A Kindle user in the Netherlands has had her kindle wiped, her purchases removed and her Amazon account closed, and to top it all off Amazon refuse to provide a reason for it.
See, this is exactly why I don’t own a kindle and I’m very reluctant to own a kindle. If you buy the books through Amazon, you just don’t own them which is why the prices are so low. You rent them on a permanent basis, up until Amazon decide that you shouldn’t be allowed to have them any more. Simple as.
I don’t hate e-books, but it is important to understand these very limitations before getting a Kindle. This is also why the big battles of publishers vs. Amazon piss me off somewhat.
Publishers claim that they have to charge £10 or whatever for an ebook because they had to pay the author, the author’s agent, the editors, the graphic designers and everyone else involved in writing the book, and they don’t understand that we don’t want to pay that much for a book, knowing it could be repossessed at any time by the retailer. I understand that they “need” to pay all of these people, but they are also not selling us a guaranteed product. When we buy a paperback, we get to have all of the pages of that paperback until we die or the book is destroyed or we decide to sell it or whatever. When we buy an ebook, we get no such guarantees. We get to read that book until the publisher decides to pull it, or the retailer decides to cancel your account. Therefore, an ebook does not have the same intrinsic value as a paperback, and should be priced far lower to reflect that.
I will not pay more than about £2 for an ebook - whether it is from a “proper” publisher or a self-published author because I am fully aware that I never get to actually own that book. Maybe the cheaper self-published books have more typos and poor editing, but they also aren’t as much of an investment if I lose them because I end up being a victim of Amazon’s random policing of accounts.
Over 90% of the books on my Kindle were free, either from Amazon or from other places like Project Gutenberg. It’s not just because I’m cheap or because I have no real job and very little money. It is a conscious choice not to invest money in a product that doesn’t really exist.
The other thing to learn from this is: KEEP ALL OF THE EMAILS AMAZON SENDS YOU WHEN YOU PURCHASE EBOOKS. Those are your only proof of the monetary value lost if you have to take them to court over it.