Among the most significant problems for self-publishing authors is book piracy. In the digital age, such piracy is more common than you might expect, and you probably will need to deal with it, especially if you distribute your books at Amazon.com.
I disagree with self-publishing experts who piracy of your books is “good.” Besides duping a purchaser of your book – which hurts the buyer and keeps money out of your pocket – pirated books undercut your marketing efforts. Readers take a lot of routes to locating a book, and their search easily can lead them to the pirate’s page for your book rather than the one you’ve spent a lot of hours building, tweaking and promoting. Further, if pirates do even bother to deliver your book to the buyer, it usually is an inferior version, which hurts your reputation.
A common book pirating scam is to set up their own page for your book at Amazon.com. They obtain a copy of your book through an app and sometimes even by downloading it through other vendors, such as Smashwords. Next, they assign their pirated version of the book a new ASIN. The pirate then charges several times the retail price that you set for your book. Sometimes the pirate isn’t even selling your book but merely using it to defraud customers out of money by having them pay and then not sending the book.
You can determine if pirates have done this to you simply by going to Amazon.com and searching for the name you use as an author. Don’t place your name in quotation marks, as sometimes pirates switch the order of your first and last name. Another option is to type the title of your book (again without quotation marks) and look for one that is way overpriced.
Once you find a pirated book, immediately complete Amazon.com’s legal team’s online form (www.amazon.com/gp/help/reports/infringement) notifying them that your book has been pirated. Amazon.com will need you to send:
• An electronic or physical signature of the person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright interest (that’s you the author)
• A description of the copyrighted work that you claim has been infringed upon (this is the book's title)
• A description of where the material that you claim is infringing is located on Amazon.com’s website (this is the URL where the pirates have their page)
• Your address, telephone number, and e-mail address
• A statement by you that you have a good-faith belief that the disputed use is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law
• A statement by you, made under penalty of perjury, that the above information in your notice is accurate and that you are the copyright owner or authorized to act on the copyright owner's behalf
Don’t bother to contact Amazon.com’s customer service department. It will merely offer moral support and send you an email about how to contact its legal department to have the issue remedied.
You also can contact the book pirate and ask them to remove the page; Amazon gives you the ability to do that on the page selling the pirated book. This is problematic, though. Most pirates don’t remove the page but simply change the name of who is selling it and list it at a different price. Some will simply send an automated email that you can’t respond to and will do nothing. Others will remove the book for sale but not the page, meaning there’s now a web page at Amazon.com for your title that says it’s “Out of Print.”
During the last two days, I’ve had trouble with the following “booksellers” pirating my books. I’d urge you to not purchase books or any items from these “businesses” and to check that they are not pirating your books (If they are, report them immediately to Amazon.com):
JB World Books
Oak Tree Brands
Professional Book Editor: Having your novel, short story or nonfiction manuscript proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. I can provide that second eye.