A kerfuffle has erupted recently among authors of erotica who have published Kindle titles on Amazon.com. It turns out that those featuring content that violates Amazon’s notoriously vague “content guidelines” have been removed not only from Amazon’s catalog but from the Kindles of customers that have already bought that title.
…As a writer, I frankly don’t give a damn.
But I read a hell of a lot more than I write. From a consumer’s perspective, this trend is completely new, and is phenomenally dangerous. It must not be allowed.
In fact I would say that, as a buyer of books, Amazon’s trend of retroactively canceling sales and removing work from your virtual bookshelf is absolutely catastrophic. It renders Amazon completely unacceptable as a retailer. In the case, for instance, of a CD that I buy, then legally rip, then illegally distribute as a set of MP3s, it takes legal action to hold me liable for that.
If Amazon’s position is that their sale to you can be rescinded at any time without notifying you, it has ceased to be a retailer. It can’t even claim to be a library, because libraries are (nowadays, usually) free. It is, at best, the on-demand equivalent of a radio station, except most radio stations are free, too. Why would one pay for the temporary use of a piece of text that they might have snatched from their computer at any time, when in the vast majority of cases they could obtain the same text for the same price from a company that doesn’t have a history of changing its mind and taking its purchase back?
Again, I will deliver my opinion explicitly, in case anyone missed it: Amazon must not remove from customers’ Kindles books they have already sold to them.
Amazon, either lock down your content at the starting gate, or take your lumps when you profit from the sale of something you’re uncomfortable profiting from.