Here’s an important article for all authors to read. It’s from the New York Times.

Amazon holds a near-monopoly on book sales, but they do not “vet” incoming books in any way. They just trust that a book being posted is real. “The Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy” is a critical medical handbook. The company, concerned about fake copies with errors being on Amazon, did a test buy of 34 different copies from different Amazon vendors. 30 of them were counterfeits. Someone had scanned and then republished their book.

Numerous authors are now finding that their works have been stolen. Sometimes a counterfeit (mimic of real) version is loaded up in the new / used marketplace. Sometimes the thief changes the cover, author name, title and starts selling the content as their own new work.

Something to keep an eye on.

This is an example of a counterfeit book. A thief bought the original book, scanned it, and republished it. But they somehow mis-spelled the author’s name on the cover when they made their own version of it. Their aim was to trick people into buying their version of this book rather than the real one. 

This is an example of a content-stolen book. And it shows that it’s not only best sellers being hit by this. The author on the left wrote his book about classic video games. Someone bought his book and scanned the content. The thief then tweaked the title, changed the author name and cover, and published it as a new book. That’s shown on the right.

I wouldn’t “panic” about the thieves. Keep writing. Keep publishing. Be aware that this is going on and do occasional searches in Amazon to see if you find a fake copy of your book in there, either under your name or someone else’s.

The article also talks about the issues of fake reviews and how Amazon is trying to clamp down on those. Amazon is currently a “Wild West” with fake reviews, biased reviews, and fake content running fairly rampant. We’ll see many changes in the upcoming years as Amazon tries to get a handle on all of that.  While some authors might sometimes grouse about the changes, it’s important for all authors that Amazon’s system have authentic, trustworthy content and reviews in their system. These are all growing pains.

Ask with any questions!

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