Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Beware of illicit book listings

Today a very nice person took the trouble to let me know that my free ebook, Sentence of Marriage, was being offered for sale under another person's name on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. I've contacted Customer Service at both sites, and have posted warnings to any prospective purchasers in the Reviews section, so this person shouldn't receive any financial reward for such nefarious activity.

My ebooks aren't yet available on Amazon. I very much wish they were, but the arrangement to distribute Smashwords books on Amazon has suffered repeated delays. I'm still waiting patiently. In the meantime, they're available at several retailers, including Barnes & Noble, as well as at the Smashwords site. And to reiterate: the first one is free.

It's worth being suspicious if something about a book seems not quite right; in this case, the fact that the author's name on the Amazon listing doesn't match the name (mine) inside the book. An observant reader noticed this when sampling the book. It illustrates the power of readers - I discovered this thanks to readers, not any sort of authority.

While I'm indignant that someone has tried to take ownership of my work in this way, I'm hugely grateful to the person who started a thread about this in the Amazon UK forums, the person who contacted me, and all the people who've responded so positively. I'm left feeling far more warm and fuzzy about the actions of so many good people than annoyed by the actions of one ratbag.

Update: Amazon UK has taken down the illicit book (I'm sure it helped that at least one person who'd bought this version contacted Customer Service for a refund when she realised the situation). It's still on Amazon.com, but is showing as unavailable for purchase.

Further update: It's now been taken down from both Amazon sites. Hurrah for helpful and observant readers!


  1. Thanks, Michelle. Yes, it took me completely by surprise, but it's been an interesting experience!

  2. Oh dear! I've just seen this, Shayne. How horrible that someone tried to claim your work as their own. I do hope you get it sorted out soon and that the responsible person is penalized for it.

    Look forward to seeing your books on Amazon!

  3. Thanks, Gemi! Yes, it was an almighty cheek. It's now been taken down from the .com site as well. I'd like to think the malefactor got penalised, but I suspect he/she got away with it. :(

  4. Hi Shayne, Now you're good and famous on the internet. The incident (apparently not an isolated case) is mentioned here.http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/16/amazon-kindle-spam-idUSN1621025720110616 I know Mark Coker and the whole Smashwords philosophy is about no DRM, but it makes you think.

  5. Fame at last! The phone hasn't stopped ringing all day (it hasn't *started* ringing all day, come to that).

    Yes, the reporter from Reuters contacted me to ask about my experience, and included a quote from me in the article. I see that it's now being propagated to dozens of other sites.

    I was incredibly lucky that readers noticed so quickly (within days), and were so helpful about it. I've seen many comments saying that it's easy to get rid of DRM if you know what you're doing - I suspect it's one of those things that inconveniences honest people while doing little to stop the nefarious.

    Nice to see you, Marion.