Monthly Archives: December 2009

An e-book is not a book

From How to Destroy the Book, by Cory Doctorow

When I buy a book, it’s mine. There’s no mechanism, not even in the face of a court order, whereby a retailer can take a book away from me, and yet Amazon—there’s the most extraordinary thing that they had to do in the United States—you’ve heard of course that someone put a copy of Orwell’s 1984 in the Kindle Store, and it wasn’t licensed for distribution in the U.S.—of course, Orwell is in the public domain outside the U.S., in copyright in the U.S.—and Amazon responded to this intelligence by revoking the book 1984 from its customers’ ebook readers. After they’d bought it, they woke up one morning to discover their book had gone. But Amazon was actually pretty good. After thinking about it for a day, and confronting the media storm, they decided to restore the books—they gave them back to the people, and they made a promise: “We will never ever ever ever ever give your books away again. Unless we have to.”

Now I worked as a bookseller for a number of years in this city, and I never had to make that promise to any of my customers when they bought books.

Via the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Slashdot.