Books By C. LItka

Books By C. LItka

Sunday, March 1, 2020

The Pirates of Amazon

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.

The pirates, 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.


  1. I think "The Pirates of Amazon" Is a wonderful working title for your next adventure where the winds eventually fail the dastardly pirates, their cover is blown, and their profiteering is brought to a climactic ending at the precipice of a plank over the bright Black Sea.

    Really, I am glad you took action. You are a terrific writer!

  2. Thanks, Larry, for taking the time to comment. It does sound like an exciting adventure, but I try to write realistically, and I have a feeling that if I did so, it would end with our heroes finding themselves at the business end of the plank with a pack of eager sharks waiting for them below. I can't imagine how one would tackle digital pirates, because once you sent it off into the world, you lose control of where it goes and how it's treated, apparently even within the Amazon store. Since I am writing for fun, not profit, I can accept that -- just don't let me see it.

    I am glad to hear that you like my work. That's my reward.