October 2, 2009

Sleazy Kinde Pirate Hijacks Blood Sugar 101 on Amazon

UPDATE OCT 3, 2009: Today Amazon has finally cleaned up the mess left by the attempt by the pirate to sell a sleazy Kindle book as if it were Blood Sugar 101 . Amazon also stopped the sale of the pirate's diabetes book. However, there are still a bunch of other titles that have been hijacked by the same sleazy company the same way mine was on Amazon, and though Amazon unlinked a few other Kindle downloads that were linked fraudulently to print books that had different titles, after I notified them about them, the sleazy versions of those Kindle titles are still for sale. Other hijacked books remain in Amazon's catalog and I have notified the rights holder where I could find contact information.

So before you buy a Kindle book, check that the author and title of the Kindle edition you are buying is identical to the printed book. It beggars belief that Amazon allows people to link their Kindle books to print titles that have different titles and author names, but they do.


Monday I logged into Amazon to see if there were any new reviews of my book, Blood Sugar 101. Imagine my surprise when I saw that Amazon was selling a Kindle edition of the book.

Technion Books, publisher of Blood Sugar 101, has not released a Kindle edition.

It turns out a sleazy publisher of generic mobipocket downloads, a company that publishes downloads on any topic that might sell, had linked the Kindle edition of "Diabetes Care Study Guide" to the paperback version of Blood Sugar 101.

People who clicked through from Blood Sugar 101's paperback page to the Kindle page saw a picture of the cover of Blood Sugar 101, but were sold the Kindle version of something called "Diabetes Care Study Guide" which was some junk offering of generic publisher MobileReference

I contacted Amazon's copyright department immediately and was assured the problem would be taken care of. Five days later, they have removed the link to the bogus Kindle edition and removed the picture of my cover from the page of the bogus Kindle book. But that page is still there, and Amazon left all the reviews of Blood Sugar 101 on the pirate Kindle book's page!

Visitors to the Kindle page read a bunch of reviews saying that the book (rarely identified by title) is essential reading for anyone with diabetes. The appearance today on the Kindle page of four "people who bought this book also bought" items suggests at least four people were suckered into buying the Kindle pirate's book thinking it was Blood Sugar 101.

It gets worse. Amazon now displays a long rambling screed from MobileReference on the page selling the REAL, printed version of Blood Sugar 101. This makes it look like my book is published by this sleazy company.

I am outraged. I have contacted Amazon's copyright department three times about this problem and they keep assuring me it will be fixed. So far, it isn't.

I found six other titles where the MobileReference company had linked their download to a similar, but completely different, print book. When I contacted Amazon about this, I was told that only the copyright holder could complain. In each case, the cover of a different book is displayed along with the MobileReference Kindle download of a book with a slightly different title.

If you are a Kindle owner, I would urge you to complain loudly to Amazon about the deceptive practices being used by MobileReference to sell inferior downloads to Kindle owners and the fact that reviews from a bestselling print book are being displayed on an unrelated Kindle download in a way that could really hurt people
with diabetes.

IMPORTANT NOTE: DO NOT post comments on the sleazy company's Kindle page because the way they have linked to my book, any comment posted on "Diabetes Care Study Guide" becomes a review and a RATING of Blood Sugar 101. Infuriating.

Since the company continues to benefit from their fraud, my guess is they will perpetrate many more, as will other sleazy Kindle vendors. Amazon's policy appears to be that they are willing to profit from piracy. Not all copyright holders check their book's page every week to see what is going on, and a Kindle vendor who links to a successful book with an owner who isn't paying attention may sell a lot of books before the fraud is discovered.

And since Amazon does not remove the Kindle version that profits from this piracy, it's pretty clear how seriously they take such shenanigans.

I have no way of knowing how many people fell into the trap set by MobileReference. I know only that Amazon does not consider it a priority to keep Kindle owners from buying fraudulent goods and they are not in any hurry to remove the glowing reviews from the pirate Kindle page.

You can easily tell if you downloaded the pirate's Kindle version when you ordered Blood Sugar 101 for your Kindle. There is NO Kindle edition of Blood Sugar 101, so anything you downloaded thinking it was my book was the pirate's!

Meanwhile, if you order the print book from THIS PAGE
you will get the printed book.

Or you can make life even simpler for yourself by ordering the book from any of the other online vendors listed on THIS PAGE.



Rishara said...

Wow, as an avid Kindle user, I would be extremely upset if I thought I was ordering your book and got some piece of crap. The only (slightly) positive for the Kindle user is that it is pretty easy to return Kindle books.

Anonymous said...

That is truly disgusting. But I suppose as long as they can pay their lawyers more than you can pay your lawyers . . .

Jack said...

In case Jeff ever wonders why I don't
own a Kindle...


Harold said...

I own a Kindle and think it is great. Jenny I hope that your experience with Amazon is not the usual thing and that it gets straighten out very soon. I can't believe that Amazon would want to have the bad publicity and animosity that your experience would give it for such a tiny fraction of its sales. I doubt that anyone at Amazon would want that. It would not make sense!
John, if you don't own a Kindle, I would say you are missing out on one of the best gadgets I have.

Jenny said...

Actually, I contacted someone whose organization publicizes frauds that take advantage of writers. She told me mine was not the first such story she has heard and that Amazon is always slow to correct the situation.

She said their approach is similar to that of Scribd--they allow anyone to upload and only take action when fraud is detected by someone else.

Though Amazon fixed my book, they did not fix several books from a larger publisher, DK Eyewitness, whose travel books were hijacked. I assume they are too busy with its huge line of books to examine the Amazon page every week of every one of dozens of titles. I notified the e-rights person at that publisher of the problem. Originally there were some 20 books hijacked. Amazon unlinked quite a few but missed some.

The critical fact is that they did not ban the Kindle publisher who was selling fraudulently. That tells you all you need to know about their ethics.

Anne said...

I have and enjoy a Kindle. I am sorry to hear that this kind of fraud goes on and isn't completely shut down by Amazon.

I have found I like reading novels on the Kindle, but for books I use as reference, such as Blood Sugar 101, I want a hard copy. It is easier to thumb through a real book.