Sometimes the irony of poor corporate decision-making is just too delicious to ignore, as is the case with Amazon's virtual book pyre on which it burned digital copies of two George Orwell novels yesterday.

The Kindle versions of Animal Farm and 1984 were, apparently, surreptitiously deleted over the air from the Kindles of anyone who bought them in the US.

Wrong rights holder

As for why, Amazon says it discovered the books should never have been on the Kindle store as publisher MobileReference was mistaken in its belief it held the digital rights to the Orwell classics.

An Amazon spokesperson explained: "When we were notified of this by the rights holder, we removed the illegal copies from our systems and from customers' devices."

Stick to paper

At least they refunded the money they mistakenly took, but what about anyone only halfway through reading about the beastly antics in Animal Farm or the totalitarian world of 1984?

Perhaps they'll be encouraged to ignore Amazon's Brave New World Kindle option next time and stick with some good, old-fashioned paper.