Amazon, after a deluge of criticism and boycott threats, withdrew a digital book called "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure" from sale on Thursday but offered no explanation for the move.
The self-published book for Amazon's Kindle by a Phillip R. Greaves was no longer available in the Seattle-based retail giant's online store and the hundreds of comments from outraged customers had also been removed.
A search for the book on Amazon.com returned a listing of the title for the controversial book but no purchase price, and when clicked on it responded that it was no longer a functioning Web page.
In a statement distributed to TechCrunch and other technology blogs on Wednesday, Amazon defended the sale of the book, whose full title is "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover's Code of Conduct."
"Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable," it said.
"Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions," the company said.
There was no immediate response from Amazon to an AFP request for comment on Thursday.
The Web page offering the book was swamped on Wednesday with hundreds of comments from visitors and customers, many of whom threatened to boycott Amazon until it withdrew the book from sale.
"This is a joke, right? What reputable business would even consider allowing this book to be sold from their website?" said a visitor identified as "Emerald Storm." "This is absolutely despicable."
"Shame on Amazon for allowing such garbage to be sold on its site," said another with the handle "thirty something."
"Amazon, you might want to consider taking this horrid book off your website if you want to have any business this holiday season," wrote "ecirtap."
"Shame on you, Amazon, for allowing a book like this to be uploaded for purchase! This book gives advice to people about something that is ILLEGAL in every state in this nation. It needs to be removed from the site immediately," wrote another customer.
In a product description to sell the book, the author framed it as an attempt "to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certain rules for these adults to follow.
"I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps liter (sic) sentences should they ever be caught," Greaves said.
Explore further: Online privacy to remain thorny issue: survey