Amazon's DRM Policies and Cloud Services Raise Questions

Oct 23, 2012

It's been a bad start to the week for Amazon. One Kindle owner is alleging that Amazon deleted her Kindle library and basically said "too bad" when she asked what happened. The story originated on a Norwegian blog, where Amazon UK's response to the Kindle owner's inquiries was posted. What was Amazon's explanation:

We have found your account is directly related to another which has been previously closed for abuse of our policies. As such, your account has been closed and any open orders have been cancelled.

Per our Conditions of Use which state in part: and its affiliates reserve the right to refuse service, terminate accounts, remove or edit content, or cancel orders at their sole discretion.

Please know that any attempt to open a new account will meet with the same action.

In other words, the customer was told she basically has no recourse, and the ebooks she purchased are lost to her. This, of course, has raised plenty of eyebrows over DRM concerns.

But things got worse from here. Amazon's cloud services went down on America's East Coast, and took down many popular websites with it-including Pinterest, Airbnb, and Reddit. It would seem the much lauded cloud has failed rather blatantly in this case, and that taken as a whole, this week's Amazon news may have customers rethinking their choices. Is the cloud reliable enough? Do you really want to buy a book you will never really own?

None of this is likely to make much of a dent in Amazon's sales and services, but it certainly raises some interesting questions.