Yesterday, David Rothman brought you the story of the now Internet-famous Norwegian Amazon customer known only as Linn, who recently experienced the nightmare of having her entire Amazon account closed and blocked—by Amazon—and without any reasonable explanation whatsoever.

Linn’s story has since popped up all over the Internet—it was covered by outlets including Wired, Boing Boing, The Guardian, Gizmodo, The Huffington Post, and probably hundreds of other blogs and websites most of us have never even heard of.

Of course, when an Amazon customer service story as shocking and offensive as Linn’s goes viral, you can bet your Kindle Paperwhite that the company’s public relations team will do something, or respond in some way. In the age of the Internet, even an organization as large and powerful as Amazon can’t just sit back and wait for the latest controversy to blow over. And according to Computerworld UK’s Simon Says blog, Amazon has, in fact, already attempted to cover its tracks.

The two updates shown in the block quote below came directly from Simon Says, which is authored by Simon Phipps. If anyone has further information of any sort regarding this story, please let us know in the comments section, below. And although we’ve said it before, and will almost certainly say it again, we’re going to repeat it here regardless:

You do not technically own any of the e-books you’ve purchased from Amazon. Amazon absolutely can delete your entire account, or any of the books within that account, at any time, for any reason, and with no explanation whatsoever.

Update @ 23:55 – Linn just contacted me to say her account has been mysteriously re-activated and she’s busily downloading her books. Hopefully Amazon will have more news for us all soon. Even positive arbitrary actions disclose how much Kindle customers read only with the grace of Amazon, of course…

Update @ 00:30 – Amazon PR just wrote to say: “We would like to clarify our policy on this topic. Account status should not affect any customer’s ability to access their library. If any customer has trouble accessing their content, he or she should contact customer service for help. Thank you for your interest in Kindle.”


  1. It was her Amazon UK account that was closed, per wording from the letter to her, quoted by The Guardian. What was odd was, as I remember, she said she tended to buy from rather than UK.

    The customer support thing that wrote her like a total robot (worse, actually, since robots are usually programmed to do better) may have been with Amazon UK since he mentioned closing her Amazon UK account.

    The US KINDLE Customer Support contact is at and they’ll call certain areas of the world nsvk within one minute. The UK, for sure. Don’t know about Norway. But there is an option to write there as well.

    I wonder if UK customer-relations (a different dept from UK customer support) was just wholly out of order. That was gross.

  2. There’s also the point that everyone was saying Linn had their Kindle wiped when someone pointed out that in fact they’d broken their Kindle and by being blocked from their Amazon account couldn’t redownload them.
    Which is it? If Amazon didn’t delete all their books it makes the whole outrage a lot less outrageous (although not wholly) than it should have been.

  3. Regarding Amazon’s ability to block access to my books at will: Why can’t I just xfer them to external storage? Oh, that’s right – Kindle doesn’t _have_ external storage. Yet another reason not to buy a closed ecology device like Nook, i-Pad or Kindle. Buy a tablet and you can access all 3 AND save your stuff from their sticky fingers.

  4. Martin,
    Apparently, and it was mentioned earlier too, she had a physical problem with her Kindle – it was broken. It was the server that she couldn’t access with an inactive account. It’s all confusing because the UK rep who wrote the awful replies to her about her deactivated account (presumably in the UK) is unknown to Amazon US, and she lives in the Netherlands and bought her books from Amazon US.

    Carolyn Kellogg tweeted about the broken Kindle and I re-tweeted it. Thought I mentioned it here but it may have been on another Teleread thread.

    Here are the two tweets with a link to the article. In the article the Phipps linked-article should be read as well.

    The text:
    “Carolyn Kellogg ‏@paperhaus
    Apparently Norwegian customer’s Kindle NOT wiped; it was broken & then the account was closed. …”

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