There's a post over on Consumerist right now that's going to be all over the tech blogs in the next few days. It involves Amazon closing a hacked account and the account owner losing access to his ebooks.
The story is going to be reposted everywhere because it's an attention getter. The tech blogs will be able to write about how a major tech company screwed up, and that's always good for a few page views.
The only problem is that losing your amazon account after 8 years of purchases is not that simple, not only I have I permanently lost all my order history, shipping address for tons of friends and family and my 5 page wish list neither of which I have a record of anywhere else, but I soon discovered that it also meant losing hundreds of dollars of Kindle books I have purchased from them. Amazon's solution to that is just to offer me a gift card for the amount I spent on Kindle books so I can repurchase them all individually on the new account I'm supposed to open with them.
But as I have the nasty habit of heavily highlighting, bookmarking and annotating all the books I read, it means that they just trashed the countless hours I spent reading and taking notes in my books!
Unfortunately, his experiences aren't the complete story.
I've been following a similar problem faced by Joanna of TeleRead. Her account was closed because Amazon said that the account was hacked. She too lost her Kindle ebook collection, but only temporarily. She contacted Amazon and they offered to reopen her account. She did get the account back, and she did get her ebooks back.
I wasn't going to write about her experiences; everything came out okay so it wasn't much of a story. But now there really is a story. Here we have 1 person who got the account back and another who did not. It's clearly obvious that Amazon will let you back in after the account has been hacked, so I have to wonder what did Joseph do that was different from Joanna?
Folks, I usually won't go out of my way to defend Amazon, but in this instance I think they did the right thing. It's unfortunate that Amazon couldn't transfer the rights to a new account, but are they alone in lacking that ability? I don;t know any major digital content retailer who can transfer rights like that.
And frankly, Amazon did offer him a credit for all of his ebooks. It's not a great solution but it's a pretty decent one.