As I noted in the
previous post, a week or so ago at this posting, I discovered that
someone had decided to try to make money with two of my books on
Amazon (good luck with that!) in a very strange and silly way. Here
is that story in full. I hope.
I would have never
known about this person’s piracy except that for some reason that I
can’t explain, they kept my name and title on the two books, A
Summer in Amber and The Lost Star’s Sea. Because they did, on 22 Feb. they appeared
alongside my legitimate books on my Author Page on Amazon. Going to
the pirated books product pages, I found that they had been uploaded to Amazon
on 19 Feb.
however, had put on new, and bad, covers on the books, which annoyed
me greatly. Using the “look inside” feature on the product page, one could see that this new cover was simply added on over the original cover, so that
there were now two covers, and everything else about my book was the
same, including the copyright info that identified the book as the
Obooko (a free book site) version of the book. They even used my
Amazon blurb for their own listing. I contacted Amazon, who, the next
day, directed me to a special page for copyright violations.I
filed my complaint.
I waited patiently
for action or a response. At some point during the week, the pirated
A Summer in Amber version disappeared from Amazon, whether by
the actions of Amazon or by
the pirates, I can't say. Perhaps the first person I had contacted
at Amazon had acted without informing me of it, though that sounds
unlikely. During this week, The Lost Star’s Sea price varied
– it had no sales – and then went to free.
The affair came to a
head on Friday, 28 Feb. Friday morning, The Lost Star’s Sea
now had another new cover, a new title The Lost Star, and a
new “author.” However, if you used the “look inside” feature,
this new cover was just added on to the two covers it had before,
making it a third cover, and nothing else on the inside was changed.
Nothing, except the blurb, which was now just a random section of the
story cut and pasted onto the blurb section of the listing. The
Lost Star was still on the inside, The Lost Star’s Sea by C. Litka. One
really has to wonder just what they were thinking.
Later Friday morning
Amazon contacted me again for more information, which I provided. But
when I looked again at the now The Lost Star, I found that the
pirates had finally eliminated all but the new cover, and all the identifying
information, adding only some nonsense page about legal limitations
or some such thing – the same page they had added to a second,
nonfiction business book that they had apparently pirated as well. I
updated this information to Amazon.
I received two
emails from Amazon on Friday afternoon. The first said that I would
need to supply them with examples of the offending text, and that
they would supply my email address to the pirates in order for them
to respond, which annoyed me greatly, since what was going on was
obvious – at least up to the final alteration which eliminated the
clearly identifying information. However a second email had been
sent, luckily before I read both, which said that the offending
version had been pulled from the store, which was, indeed, the case. They did not, however, remove the other book these pirates had listed. Crime seems to go unpunished on Amazon.
I should add that
Goodreads, which is owned by Amazon picked up both of these pirate
versions and listed with my legitimate books. I am trying to get them
removed. We’ll see.
My take away from
this affair is that anything goes on Amazon. The fact that the
pirates could put up such a half-ass product with two covers, an ill
formatted book – it showed hard page breaks from the likely PDF version of the book they used – of a
book and blurb that was word for word what was already on sale on
Amazon is pretty telling. If these pirates had simply uploaded their
final version first – the one with a different title and author –
I would never have known that they had done so. The fact is that if one
posts a digital version of anything on the web, it will be pirated,
and you might as well not lose any sleep over it. However, Amazon is
not the web, it is a store owned by one of the richest people on the
planet, and he’s seems to be simply unwilling to spend the money to
keep his store clean.
There could be
dozens of pirates trying to make money off of my work, and, as I
said, good luck with that. But what really annoyed me about this
affair is that these pirates were putting out an inferior version of
my product that had my name on it. I might loose sleep over that.
Hopefully the affair
is at an end.