Ebooks and Terms & Conditions

As purchasing goods and services through the cloud becomes more common, it is easy to forget that it is not always analogous to buying a product physically, as one Amazon customer from Norway found out recently, when her Kindle was wiped of all its books without warning.

In a blog post which includes the emails back and forth between the customer and Amazon, the reason that Amazon wiped the Kindle appears to be a DRM issue concerning which country specific site of Amazon the customer bought the ebooks from.

Ebooks are often purchased and delivered through the cloud, but this is not the same as going into a physical shop and purchasing a physical book. As most ebooks are rented, not bought, removing the access to the book (ie. deleting it) is within Amazon’s ability to remove the service of providing the ebook, if they believe that a customer have violated the terms and conditions.

Whilst there has been precedent to this, with the ironic incident of Amazon remotely wiping copies of George Orwell’s 1984 , it is another reminder that ebooks are not goods, but services.

Fully understanding the terms and conditions of cloud services is important for all consumers – as even if Amazon is in the wrong this time, it is important for consumers to know their rights before they purchase any service.

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