Digital copyright protection is a thorny issue at the best of times, but it's hard to see why Amazon has made its latest move to keep third-party e-books off the Kindle.

The books giant contacted another e-book seller called MobileRead asking it to take down instructions on how to get non-Amazon e-books onto the Kindle device.

Shopping around

The fact that the necessary software wasn't even hosted by MobileRead seems to have passed Amazon by, as does the possibility that enabling customers of other shops to read their books on the Kindle might help sales of Amazon's hardware.

One commenter on the MobileRead site, sent a clear message to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: "Jeff, if you are reading this, way to go! You've just given Amazon a black eye and your reputation has gone down the toilet. Well done!"

More hardware sales

MobileRead says it has complied with the take-down order, even though it believes there's nothing illegal about the software and that it just helps Kindle fans get more out of their hardware.

Amazon may be afraid Kindle users will buy the hardware, but seek out their e-books elsewhere, thereby cutting the book revenues that pay for its wireless connection to the Sprint network in the US.

Still, we always thought that was called customer choice – something Amazon seemed quite keen on recently.