Amazon customer Eric Rosenfield just discovered that he can no longer download his .mobi files purchased from Amazon, even the DRM-free ones, meaning that all of his previously purchased books on Amazon can only be accessible through Kindle and Kindle Apps, essentially making them DRM “free.”
Ronsenfield’s subsequent call on Amazon customer service representative “Katherine” was of no help:
Me:I’m not sure I understand.
It’s a DRM-free Kindle book
I want to download it, change it into an ePub using Calibre and load it onto my Nook
But I can’t find a way to get the source .Mobi file
I used to go to “Manage My Kindle” click “Actions…” and click “Download”
But that option no longer seems to exist
Katherine: I am very sorry Eric, once again I can help you downloading books to Kindles, not Nook. If you are having issues now with it, it will be better if you can contact them. You can read content you buy from the Kindle Store (such as books, newspapers, magazines, and blogs) on most Kindle devices or Kindle reading apps registered to your Amazon.com account.
Unless this particular exchange was a misunderstanding, and Rosenfield was experiencing a temporary error, this could be a huge inconvenience for Nook and eBook readers on non-Kindle devices. Some readers may be aware that purchasing eBooks often means just licensing them, but no one sees the word license when you go to pay, it’s always buy. No one expects to suddenly lose access to files that they originally paid for, especially DRM-free eBook files.
This isn’t the first time that Amazon has revoked eBooks from users, the bookseller revoked Orwelle’s “1984″ in 2009, prompting users to take illicit actions. In fact, it’s such a common fear, many artists have created projects questioning the company’s policies, either by manually scanning and printing them into physical books or creating robots to do the job for them.
If you’re short on time, there are simpler methods to protect your investment, just do a Google search for Calibre and DRM-free.
Update: We were unable to replicate the error, so not all users are experiencing the same problem. If you can still access your download button, go ahead and retrieve all of your files for safekeeping.