Caveat Writer


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Warning: Image link goes to fake Amazon page.

Successful paranormal author Ilona Andrews recently had her short story “Questing Beast”–offered free on her website for fans–swiped and re-posted to Amazon, where some unscrupulous magsman was selling it for $5.99. Since it reached a rank of 60,000, quite a few poor folks were rooked.

Ilona was able to get Amazon to take it down, but it required a general call for help to her fans, who fire-bombed the Amazon page with (currently) 603 one-star ratings and angry reviews. She also reports Amazon has provided her with the name and address of the offending party (“PD Publishing”) and she is considering legal action, but Amazon hasn’t offered refunds to the people who paid for the pirated copy.

Unfortunately, I think we’re barely out of the gate on this particular ride. It’s too easy to nab, scrape, or otherwise pirate digital files of any kind. DRM isn’t necessarily the answer, but we better come up with something soon.

ImageI hope to pursue another Amazon-related piracy anxiety of mine, namely the Strange Case of the Unknown Binding, a format option that appears–at 10x the price–on most indie author’s Amazon pages…but pays them no more than normal. Hopefully I can have some reporting ready for you folks in the near future. The little I’ve found out about it–and the lack of interest on Amazon’s side to do anything about it, as they consider it a “legal” publishing option by a re-seller–is already interesting.

Links to the Ilona Andrews’s story:

Original call for help:  http://www.ilona-andrews.com/news/copyright-infringement-urgent

Pirated page: http://www.amazon.com/Questing-Beast-ebook/dp/B009I4OWAS/

True free page for story: http://www.ilona-andrews.com/books/ebooks/questing-beast-2

Update by Andrews: http://www.ilona-andrews.com/news/you-won-at-the-internet

2nd Update: http://www.ilona-andrews.com/news/news-nanowrimo-and-scumbags

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Writer of crime fiction, psychological drama, and dark humor.

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Posted in Epublishing News
4 comments on “Caveat Writer
  1. Holy smokes. Now THIS kind of stuff scares me.

    And who the heck is paying $5.99 for a short story.?! Even scarier is the fact that I’ve got one of my short stories up for free on my site as a PDF. I guess I need to figure out a way to prevent people doing the same. Maybe making it a JPG or something…

    • Matthew Iden says:

      Yeah, this is the tip of the iceberg, unfortunately. The vast majority of the world still isn’t using Amazon or e-books, but when they do and find out, really, how easy it is to put up someone else’s work it’s going to be a mad house. Anonymity currently protects a lot of indies, but of course we’re all struggling to get noticed! Ah, irony…

      And…yeah. Who is paying $5.99 for a novel, let alone 21 pages? 🙂

  2. Wo3lf says:

    Damn. I hate when this happens. A lot of work goes into writing, whether its a full length book or just a short story. I despise dishonesty. I really hope Amazon does more here otherwise it will cheapen what we’re trying to do.

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