Something disconcerting happened to me this week (and I don’t mean the usual) …
Quite by chance, I found a Seller retailing print versions of “Killing Hope” on all of the Amazon sites worldwide – and without my permission. Not just one copy, but as many as your bank balance would allow – on a Print-On-Demand basis through Amazon’s CreateSpace in-house publishing service for Indie Authors.
As you can imagine, I was horrified to discover this unauthorized activity.
“Hope” has only ever been available in e-book format for the Kindle. Never in print. So this wasn’t simply a matter of a Seller selling on a used print copy they’d bought. Oh no. To use Amazon’s CreateSpace Print-On-Demand, they would have had to download a digital copy to their Kindle or Kindle App, ripped it to their computer and then uploaded it as a Word Doc to CreateSpace through their own Amazon Seller account. Then, 5-7 days later, it appeared as a paperback version across the globe. No cross-checking to see if it was my account selling it, and no royalties for Mr. Houghton, thank you very much.
This Seller hadn’t sought my permission to retail my work. Their actions were infringing international copyright laws and violating Amazon’s own T&C on Sellers retailing copyright protected material. In other words, their activity was despicable and immoral.
What was even worse was the fact they’d copied-and-pasted the Book Description without keeping the layout – which meant it was all in one messy paragraph across the Book Page. My book image had been copied too, with an inferior dpi version on show. But worst of all was the book’s interior. The Seller had uploaded the ripped Word Doc still in the Kindle format – which happens to be nothing like a print book! The result was a two-inch column of continuous text running down the extreme left of each book page. Urgh! It looked like an amateurish disaster … and it had me as the credited author!
After picking myself up off the floor, I immediately contacted Amazon and underwent the long and arduous process of submitting ‘Copyright Infringement’ forms, one for each of the countries in which Amazon was retailing the unauthorized print book. That meant translating French, Spanish and Italian sites, and then submitting the forms and the required ‘account of why I felt my copyright was being breached’ in each respective language. It was a nightmare and took the best part of a day to complete. Finally, a week later, most of the Amazon marketplaces have either made the book ‘Currently Unavailable’ or removed the offending Page altogether.
To prevent this happening again, I have had no alternative but to upload my own print versions of “Hope” and “Lines” to Amazon using their CreateSpace POD service. This has involved completely reformatting both books and designing book jackets from scratch. It has taken me away from writing Book #3 for a full week – and all because somebody in India (yes, the Seller was located somewhere in the subcontinent) had the gall to rip off my hard work for their own financial gain.
Now I know how all those struggling music artists feel when they have their music ripped by so-called ‘fans’ using internet file-sharing sites!
The good news is, both “Killing Hope” and “Crossing Lines” are now available in print editions from Amazon. Both books are in a 5″ x 8″ paperback format and are retailing at the lowest price possible to allow me to make a very small profit after CreateSpace have taken their princely printing costs.
So … if you’re a major Gabe Quinn junkie and you’d love a pair of big fancy bookends for your mantelpiece, now’s your chance! … because you never know, if I get picked up by a publisher in the future (and their editors are let loose), these First Editions may just become collectables and maybe even worth slightly more than you paid for them!
Thanks for reading! … and should you ever come across any of my books being sold en masse without being linked directly to my Seller Account … CALL ME!!!
All Best Until Next Time!