In an apology posted on Amazon.com yesterday, company founder and CEO Jeff Bezos fell on his sword over his company’s deletion of unauthorized e-books (including George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four) from the Kindles of consumers who had already purchased them. Borrowing a rather loaded word from President Barack Obama, Bezos termed his company’s preemptive actions “stupid” – as well as “thoughtless and painfully out of line with our principles.” Amazon’s actions last week kicked up a firestorm in the media about the nature of e-book ownership and the specter of censorship by Amazon.
Bezos’ announcement reads in full: “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.”