The Sunday Salon: Orwell Gets “Orwelled”

Found this link via Paisley and Plaid about Amazon deleting books downloaded on Kindles. Downloaded e-books bought on Kindles apparently can be remotely removed by a company without permission from the owner of the Kindle. According to the article on Slate, the Orwellian practice was used to protect intellectual property rights, and ironically one of the books deleted was Orwell’s 1984. The article talks about how dangerous such deletions are — essentially it’s corporate book banning.

Apparently,  if you buy a Kindle, you are not buying a device to download books, you’re buying a service that allows you to download books onto the device. And apparently those books can be taken away at the corporation’s discretion. Perhaps the next totalitarian state will not be a country or nation, but will come out of the corporate world. 

Clearly, if you’re buying this service, someone is monitoring your purchases. And while such a service could be an innocuous way to gather marketing information, even that is intrusive, because marketing more and more influences our tastes. And that influence is corrosive, especially to literature and art — if marketers can’t see the potential for a book to sell, whether it has literary merit or not, then the book never gets out to the public. In effect, censorship.

I hope I don’t sound like a paranoid conspiracy theorist, but it is frightening when we can’t purchase something like a book without someone looking over our shoulder to see if it’s the “right” book for us to be reading.


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