Sunday, October 28, 2012

When Things Sour with Amazon

An interesting blog by Martin Bekkelund made the rounds this week, when he wrote about a friend named Linn whose Kindle account was suddenly closed and all of her books deleted. Linn wrote to Amazon to ask why. As far as she knew she’d broken no rules. She received an email from Michael Murphy, representing Executive Customer Relations with He wrote that her account was directly related to another account which was previously closed due to an abuse of policies. He also said that Amazon has the right to refuse service, terminate accounts, delete content, and cancel orders at their discretion. He then advised her that any attempt to open a new account would be unsuccessful. In other words, they were done with her.

Linn claims she had no idea how she’d broken any rules and asked for further explanation. She told Murphy she had only one account, which was with, not All Murphy would say was that her account was related to a previously blocked account, but he wouldn’t tell her how they were related. She wrote again for more explanation, but had no luck. Also, whatever money she spent on Kindle and ebooks wouldn’t be returned.

Bekkelund says that in the world of technology, DRM (Digital Rights Management), user and privacy rights, or lack of them, are not in the consumers’ best interest, and in this case, it appears that he’s right. It’s also important to mention, though, that obviously we don’t know the whole story as Amazon won’t disclose key information. I do know that it’s really important to read the fine print when dealing with Amazon, or any business for that matter. It will be interesting to see if other Kindle users go public with similar experiences.

Bekkelund’s blog also appeared on Yahoo News this week. In a sidebar, Yahoo asked readers if they would buy Amazon ebooks after reading the article. 89% voted no. I’ve never owned a Kindle and am now even less inspired to purchase one.

I also heard this week that Amazon’s seriously considering removing any review written by authors because of all the bogus, self-serving reviews that have appeared. Don’t get me started on how ludicrous this is. Plenty of authors write thoughtful, considerate reviews about books with no connection to the author at all. I’ve reviewed three of E.M. Forster’s books and several Nancy Drew mysteries over the past year. Since both authors have been dead for some time, there’s clearly no I’ll write-a-positive-review-if-you-do-the-same-for-me arrangement. Will Amazon figure this out? Somehow I doubt it. Plenty of non-authors write ridiculous things. We’ll see how this plays out in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

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