Feeds

Orwell chap snaps in Amazon paperback claptrap yap rap

Brit author wasn't against cheap books, says estate executor

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Amazon is under fire from George Orwell's estate for referencing the Nineteen Eighty-Four author in its legal battle with publishers.

The web bazaar, while mired in a war of words with Hachette over book prices, invoked Orwell's name and cited comments made by the author at the dawn of paperback books.

According to Amazon, Orwell had suggested in the 1940s that publishers should collude in order to suppress the sale of the less expensive paperbacks. This, Amazon said, was a sentiment now repeated by Hachette – which is accused of unfairly inflating e-book prices.

Now, members of Orwell's estate are crying foul, claiming the late Brit literary legend never actually suggested publishers should work to stifle paperbacks.

In a letter published by The New York Times on Wednesday, Orwell Estate Literary Executor Bill Hamilton said the web giant twisted the author's words.

"Amazon is using George Orwell's name in vain: it quotes Orwell out of context as supporting a campaign to suppress paperbacks, to give specious authority to its campaign against publishers over e-book pricing," Hamilton wrote.

The executor said the comments Amazon cites had been made in irony and, in fact, Orwell was a proponent of paperback books; the passage cited by the company was from an article praising publisher Penguin on its paperback editions.

Hamilton notes that the company's blunder is not unlike a scene from Orwell's writings of a dystopian future.

"This is about as close as one can get to the Ministry of Truth and its doublespeak," he writes. "Turning the facts inside out to get a piece of Propaganda across."

Amazon, of all people, should be brushed up on Orwell: revelations of NSA and GCHQ mass-surveillance of innocents ramped up sales of Nineteen Eighty-Four last year.

This is not the first time Amazon has run afoul of the Brit lit icon. In 2009, the company drew the ire of fans when it inadvertently sold unauthorized e-book copies of Nineteen Eighty-Four and then deleted the titles from Kindle readers without warning. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
BT said to have pulled patent-infringing boxes from DSL network
Take your license demand and stick it in your ASSIA
Right to be forgotten should apply to Google.com too: EU
And hey - no need to tell the website you've de-listed. That'll make it easier ...
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.