ZDNet has an interesting article about Amazon unselling books to Kindle owners . Apparently the books Animal Farm and 1984 were added to the Kindle list by unauthorised people (Engaget has the original story ). So Amazon decided to just remove the books from the Kindles and refund the purchase price.
Amazon has stated a plan to not unsell books in such situations in future – although they will apparently reserve the right to do so if they wish.
It seems to me that Amazon management are amazingly stupid. One thing we need to consider is that Amazon employs a large number of people, some of whom will be criminals and some will act in irrational ways for various reasons. Of the Amazon employees who won’t consistently act in an honest and reliable way on behalf of their employer some will have access to the database which controls the content that is permitted on Kindles. The Journalspace fiasco should be sufficient proof of this problem .
If a rogue employee wiped the database of sales in progress it would really hurt the Amazon business model, but if a rogue employee also unsold the existing works (stole property from customers) then it would be much worse.
The “features” of the Kindle would be useful to anyone who wants to make some money shorting Amazon stock. This should be of concern to the directors of Amazon.