A storm is brewing in the Kindle Community forum about Amazon’s decision to remove e-book editions of 1984 and Animal Farm from customers’ devices. After having copies of the two George Orwell books removed, one poster said she received the following response from Amazon’s customer service department about the action. The poster said Amazon customer service told her the Orwell books "were removed from the Kindle store and are no longer available for purchase. When this occurred, your purchases were automatically refunded. You can still locate the books in the Kindle store, but each has a status of not yet available. Although a rarity, publishers can decide to pull their content from the Kindle store.”

An Amazon spokesperson told PW Friday evening that the books were added to the Kindle catalog by a third-party using the company's self-service platform who did not own the rights to the books. When Amazon was notified by the rightsholder that the copies were illegal, Amazon removed the titles from its system and customers' devices and refunded their money. "We are changing our systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers' devices in these circumstances," the spokesperson said.

The issue of removing illegal copies from Kindles comes a few months after Amazon was embroiled in an Internet-fueled controversy over charges that it was making it hard to find gay books or books that had gay themes. That problem was attributed to a glitch thst miscategorized thousands of titles.

Contrary to a New York Times blog about the current snafu being another example of Amazon caving to publishers, the action goes against Amazon's mantra of being customer-friendly, often to the consternation of publishers--the $9.99 price point for e-books being only one example.