I just sent the following e-mail to Amazon. I'm very curious to see what their response will be:
Your disappointing policy regarding back issues from canceled Kindle subscriptions not being transferable to new Kindle devices forces me to question the worth of my Kindle.
I owned one of the original Kindle models. While it still worked, I subscribed to a number of journals including The New Yorker, One Story, Narrative, and Electric Literature. I canceled these subscriptions once the Kindle malfunctioned, because I could not see the logic of continuing to pay for publications I could not read.
When I spoke to an Amazon representative about replacing my Kindle, he suggested I transfer all the back issues to my PC for storage until I received my new Kindle. Once I received the new Kindle, I put the back issues on the new device but could not open the files. I called customer service and learned that I could not read the back issues on the new device because I had canceled the subscriptions before I received it.
Now I was – understandably, I think – pretty ticked about this. A few days ago, I decided I was hungry enough for my back issues – some of which I had never had the chance to read because they did not come until after my device malfunctioned – to renew my subscriptions to those journals, but ONLY if renewing the subscriptions would grant my new device access to the issues I received (I remind you, the issues I PAID FOR) before the original Kindle malfunctioned. So, I e-mailed Amazon customer support and asked if that was the case. Amazon customer support told me No, that was not the case. My back issues – the ones, I may have mentioned, I paid for – were lost even if I consented to bend over and renew the subscriptions.
Permit me to list a few reasons why this is stupid:
1. The best analogy I can come up with to describe what you do to your customers when you make their back issues inaccessible in this manner: I pay for a Time Magazine subscription. I keep it for a few years and then, for whatever reason, I cancel the subscription but I keep the back issues in a cardboard box. Then, I move to a new apartment. However, en route to my new place, my U-Haul truck is hijacked by Time Magazine employees who find the cardboard box with the back issues in the truck, drag it out, and set it on fire.
Does that analogy sound stupid? Yes. Yes it does.
2. I paid for the issues with my money. A device did not pay for them. How a device’s ownership rights surpass mine is kind of confusing. As far as I know, James Cameron’s dark fantasies have yet to be realized. Skynet has not been born and humans still run the world. When me and you and Keanu Reeves are inserted into giant robot beehives for giant robots to suck out our mojo to help run their more giant robots, then my Kindle will have more of a right to my back issues of The New Yorker than I do. But until that day, I’m fairly certain my Kindle can kiss my ass.
3. This would not even be an issue if my original device had not malfunctioned. Not only because if my original device had not malfunctioned, I would still have access to the subscriptions; if my original device had not malfunctioned, I never would have canceled the subscriptions in the first place. Of course, devices malfunction. New technology can be tender. We all know this. But when I called Amazon customer support to help me fix the device I was given exactly two options: A) Hit the reset button in the back B) Buy a new Kindle. I mean, really? That’s it? Either the reset button works or it’s time to buy a new one? I hope you guys never think about designing parachutes. Or oil drilling platforms.
4. You realize, of course, that I will NEVER pay for another subscription to ANYTHING on the Kindle again, don’t you? I mean, that’s not a protest. That’s not out of anger. It’s just plain common sense. Why in the Incredible Hulk’s name would I ever pay money for magazines, journals, or newspapers which you will take away from me the minute my device malfunctions? Why would I do that? Particularly since Amazon, the other companies spitting out e-readers, and bloggers have made things so desperate for print journals, that every day I receive offers from magazines ready to give me alone time with their wives if I’ll consent to a free trial subscription. Why would I give you money? Seriously, I’m angry about how you’ve screwed me out of my back issues, but it isn’t about that. It isn’t personal or emotional. It would be stupid for me to ever buy another subscription from you again, because you have flat-out told me "We WILL screw you for this."
5. I am fairly certain that all the people who read this letter on my facebook, my blog, and any other online forum will ALSO be convinced to never pay for a Kindle subscription. In fact, most of them don’t own Kindles. And a lot of them, well okay, at least SOME of them think I’m a fairly intelligent person. And after they read every word of this letter, I’m willing to bet any of them considering buying a Kindle are going to have one big honking check mark in the “Con” column.
Thank you for your time.