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Amazon is Still Selling Pirated POD Textbooks

Over the past three years I have reported no fewer than four times about Amazon’s ongoing problem with counterfeit and pirated books in its POD service, Createspace.

Here is report number five (and six).

Ars Technica brings us word of Bill Pollock, a technical publisher who discovered earlier this month that Amazon was selling  pirated POD copies of The Art of Assembly Language, a book published by No Starch Press, Pollock’s company.

As Pollock explained, these fakes were relatively easy to spot: "On Amazon fakes: I’m a bit in the dark here but I know that all fakes so far have used a glossy cover; we use matte. All have been 8″ x 10″; we use 7 1/4″ x 9″ size. All have a barcode inside the back cover," he tweeted.

After Pollock’s tweet on the second, other people tweeted photos of other No Starch Press books that had been pirated through Createspace, And to make matters worse, this isn’t the first time this has happened to Pollock.

Back in 2017, Pollock discovered Amazon selling counterfeit copies of Python for Kids and four other No Starch Press titles. Like the Assembly book mentioned above, the books were easy to distinguish from legit copies of No Starch Press titles thanks to the obviously poorer quality of the paper, binding, and design.

Previous examples of pirated and counterfeit books on Createspace included a book that was distributed through CS and then pirated through CS as well as a money laundering operation; a publisher who spammed the market with POD versions of every book they could, including a bunch of titles in copyright; and in 2015, a massive textbook piracy scam.

I guess that old canard is true; the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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Mike Cane February 14, 2019 um 4:30 pm

>reported new fewer than four times

Typo? -> reported NOT fewer than four times

Darryl February 15, 2019 um 12:34 am

It is not news to me that this happens and I doubt that Amazon and Createspace are alone. I don’t think it is practical to entirely eliminate such things from these types of platforms. What I am more interested in is what Amazon does once they are made aware of the problem, and what arrangements follow.

Allen F February 15, 2019 um 8:22 pm

The biggest problem Amazon faces is 'trust'. Trust in the reports of 'piracy' that is.

They’re already fighting groups and companies claiming something is fake/pirated to get it pulled because they don’t like it or the competition. If they act too fast it’ll be more honest ones getting hurt as the bad just change their names/games and do it again.

Over on TPV it’s a hoot as we watch writers scream that 'something must be done' about the KU scammers – and then they scream all the louder when Amazon does 'do something' that hits them as well.

Robert Wolf March 4, 2019 um 12:17 pm

I am an author with multiple titles on Amazon. Four of these titles are being offered "new" by multiple sellers, but there is no way they can have new copies. Some of these books have been out of print for years. Now I am threatened with law suit by a publisher who did an e-book version of one of my titles. My contract stipulated I could print a limited paperback edition but not sell it on Amazon. I did not, but other sellers are claiming to have "new" copies. I can only assume that these copies are pirated. Have you heard of other such cases with Amazon. By the way, about three of these sellers are isted as sellers for three of my titles.

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