SEATTLE (CN) – A federal class action claims that Amazon is deleting books from its Kindle 2 electronic reading device after customers buy them, and ironically, the disappearing books have primarily been George Orwell’s “1984” and “Animal Farm.“ The class says Amazon never told customers it had the right or the ability to delete books from people’s personal property – the Kindles.
Named plaintiff Antoine Bruguier says he got an e-mail from Amazon stating that “a problem had been discovered” with his copy of 1984 and that it would be deleted from his Kindle. Bruguier says he contacted Amazon to say, “I would like to keep the title 1984. I like this book.”
But Amazon already had deleted the book and issued a refund.
Bruguier says Amazon told him, first, that it could “not offer any additional insight or action on these matters,” then said it did not have the right to sell the book. Bruguier claims “Amazon intended to conceal the true purpose” of its actions. “I thought that once purchased … the books were mine,” he said.
Orwell’s 1984 depicts a bleak dystopian future in which the flow of information is controlled and censored by a government entity known as “Big Brother.”
By deleting the books without customers’ knowledge or consent, Amazon also rendered useless any electronic notes made by purchasers of the e-books. Another named plaintiff, Justin Gawronski, says notes such as “remember this paragraph for your thesis” became worthless when Amazon deleted his copy of “1984.”
Amazon also has deleted copies of works by Ayn Rand, including “The Fountainhead,” “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Virtue of Selfishness,” and some Harry Potter titles, blaming a technical glitch, the class claims.
The class, aptly named in the complaint as the “Big Brother Class,” seeks declaratory relief, damages and restitution for fraud, breach of contract, and conversion. They are represented by Clifford Cantor of Sammamish, Wash., and Jay Edelson with Kamber Edelson of Chicago.