ebooks – we don’t own them


I read an article earlier this week about sharing kindle books. A lady had her kindle account suspended due to a breach of Amazon’s terms and conditions. She had no access to her library of ebooks and her kindle showed only a broken screen. It took a little digging around to figure out what had happened, but finally she discovered it was due to file sharing. Now, I remember a huge argument a few years back between Mel Gibson and Amazon, because he wanted to bequeath his book collection to his children upon his death. Amazon said no.

After reading the article I went digging through the terms and conditions myself, just out of curiosity. According to Amazon’s Kindle Store terms of use, “Kindle content is licensed, not sold”. Should you attempt to break the DRM security block or transfer your purchase to another device, (hold up–another device–does that mean if I upgrade my kindle I can’t transfer to the new one?) Amazon may legally “revoke your access to the Kindle Store and the Kindle Content without refund of any fees.”

So, let’s get this straight. They can revoke access to the books you’ve already purchased. Thousands of books, thousands of dollars and nothing?

My kids are avid readers, as am I. We all read ebooks on our own devices. If we all want to read the same book, according to the terms and conditions, we can’t share that book file. Got it. Seems fair. What about simply passing our kindles between each other to read, as we would a physical book? Unless I read wrong, that’s not permitted either. And if a breach is made Amazon can revoke access to accounts, thus meaning the thousands of dollars I’ve spent on books was a … hire fee?


So that little ‘buy now’ button on the Amazon store should probably read ‘hire now’.

Does this benefit the author? Maybe–it means everyone has to buy their own copy of a book. Does it benefit the reader? No–your books aren’t really your books. Does it benefit Amazon? Possibly–but I think it may make readers look to other vendors.

I haven’t looked into the T&C for other vendors just yet, but I’m going to, especially for the vendor that is my first preference and where I have the largest collection. Do you read ebooks? What do you think about this T&C? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter, so leave a comment.

Oh, and if you’d like to read that article I mentioned earlier it’s over here.



Stacey NashStacey Nash owns over 300 ebooks across various iPad apps, 6 of which she has written herself. If you feel like connecting with the young adult author on social media, where she tries to be engaging check out these places: www.stacey-nash.com, instagram, twitter, facebook.


  1. I think e-books are great, but I really don’t like that Amazon have the Monopoly where they’re concerned. Yet … as a writer who is planning on self-publishing, I know I’d be mad not to publish my book on their site. Because they’ve won Monopoly … to be honest, I don’t know that it really does help authors. I know I used to borrow a book from the library before I decided if it was worth me buying it. Did I love it enough to re-read it, and display it on my shelf? Piracy is an issue, but Amazon is being very not cool.



Leave a comment. We love hearing from you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s