Amazon boss Jeff Bezos apologizes for Kindle e-book confiscation

In an apology posted on yesterday, company founder and CEO Jeff Bezos fell on his sword over his company’s deletion of unauthorized e-books (including George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four) from the Kindles of consumers who had already purchased them. Borrowing a rather loaded word from President Barack Obama, Bezos termed his company’s preemptive actions “stupid” — as well as “thoughtless and painfully out of line with our principles.” Amazon’s actions last week kicked up a firestorm in the media about the nature of e-book ownership and the specter of censorship by Amazon.

Bezos’ announcement reads in full: “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.”

Comments (6 total) Add your comment
  • angie pangie

    What a tough decision. On one hand is the concern over copyright infringement – certainly valid when talking about the integrity of trying to put a product out there (the Kindle) that is respected by both the user and the publishers. On the other hand, compare it to illegal songs on an iPod, which are very common. Users get these songs from other sources, websites, burned copies, etc. Are the illegal books being uploaded to and downloaded from Amazon? A stupid question, I’m sure, but not being a Kindle user, I don’t know. That would be a different problem, for sure. Stick to the print version! Kindle is trying to ruin a near perfect medium.

  • Bonnie

    Gee, a sincere apology but no offer to correct and return the “stolen but paid for” merchandise. Regardless of whether it was unautorized, the purchaser did not know that at the time and should not be punished. I hear nothing about them offering a full refund for their error (if indeed it really ever was). I think it was intentional to prevent being sued for distributing it.

    • Babs

      The customers DID get a refund. In fact, the notification of that refund was the first indication many got that the book had been deleted.

  • Chris Richards

    I think that more executives should be so quick to admit culpability. Why can’t the AIG execs be so reasonable.

  • jae jackson

    I was going to buy a Kindle but now I will not as I alone want to decide what is mine once I purchase it. I am staunchly opposed to the censorship possibilities shown by Amazon’s actions.

  • Laugh_it_Up..(:

    Wow i want one so badly
    i think that more kids would read…But parents wont have enough money to buy the books on it..(:
    well commet back to me plez..

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