Last Updated on October 12, 2022 by Ben Oakley
As if authors didn’t have it hard enough!
There’s now a spiral bound book scam going around on Amazon where the fraudsters copy your digital book and upload it as a spiral book, even linking it to your book page.
But not only that…
After the criminals break copyright laws by scanning the book to an inferior spiralbound copy, they use the Amazon Seller program to shift them.
Then they link it to the product page that already exists and send a batch of the fake books to Amazon fulfilment for Amazon to sell.
NOTE: I NEVER PUBLISH MY BOOKS AS SPIRAL BOUND COPIES. Any spiral bound copies you see out there are sold by criminals. DO NOT BUY!
The problem is that Amazon is built on product linking
It then appears to readers that the spiral-bound version is an official release when it is in fact a fraudulent one.
The scam also sees a spiral bound category added to your author page, with the fake books listed as if they are real.
From then, it’s a battle with Amazon to see, not only when they take the fake item down, but if!
This is on a par with the fake books scam that has plagued Amazon over the past year, where criminals aim to hijack the Buy Now button, putting money into their own pockets.
Issuing takedown notices for digital copyright issues seems to be easier than this.
At least with eBooks, you have a website or link to start with.
But with this new spiralbound swindle, it becomes even harder, as the whole of Amazon is built around product linking.
Though the sellers who do this may be removed in the future if enough people complain, it doesn’t hurt to issue a copyright infringement notice on Amazon using this form: https://amazon.com/report/infringement
The scam is an Amazon Seller Central one
It’s also unclear whether the spiral bound copies and category remain afterward.
Currently, this is an issue with the Amazon USA store, and is not a global marketplace problem.
I’m pretty big on author security, so I double checked everything from Author Central to KDP, and there has been no unauthorised access or attempts to get in.
This means the scam is an Amazon Seller Central one, of which an author on KDP has no control.
What’s most disturbing about this, is that someone has taken the time to scan a digital copy of the book and print it as a hard copy.
And then shipped it off to Amazon!
Nine of my books have been affected, and I’m sure there are other authors with more.
Shout out to fellow true crime author Jason Neal for pointing this out in the first place, and whose books have also been affected.
KDP Authors should have more control over their listings
The question now is, at what point are hard copies on Amazon relevant? And will it stop fraudsters selling their own fake books anyway?
Around 8% of my total income is from paperbacks, which is a large enough sum to not ignore.
But there could be an answer to all of this…
Amazon KDP should have the systems in place for the author/publisher to decide what their book page looks like in its entirety.
This should include the option to delete third party sellers or categories that have been created by unconnected parties.
The more control we have over our book listings, the more likely an author is to stay with Amazon KDP.
On another note, if Amazon were able to remove all scammers from KDP then the KENP read rate would go up, giving more to genuine authors.
It’s disturbing this has happened, but I suppose wholly expected when the system allows for it.