Amazon.com CEO apologizes for Orwell incident

Amazon.com CEO Jeffrey P. Bezos has apologized to Kindle customers for deleting pirated copies of George Orwell novels 1984 and Animal Farm from their e-reader devices.

Kindle users were surprised last week to find that Orwell works they had purchased were removed from their readers and their money refunded.

Amazon said last Friday the books had been added to its catalog using the company's self-service platform by a third party who did not have the rights to the books. However, that explanation differed from what Kindle users had been told by Amazon's customer service department, which implied that the removal was the publisher's choice.

On Thursday, ahead of the company's quarterly earnings release, Bezos posted a message on Amazon's Kindle Community blog apologizing for the way Amazon handled the matter.

"Our 'solution' to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles," he said. "It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we've received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission."

Customers appeared to appreciate the statement, with many blogging their thanks.

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