could have been worse.

      Imagine if there had been a business critical EC2 instance attached to that account rather than just ebooks.

      1. Sam Liddicott

        unworthy of trust

        Amazon have shown themselves unworthy of trust in any matter that is important

    3. Mark 65

      I'd be interested to know whether Amazon have broken the law with what they have done, whether it be the remote wiping of the device or the general removal of items sold to the user. The EULA can say whatever it wants, it doesn't make it legally enforceable. The fact they were not even willing to discuss the matter fully and it was an "account linked to one that..." tells me they might find themselves on very thin ice.

  2. FartingHippo
    Black Helicopters

    Calibre is your friend

    With the Kindle plugins, natch.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Calibre is your friend

      Or get a proper EPUB based reader.... You can then choose who you deal with...

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: Calibre is your friend

        EPUB is only part of the solution because the DRM can and is often proprietary to each device. The closest thing to an cross platform DRM is Adobe Digital Editions.

        1. Scorchio!!
          Thumb Up

          Re: Calibre is your friend

          I convert to PDF and put them on my Sony e-reader.

    2. Martin 47

      Re: Calibre is your friend

      Exactly, all my ebooks, bought from whatever source are nicely backed up on it, we really do need a smug git icon.

      Oh and while we are at it can we have a 'daft twat' one as well for whoever at Amazon thought deleting customers books from their kindles is good for customer relations

    3. S.G.
      Alert

      Re: Calibre is your friend

      Calibre is indeed my friend.

      Like all tech savy ElReg readers, I feel that this sort of thing won't happen to me because, on principle, I don't trust any company to do the right thing 100% of the time.

      I can only imagine how it feels for an unsuspecting everyday user. They must feel violated when something like that happens. At least we expect it will happen to us one day so we have a half baked backup plan.

      From the article, there doesn't seem to be any recourse either. This is bad customer service of the highest level. Probably down to that one guy too. I wish him the biggest shower of c@ck!

      1. Bassey
        Mushroom

        Re: Calibre is your friend

        I had a similar (though not as bad) experience with Amazon just a couple of weeks ago. I am an Amazon Prime Subscriber (£49 gets free delivery for the year for our family, my Sister's, my brother's and my parents). My wife and I moved house, 2.5 miles (sorry, 4.02KM) down the SAME road. I went to Amazon to change my default address and all seemed fine. Until I went to place and order and was informed my address was not suitable for Amazon Prime Delivery. I quickly contacted Amazon via IM and, after 2 hours of trying to explain the problem, the response was "We don't know what the problem is. It is an automated system so we won't look into it. Is there anything else we can help you with?".

        In the end, I solved the problem myself by changing the address so that the postcode was still my old postcode but the rest of the address was our new place. The postman is a friend of the family so everything has been fine so far - no thanks to Amazon.

        1. Jedit Silver badge
          Stop

          "my address was not suitable for Amazon Prime Delivery"

          Your Amazon default address and your Prime delivery addresses are separate values. If you changed one without changing the other then this will cause problems.

      2. KnucklesTheDog
        Thumb Up

        Re: Calibre is your friend

        "I can only imagine how it feels for an unsuspecting everyday user"

        An excellent point. The one thing common to Kindle owners is that they love books after all, I'm sure many think of their ebooks in the same way they think of a physical copy - imagine having them all effectively destroyed in front of you.

        Most of us have probably been subjected to this nothing-we-can-do-and-we-can't-say-why attitude spouted at us for one reason or another (in my case it's happened with more than one bank), it's basically saying "we're too big for an individual like you to matter, so stop bothering us" and it is *extremely* irritating.

        In this case though, surely consumer protection laws have been breached? A service has been paid for and not provided, Amazon's EULA can not take precedence over statutory rights.

  3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Options

    1, Piracy = obtain book for free, read book for ever, on any device.

    2, Retail = buy book for slightly more than hardback price. Agree to them tracking all your other purchases, eating your first-born son, flambe-ing your cat and all the other small print. Read the book on one device - until the supplier goes bust, or discontinues that product line. Have the product you "bought" deleted if they feel like it, or make a mistake, or they have a fall-out with the publisher.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Options

      You missed the 3rd option which is buy legit books and then strip the DRM crap out of them, plus don't let unfriendly powers access your reading device.

      1. Nigel 11

        Re: Options

        Or the fourth option, just stick to chunks of mashed tree. Seriously, they're less portable, but a lot more readable. Especially techie ones where you want to flip through the pages fast.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Options

          Well there is that. I have, however, grown accustomed to the equivalent of 3 Transit vans-full of books in my pocket and never, ever running out of book when I'm out and about. Running out of battery however...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Options

            The "endurance" of a typical paper book is at least as good as that of the typical laptop battery. Unless you are a lightning reader.

            Besides, most of us can carry more than one book at a time.

    2. Steve I
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Options

      You forgot: if you pirate the book, you cal also print or copy bits of it (great if its a book for a programming language etc).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Options

      relevant XKCD:

      http://xkcd.com/488/

      1. rvt
        Happy

        Re: Options

        When you buy music from iTunes they are not protected with DRM.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Options

          I recently bought a music track from iTunes and it WAS stuffed with DRM. When I tried to play it (An operatic aria by Anna Netrebko) it said "You are not authorised to play this item" and I was encouraged to sign-in for the correct account. I do have several iTunes accounts, so I ensured that I was signed in , that my Mac was authorised, I went through the procedure of dumping the hidden file in the Shared directory that 'protects' the DRM ridden files. I re-authorised my accounts. I still couldn't play the track. On discussion with Apple iTunes reps over a couple of weeks we just came to the solution that I delete the track and get a refund. I guessed that perhaps the fairplay wrapper was incorrectly coded as the track was sent to my computer - dunno, but I wanted to listen to it before I then maybe bought the album. Do I risk another 99 cents, and 2 weeks of emails? I asked Apple if I should buy the album from Amazon instead, but they reverted to sales-droid mode and could neither confirm nor deny that I existed.

        2. Scorchio!!

          Re: Options

          "When you buy music from iTunes they are not protected with DRM."

          I still buy the CD and rip it to my network. The thing about buying digital copies is that they are not quite as kickable as a CD, which is marginally more secure. (Please note the built in caveat.)

          1. Fatman

            Re: I still buy the CD and rip it to my network.

            You are not the only one.

            The only way I buy music is to get the CD, and let Rhythmbox have a go at it. That way, one does not have to worry about "recalls" (Amazon and 1984).

            I trust global bigcorps to take any and every opportunity to screw the 'little guy' over as often as they can get away with.

  4. Nick Gisburne
    FAIL

    So the only option is...

    So now that she is no longer allowed to buy e-books from Amazon, presumably the only option is to find 'alternative' sources for these books. Alternatives which are not going to add any money to Amazon's coffers, or indeed to the pockets of the author. Spectacular fail there guys, you just sent a paying customer over towards the dark side.

    Can she at least get a refund for the purchase price of her now-useless Kindle, and for the books which she can no longer access legally? I suspect not.

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: So the only option is...

      There's more to this to come. If this is a genuine aggreieved customer, courses of future action include requesting credit-card charge-backs for failure to deliver the produce as advertised, or a small-claims court summons for breach of contract. Or just maybe, Amazon isn't quite the bad guy it's being painted.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's just bang out of order. I'll not be purchasing further ebooks from Amazon until they provide a satisfactory response to this.

    1. Hieronymus Howerd

      Seconded

      I was on the verge of being won over to the Kindle world, but I don't see how I can continue with my Paperwhite pre-order until Amazon resolves this.

      1. Tachikoma
        Pint

        Re: Seconded

        Buy a Kobo Glo instead of the Paperwhite, same front lit e-ink screen (Infrared touch instead of capacitative though) and expandable memory. Been hoping for a Reg review of this for a while, but picked one up in 'Smiths and have not regretted it. YMMV depending on your e-book buying preferences/previously bought books.

        1. Andrew Hodgkinson
          Thumb Up

          Re: Seconded

          Agree about the Kobo Glo. I replaced a Sony PRS-350 with one last week, wanting the higher resolution screen and built in light. I have a Sony case with an LED light on a "stalk", but it's hard to an angle that avoids reflections off the screen or case and, during a long night flight one time, even the lowest brightness seemed very high for the dark cabin environment. It seemed to illuminate the people nearby more than the page!

          The Kobo's lowest brightness is still quite bright, but definitely more manageable and of course reflections are not a problem. The software is a bit shaky, but the hardware's nice. If you manage your book collection using Calibre you'll be OK. Worst feature seems to be that some Calibre-loaded ePubs make the device reboot when first opened, but they work nicely after that reboot - and that doesn't take too long as the device is comparatively quick to start up. No very long startup indexing delays as with the Sony either, which is a relief.

          Downsides: PDF handling is clunky; it works OK but the Sony was better. Software speed is often not good; reading books is fine (even full page refreshes are much faster than the PRS-350 and the partial refresh implementation seems basically flawless) but certain operations, e.g. changing from page to page in your list of books (annoying) or typing the first (but not subsequent) letter of a search, can be very slow.

          On balance, it's quite cheap, quite well made, has lots of very cheap accessories on Amazon - oh, the irony! - and you can get it off-the-shelf from W.H.Smith so you've got a physical high street presence for technical support or returns/exchanges should anything go wrong.

      2. Steven Roper
        Megaphone

        Re: Seconded

        I maintained, loudly and often on this very forum, several years ago when the Orwell scandal broke, that I would never buy a Kindle and I have never wavered on that since. This story simply vindicates and strengthens my stance.

        When my dad, who is an avid bookworm, talked about buying a Kindle, I warned him off and convinced him to buy a Nook instead. I've also convinced more than a dozen other people not to buy Kindles in that time, and will continue to do so.

        It might not seem like much, but if each of us do our part in warning others off the Kindle we can really hurt Amazon's sales and send the bastards a strong message that this behaviour will NOT be tolerated. I take pride in the fact that I've already cost them potentially thousands of dollars in lost sales and will continue to cost them thousands more until they get the fucking message.

    2. GotThumbs
      Boffin

      Apple has the same TOA.....

      While we may not have all the facts of this specific individuals story, what is important to keep in mind is that Amazon is not the only corporation that has this kind of power written in thier Terms Of Agreement. Apple has the very same power to wipe all your content and cancel your account.

      This is one of the biggest inherent problems with trusting all your content to these companies clouds. This is one of the reasons I created my own cloud. The technology is not as hard as most would think. The biggest joy is having control over my content and not relying/trusting these huge companies to manage your personal content in one-on-one personal approach.

      I stream all my music/video content from my home server using Subsonic and also have file access using homeserver provided address.

      Remember, You lose power/control when you give power/control to others. Don't be mad at them when _shit happens.....be mad at yourself for making that choice.

  6. James 51

    Kaffka Called

    To ask, who deleted all their books?

  7. Graham Marsden
    WTF?

    DRM = Draconian Rights Management

    We're right, you're wrong.

    We can take away the stuff on your Kindle because you don't own it, you only have a licence to read it and we can revoke that at any time without needing to provide any justification or real explanation for our actions.

    It's great to be us and it sucks to be you!

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: DRM = Draconian Rights Management

      No, the correct name is Digital Racketeering and Manipulation...

      1. Fatman

        Re: DRM = Draconian Rights Management

        Close, but no cigar.

        In actuality, the correct name is Digital Rectal Manipulation.

        The correct visual is Amazon's hand trying to violently insert a Kindle up your ass!

        Hey el Reg icon dept, how about a"shove it" icon?? Please, will someone beg Sarah Bee for one?

    2. Joe Drunk

      Re: DRM = Draconian Rights Management

      That pretty much sums up not only DRM but any EULA or as I prefer to call them End LOSER License Agreement. All EULAs are can be summed up as 'We win, you lose'.

  8. ekithump
    Devil

    Not only stiffing the authors and publishers whose books they sell, but now stiffing the punters. I stopped buying books from Amazon many years ago, and will never buy ebooks, music, or anything else from them, due to their nefarious policies and activities vis royalties etc - so glad I'm not tied in to them or any other retailer.

    If any more proof were needed that DRM is unfair to the 'buyer', this is a shining example.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "It’s bad enough that when you ‘buy’ an e-book, you’re really only renting it"

    And that's why I'll stick to paper books for now. Practices like this indefinate (until they say otherwise) rental replacing perchases needs to be stopped. They should have to make it clear at point of sale that it's a rental and the customer will not own the book.

  10. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Funny

    A few times I wrote in these forum that Amazon can do precisely that, no one believed. Now I have a perfect "I told you so" excuse, and you know what? I told you so.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Funny

      Who is that no-one you are speaking about?

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: Funny

        "Who is that no-one you are speaking about?"

        Interestingly, they mostly seem to be brothers - I think their family name is Coward, and they prefer to hide behind the downvote button...

  11. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Devil

    "Been using their Kindle to generate unauthorised copies of downloaded works"

    Hmmm..... I am just using my Kindle to read unauthorized copies of downloaded works.

    Does that count?

  12. Chris Thomas Alpha
    WTF?

    stealing?

    Isn't this similar to stealing?

    yes I suppose because the content is accessible through a remote interface it lets itself be more open to interference from outsiders.

    but since the data is not transferred across a network connection from amazon to the device on demand, the actual property is in the hands and physical constraints of the person holding the device.

    so taking something away from that person, which they have paid for with money which was accepted, is more commonly called stealing. Or Fraud.

    Just imagine is they were real books, amazon would arrive at your door to remove them?

  13. banjomike
    FAIL

    Amazon screwed it up and are now covering up

    The chances are good that some Amazon zombie deleted the wrong Kindle and the Book Police are now covering up their screw up.

  14. David Webb

    Sorta the same thing happened to me on Steam. I bought my CD Key and stuck it into Steam, played Saints Row the Third for a few weeks then one day it was just gone. THQ had told Steam to revoke the key claiming I got it from a keygen (keygens for Steam? Really?) and the retailer wasn't legit. One email later and my "not legit" seller refunded me the money whilst THQ have lost a guaranteed sale for SR:4 + DLC. At least with piracy I never get my key revoked :sarcastic grimacing smiley goes here:

    1. Nick Thompson

      That doesn't sound like the same thing at all. Based on the information you've given it sounds like an ebay seller (or similar) used keygen program to create keys, then sold them to fools like you for a (presumably) suspiciously low cost. You then put this into steam and THQ then pointed out "oi, we haven't sold that key yet", or the legitimate owner tried to use it. You're effectively handling stolen goods (morally, legally it's probably a different crime). That your seller didn't argue it suggests they knew exactly what they were doing.

      What exactly did you expect? If you buy stolen goods on a market stall the police are perfectly entitled to turn up and confiscate it leaving you out of pocket. How is this any different? You sound like an immoral arse unjustly blaming THQ and should consider yourself lucky the seller didn't do a runner.

      Disclaimed: All judgements made about your character in this comment are drawn from filling in the blanks in the limited information you have provided. If the assumptions made herein do not accurately match your situation please disregard my comments and provide more information :)

  15. JimC

    Hmm, call me Mr Cynical

    But I wonder what the other side of this third party tale is, and whether it looks rather different from somewhere else...My experience is that a minority of the public can beat any corporation you care to name for massaging the tuth. Whether this is such a case I have absolutely no idea, but it would be interesting to hear the other side...

  16. NomNomNom

    Shortly afterward, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said: “Our 'solution' to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles.”

    "So we've come up with a new solution. We call it The Final Solution."

  17. Dana W
    Meh

    No DRM for me thanks.

    No DRM books on my Kindle. All stuff I sourced myself. Anyway, I'm going to an Nook touch Light. I want the memory expansion.

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: What's that I hear?

      Card charge-backs are limited in time, what about all the books she bought over the years and the device itself?

      Amazon is a very big credit card customer, customers are a pain in the arse to banks these days

      So her credit card company sides with Amazon, decides her charge-back is fradulent, cancels all her cards and black lists her on the credit rating agencies.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. censored

    Never connect your Kindle to the internet

    Download and side-load with USB. Simples.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is the essence of "Whatever As A Service", aka "Cloud".

    Buy a device, buy even more for the books on them, then find out the hard way that you didn't own either and the thing is now a dud, remotely wiped of everything else.

    Most other WsAAS dispense with the device, making them that much more economical for the vendor, but the principle is the same. Various cloud-y suppliers have at times gone down and people got to find out the hard way what their SLAs were worth: Mostly zilch.

    You can ask them what it was all about until you're blue in the face, but it won't help you. It usually will have been, like it was here, simply some cog in the machine with a bug up the bum. If they don't deign to answer, all you get back is silence at best, or else you might get aggravating content-free tripe and the old run-around instead. In fact, this isn't the first time people have had to go public to get customer service from this joint. A better question then would be: What, really, was it that you paid for? It certainly wasn't what you thought bought the darn thing for, because you no longer have that.

    Jeff Bezos, though, was subtly wrong. For if he wanted to be truthful he should've said: “Our 'solution' to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully in line with our principles.” Because, hey, the Ts&Cs clearly allow for this, and for the last goof too. Otherwise he'll have to admit that his Ts&Cs are not in line with his principles, and he should have them amended.

    "Amend what?" I hear you ask, "The Ts&Cs or the principles?" to which the answer is simply "Yes."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is the essence of "Whatever As A Service", aka "Cloud".

      This is also why ChromeOS is a bloody stupid idea.

      1. Craigness
        Thumb Up

        Re: This is the essence of "Whatever As A Service", aka "Cloud".

        It's important for the professional google hater not to let an opportunity to hate google go by. And an article about amazon is an excellent opportunity for a moronic comment about an OS which allows you to save files locally and to multiple cloud storage services including but not limited to google drive, microsoft skydrive, box, dropbox, ubuntu one, and also your own nas drive. Truly, a chromebook makes you as vulnerable as an ice cube in the arctic, in a way which a web browser on any other os cannot. I commend your post to all.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This is the essence of "Whatever As A Service", aka "Cloud".

          Well, then call me a PGH too, because I won't touch ChromeOS either. It's Linux with the good bits removed.

          However, I'm more a generic PGH, mainly because I have started to add up the amount of laws they are breaking - and as far as I can tell knowingly so. Here is a hint for you regarding Terms & Conditions or Terms of Service: lawyers get trained from the second they walk into law school to say and write as little as possible - "just enough" is a critical skill. Now keep that in mind when you read all of their ToS and privacy statements, and if you come across an odd statement which seeks to "explain" something, read the above again. You have found something they KNOW isn't right, but so far, nobody has noticed.

          Until now. Coming soon - in the WHOLE of Europe. That's why I am a PGH - because they're worth it..

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This is the essence of "Whatever As A Service", aka "Cloud".

          "It's important for the professional google hater not to let an opportunity to hate google go by."

          I will freely admit that I don't like the idea of Google. The 'do no evil' has been thoroughly debunked. Professional? No. I am not paid anything by anyone for my opinion.

          I simply prefer to have local kit for important data. I want to see the boxes. You may well trust the cloud and that is your right. I don't. That's mine.

          1. Craigness
            FAIL

            Re: This is the essence of "Whatever As A Service", aka "Cloud".

            Enjoy your right, but don't make the mistake of thinking that using a boot-to-web os forces you to move all of your data to a central evil authority who will delete it without your permission. Use chrome is, keep your file locally. Simple.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Not quite

    > Of course, a seller has every right to refuse to sell to a customer,

    Well this goes a little bit further than that.

    Your local book store "thinks" you might have downloaded something illicit, and they come in, break into your house, and make away with all of your books.

  22. Snafu 2

    The linked post in Corey's blog has now been updated to say that apparently the Kindle was already broken

  23. h3

    Did they remotely brick the thing or not ? or just deleted all the books ?

    I can see how they might get annoyed if someone bought 500 books stripped the DRM returned them all and then used the tethering hack (For the Kindle 3G) to upload them all to the Piratebay.

  24. Dan Paul
    Devil

    Once Again, the Cloud is all Smoke and Mirrors you give up all rights and ownership when you use it!

    I have been warning about buying books over download services for years just like Vladimir. Nothing beats the permanence of paper, the original open source software. It's a little heavy but it's ALL yours until the "Stasi" show up to take it away and then you have greater problems.

    Go ahead, let's have some more "thumbs down" for being against Ebooks. I don't care, as far as I am concerned this whole ebook thing is practically Orwells 1984 merged with Farhenheit 451 sans the flamethrowers.

    The so called "cloud" is nothing but vaporware, anything you pay for or store there; could go up in smoke without your involvement or permission.

    So Amazon thinks this person was stealing or "cracking" books and Amazon can delete everything they have bought? I'd like to know exactly how they figured this out since not even the RIAA/MPAA can be certain of IP addresses for downloading. Just goes to prove that all ebooks are tattletales too!

    I don't think Amazon actually have that right no matter WHAT they or their T&C's say. Take the bastards to Small Claims Court or whatever passes for it in your country. Most civilized countries have laws that require proof be provided before action can be taken. Most also have laws regarding the ability to cross examine your accuser whether that accuser be biological or cybernetic.

  25. Tim Brown 1
    Pint

    Amazon didn't think this through

    It seems to me that Amazon need to think a little harder about their 'wiping' policy.

    If you're the sort of person that pirates material then remote wiping of the machine is almost certainly pointless since copies of any books will already exist elsewhere.

    And if you're NOT a pirate then all Amazon are doing is generating bad publicity for themselves.

    Either way, they lose.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Kindle looked tempting to me until I read this story. Now I'll be staying away and suggesting my girlfriend do the same. This is more risky than it seems, if my girlfriend gets many more real books she may make me move into the attic room so she has space to store them.

    1. WorkingFromHome
      Unhappy

      Indeed

      I had been seriously thinking about a paperwhite to replace my old Sony PRS-505 plus light case. It seemed a neater solution with a better screen. However my worries about the remote "control" of the Kindle seem more than justified now. No sale - I'll stick with my old Sony and the various epub stores.

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: Indeed

        I am think that Sony can do the same thing just as easily as Amazon. I don't know it for sure but I suspect it might be the case.

  27. Bad Beaver
    Facepalm

    DAMN

    Just when they released a kindle that actually looked kind of promising (the glowy one). Stupid little puppies. Stories like this one quickly translate into a landmass of lost sales. Even if you already own one of their devices, just how much more interesting must "alternative sources" now appear to you?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what temperature do Kindles burn at?

    I was thinking to buy assorted fiery Kindles for the family for xmas, but now that they are fulfilling Bradbury's farenheit 451 worries in reality - digitally cleansing & burning books with the click of a super-mouse - I think I'll follow the DRM free path and get a more open platform. Bye Bye AMAZON!

    1. Midnight

      Re: what temperature do Kindles burn at?

      Ray Bradbury once said that ebooks 'smell like burned fuel'.

      Perhaps he already found out the answer to your question.

  29. Phil Endecott

    If it sounds to bonkers to be true...

    ...then it probably is.

    Yes, sure, the T&Cs say they can delete all your stuff. But they probably won't, and if you read "on the internet" that that happened to someone, you should be skeptical and wait for some clarification.

    Like this:

    @doctorow I spoke with Linn and she told me Amazon did NOT wipe her Kindle

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Amazon.. not surprised

    I've recently found Amazon customer service is atrocious. They've become a law and order to themselves.

    Try and get something sorted out under the sale of goods act with them. You might as well talk to a stone wall.

    It's a shame since shopping with them through their website is actually such a good experience... until it goes wrong.

  31. unfolded

    I had also been cut off from Amazon (uk) after requesting a Kindle repair - which was initially approved.

    I was never given a real answer as to why. I wasn't even notified that the repair had been cancelled and the account closed - that required a couple of phone calls.

    After more than a week of responding politely and in detail to short, robotic replies telling me what's done is done and to shop elsewhere (because you're not allowed to phone this particular department), one morning I received an email saying the account has been reactivated and sorry for the trouble. Still wasn't given a reason, and naturally, even with the account reinstated, buying books from Amazon has not been appealing.

    After being an Amazon customer for a decade, it was a bizarre and unpleasant situation.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Just In Time

    I'd decided to buy a Kindle and had the latest version on pre-order for when it's released later this week. After reading this, order cancelled.

    I'll carry on reading real books instead.

  33. jke
    Paris Hilton

    Amazon

    Folk, just google ABE and buy books made from former trees. Marvellous service from second hand booksellers, almost everything available, and cheap. Cautionary note for Amazon. If you visit me to take away my paper library warn the porters that fifty years ago I did the silent killing course and am still eagerly waiting to find out just how silent some of the nastier moves really are. Anyone who mistakes this claim for gasconade may inspect the bruises that I suffered then, and which are still visible. BTW I use Amazon, £30 this very morning. All hard copies though.

    Paris, of course, she must be an avid and erudite reader of books.

    John Edwards

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Amazon

      > fifty years ago I did the silent killing course

      Ok gramps, stop reading "The Forever War" (which I have an "illegal" copy on my Kindle of)...

  34. O RLY
    Big Brother

    I can't help but wonder about these services and how much easier it will be to enact the dystopian futures that Bradbury, Orwell, etc. wrote about. I think of Winston Smith's job going back and "correcting" old newspapers so that the Party's predictions verified or the war was always against Eurasia. Amazing how simple that task becomes with ebooks and online subscriptions. I know I'm paranoid, but does it bother anyone else?

    There is precedent for editing media, even retroactively: after the World Trade Center was destroyed, several films and TV shows removed images of the towers.

    1. Bad Beaver
      Angel

      No problem at all.

      Everything will be fine. *clickety* See? All fine. And soon there will be cake.

      Yes, it does bother. In particular as you can be quite sure it is happening already, all the time. Yet there is still just too much other crap surfacing each and every day so we just - don't - notice.

  35. Ilsa Loving
    Angel

    Don't you hate it?

    Don't you hate it when Richard Stallman is right?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I like my Kindle...

    It really is a great little device, can fit loads of books on it, battery lasts an age. No chance I'm going to register it with Amazon though. I'm just not interested in handing over control of my book collection to some random company with whom I have no real relationship.

    I usually buy CDs, but I do buy the odd mp3 from Amazon, since they stopped with the DRM.

    Looking forward to being able to buy books in the same way.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just Buy Books

    is the simple answer.

    They are really great to hold and have a truly intuitive interface. Of course, if you hold them wrong, they can crash, which does sometimes result in a condition called losing one's place

  38. ElNumbre
    Stop

    IRL

    Just wondering how many people on an annual basis are falsely accused of shoplifting from bookstores.

    Id like to get a bit of perspective before I join the pitchfork wielding mob over one (for now) incident.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: IRL

      The obvious difference is IRL you have an investigation and court hearing before there's a judgement. As oppose to the Amazon way which seems to be "you might know someone who did something bad once so we're going to confiscate all your books but we won't tell you who or why".

      Not so much 'parallel' as 'wildly divergent'.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  39. Butthole Surfer
    Boffin

    Total wipeout

    You may also like:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/cd/t/FxUR1GPOALTEHL/0071459588/Tx1CUHJGFNLAR61/4

  40. tin 2

    The difference is IRL someone goes "I did not and here's why, what's your problem?" and conversation ensues. With Amazon (and Paypal IME, and undoubtedly others) one goes "I did not and here's why" and a nonsensical inapplicable canned response comes back. You then repeat several times and give up.

    That they control all your stuff unequivocally and you need them to listen, understand and agree with you to get your stuff back is the problem when the customer service is like this.

    While it's certainly an inconvenience, I'd agree with a number of comments on here - do the credit card chargeback.

    I'm intrigued by the talk of T&Cs on here. Can ANYONE honestly tell me that you've read, fully understood, digested and then genuinely agreed with the entirely of the T&Cs on Kindle or anything else for that matter. If the percentage of people that read/understood/digested/agreed with these "agreements" is near zero, can they really apply? When does the definition of "agree" get properly considered?

  41. Triggerfish

    RE: Just Buy Books

    While i love books in their physical form, when I travel I find half of a 65ltr rucksack is usually taken up by books, that's bloody heavy to lug round on and off boats, busses and motorbikes. For me a ebook reader is becoming essential, although not the kindle methinks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: when I travel

      I can certainly see your point. I wouldn't travel with fifty CDs, and yet I can easily carry that much music with me. But, to listen to music I'm going to need a machine anyway, which is not the case with reading books.

      One or two books has always been enough for my travels, added to which, there are going to be bookshops, unless one is going somewhere really remote.

      However, maps and navigation have joined my music in being electronic. Maybe, if I have a need to travel with reference stuff like guidebooks, they might too. For now, though, I'm not yet tempted.

    2. JeffyPooh
      Pint

      Re: RE: Just Buy Books

      "...half of a 65ltr rucksack..."

      Amateur... :-)

      My bookshelves run to well over 100 linear feet, and the books are still racked and stacked, entire rows buried behind other rows, and yet more stacks on the floor.

      90% non-fiction.

  42. Another Justin
    Thumb Down

    Justin

    Considering that the account that she is supposedly linked to is in the UK then can she not submit a request for her details under the data protection act? This would obligate them to at least reveal the information about the account that she supposedly holds, and possibly allow her correct the information if its incorrect.

  43. mickey mouse the fith
    FAIL

    Sigh.......

    The lesson taken from all this is, as usual, pirated material is more consumer friendly than legit purchases.

    Its happened with dvd`s,games and now ebooks. Drm just makes things more awkward for paying customers. pirates dont have to sit through patronising anti-piracy commercials(on a disk you have fucking purchased) or have an active internet connection to play a single player offline game or, as in this case, worrying that at any time all your books could disappear without warning or comeback.

    If i had a kindle, id make sure it never contacted the mothership, but then i would never buy a device that secretly snooped on me, taking away anything it deemed unworthy of my eyes.

  44. mhoulden
    Stop

    Sounds like it would be a good idea for Amazon to read up on the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations. These are based on EU directives so they don't just apply in the UK, although Norway isn't part of the EU so different rules apply there. Basically, just because Amazon thinks they can do something (usually based on US law), it doesn't necessarily mean that they can if a court decides that it's unfair. At the very least they'd have to give a good reason for wiping a Kindle and refusing to do further business rather than just a vague platitude.

    1. SImon Hobson
      FAIL

      Unenforceable contract terms

      >> Sounds like it would be a good idea for Amazon to read up on the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

      Indeed, and it seems that the transactions took place in the UK, so there would be grounds for action in the UK. But once a court has declared that Amazon's T&C are unlawful, their actions are automatically a criminal matter as unauthorised access to a computer. It really needs a test case like this (though it would be better is it were a UK resident) to bring this s**t into the open and get some of it flushed down the crapper where it belongs.

      I suspect Amazon realse this, which is why they've suddenly "found it was a mistake" and are now trying to backpeddle and save face - like every other business that relies on an EULA, they will not allow this to ever get to court because they know they would be virtually guaranteed to lose and their whole business model would collapse like a giant Jenga set.

  45. john devoy

    This will only get worse until people stop buying into it; we're now paying for hardware we don't actually own according to them, and software/books etc they can wipe and block access to as they see fit.

  46. Winkypop Silver badge
    Flame

    Kindle

    Isn't it good

    Norwegian wood

  47. ukgnome
    Mushroom

    Anger doesn't cover it!

    The whole point of books is the sharing of knowledge, that's why we have libraries. The publisher doesn't care if I lend my book to my mother-in-law. They actually want me to lend the latest Chris Brookmyre to her, as they know she will then start buying the back catalogue (you should too)

    So what the hell is this tax dodging scum company doing? The only people they are protecting is themselves. They do not have the publishing houses best interests at heart, if they did they wouldn't squeeze them for every penny. The average profit that a publisher gets on a £10 book is between 80p and £1.60 (read the guardian article) They do not have the UK tax mans best intrest at heart, they charge full 20%vat but don't actually give it to the tax man.

    In a nut shell, Amazon is a deplorable tax dodging rip off merchant that doesn't actually deserve any UK customers.

  48. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Frustration

    I dunno. In general, Amazon works well. They are reliable by themselves and in the rare cases where there were problems with my orders with them they responded really well and quickly. I would say that their general behaviour is way above average as far as any "multiple" retailer is concerned.

    However, with electronics, DRMs are making corporations (and individual people) irrational. It's like that "one ring to rule them all" - all of a sudden they see the prospect of being able to control stuff they "sold" long after they handed it over to the customer and the thirst for power takes over. All rational considerations are ignored and discarded, all advice is taken selectively, all opinions biased.

    And once they built that kill button into their tech - it's so temping that it *will* be used.

    Again, with Kindle, removal of its content's DRM is so easy that it's trivial. Perhaps it was done on purpose. Remove it from all content you get from Amazon and the rental will become true purchase. If they try to recall something you will just restore stuff from your archive in un-DRMed format directly to the machine using USB.

    Perhaps it is still the best system (i.e. the easiest to bypass) - I heard that removal of Adobe's or Sony's DRM is a PITA.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Very much like modern government

    The attitude is very reminiscent of modern government officials. "You know what you did, and we are going to punish you for it. No, we don't need any proof or legal proceedings - we are investigator, attorney, judge, jury, and executioner. You have no rights".

    At least Amazon's victims only lose all their books (and, if they were foolish enough to entrust it to Amazon, data). If government decides unilaterally that you have Done Something Bad you are liable to find yourself - and very likely your family and friends - evaporated without warning.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Norway has Amazon?

    Last I checked, Amazon had made precisely zero progress with Scandinavian languages or sites because the publishers told them to Foxtrot Oscar. he he.

    I believe the books available to a user depends on the country setting in the kindle account. So Linn may, on purpose or not, have broken some export license. The discussion around .co.uk vs .com indicates that geography has to do with it.

    Still sucks to have it wiped though and, as others have pointed out, generates evil PR for Amazon.

  51. Triggerfish

    RE: When I travel

    Unfortunately lack of decent second hand bookshops, and being somewhere remote was often the case.

    I will go for a few months and have found myself stocking up on books when I find a good second hand place just so when I get somewhere more remote I have a halfway decent read.

    Not doing this sort of thing has lead me to having to suffer Dan Brown.

  52. Triggerfish

    @ Jeffypooh

    Thats half a rucksack when travelling, not storage at home.

    I try not to bring my whole library with me I don't have enough room in the house for it as it is.

    Although the idea of doing it Victorian style and having porters does hold something....

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is there actually any proof that this is true ?

    Reason I ask is so far we've had one blog say it happened to a friend of theirs, and that is all. I've seen no hard proof, no follow up stories, no press comments, no nothing, just one blob story and lots of anti-Amazon/Kindle people jumping on the bad wagon.

    If proof that this did occur, and i'll restract.

    It had also crossed my mind that this might be part true, but they are hiding some thing from the story. We know he Kindle was bought off eBay - perhaps it had been reported stolen. I also note the story has updated with her account being linked to a previously banned account - some thing it did not say last night.

    Anon as I know I'll receive flack and can't be arsed with it being targeeted,

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dead tree alternative

    UK commentards looking for a dead tree alternative to DRM-infested eBooks could do worse than check out Green Metropolis. They act as a middleman linking people with unwanted books with people seeking books. You list the books you have for sale, for £3,50, and wait for GM to tell you someone has bought one of them. You then post the book to the buyer and GM credit your account with £3, which you can use to buy books off other Green Metropolis members.

    Those were the prices last time I used it, which was a year or two ago: Buy/Sell for the fixed price of £3,50 and get credited with £3 for each sale, with Green Metropolis taking the 50p cut on each transaction —althought some of this goes to planting new trees.

    It all works pretty well, although sometimes you have to wait a bit for a book you want to become available. No connection. No affiliation —i've just used it in the past to whittle down my collection a bit and off-load the mind-bogglingly bad book choices my sister habitually buys me for Christmas.

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