tech, simplified.

Amazon Takes the Cautious Route in Updating Kindle Books

eBooks have one major advantage over their paperbacked cousins: they’re updatable.  It’s impossible to update a paper book without printing a new edition or issuing correction sheets.  But with eBooks, publishers can easily send out updates to book owners if they need to make a correction to a book.  The problems with this, of course, are that some readers might want to keep their original eBooks even if they have been corrected, perhaps to prevent the absolute original book from disappearing.  Amazon hit a nerve on this very issue last year when they deleted purchased books off of users devices over copyright issues, including, ironically enough, George Orwell’s 1984.  Amazon publically apologized about the way they handled the incident, and promised to never automatically delete books without the customer’s permission.

This week I was able to experience how Amazon now handles updates for Kindle books.  Earlier this week I received an email from Amazon stating that one of my books had recently been updated.  The email asked me to reply if I wished to received the updated book, and basically read as follows:

Greetings from We're writing about your past Kindle purchase of the book. The version you received contained some errors that have been corrected. An updated version of the book is now available. It’s important to note that when we send you the updated version, you will no longer be able to view any highlights, bookmarks, and notes made in your current version. If you wish to receive the updated version, please let us know via e-mail at If you prefer, you can reach us by phone directly and toll free from many countries by clicking the Contact Us option in the right-hand column of our Kindle Support pages at: We apologize for any inconvenience caused and thank you for your business with Amazon.

Nice support!  I figured I might as well get the updated version of the book, and replied to let them know.  They replied to let me know that the book had been updated on my account, and to manually sync if I did not see the changes.  Interestingly enough, the email included instructions to manually update the Kindle Device, and didn’t mention the other Kindle Apps, which was funny since I only use Kindle for PC.

At any rate, this shows that Amazon is definitely veering on the side of caution with eBook updates now.  I would have been fine with a simple notification in the app stating that an updated version is available; perhaps they could implement this system in the future.  Having to receive individual approval emails would seem like an administrative nightmare, but it is nice to know that Amazon is trying their hardest to keep the customer happy and not repeat the 1984 incident again!

For a number of reasons, mainly the wide variety of devices that are now compatible with Kindle content, Kindle is my preferred eBook solution and I always check it for books first before I check other retailers.  If you haven’t given it a try, download Kindle for PC and download a free eBook or purchase one you’ve been wanting to read to see how it works for yourself.

Thoughts? @reply me on Twitter.