The Kindle and the Case of the Missing Ebook

Eventually I went further than musing and went out and bought myself a Kindle and I am very happy with it. Beyond the books I buy from the Amazon store, it’s capacity to show PDFs is also very useful and I end up carrying quite a bit of material around with me. Having reference books to hand is also a boon, as they tend to be weighty things that I’d rather not have to physically lug around. Some books, especially if they’re not new novels often aren’t available. I particularly miss Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable and The Lore of the Land: A Guide to England’s Legends, from Spring-heeled Jack to the Witches of Warboys. There’s always a link on the pages of these books to tell the publisher that you want this book in Kindle format.

However, what surprised me, is that sometimes a book can disappear. A friend of mine recently bought the Kindle edition of History of Western Philosophy, by Bertrand Russell and I wanted a copy for myself. The Kindle edition had vanished. I dutifully clicked the link, but as the page indicated that it was up to the publisher to decide what is available, I emailed them Routledge. They responded:

I guess you will need to contact Amazon as we don’t decide on what they want to sell or not.

Good luck!

That was surprising, it seems it was pulled by Amazon for some reason. So naturally I contacted Amazon next. They also responded:

Occasionally books are removed from the Kindle Store for various reasons. We don’t have any details about why this particular book may have been removed.

Currently we are unable to guarantee when the title will be available on our website.

So, the publisher is blaming Amazon and Amazon are providing no information of any kind. The person who bought the book on their Kindle still has it, it hasn’t been deleted in a recurrence of the 1984 debacle, which is a relief. But some kind of information from someone, somewhere would be nice. After all, all I want to do is give them my money.


At last, it’s once more possible to buy a Kindle edition of History of Western Philosophy