How and why you should back up your Kindle where Amazon can’t reach

Kindle

I had a realization yesterday..however much this pains me to say I have to admit it, I…am… a fanboy. I can’t count the times I have had arguments with apple, linux or windows fanboys for that matter. I have always had that little sense of superiority as I believe in technology in general and using the best tools you can get your hands on. At the same time I’m not a very big fan of putting all my eggs in one basket and selling my soul to a single software/hardware ecosystem. With Amazon and Kindle this is just what I have done.

Like all fanboys I justify this by stating to myself that I really love my device (the Kindle touch), and really I do! I use the Kindle more than my HTC One X or iPad and the thought of not using it anymore makes me shudder. So it was with great dismay and dissapointment that I read this article by the Norwegian blogger Martin Bekkelund. It was picked up on twitter and finally made it to one of the more influential bloggers out there, Cory Doctorow. His feature piece can be found here.

The story is simply that a Norwegian Kindle user got her Amazon account shut down due to uknown reasons. Unknowns as Amazon did not tell Linn what she had done or how she could correct it. This meant that she lost access to all of her Kindle books and any other online material that she had purchased on Amazon. Apparently Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com are two separate companies and she was a customer with the UK-based Amazon and I am a customer with the US-based Amazon. The Norwegian lawyer Olav Torvund recently wrote an article (Norwegian) regarding what you agree to when signing the end user agreement of international companies like Amazon and Netflix. Amazon clearly states in their user agreement that if you break their licensing agreements in any way Amazon can delete your entire library of items that you have paid for. Now this is seriously not cool.

The Norwegian Amazon user Linn ended up with her account in order again after her story created a buzz big enough to reach Amazon’s support department with enough force. She still did not receive any proper reason as to why her account was closed in the first place. This means that Amazon can basically delete all your stuff and tell you that you’ve broken their licensing agreement without actually giving you any more detailed information. This here is THE problem with getting locked in by closed eco-systems. You really have to trust the company you’re dealing with and most likely you will untill the day where you can possibly lose everything.

I am a paranoid backupman, and seriously do not like the idea of anyone deleting books that I have paid for. There is although something one can do about this if you want to. The Digital Reader has made a guide to how you remove the DRM from your Kindle books as well as storing them in a separate folder. This means that you can always have a backup of your books in case Amazon shuts you out.

The best case scenario would of course be that Amazon removed their DRM from all their books as DRM as science fiction writer Charlie Stross states in this interview with Gizmodo. So Amazon, stop with this crap and take my money!

shut up and take my money

Featured Kindle image by Kodomut http://www.flickr.com/photos/kodomut/5145998814/