Amazon Sold $240K of ‘Liturgy of the Ordinary’ Fakes, Publisher Says
JULY 08, 2019
Christian values can seem increasingly countercultural in a society drawn to the instant gratification offered by the world’s biggest online retailer.A Christian bestseller (and CT Book of the Year) was targeted by a major counterfeiting scheme. It took Tish Harrison Warren nearly three years to publish her first book. It was more than 18 months of arranging childcare and carving out time to write before she had a manuscript—11 chapters chronicling details from her day-to-day life paired with the rhythms of church ritual.
By the time Liturgy of the Ordinary debuted in December 2016, she and her publishing team had gone through the process of selecting a cover (an open-faced peanut butter and jelly sandwich against a bright green backdrop) and editing the page proofs to check every dot and detail.
But over the past year, thousands of readers ended up with copies that didn’t quite look like the book she and InterVarsity Press (IVP) had finalized three years ago. The cover was not as sharp. The pages were a bit off-center.
These were not IVP’s books at all. They were counterfeits.
Just as The New York Times put out a report in late June on a surge of counterfeit books available on Amazon, the 70-year-old Christian publisher discovered that one of its own had also “been victim of a highly organized and sophisticated counterfeiting scheme.”
The Times covered complaints that the country’s top bookseller “has been reactive rather than proactive in dealing with the issue” and found examples of Amazon’s third-party sellers pushing fakes across genres: medical handbooks, popular novels, and classic literature. With Warren’s case, add Christian books to the list.
IVP estimates that at least 15,000 counterfeit copies of Liturgy of the Ordinary were sold on the site over the past nine months, their retail value totaling $240,000. That nearly cuts sales of Warren’s book in half; IVP reported 23,000 legitimate copies were sold over the past year. IVP also found evidence of counterfeiting on a smaller scale for one other title, Michael Reeves’s Delighting in the Trinity, which came out in 2002.
Publishers Weekly reported how AAP specifically called out Amazon for facilitating sales of fraudulent books: “The organization claimed that Amazon, on its retail site, allows ‘widespread counterfeiting, defective products, and fake reviews that both degrade the consumer experience and diminish the incentives of authors and publishers to create new works and bring them to the marketplace.’” read it here
*******I guess this explains why Amazon would not tell me how many of my books were sold when it happened to me.
While I thought I had something to be happy about back in April when Amazon finally got my highjacked book taken down...that feeling did not last long. They would not tell me how many of the stolen books they sold.
Stolen? Yes, when an author does not get paid for their work, it is stolen. What made it worse was that it had gone on for 16 years! Xlibris was the publisher and refused to take down the book...or even bother to find out why it was still for sale, and yes, being bought by people. Those "people" included me at full price so that I could prove what was happening.
The problem was, no matter what I proved, no one would do anything to help me. I got the Better Business Bureau involved. I got a lawyer. I wrote and wrote and wrote emails to the "publisher" and tormentor. I called other lawyers but they would not help unless I knew how many were sold.
Warren is a "best selling author" and apparently, her publisher cared about what was happening.
I just have a very well established online connection...over 15 million.
But that news hit me a few years ago. The number was from Google before they had to switch to a Google+ account. Now, who knows? My site less than 5 million views, so that means all those people on my profile came from someplace else.
I couldn't even get anyone to care when I wrote about all this back in April...April Fools Publishing With Xlibris.
You can hear the story about this here. Just goes to show that it is not always what you know...but who you know when you are seeking justice or help to get it.