Kindle customers who had bought a copy of “1984” found the book deleted from their machine with no explanation. While it was later learned the publisher who uploaded the book did not have the appropriate rights, it set a scary precedent – that the company could ‘unsell’ something that you had legally bought.
Now Amazon is realizing what a colossal screw-up it made, calling it “stupid” and “thoughtless”. Better late than never, I suppose.
People affected by the action will receive a copy of “1984” for the Kindle (along with any annotations they made) or a $30 check or credit for Amazon products.
Gizmodo has the complete text of the note the company sent affected customers:
On July 23, 2009, Jeff Bezos, our Founder and CEO, made the following apology to our customers:
“This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our “solution” to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we’ve received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.
With deep apology to our customers,
Founder & CEO
As you were one of the customers impacted by the removal of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” from your Kindle device in July of this year, we would like to offer you the option to have us re-deliver this book to your Kindle along with any annotations you made. You will not be charged for the book. If you do not wish to have us re-deliver the book to your Kindle, you can instead choose to receive an Amazon.com electronic gift certificate or check for $30.
Please email Kindle customer support at firstname.lastname@example.org to indicate your preference. If you prefer to receive a check, please also provide your mailing address.
We look forward to hearing from you.
The Kindle Team