We Regret The New York Times’ Error

In “Kindling a Consumer Revolt,” I quoted the New York Times:

But no, apparently the publisher changed its mind about offering an electronic edition, and apparently Amazon, whose business lives and dies by publisher happiness, caved. It electronically deleted all books by this author from people’s Kindles and credited their accounts for the price.”

What seems to have happened is that a publisher, Mobile Reference, incorrectly loaded the Orwell works onto their Amazon site. (1984, published 61 years ago, is out of copyright in most of the world.)

So the claim of the Times that the publisher “changed its mind” is a little misleading, and Amazon seems to have deleted only those copies, not all books by the author.

I had read this New York Times story as I wrote “Kindling a Consumer Revolt,” and decided that the story that interested me was that of what happened after the books were sold, and how that differed from the physical world, and so didn’t point this out. (It did influence my writing-I wrote “Eric Blair, a publisher…” rather than “his publisher.”)


This morning Jer Warren posted a comment on that article, pointing out his post on what happened, and we’ve emailed back and forth a little.


My take is that the inaccuracies were in cited and reputable sources, and are tangential to my main line of discussion which is about the way our laws and expectations are different in the physical and digital worlds, and a suggestion that Amazon change the Kindle to give them less control over the devices they sell.

But I can see Jer’s side of it, and thus, the title of this post. I’d be interested in your thoughts–how should we handle corrections like this that might be relevant?

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