Third Party Retailers: Piracy and Counterfeiting on Amazon

I’ve gone down the rabbit hole this morning, reading with curiosity reports about piracy and counterfeiting by third party retailers on Amazon.

It all began when I googled “Amazon third party sellers and piracy.”

Apparently this is a major problem, involving Amazon’s sale of all types of products, and not just books. This happens, even though Amazon has an anti-counterfeiting policy.

But since I am a writer, this is what I’ll focus upon.

Book piracy can arise in numerous ways, as indicated by a recent lawsuit brought against publishers of college textbooks.

It was clear to the buyers that the third party vendors were selling counterfeits. Pages were missing, and the copying was poor. In all likelihood, someone took a copy of the book, photocopied it, and then offered it for sale.

How else might piracy happen?

An indie writer makes a book available for e-book or print purchase. Upon looking at the report for sales and royalty payments for the print books, there is a discrepancy:  more print books are available for sale than were officially sold by the authorized print book dealer. Or, some retailer claims it has e-books available for sale through some unknown outlet.

Where are these other books coming from? I would imagine they were pirated e copies that were being resold in electronic or print form. It’s possible they might not even be copies of the books themselves, but something else altogether, and definitely not what the customers ordered.

We should all be checking our books regularly to see where they are being sold, and how. Readers should only purchase from authorized sellers. Both publishers and authors should explain quite clearly who the authorized sellers are.

Copyright Barbara James. All rights reserved.