Amazon Still Contrite After Kindle Deletions

Adrian Versteegh

More than six weeks after it remotely erased unlicensed copies of George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm from an undisclosed number of Kindle devices, Amazon is still trying to make amends. Last Thursday the company sent an e-mail to affected customers offering to either replace the deleted e-books or provide restitution in the form of a gift certificate or check for thirty dollars.

Last week’s communiqué reprised an apology first issued in late July by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos in which he called the Kindle erasures “stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles.” Amazon also stressed that it would replace the deleted titles with users’ annotations intact—a possible nod toward the Michigan high school student who sued the bookseller after the copy of 1984 to which his summer assignment notes referred suddenly vanished.

Amazon pulled the Orwell titles—which are still protected by copyright law in the United States—in mid-July after discovering that the works had been added to the Kindle catalogue by an unauthorized publisher. The retailer tried to quietly refund customers’ money but instead prompted widespread criticism as well as a class action lawsuit for breach of contract.

Kindle users who were affected by the deletions can contact Amazon for restitution at