Some profs here at DSU have suggested moving all our textbooks to Kindle. But when Amazon.com can reach into my library and erase my books (and notes!) after I’ve bought them, I say forget it. Last Friday, Amazon.com reached out and touched Kindle users by deleting improperly licensed editions of 1984 and Animal Farm.

…“It illustrates how few rights you have when you buy an e-book from Amazon,” said Bruce Schneier, chief security technology officer for British Telecom and an expert on computer security and commerce. “As a Kindle owner, I’m frustrated. I can’t lend people books and I can’t sell books that I’ve already read, and now it turns out that I can’t even count on still having my books tomorrow.”

Justin Gawronski, a 17-year-old from the Detroit area, was reading “1984” on his Kindle for a summer assignment and lost all his notes and annotations when the file vanished. “They didn’t just take a book back, they stole my work,” he said [Brad Stone, “Amazon Erases Orwell Books from Kindle,” New York Times, 2009.07.17].

Amazon.com did refund users’ money, and a contrite spokesman says they will revamp their policies to avoid such deletions from user devices in similar circumstances in the future. But this incident demonstrates that the Kindle gives too much control over content to the seller, control I as a student and teacher don’t care to surrender. If I can’t find a book I bought or the notes I’ve scribbled in the margins, I want it to be because I misplaced it, not because the company snuck into my house and took it away.

Keep your Kindle; I’ll stick with books and the Web.

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