Friday, July 17, 2009

Kindle The Flame

Fahrenheit 451 has reached the electronic age. A friend of mine recently purchased a Kindle book reader. Basically it's a wireless device that can be used to download entire books as well as periodicals like the Wall Street Journal and read them off of a computer screen. Much handier than carrying an armload of books to a restaurant or on a plane etc. These things are not cheap, although the books you can buy for them can be.
Right after she got it she proudly showed it off to me. Her very first book purchase? Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged for $1.99. I had to admit it was pretty cool.
Just the other day she called me pretty upset. Atlas Shrugged was no longer on her Kindle. Amazon had pulled it and refunded her money... Without notifying her in advance.
Their excuse? It was a faulty file and that book will no longer be available. I opened it up when I was examining her Kindle and it seemed to work just fine. Granted I didn't read the whole thing while sitting in a restaurant with her, but it seemed OK.
Atlas is a rather conservative book. A book whose sales jumped dramatically with the results of the last election. She called conspiracy theory, and she is very level headed and not wont to go off on black helicopter rants or anything. I thought it was strange, and a little disturbing that they could take it back with out telling her and agreed to write this post. Imagine you were to turn on your computer and some recently purchased and installed software was just gone, and the company who provided it refunded your money, without advance notification or explanation until you called them. Disturbing.
Well, this story has taken a left hand turn:
Fox News online this morning had a story. The headline? "Orwell's '1984' and 'Animal Farm' Deleted From Kindles" Click for the story.
That's right. Deleted, money refunded with no advanced warning.
Amazon's story? Pirated copies. The publisher's story? No returned call.
Both of these Orwellian tales are very spooky to me in these times of political and social turmoil. As a student of history, I know how dictatorships take over. Read Animal Farm for God's sake... While you can still find a hard copy. Can't do it on a Kindle.
"No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?" - George Orwell, Animal Farm, Ch. 5



At October 01, 2009 8:44 PM, Anonymous trupaladin said...

Although somewhat well used, quote appropriate in these times: "ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL, BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS" - George Orwell, Animal Farm, Ch. 10 - enjoy the blog, trupaladin.


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