There was a hot story a couple weeks back involving Amazon closing an account for unspecified policy violation. I didn’t cover it at the time because I was busy with other things and it was not exactly a new phenomenon.
But even though I did not cover the story, I did watch it unfold. It was thrilling to see some of the side effects like how removing DRM suddenly became the cool thing to do. And as I read the coverage I noted that amidst the shock, horror, and dismay expressed at the account closure there seemed to be a lack of historical perspective.
The thing is, all the stories which I read neglected to mention that Amazon has done this before. This was not the first time Amazon has closed an account, nor was it even the first time that there was a media spectacle surrounding the story.
That was a huge media spectacle which rivaled the current incident in coverage. In that story one Amazon customer was cut off for policy violations, which in his case involved reportedly making too many returns. That Amazon customer also owned a Kindle and like Linn, he lost access to all of the Kindle ebooks which he had bought.
While the cause of the account closure was different the fact remains that Amazon closed his account. And that was a fact which everyone should have known even if they could not recall the specific details of the incident.
It was incidents like this that lead me to post instructions on how to remove Kindle DRM. I wasn’t being paranoid when I wrote that readers needed to protect themselves against losing access to their account; it had happened before.
Sometimes Chicken Little is right; the sky really is falling.