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Lose Your Amazon Account and Your Kindle Dies 419

Posted by timothy
from the just-give-us-the-money-and-nobody-gets-hurt dept.
Mike writes "If you buy a Kindle and some Kindle ebooks from Amazon, be careful of returning items. Amazon decided that one person had returned too many things, so they suspended his Amazon account, which meant that he could no longer buy any Kindle books, and any Kindle subscriptions he's paid for stop working. After some phone calls, Amazon granted him a one-time exception and reactivated his account again." Take this with as much salt as you'd like.
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Lose Your Amazon Account and Your Kindle Dies

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  • by TheLinuxSRC (683475) * <slashdotNO@SPAMpagewash.com> on Thursday April 16, 2009 @03:30PM (#27601753) Homepage
    This is just another reason why DRM is not a benefit to the consumer and why consumers should *not* support DRM.
    • by pleappleappleap (1182301) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @03:40PM (#27601921) Homepage

      Indeed. I was planning on buying a Kindle (I read a LOT), but now I'm not going to. This is inexcusable, even if the complainant in the thread is in the wrong.

      • by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @06:12PM (#27604369)
        Please don't mod me redundant; I feel that if someone from Amazon sees this, they need to see multiple people saying it:

        I too was planning on buying a Kindle, but will never do so if my ability to use it is at the whim of someone other than myself.
        • by witherstaff (713820) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @08:44PM (#27605907) Homepage

          I agree also - I was looking forward to a Kindle as my next gadget purchase. I'm actually rather tired of physical books lately. For some reason hardcovers are not a standardized height meaning bookcases end up with a lot of wasted space. Why are they all over the place? I go on reading binges when time and work allow and it's way too easy to have a pile of books but no two are the same. Storage is a pain! I'd rather just have a good electronic reader.

          I can only hope the success of the Kindle and the projects like Openmoko means an open source type will come along.

    • by Thelasko (1196535) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @03:45PM (#27602003) Journal

      This is just another reason why DRM is not a benefit to the consumer and why consumers should *not* support DRM.

      Which reminds me, anybody know the status on TechCrunch's open source tablet? [techcrunch.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What does DRM have to do with this? The previous books he had bought would still be accessible. I have wireless turned off all the time on mine, sometimes months at a time, only when I buy something from the kindle store do I turn it on. Never has a file been unavailable.

      The problem he had was the account was disabled. IE: There were no files being delivered. At all. He wouldn't have gotten books, mails sent to his @kindle account or subscription. The account was disabled, ergo it couldn't be accesse

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by stewbacca (1033764)

      This has nothing to do with DRM. I like the jump to conclusion though--kindle, suspended, must be a DRM problem.

      Your post is just another reason why anti-DRM proponents gets such little respect.

      • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @04:52PM (#27603221) Journal

        You're right - it's not a DRM problem.

        It's a rental problem wherein our corporate overlords are trying to convince us we are "buying" books when it fact we are only renting them, until the corporation decides to block access to the servers (or the company goes out-of-business). Now there's nothing wrong with renting, but the overlords should be honest about it, and the rental rate should be lower than if I bought the physical book. In most cases, neither is true.

    • by BrentH (1154987) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @04:57PM (#27603315)
      We don't take kindle to DRM around here!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by blhack (921171)

      What does this have to do with DRM?

      The guy didn't lose the books that he had already purchased. What amazon did was the equivalent of Borders books getting angry with you and deciding that you're not allowed to shop their anymore.

      A douchey practice, sure, but it really feels like people just want to hate the kindle for some reason.

      Oh gawd, I'm defending a chunk of white plastic...i feel like a mac user..

      what I meant to say was "DOWN WITH BEZOS!!!"

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by blackest_k (761565)

        Actually it effectively reduced the value of his kindle to practically nothing overnight. would you buy a used kindle from this guy?
          The value of secondhand ebooks must be pretty low too while its possible some titles might be to your taste a lot won't be and worth zero to you.
        at least with paper books you don't have to find a buyer with exactly the same tastes as you. Nice thing about the guy with the second hand book stall he'd buy back books as well as sell them.

    • DRM == Theft (Score:4, Informative)

      by LuYu (519260) on Friday April 17, 2009 @12:11AM (#27607457) Homepage Journal

      After reading that post and subsequent comments including the Amazon letter he received, there is no question in my mind: Amazon is guilty of theft.

      The facts are these: He returned some items (that were not books or e-books) and had his account banned. Along with his purchase account, his Kindle account was also banned. If that meant he could continue using the books he already had, fine. But because of DRM, he cannot access the books he already purchased!

      Ian [mobileread.com] says:

      3) I am now unable to access archived copies of the Kindle books I've purchased legally, and have no other way to legally purchase DRM'ed books on the device.

      4) I also have no access to videos I have purchased from Amazon.

      By making legitimately purchased information unavailable to him, Amazon is stealing (this is traditional theft -- taking something away from someone without the person's permission). If you do not agree with this, consider this scenario: Barnes & Noble is dissatisfied with your behaviour as a customer, so they ban you from all of their stores. And then they come to your house and take away all the books in your library because they claim you no longer have a right to access them.

      Be very afraid of the cloud. Companies will be able to do anything they want with your information.

  • Defective by design

  • Not Entirely True (Score:5, Informative)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Thursday April 16, 2009 @03:32PM (#27601787) Journal
    Maybe he should have followed the link [mobileread.com] of the first reply's signature? From that site:

    Myth:

    If you buy a Kindle, you are locked into Amazon's Kindle store.

    Truth:

    There are many sources for books that can be read on the Kindle.

    Some Free Sites (Public Domain / Creative Commons)

    MobileRead.com [mobileread.com] (look for .mobi books you can download to your computer or download the MobiGuide and get your books via Whispernet) Feedbooks.com [feedbooks.com] (books can be downloaded to your computer or if you download their Kindle Guide you can get your books via Whispernet - they even have a video on how to use the guide) Manybooks.net [manybooks.net] (when you download to your computer, look for Kindle format or Mobipocket) 1001Books [1001books.com] (download books to your computer or directly from your Kindle browser)

    Some Pay Sites

    Fictionwise.com [fictionwise.com] (look for .mobi books but NOT Secure Mobipocket books) BooksonBoard.com [booksonboard.com] (register your Kindle's PID and you can download any .mobi from their Overdrive servers - to learn more about this see the Visual Kindle Guide [slashdot.org] wiki) Baen.com [baen.com] (great site for Sci-Fi books which offers free as well as low cost books)

    So your Kindle is still somewhat useful. I would hope that more competition arises and Amazon removes its Kindle services from its e-book services so as to avoid a nasty inevitable anti-trust suit.

  • by Kelson (129150) * on Thursday April 16, 2009 @03:36PM (#27601847) Homepage Journal

    This makes me wonder what would happen with my G1 if for some reason I lost access to my Google account. (You basically can't do anything on the phone without being signed in, though you can create a new account from the phone itself.)

    I suspect I could just link it to another account and re-sync contacts, calendar, etc. But then there's the question of purchased apps. Are they linked to the phone, to the cellular plan, or to the Google account? It's something I hadn't thought about before.

  • by PrimalChrome (186162) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @03:38PM (#27601873)

    He clearly states that he regularly returns big ticket items because they're 'defective'. I know a number of people that utilize this same exploit on a regular basis. They only shop at places with excellent return policies. They order big ticket items and when they realize they maxxed their CC or decide the novelty has worn off, they return them because suddenly they notice a defect. Most of the time this defect was either imaginary or simply the result of several days/weeks of playtime.

    As this becomes a hit to company profits, they will have to be much more careful on returns....making it much harder on those of us with valid returns. Too bad they reinstated his account.

    • by Ogive17 (691899)
      Same reason department stores make sure they place the price tag on clothes in an area that is not easily hideable.. too many people were "buying" clothes, wearing them once or twice, and returning them as unused.

      Any good faith effort a company makes at being consumer friendly will be abused by a few asshats and ruined for everyone else.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SydShamino (547793)

        And Amazon has every right to refuse to sell him anything further, including additional books for his Kindle. However, they have to support his ability to use books he has legally purchased. (Yes, purchased. Not rented or licensed.)

        I suspect their web R&D team is hard at work today on a way to "suspend" an account that prevents future purchases but continues to support authorization for past purchases.

    • by barik (160226) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @03:57PM (#27602227) Homepage

      It's one thing to tell someone that they're no longer welcome to order anymore, but it's quite another to retroactively disable anything that they've previously purchased. That's the distinction.

      Many people abuse the flexible Costco return policy. Some of these people get their memberships revoked. At no time does Costco come in and say that they can no longer use items they've already bought.

    • Also you get people who are extremely picky and abuse return policies to return things that aren't defective, but just aren't perfect. Displays are a big one people do that with. It is extremely rare to have a perfect display. There are always some minor imperfections. Well you get people who will just return and return displays trying to win the lottery and get the perfect one.

      This has led many places to have a "no returns" kind of policy for screens.

      I can fully understand Amazon getting sick of this kind

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Overzeetop (214511)

      It is also abused by the unscrupulous for products which decline in retail value over time (electronics, etc). Costco changed their policy on computer items to combat these losers.

  • Dont be a dumbass (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hadlock (143607) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @03:48PM (#27602065) Homepage Journal

    If your account is flagged for returning shit, you're just dumb. Don't buy crap and then return it and expect to stay in a company's good graces for long. I think I speak for all people who ever retail when I say this to people who return more than 1 item every 6 months: Eat Shit And Die. You wouldn't abuse your friends and family like that, so why harrass stores and their employees, even if they're owned/employed by a soulless corperation. Something like 15% of items are returned (dollar amount perhaps), which significantly cuts into profits and drives up prices for everyone else. Fuck You.
     
    /rant off.
     
    i would kill myself before working retail again.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dstar (34869)

      So you clearly never shop at Fry's. I have roughly a 50% failure rate for things I buy there -- and there has been more than one case where I had to exchange something several times before giving up and asking for my money back.

      I don't shop at Fry's if I have a choice anymore, but my returns didn't make _me_ a bad person.

  • iKindle (Score:5, Funny)

    by janwedekind (778872) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @03:51PM (#27602121) Homepage
    Any device which comes with this much DRM should be prefixed with "i".
  • by PriceIke (751512) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @03:56PM (#27602225)

    To me this demonstrates the tradeoff between the convenience and concepts of 'property' issues that emerge when content is moved from a real-world media (book) to a digital one. Where in this transition is it implied that the original content creator has the right to demand how the product is to be used? If I buy a [real] book from Amazon, am I to expect that if Amazon cancels my account--for a legitimate reason or not--they have the right to come to my house and take back all the books I've bought (or been gifted by friends/family) from them? That word "unacceptable" is not near forceful enough to express how wrong that is. But somehow if I buy an e-book for the Kindle, suddenly that same exact behavior is greeted with, eh, whatever, it's just DRM.

    My parents actually ordered me a Kindle for a graduation present, but fortunately it had not arrived in time for them to give it to me at graduation. I had them cancel the order. (They got me an iPod Touch instead.) There's no way in hell I'm willing to accept ridiculous levels of DRM for the benefit of being able to read a book on an electronic device. BOOKS ARE CHEAP and they do not NEED an electronic delivery mechanism! I don't quite understand why on earth a product like the Kindle needs to exist.

    • by MBGMorden (803437) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @04:05PM (#27602423)

      BOOKS ARE CHEAP and they do not NEED an electronic delivery mechanism! I don't quite understand why on earth a product like the Kindle needs to exist.

      Whats worst is that not only are books already cheap, but they're often CHEAPER in physical form than on the kindle. I was in the supermarket the other day and saw that they had Twilight as a mass market paperback. IIRC the price was $6.99 (cover - no store discount). The same darned book in eBook form, which is just a collection of bits costing many times less to reproduce than the book, is priced at $9.99. There is just something wrong with that. Plus, as a failsafe, books don't need a device that can break, or needs power, etc. Call me paranoid but with the current economic climate the world of "Mad Max" is looking like a possible eventuality, and the regular books will be useful far longer into that period than an ebook.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Beezlebub33 (1220368)

        Plus, as a failsafe, books don't need a device that can break, or needs power, etc. Call me paranoid but with the current economic climate the world of "Mad Max" is looking like a possible eventuality, and the regular books will be useful far longer into that period than an ebook.

        If we ever hit the 'Mad Max' stage, regular books like Twilight will be especially useful...as toilet paper and for starting fires.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Arlet (29997)

          If we ever hit the 'Mad Max' stage, regular books like Twilight will be especially useful...as toilet paper and for starting fires.

          You mean, regular books will be useful as kindling ?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Thraxen (455388)

      Wait... you're complaining about Kindle's DRM and you chose an iPod Touch instead? What's the difference? The Kindle doesn't require that you actually buy DRM'd content. It supports DRM free files too.

      And for why e-readers exist... convenience. Plain and simple. Buy books online and have them instantly. You entire library can exist in a single device instead of on a physical bookshelf. Making your collection both easier to store and transport... plus doing away with the need to even own a book shelf.

  • Rentals (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MasseKid (1294554)
    If there was any one still believing that any media that includes DRM is anything but a rental, take note. This should be even more fear inducing as this isn't an issue over a 3 or 4 year old game, this is just a customer that the seller decided they didn't like anymore.
  • Expect to see much more of this as cloud computing takes off. Every application you use will be licensed to you and subject to the whim of your vendor. Eventually we'll talk about the good old days when we owned our computers and everything on them.
  • ...kindle to kindling?

  • by kheldan (1460303) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @04:50PM (#27603173) Journal
    If you're talking about periodicals or school textbooks then e-book readers make sense to me, but if you're purchasing a piece of literature that you're going to keep beyond next week, then I think e-books are more trouble than they're worth, especially if someone can arbitrarily decide that you shouldn't be allowed access to something you've already paid for, regardless of whether the person mentioned "should have made backup copies". I'd feel less strongly about this if there was no DRM involved, but as is, I say "no way".
  • Well (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pugugly (152978) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @05:02PM (#27603413)

    My desire for a Kindle just dropped from "It's really cool and I am going to eventually have one!" to zero.

    The main reason I have not cared for e-books is that I want ownership - I want to keep my books. Until now, I assumed I would with a Kindle, obviously not.

    Pug

  • by brit74 (831798) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @06:03PM (#27604267)
    I'm unclear how the existence of non-existence of DRM on the Kindle makes any difference in this case. He can't buy from the Amazon store. Okay. If Amazon only sold un-DRMed ebooks, then he still wouldn't be able to buy from the store. Further, the Kindle doesn't just display books purchased from Amazon. Any non-DRM ebook can be read on the Kindle. Further, he says that he can still read his purchased books on his Kindle. The main thing I dislike about the situation is the fact that he can't move his DRMed books off of the Kindle (say, in a few years when he wants a new ebook reader).

    From the slashdot summary: "and any Kindle subscriptions he's paid for stop working." Where does it say that in the article? (Or is the Slashdot submitter's dislike of DRM causing him to interpret this as another "bad DRM" story?)
  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @06:25PM (#27604517) Journal
    sure, it kills tress, but it's MINE ALL MINE BABEEE!!!
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @07:15PM (#27605045)
    Clearly this hasn't been Amazon's best week. They've really put their foot into it twice already, and the week ain't even over yet.

C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique. -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]

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