Saturday 5 December 2020

1984 removed from Kindle

Readers who use Amazon Kindle have made a disturbing complaint. Those who had novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell suddenly noticed that it was absent. This was caused by a complaint from the book's current copyright owners because a pirate organization had been uploading copies of the novel to their own account and selling them independently. Amazon acted immediately against this obvious copyright theft, but instead of deleting just the copies sold by the pirate company, they deleted all copies on every device in the network, including the legal ones. Source: This mistake was actually a very fortuitous because it led to a revelation. It warned readers that e-books are not secure. They can be lost very easily by simply altering the database they are on. This can be done by hackers, but also by authorities. If all books are e-books then it gives ultimate distribution control by whoever administers the system. Supposed an oppressive regime decided to ban a certain book; indeed that has been done many times in history. Orwell's titles were banned in Russia right up until 1990, when the Soviet regime was on its last legs. Animal Farm was banned in the United Arab Emirates because the Islamic theocracy objects to the concept of anthropomorphic pigs. Ireland is one of the worst offenders; along with many other titles, it banned the classic by Orwell's schoolteacher Aldous Huxley, Brave New World. There are numerous other examples. Ian R Crane raised the point that the world "kindle" means "firewood"; for burning books? The thing is, with e-books you don't need a fire; all you need is to press a button. In the past, all book banning attempts failed because books were printed with good old fashioned paper and ink. Once they have sold enough copies over a wide enough area, a book becomes virtually indestructible. The censor has literally to track down every single copy ever bought, lent or sold. That is impossible. Indeed when the regimes fell or the censorship was lifted, people came out onto the streets waving the book saying: "I had one in my attic all along. I just couldn't tell anybody until now." What's more, in those circumstances the "forbidden fruit" factor kicks in and the book shoots to the top of the bestseller charts. This happened in Germany in 2016 when Mein Kampf was finally legalized, see:
I do not have a portable Kindle reader. I have the app on my desktop along with the Adobe Acrobat reader, but this is purely for books I want to read which are only available via those systems. All my other books are paperbacks, plus a few hardbacks; although I don't like them as much because they are bulky and more difficult to handle. However, unless I literally burn them or rip them to shreds, I cannot delete my library. This is why my own commercial literature is only available as paperbacks. I did consider making Roswell Rising an e-book, but then changed my mind despite requests from readers. I once had my earlier work Rockall on Kindle, but then withdrew it and instead published a free second edition on Ben's Bookcase. I encourage readers to copy it and print hard copies, see: If you are at all concerned by freedom-of-information then you have to understand that good old-fashioned paper book publishing is essential. I know that an e-book reader is "ever so convenient!", and there's nothing wrong with using them for, say, travel; with literature on there you just need for casual entertainment. However for books that you truly value and/or are significant, then you must back them up with paper copies.
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