Amazon UK Wipes Woman's Kindle Library, Won't Say Why
Amazon's offer to store your downloaded Kindle e-books in the cloud seems outstanding, especially given the e-reader's scant 2GB of onboard storage. But a tale making the rounds this week highlights the dangers of leaving your data completely in third-party hands.
A Norwegian woman claims that her Amazon.co.uk account was deleted, and all her Kindle e-books erased, without warning — or explanation.
Media commentator and business IT manager Martin Bekkelund recounts the plight on his blog. The woman — identified as Linn — contacted Amazon customer service when she noticed her account had been deleted, only to be told that her "Amazon.co.uk account has been closed and any open orders have been cancelled" because is it "directly related to another [account] which has been previously closed for abuse of our policies."
When Linn asked for details, claiming that she'd only ever used a single Amazon account, the company refused to tell her how her account was linked to the blocked account, the name of the blocked account or even what the blocked account was blocked for.
The Amazon representative stonewalled Linn when she expressed her incredulity at the turn of events, saying simply that closing an account is permanent.
"We wish you luck in locating a retailer better able to meet your needs and will not be able to offer any additional insight or action on these matters," she was told in conclusion.
BoingBoing's Cory Doctorow suggests that the account may have been closed because Linn was using a British email address to purchase eBooks while residing in Norway.
No matter what the reason, the ordeal serves as reminder of one of the major issues with content protected by digital-rights management software, or DRM.
You're often not buying the content itself, but instead a license to use it. Many companies retain the right to yank your license privileges at any time — even if they refuse to tell you why.
If you want to limit the hold Amazon and others have on you, stick to DRM-free downloads as often as possible. Just in case, don't forget to back up whatever data you can.