Welcome to the Digital Realm: The Kindle Ate My Homework! - The UpStream

Welcome to the Digital Realm: The Kindle Ate My Homework!

posted Sunday Aug 2, 2009 by Nicholas DiMeo

Just when you thought the excuses couldn't get any more predictable, leave it to Amazon to conjure up another! 17 year-old high school student Justin Gawronski purchased a Kindle, the digital book storage device, in hopes to make his literature reading a bit easier. It did just that, up until his purchase of the George Orwell novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four." Justin was reading the book and taking notes, which are also stored on the device, in hopes of getting into an advanced placement class for his upcoming school year. He was required to take notes and write "reflections" of his experiences every 100 pages. All was well until one day he decided to turn on his Kindle only to have the novel miraculously disappear from his device. Amazon remotely pulled the book from its network after discovering the publisher, MobileReference, changed its mind about selling the content on the Kindle.

This was the message Amazon sent out regarding the matter:

The Kindle edition books Animal Farm by George Orwell. Published by MobileReference (mobi) & Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) by George Orwell. Published by MobileReference (mobi) were removed from the Kindle store and are no longer available for purchase. When this occurred, your purchases were automatically refunded. You can still locate the books in the Kindle store, but each has a status of not yet available. Although a rarity, publishers can decide to pull their content from the Kindle store.

Other versions of the novel are still available, but Justin purchased that particular one. The move rendered Justin's notes useless, because it contained such notations like "use this paragraph for your thesis." What better way to remedy his problem than to sue Amazon for emotional damages and preventing him from getting into the honors class.

I see two problems with this story. The first is that it is just daunting that consumers could legitimately purchase something only to have the seller silently take it back without any rhyme, reason or notification prior. The second is that Justin was reading a book... during the summer. Eek.

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