According to leading phone blog site, The Kindle has quickly become one of the most popular platforms for reading eBooks and other online material that can be purchased through the Amazon bookstore. Now, a number of sources are claiming that Amazon has been selling eBooks that are free to the public and have had their licensing information stripped. These books can come in a variety of different formats through their service including ePub, Kindle format and even in HTML.
Some of the eBooks have been made available through Project Gutenberg, a project that is focused on providing free eBooks online. It is the largest and first collection of its kind. Project Gutenberg also employs a number of volunteers that are not paid for their services, so it is strange that Amazon would attempt to use these same ebooks that are available to the public for gain.
The selling of these eBooks that have been re-branded is not illegal, but is it ethical? That is the question that critics are now asking Amazon. Charging someone for something that they acquired for free certainly will rub some of their users the wrong way, especially those that paid money for the books. The truth of the matter is that selling the books for profit isn’t even against the Project Gutenberg licensing terms.
In response to the allegations against the company an Amazon Spokeswoman replied by saying that the books were not uploaded by Amazon itself and instead were uploaded by third parties using their self serve platform that they have provided for the distribution of ebooks online. Amazon has not committed to removing the books from their store but if they garner much more press attention there is a good chance that they could decide to remove them in an effort to avoid the bad publicity that they have created for the largest online retailer in the world.
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