Amazon pulls mangled ebooks from Kindle shelves

February 7, 2014
Kindle electronic readers are stacked at Amazon's San Bernardino Fulfillment Center on October 29, 2013 in San Bernardino, California

Amazon on Friday yanked gibberish translations of classic works from the shelves of its online ebooks shop.

An array of titles including "Treasure Island" and "War of the Worlds" billed as of famed books into French, Italian, and Spanish and offered by an "M Angelo" for 99 cents each were gone after complaints that they made no sense.

The seller had "direct published" the books, which are in the public domain and no longer under copyright protection, and even added his or her name as co-author next to renowned authors such as Robert Louis Stevenson and H.G. Wells.

The digital books appeared to have been translated using the kind of automated program available as a free service online.

"The books are no longer available," Kindle team spokesperson Brittany Turner said in a brief email reply to an AFP inquiry.

Amazon declined to disclose information about who was behind the translations or how many of the ebooks were sold.

Amazon Direct publishing platform rules bar the sale of content that is freely available online by anyone other than the original copyright owners.

Kindle also reserves the right to reject that are outright awful.

"We don't accept books that provide a poor customer experience," Kindle Direct Publishing content guidelines stated.

"We reserve the right to determine whether content provides a poor customer experience."

The posted list of what constitutes a lousy reading experience includes being shabbily translated.

Other Kindle self-publishing taboos included pornography, offensive content, and violating copyrights.

Explore further: Amazon opens Spanish, Italian Kindle stores

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