Amazon deletes 1984 from Kindles, Orwell rolls in grave

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

[Updated: The New York Times now reports that Amazon effectively acknowledged that the deletions were a bad idea. "We are changing our systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers' devices in these circumstances," a spokesman told the newspaper.]

Got a Kindle? Think you've got a copy of 1984 on it? Don't be so sure about that.

Hundreds of Amazon Kindle owners had their electronic copies of George Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984 deleted from their e-book readers overnight, according to David Pogue's tech blog over at The New York Times.

It seems that the publisher which had offered these electronic editions changed its mind, and so Amazon remotely deleted those books from people's Kindles and refunded the purchase price to their accounts. But ... didn't the Kindle owners who'd bought and paid for these editions own them? Apparently not.

Per one of Pogue's commenters, "It's like Barnes & Noble sneaking into our homes in the middle of the night, taking some books that we've been reading off our nightstands, and leaving us a check on the coffee table."

As Orwell once wrote, "Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows."

To that we add, freedom is the freedom to keep the book we paid for.