Amazon’s Mea Culpa

Nov 17, 2011 · 1 min read
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Back in July, Amazon got all Orwellian and removed George Orwell’s 1984 from Kindle devices. The irony was lost on no one. The Digits blog (Wall Street Journal) is reporting that Amazon is now trying to make up for it. They are offering a return of the book, including any annotations made by the consumer, or $30 in either a gift certificate or a check.

The full text of the notifying email is below:


On July 23, 2009, Jeff Bezos, our Founder and CEO, made the following apology to our customers:

“This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our “solution” to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we’ve received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.

With deep apology to our customers,

Jeff Bezos
Founder & CEO”

As you were one of the customers impacted by the removal of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” from your Kindle device in July of this year, we would like to offer you the option to have us re-deliver this book to your Kindle along with any annotations you made. You will not be charged for the book. If you do not wish to have us re-deliver the book to your Kindle, you can instead choose to receive an electronic gift certificate or check for $30.

Please email Kindle customer support at to indicate your preference. If you prefer to receive a check, please also provide your mailing address.

We look forward to hearing from you.


The Kindle Team

I’m not sure what took Amazon so long to offer this solution (which is supposedly not in response to a pending lawsuit about the incident). Is it enough or is the fact that Amazon reached into people’s Kindles just a little too 1984?