UPDATE: In response to the issue outlined below and a request for comment by Digital Book World, Amazon has posted the following on its customer forum:
“We would like to clarify our policy on this topic. Account status should not affect any customer’s ability to access their library. If any customer has trouble accessing their content, he or she should contact customer service for help. Thank you for your interest in Kindle.”
Amazon reportedly closed a customer’s Kindle account against her will, erasing much of the contents and offering little in the way of explanation; and it’s causing a wave of anti-digital-rights-management sentiment on the Web.
After having her Kindle erased remotely and being locked out of her account, the customer, who is called “Linn” in the report but is essentially anonymous, was sent a short note by Amazon claiming that the account was, “directly related to another which has been previously closed for abuse of our policies. As such, your Amazon.co.uk account has been closed and any open orders have been cancelled.”
According to Nick Harkaway at Futurebook, the digital publishing blog of UK-based The Bookseller, this incident is quickly being addressed as a “DRM issue” (something he thinks is perhaps an oversimplification). He writes, “DRM facilitates this, of course, and it turns out that a lot more of the more switched-on Amazon customers routinely strip DRM from their purchases in order to immunise themselves from this sort of incident.”
Comments in the original post reveal that at least some readers are doing this.
Yngve I. Levinsen wrote:
“I usually buy epub-books for my Kindle since I have software which removes the DRM from epub but not the Kindle format (or I buy from DRM-free stores). Even though the process is a bit tedious, I am now very happy about my procedures. At least no company can decide that I suddenly should not be allowed to keep my purchased books anymore.”
Nick Pheas wrote:
“This is exactly why my first action on buying an Amazon book is to run it through Calibre to strip out the DRM and convert it to ePub just in case.”
“…there’s a very robust set of python scripts that’ll strip the DRM from purchased Amazon ebooks, which I habitually use for this very reason.”
Many subsequent comments ask how to strip DRM and store files off of Amazon’s servers.
Discussions on email lists and on Twitter are encouraging of stripping DRM from Kindle files and saving them just in case Amazon decides to do the same with your account. They are even sharing links that tells readers how to do so.