Amazon Sends 1984 Down the Memory Hole

lurid-1984-cover.jpgI once read a bit of graffiti over the urinal in a low end pub in Oxford that said "they don't sell the beer here, they rent it." Jaymi and I have both been gaga over the idea of e-books, that it is the words that are important, not the medium that transports them to you. That electronic delivery was greener and better.

But we just got a very rude awakening; you can stick a book under your mattress and as long as Oskar Werner and the Fahrenheit 451 police are not on to you, you are pretty secure in thinking that you own it. Not with a Kindle; it is much like that crappy Oxford pub, you don't own anything.

David Pogue writes in the New York Times(and I do my biggest quote ever, it deserves it):

This morning, hundreds of Amazon Kindle owners awoke to discover that books by a certain famous author had mysteriously disappeared from their e-book readers. These were books that they had bought and paid for—thought they owned.

This is ugly for all kinds of reasons. Amazon says that this sort of thing is "rare," but that it can happen at all is unsettling; we've been taught to believe that e-books are, you know, just like books, only better. Already, we've learned that they're not really like books, in that once we're finished reading them, we can't resell or even donate them. But now we learn that all sales may not even be final.

It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.
As one of my readers noted, it's like Barnes & Noble sneaking into our homes in the middle of the night, taking some books that we've been reading off our nightstands, and leaving us a check on the coffee table.

You want to know the best part? The juicy, plump, dripping irony?

The author who was the victim of this Big Brotherish plot was none other than George Orwell. And the books were "1984" and "Animal Farm."

I am seriously rethinking everything I have written about e-books.

Tags: Books | Electronics


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