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One Author Explains Her Role in the Lendink Lynch Mob

The hot story in digital publishing this week was the Lendink Witch Hunt.

A little over a week ago a bunch of authors noticed that a site by the name of lendink was showing covers of their ebooks. Without confirming what was going or or what the site was doing, these authors flew into a rage and started issuing a shitstorm of demands that their ebooks be removed from the site and that Lendink stop pirating their ebooks.

I covered this story myself on Monday. I didn’t really know what was going on, so I reached out to a bunch of the authors who had issued the demands. I’ve just heard back from one of the authors.

I’m going to assume that everyone knows about Lendink by now and that you know the site wasn’t committing piracy. But if you’re finding this for the first time, you can read my post from Monday, Lendink’s response, or you can read this.

The author in question is O. G. Tomes (here’s her blog). I found her via Lendink’s Facebook page. That’s where Tomes had posted 2 bogus DMCA takedown notices in which she says that Lendink was hosting a copy of her ebook. You can find a copy of the notices here (search for the name "Tomes").

Not only is she not contrite, she still doesn’t understand what Lendink did nor the terms of her contract with Amazon. Her ignorance is so mind-boggling broad that it will stand as a milestone for future generations of authors.

Here is Tomes' explanation for her part in the lynch mob:

This situation is a sad one and warrants an explanation for all the parties involved. If at any time I had received a reply from Lendink or Amazon had taken a clearer stance maybe I could have avoided being compelled to demand removal of my works; ie their links and covers. I was never contacted by anyone requesting permission to display my works for sale or lend by Lendink. I did not authorize them to pursue their activity of listing any of my books. The site openly admitted to losing their affiliation with Amazon yet continued to work toward that moment when they could once again get paid for their referrals. My attempts to contact Lendink to answer my requests for information on their procedures were ignored. Attempts to join the site to find out the information were blocked. I followed "Lendink’s" directives for filing notices directly from their site. I have attached a copy to this email.

I think the matter warrants discussing but in a rational manner.

At this time, I must state that I do not grant permission for this conversation or any information contained or attached herein to be used in any public forum.

Sincerely, O. G. Tomes

First, let me say that I don’t need her permission (snicker) to post a copy of her email; I’m posting it for its news & commentary value so I have a clear fair use justification.

I’m at a loss to figure out where she is the most wrong. Is it the fact she admits she didn’t confirm exactly what lendink was doing before sending the fraudulent takedown notices? Or is it the way she blames Amazon and Lendink for her own ignorance of the contracts she signed?

Folks, I don’t even have to look at her contracts with Amazon to know that she agreed to everything and anything that lendink was actually doing. And from what I can tell, all Lendink did was show her covers; the site didn’t have a copy of her ebooks (that’s what she claimed in the takedown notice).  Everything Lendink did was allowed by Amazon’s contracts with their suppliers. These clauses are in the contracts so Amazon’s affiliates can do their marketing thing and boost Amazon’s sales.

And you can ignore everything she writes about Lendink losing their relationship to Amazon; the site might not have been able to earn a commission as an affiliate but it still had permission from Amazon to post the images. Trust me, that’s an unrelated technical matter having to do with how sites (such as the blog you’re reading right now) can pull info from Amazon (only with Amazon’s permission, basically).

Now, you might be thinking that Lendink should have limited the offered titles to only ones which were lendable. So far as I know that is not information which can be accessed from outside Amazon. All lendink could do was offer ebooks which its members had listed on the site.

Perhaps you think that Lendink should have only shown the titles listed by members? Maybe,  but listing titles which weren’t lendable is at worst annoying, not piracy. What’s more, titles shown to potential readers will sometimes result in a sale. Is that really such a bad thing?

I know that I have at least a few authors who follow this blog so I’d like to make a suggestion.

Folks, don’t be this person. Don’t join a lynch mob, but more importantly please for the love of Phil make sure you know what the hell is going on before you make an idiot of yourself.

If you don’t know what’s going on, ask someone.

One of the more infuriating parts of this lynch mob story is that there are a dozen or more places where the authors could have asked questions before joining the lynch mob. There’s Goodreads, Wattpad, Amazon’s own forums, MobileRead, Twitter, and those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

Heck, if you don’t understand a situation you could always ask me. I might not answer your email, but I would love to find and crush a real pirate site.  What’s more, I just love finding information. And at the very least I can point you in the right direction.

And if you don’t have a network of people you can ask for advice, what the hell are you waiting for? Go start building one.

image by Kiwi NZ

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Kai August 12, 2012 um 5:16 am

Great post, lots of good information!

You don’t have to be an Amazon Affiliate to use the Amazon Product API, but used in conjunction, it lets you earn the referral fees.

My understanding of how the site worked is it would let lenders and borrowers search for a book. If the book wasn’t listed, they could enter in the title, and an ItemLookup request would populate the listing.

I’m not sure at what point a book would be checked to be sure it was lending enabled. I believed they hoped people would buy the book if they didn’t want to wait or if it was not lending enabled.

Mentions the removal of all non-lending eligible books, apparently their validation script wasn’t working. But that was over a year ago.

In the time since then, Dale got sick and the site fell into neglect. Its not unreasonable to assume that books that weren’t eligible began to end up listed on the site again. I don’t think this excuses the authors at all. Due diligence would have still revealed the books as being un-lend-able.

Nate Hoffelder August 12, 2012 um 6:54 am

Thank you for posting about the Amazon API.

Folks, I glossed over the details in the comment above due to the length of my post.

And folks, this is what I mean by finding someone who knows what the hell is going on. Kai explained details that OG didn’t understand. You need to be acquainted with people like Kai (and me).

O. G. Tomes August 13, 2012 um 9:58 am

Mr. Hoffelder,
A grave injustice has been done and not one that can be repaired by a simple apology no matter how many are sent. The answer to this wrong lies somewhere in my heartfelt question of how can this be corrected? Where is the list of all those involved so that I may set an example and try to lead them toward an apology for their actions. Yet, I wonder will they listen? A pebble was tossed out carelessly that hit the pond of self-publishing and the destructive ripples were far reaching beyond the grasp of any involved. I can not abide that a simple apology would heal this grievous wound that has been inflicted upon another’s soul and that of his family.
Yet so many in his defense have turned to embrace the very same mob mentality they hark as being so unjust. I see wrong after wrong after wrong being committed. Even after the public slight of so many strangers I can not see Mr. Porter endorsing any of the negative behaviors in this situation. Each participant in this forum is responsible for their part. Your use of my partial statement in your article does not portray my true feelings on this matter which run the spectrum of all the emotions of grief available. It only shows the reserve with which I first contacted you and your embrace of the issue.
Possibly my response was useful for your own purpose and yet I have found mine, for your platform surely outreaches mine I am sure. Why did I pick you from so many? I will never know, but I will admit openly that I had hopes that you would help to turn this wrong into a right. I had the sincerest of intentions when contacting you in the hope that you would be worthy and publish my letter of apology. I can only offer Mr. Porter my remorse filled apology and acknowledge that it is meager when compared to the current status of this situation.
Any 'voice' being used in a misguided way cause the flames to be fanned; the fire then being allowed to spread further. Could you possibly endeavor to help repair the situation instead of appearing as part of yet another mob heading towards an unwarranted destruction? Can you not see that this could be turned around to garner more support for Mr. Porter and possibly used to inform all those who wish to apologize, where and how that can be done? It is a conundrum at twenty paces; those who wish to apologize feel unsafe to do so as is exampled here by your belittling article based on the assumption that I was not contrite. You omitted part of the reply I sent so as to prove my open honesty I shall include it here:

Mr. Hoffelder,
I am remiss in that this is such a late reply. I was out of town and just returned today to find out the current status on the Lendink issue. I am available now if you have any specific questions you would like to ask me. I will not participate if any of your queries are on the same level as.. ie: …….

Foster your words, Mr. Hoffelder, for I invite you to become the watchdog indie authors need since obviously we have some power, though it is in dire need of some sort of coherent direction so as to avoid being misguided again. I have tried many times to contact Mr. Porter to offer my apology and I am still unable to reach him even through the most recent contact I have found. I am unsure if my last attempt was successful yet. I can’t say I find fault in being unavailable these days, it seems to be the latest trend.
There are many who would like to apologize sincerely to Mr. Porter, and sadly many who do not. Might you be a gentleman and lead those of us who do in finding the way? Here is my apology, the one I have been trying to send to Mr. Porter since August 3rd when the scope and enormity of what has been done settled in. It was not the threats or nasty comments that propelled me to apologize but my own values and remorse for my ill behavior toward another human being. Would you be so kind as to see that he gets this?

Mr. Porter,
I humbly offer my deepest and most sincere apology for my misguided behavior towards Lendink. Alas, I understand that it is too little too late but still I beg your forgiveness in this matter. I did not report or give notice via any avenue other than the contact information from Lendink itself and Facebook. My intention was to have my covers removed, nothing more and I am appalled I had any part, albeit unintentional, in the closing of your site. Many thought as I did, that it was a simple matter of deleting and were aghast when the site was closed.
I hope and pray that the threats you and your family are receiving stop. I honestly hope you can find the strength to open Lendink again. I offer you my staunchest promotional support if you choose to make a go of it again after this.
I have tried many times, since August 3rd, to contact you via various links I have found and this makes the fifth attempt via this email address I found on Facebook early Friday morning. I have shared this contact information with other authors in the hopes they may offer their apologies as well. I pray this reaches you and that the grievous wound inflicted upon your endeavor is healed or at least soothed by the changed opinions that are shifting in your favor. Yes, I will also be posting this publicly for I see it as only fair. I wanted to contact you first so as not to be swept along in the crowds that seem to be bent toward revenge and irrational belittling on both sides of the issue.
I hold you in the highest of regard for your sheer fortitude and grace in your public comments by handling this matter with a commendable rationale when all those around you have not or would not.

Again, I offer my sincerest heartfelt apology and hope that you can find it within your heart to accept.

O. G. Tomes

In closing, I would like to add that 'pointing fingers' and 'gun jumping' were at the heart of this travesty and it is apparent that anyone can easily misread another’s intentions.

Dan DeWitt August 13, 2012 um 2:31 pm

Wow, if you were a tenth as interested in knowing what you’re talking about before harassing an innocent guy as you obviously are in hearing yourself talk, you never would have been involved in this in the first place.

Lynne Connolly August 12, 2012 um 7:13 am

I’m an author. When this Lendink thing started, I took steps to assure myself that the site was legit. As far as I could see, it was doing nothing wrong.
So I said so. Nobody listened, or if they did, they deliberately misunderstood. It amazed me, how little the authors knew about the terms of their e-contracts. Partly, I think, because some of them signed their contracts on the advice of their agents, so they weren’t familiar with Amazon’s terms and conditions, and they hadn’t educated themselves about it.
Some publishers, investigated, satisfied themselves that Lendink was doing nothing wrong and announced it on the author loops – the fuss was a lot less there. Some left the authors to it, or took too long to reply.
But trying to stop the mob was like trying to turn the tide, once it got going. The Canute effect (except Canute was trying to prove a point, not actually turn the tide back). The arguments, like the letter above (which, by the way, I wouldn’t have published, just from an ethical point of view – there are lots of blog posts scattered around that you could have used instead) were spurious and mind-bogglingly uninformed.
It’s not just that piracy has scared authors half to death, it’s that they don’t understand. Either they should leave dealing with suspected piracy to their agents and publishers, or they should fully inform themselves.

Richard Herley August 12, 2012 um 7:50 am

"Either they should leave dealing with suspected piracy to their agents and publishers, or they should fully inform themselves."

Exactly right. The independent author needs to be up to speed on this stuff (as well as editing, formatting, cover design, etc., etc.)

In the past, agents and publishers purported to handle such matters — though in my experience, they weren’t much use. I once had to hire a lawyer to help get an offending edition pulped, and even then I wrote the letters myself! He just checked them over and sent them off on his headed paper 🙂

FWIW I’m miffed that Lendink is no more. What’s not to like about a harmless site that helped boost word-of-mouth?

Nate Hoffelder August 12, 2012 um 9:43 am

I’ll grant you that I could have and should have left the author’s name off the post. That was an oversight on my part.

But the rest of the email is mind-boggling and deserves attention. It’s the kind of mindset that needs to be exposed so other authors can learn from the mistakes.

Becky Black August 12, 2012 um 12:31 pm

I listened, Lynne, and I hope there were others who did. Posts from you and Imogen Howson gave a great explanation of what the site was actually about. Along with a bit of personal research they reassured me there was nothing to worry about and I could leave the pitchfork and flaming torch in the cupboard.

I respect your continuing efforts to try to explain to people who still don’t seem to get it. Or who, even if they’ve been convinced that LendInk was legit, are displaying very harsh attitudes towards the perfectly legal lending of books. If that’s their honest belief they should be picketing their local library by now.

Mark Coker August 12, 2012 um 9:27 am

Like Richard, I’m saddened by the demise of this company. I wasn’t familiar with them prior to this. In retrospect, if I had known more about the company, I would have reached out more forcefully to help them set the record straight. Kudos to April Hamilton and the other few for standing up early and talking common sense.

In the early stages of the panic, I was contacted by several concerned authors, both privately via email and on Facebook. All my replies were the same – I didn’t know about the company, I was familiar with the concept, and I suspected they were probably legit, and suspected their impact on authors was overall beneficial. Here’s one of my responses:

Over the last four years, here at Smashwords we’ve faced probably hundreds if not thousands of mini-panics, many of which might have developed into raving angry mobs as developed around this one had we not taken steps to diffuse them. For example, dozens of times we’ve had authors claim illegal copies of their books were being distributed by our retail partners, simply because the author didn’t realize we were a distributor (!!). Dozens of times authors have accused of us withholding their payments, only to discover their mailing address changed, or the gave us the wrong PayPal address. Dozens of times, our retail partners have been accused of under-reporting sales ("surely, my book couldn’t be selling so poorly" is the common refrain). Over time, these chicken little experiences have helped us improve our onsite-communications (one of the reasons for our Site Updates feature), we’ve improved our FAQs and registration emails, and we’ve also leveraged our growing community to ensure they’re educated about who we are and what we do, so they too can help diffuse individual panics before they become flash mobs or worse. If your own community at large can’t defend you, you’re toast. This is not something you do once and forget about. It’s an ongoing effort to maintain transparent and effective communication. It’s also a challenge to be careful that your information disclosure isn’t misinterpretated by the chicken littles. If you haven’t build a community, you’re vulnerable to these flash mob panics.

There are authors out there who are inclined to panic at the first sign of uncertainty. These panics operate in vacuums of information. If the panicked author finds even one other author who either experienced the same thing or fears the same thing, then two dots become a line and this further confirms their worse fears and increases their conviction of injustice. Lesson to entrepreneurs: fill the vacuum with truth and transparency.

I hope this can become a teachable moment for both authors and fellow entrepreneurs. For authors, take a chill pill before you add fuel to the rumor mill. Your biggest threat is obscurity, not piracy. Stop fearing pirates. Pirates are irrelevant to you. If someone really wants to steal your book, they will, and they wouldn’t have been paid customers anyway.

For entrepreneurs, communicate often. Build a community of users who understand your mission and the positive you’re trying to bring into the world. Empower your supporters with full transparency so they can act as reasoned and informed counterbalances to irrational panic and rumor mongering. If people are accusing you of malicious or nefarious actions, counter it forcefully backed by truth and transparency.

I recall when I received my first inquiry about them, I visited the site. My first impression was that it looked professional, so that was somewhat reassuring to me, but as I recall, some key elements were missing…. 1. They were obviously at the center of a raging panic storm, yet there was no visible communication on the site to acknowledge the panic or address the issues. I don’t recall seeing any form of attempt to combat the rumors – no FAQ, no alerts, no site updates, no attempt to set the chicken littles straight. I was looking for ammunition to defend the company, but unless I missed it, it wasn’t there. I shouldn’t have to look so hard for ammunition when my intention is to defend you. 2. I don’t recall seeing any information about the company, or who operated it. Who was the founder, where were they located? I shouldn’t have to do a WHOIS lookup on the domain to learn who’s behind a site. I’m often surprised by the number of new startups I see where there’s absolutely no information about the founders or their location. I don’t care if your startup is in Siberia, Tokyo, London or Preoria, tell me where you are. I don’t recall seeing a press room, where the company showcases press coverage and news announcements, or provides contact information for media. Entrepreneurs, give your community the information they need build confidence, and to earn and deserve their trust.

In the end, I was unable to find the information I needed to stand forcefully behind the company and defend them, thus my tentative support as shown above in my Facebook post.

I hope the founders of Lendink do the right thing and make another go of it. Don’t let this unfortunate situation beat you. Learn from it and grow stronger from it. Authors, please think twice before spreading negativity in the world. Although the world is a dangerous place, I find most operators out there are well-intentioned and not out to rip you off.

DavidW August 12, 2012 um 10:14 am

This is a sound example for the continued relevance of publishers. A publisher would be the one to submit take down notices, but are also more likely to understand when not to do so. They understand the difference between what is legal and illegal as many of these authors do not. Publishers would and do educate their authors on these issues. So it’s not just a matter of being better off with an editor, typesetter and marketing department behind them… authors need publishers so that they don’t do stupid, ignorant things like this.

Dan Eldridge August 12, 2012 um 12:33 pm

Wow. Solid work, Nate. And a very well-reasoned comment from Mark Coker to boot! Two thumbs up, all around.

Robert Nagle August 12, 2012 um 12:45 pm

These lending services provide a valuable service to the community. All are still in their infancy stages, but frankly, they are providing a meaningful alternative to Overdrive at public libraries. I would love the public library systems to partner with one of these lending services to provide meaningful amounts of lending.

As for the authors who have mistakenly participated in this witch hunt, I have to wonder how they will compensate lendlink for the damage they have done..

Common Sense August 12, 2012 um 12:53 pm

I’m not an author, just a reader, but if you keep up with the ebook world at all, you’re aware of the rules around Amazon’s KDP program and how lending works. It’s amazing to me that actual authors know less about their contracts, and ebooks in general, than I do!

I also don’t understand the complaints about non-lending books being listed on the site. I follow many book blogs and the whole point is to list books, it’s considered free marketing, isn’t that what authors want?

As for piracy, people with such a knee-jerk reaction clearly aren’t informed about that either. Piracy doesn’t result in fewer sales, it usually results in more because it’s a form of advertising. People who download pirated copies were never going to purchase them legitimately anyway, hence, no lost sales. This is why authors and publishers who get it offer their books DRM-free. Some even forego copyright.

As for these uninformed, screeching harpies, I’ve made sure to note them on my do-not-buy list. After reviewing a number of them, it doesn’t look like they write the kind of book I want to read anyway. These authors need to keep in mind that negative marketing is effective as well. To that point, I have thousands of ebooks (legitimately) and don’t ever need to buy one every again. Attacking a legitimate small business without bothering to get the facts does NOT make me want to buy your book.

Patrick August 12, 2012 um 1:55 pm

I think it is VERY IMPORTANT to point out what Mark Coker just stated. He talked about how he wanted to defend Lendink but there was nothing to give him any answers to tell him the company was legit. Many, many authors DID do their research. They also talked to each other.

This is what Mark Coker said in his posting above: I’m often surprised by the number of new startups I see where there’s absolutely no information about the founders or their location. I don’t care if your startup is in Siberia, Tokyo, London or Preoria, tell me where you are. I don’t recall seeing a press room, where the company showcases press coverage and news announcements, or provides contact information for media. Entrepreneurs, give your community the information they need build confidence, and to earn and deserve their trust.

In the end, I was unable to find the information I needed to stand forcefully behind the company and defend them, thus my tentative support as shown above in my Facebook post.

This is Patrick again: Many, many authors researched through the page and could not find the information to support this site as legit. That is Dale’s fault. He LOOKS UNPROFESSIONAL. Not at first glance, but keep looking..his security certificate was also EXPIRED. He failed to respond to ANYONE on his Facebook page or answer emails send to him with concerns of his site. Ignoring concerned authors is not the smartest thing to do either. He deserves PART OF THE BLAME. There were tons of books on Lendink’s site that ARE NOT LENDABLE because the author never made them lendable. Why is that Dale? To say, "Oh, well, who cares. If you clicked on the link it wouldn’t work or you wouldn’t be matched to a lender if that particular book is not lendable." That screams UNPROFESSIONAL and makes his site look like a PIRATE SITE. Many pirate sites pop up and pretend to lend and look very legit. Pirates have become very sophisticated. Dale should never have had UNLENDABLE books on his site. Dale should have had his site’s purpose clearly stated and explained. Dale should have not have had an expired security ceritificate if he’s pointing readers to books that CAN BE BOUGHT and are not in the lendable program because after all, HE IS NO LONGER ALLOWED TO SELL BOOKS BECAUSE OF THE NEW CALIFORNIA TAX LAW.

All of these things were huge concerns to authors. He LOOKED LIKE A PIRATE pretending to be a library because his site was not updated, had unlendable books on there and had absolutely no FAQ or information to support him being legit. I’m happy that Mark Coker pointed this out because it is true. I also want to point out that authors DID EMAIL AMAZON AND THERE IS A LETTER FROM AMAZON POSTED TO LENDINK’S FACEBOOK PAGE FROM AN AUTHOR that says we should REQUEST OUR BOOKS BE REMOVED FROM AMAZON. I did nothing until reading that letter from Amazon. I HEARD THIS FROM AMAZON…"REQUEST YOUR BOOKS BE REMOVED FROM LENDINK’S SITE." So, is not AMAZON PARTLY TO BLAME FOR THIS?

You say Dale was the victim of a witch hunt and authors did no thinking before requesting their books be removed but you are so VERY WRONG. Many contacted Amazon and asked. Amazon TOLD US TO. You think it horrible that we had a legit business taken down but it sure was not a professional, legit business that we want lending books out with no information for readers and authors to understand the process. Yes, we understand the lending program. We don’t understand unprofessional lenders who also have expired security certicates, who cannot spell many of the authors' names and titles correctly (which many authors had issues with) and have zero information about the site up. Then to be told by Amazon to request our books be taken down, that was confirmation to many that Dale’s site was a pirate site or a pirate site in the making. Some people said that we ruined Dale’s livlihood? That means we’re taking money away from him. Lending books does not produce money and he was no longer allowed to sell books on his site so how did we break this man?

Yes, authors need to pay attention but so do businesses who want to play the ballgame and have a site that is not updated, no FAQ, books not lendable on there. Dale needs to carry some of the blame as well. And again, AMAZON is at fault for telling us to request our books be removed. To black ball the authors involved is unprofessional on anyone’s part. We had a site taken down that wasn’t clear and wasn’t updated and had unlendable books on it. We didn’t burn a man’s house down and kill his family. We are not witches. But what about all of you who vow to ruin many an author’s career who DO put food on the table by writing? I rarely fight piracy because it is too hard to fight but I saw how unprofessional this site was and there are some authors who did not want their books associated with that site for that reason alone, whether or not they had the right to request them to be removed for utter unprofessionalism or not, many respectfully asked to have their books removed and those authors should have said why. Their answer might have been: Because all my books are on there and they are not in the lendable program or Because you did not spell the title of my book correctly. Again, Dale never responded to authors who emailed him or posted respectfully on is site. He never said a word until the site was taken down and it was taken down because Amazon told us to request our books be removed. I will post the Amazon letter when I find it. I have spent hours scrolling through the Lendink Facebook page and cannot find it. I have emailed Amazon again asking for it to be resent. Amazon needs to step up and admit their part in this because many, many authors were convinced they were doing the right thing when they saw that letter from Amazon with links to more helpful info from Amazon on their email letterhead.

Nate Hoffelder August 12, 2012 um 2:19 pm

Before you blame Dale you should go reread the rest of Mark’s comment, specifically the part about Smashwords authors not realizing that SW was a distributor. Those authors had access to the relevant info on the SW website only they never bothered to go look for it.

Even if Lendink had had the info available I think the lynch mob would have formed anyway. Once the 2 instigators got the idea in their heads that Lendink was a pirate site there was nothing that could have changed their minds or stopped them from convincing others.

And besides, an absence of the correct info does not justify authors jumping to the wrong conclusion, especially when there was no evidence to support that wrong conclusion.

Robert Nagle August 12, 2012 um 3:00 pm

Patrick: My god, what’s with the obsession about expired security certificate? Why is that relevant in any way to the discussion?

Someone elsewhere pointed out that lendink did contain information about what could be included/excluded:

Patrick, it seems that your main accusation boils down to: the site owner did not rescue us from our ignorance. Therefore, the site owner is mostly to blame.

I’m sorry, but that syllogism just does not compute.

About the site looking "unprofessional," etc, why is that even relevant? If I announced on a web page that I have such-and-such a copy of an ebook and is available for linking, it doesn’t matter how crappy that web page looks, the solicitation is legal under current distributor rules. End of story.

Robert Nagle August 12, 2012 um 3:05 pm

(Corrected last paragraph):

About the site looking “unprofessional,” etc, why is that even relevant? If I announced on a web page that I have such-and-such a copy of an ebook and is available for LENDING, it doesn’t matter how crappy that web page looks, the solicitation is legal under current distributor rules. End of story.

Kai August 12, 2012 um 3:01 pm

I don’t have the link to the letter, but is this the text?

Hello xxxxx,
We have NOT authorized to loan your book and have not provided your file to them.
If you’ve found your work available on an unauthorized website such as, we suggest contacting that website to confirm your rights and request removal of your work. If you distribute your book through other sales channels, you might contact them to inquire as to whether they have authorized the inclusion of your book on

Our lending program allows a purchaser to lend a title once and does not allow the recipient to re-loan that book. For more information about Kindle book lending, check out this page:

I hope this helps. Thanks for using Amazon KDP.

Catherine M Wilson August 12, 2012 um 2:14 pm

I heard about this last week and within a couple of minutes on LendInk’s own site I found the information I needed. The piracy issue is clearly explained in their FAQ. The witch hunt was a classic case of going off half cocked. When you do that, you shoot yourself in the foot.

We all need to be a little bit cautious about what we put out into cyberspace. The Internet never forgets. Like the authors who have made asses of themselves by taking loud offense at negative reviews, the authors who participated in this witch hunt may find it difficult to repair the damage it has done to their reputation.

Robert Nagle August 12, 2012 um 3:08 pm

Catherine, I agree with your analysis, but let me suggest another way to look at it: BEFORE AUTHORS ACCUSE A SITE OF PIRACY, THEY SHOULD FIRST VERIFY THAT IT IS POSSIBLE TO ACTUALLY OBTAIN A PIRATED COPY OF THE EBOOK. None of the authors bothered to do this step, and that is why this misunderstanding occurred.

Timothy Wilhoit August 12, 2012 um 3:37 pm

This one *claims* she did.

I have grave doubts about the veracity.

Timothy Wilhoit August 12, 2012 um 3:42 pm

To clarify, she made the claim in the comment section (comment #6) saying "I tested it with my own book, they were doing it live…..NOT through Amazon Kindle loan."

Al Norman August 12, 2012 um 9:15 pm

Yes, Jeanette lied, and I called her on it several times. If she had indeed downloaded a copy of her book from LendInk, she had no reason to apologize for anything because she would have had a definite claim of piracy. She’s basically like John M. Davis, who is claiming the LendInk site hosted his book covers in violation of his copyright, when it indeed did not.

Basically, these are authors who were in the dead wrong, and when someone approached them with the truth those authors lied instead of admitting they were wrong.

Nate Hoffelder August 12, 2012 um 9:43 pm

Actually the site did host the book covers. But they had permission to do so via the author’s contract with Amazon.

Al Norman August 12, 2012 um 11:12 pm

Wrong. The site employs an Amazon API. That API links to all images, which are hosted on the Amazon image server.

Here is an example of the Google cached version of the Water for Elephants page.

Now right click the cover, then view image. Look at the URL of where the image is actually hosted.

LendInk did not host any images.

Nate Hoffelder August 12, 2012 um 11:18 pm

Thanks for the correction. They must use a different setup from mine because I host the images I get from Amazon.

Nate Hoffelder August 12, 2012 um 4:58 pm

Yeah, she made the claim in a comment (days after the takedown) but not her post, which came shortly after the takedown. I don’t believe her. Plus she got the details wrong. lendink’s Facebook page is still up.

And in a post dating today (Sunday 12 August), she has started waffling on whether the piracy really happened. If she really had proof, she wouldn’t be waffling.

Patrick August 12, 2012 um 4:10 pm

There was no FAQ. Mark didn’t see it either. A lot of us clicked on it and it was a blank page. And I’ve seen piracy sites that don’t have a click to download the book but if you email them, they will send you a copy of the book. Dale’s site not being professional IS A BIG DEAL, whether or not some of you think it is or NOT. It looked like a Pirate Site. We emailed Amazon asking for clarification. They suggested we ask our books to be removed. We didn’t ask for his site to be shut down. I didn’t. I asked my books to be removed. I have given away over 6,000 copies of my novels and hundreds borrowed out. I’m not against libraries. Other lending sites are crystal clear. This site was not. This site did not respond to authors. We simply asked our books to be removed. I didn’t send hate mail to Dale and threaten his family. I wonder if that’s even true. Dale’s explanation on another blog fell short when he wished all the authors to have ruined careers. Does that sound professional to you? We simply asked our books to be taken down. You people act like we murdered HIS FAMLY, RUINED HIS HOBBY, HIS CAREER. If his site is so legit, he will respond to the authors who emailed him asking for clarification and they will re-open his web page. Many people have offered to help him in this matter. I’ll be the first one to support his site when it is professional like other lendable sites, where authors and readers can read a working FAQ, where there are ONLY LENDABLE BOOKS on his site. That’s a BIG DEAL to me. Many authors who have ZERO LENDABLE BOOKS were on his site and THEY DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHY. That made them also think it was a piracy site. Some of you readers and supporters of Dale who think we just did no thinking are SO VERY WRONG. We fight pirates all the time. Like I said, I rarely engage in it because it so very hard to fight. They pop up overnight constantly and there is the argument that piracy even helps readers find new authors. Dale is partly blame whether any of you agree or not. Mark didn’t say he is to blame but he made a big deal about pointing out that sites need to make themselves clear and legit. Mark is a professional. He didn’t wish ruin on any author’s career. Everyone keeps saying this should be a lesson to all authors. Well, it should be a lesson to Dale too. Look legit. Be professional. Don’t have non-lendable books on your site. That crap about you can’t lend those books anyway and that every author should click the links to see what happens is just that..CRAP. We authors have been dealing with piracy for a long time and again, we have tested pirate sites and emailed them and had files sent to us illegally. There are underground pirates who do this and still look like libraries or like a place for authors to promote their books. And whether any of you believe it or not, AMAZON MOST CERTAINLY TOLD US TO REQUEST OUR BOOKS BE TAKEN DOWN. There are several people to blame but if you look at it from the author’s point of you, you should be able to understand why hundreds of authors were concerned. And if you can’t, you aren’t looking at the whole picture and that is probably because you don’t know enough about piracy and publishing. If Dale’s site was taken to court, I’m still not sure he would walk away free. His site had a lot of gray to it. This is all gray matter. This is part of the ebook evolution. All these new sites poppping up, contracts, lending, piracy. It is all getting ironed out and I’m not using ignorace as an excuse. I’m saying authors did research this site, they did ask, and they asked AMAZON. There were lawyers and agents who thought this site was illegal. There were some publishers who also thought it was illegal or again, a piracy site in the making. If you have hundreds of people very concerned, we have a problem HOUSTON.

Nate Hoffelder August 12, 2012 um 4:46 pm

Patrick is just like OG Tomes. He’s trying to blame everyone but himself for his part as one of the authors in the lynch mob.

And Patrick, is there a reason why you are averse to not writing a single rambling paragraph? There’s this thing called the enter key. Please learn how to use it.

Kai August 12, 2012 um 5:01 pm

Is this it?,122064.msg1816320.html#msg1816320

Hello xxxxx,
We have NOT authorized to loan your book and have not provided your file to them.
If you’ve found your work available on an unauthorized website such as, we suggest contacting that website to confirm your rights and request removal of your work. If you distribute your book through other sales channels, you might contact them to inquire as to whether they have authorized the inclusion of your book on

Our lending program allows a purchaser to lend a title once and does not allow the recipient to re-loan that book. For more information about Kindle book lending, check out this page:

I hope this helps. Thanks for using Amazon KDP.

GLDrummond August 12, 2012 um 6:45 pm

I’m not going to read that giant block of text, but I am going to respond to your first claim that 'there was no FAQ'.

Yes, there was. I was informed of the existence of by one of my authors, who learned of it from an *OMGzPirate* blog post by some author or another.

We both immediately went to the site and looked at it. Our books were all listed, and the buy buttons led to Amazon, which clued me into the fact that it was an affiliate site.

Then, I clicked on the FAQ link and read the FAQs, which were clearly explained what Lendink was doing. I even clicked on the blog link to look through posts there, which gave me the information that the site’s owner was a California resident.

My assessment, as both a publisher and indie author, was that everything was aboveboard. My reaction was 'Yay, free promo!'

All of the above took less than FIVE MINUTES.

By the following day(Aug. 3rd), I could see the hysteria levels rising and wrote a short blog post telling everyone to chill out, Lendink was actually a GOOD thing.

You obviously didn’t listen to us. 😉

Nate Hoffelder August 12, 2012 um 10:00 pm

I’m going to go ahead and respond to Patrick even though reading his comment is painful.

1, There was an FAQ; lots of people found it.

2, In the 2 day span that this happened Dale was likely swamped by dozens if not hundreds of authors screaming at him about the perceived piracy. And since many simply assumed piracy without bothering to check first, there was no practical way for him to respond to them all.

3, There were no ebooks to be taken down, so there was no reason to respond to your screams of piracy.

4, What, couldn’t you have asked someone else for advice before assuming piracy?

5, No I don’t act like you murdered his family. I act like you made a baseless accusation without bothering to confirm it first.

6, If authors didn’t understand why they were on Lendink even though they had no lendable ebooks then they should have kept investigating until they understood and before screaming about piracy.

7, I don’t care about his wishes of ill-will towards authors; considering the emotional damage the lynch mob did I don’t really blame him.

8, Dale is in no way to blame for the actions of authors who didn’t bother to do background research on the situation before screaming about piracy.

9, Amazon sent you a form letter based on the email you sent to them. No one actually read your email, you know. Why would you follow the advice that was generated by a computer?

10, This was not "gray matter", which is a reference to the human brain, because clearly you did not use yours.

And finally, there was no piracy on the site so there was nothing for Dale to take down.

Dan August 13, 2012 um 11:30 am

Patrick is the reason people are 1-starring all the authors who did this.

It’s too bad I can’t figure out who he is, because I’d carpet bomb his books right now if I could.

I guess I just need to do all the authors who are appearing on the name lists and hope I get to him somewhere along the line.

Patrick August 12, 2012 um 5:00 pm

There was no lynch mob. There were authors who didn’t like being associated with a site that had all their UNLEANABLE BOOKS, NO FAQ AND DID NOT RESPOND TO EMAILS. When authors wrote Amazon and asked for clarification, they told us to request our books be taken down. And you didn’t respond to a single thing I said. You were critical of the way I wrote my post? Wow. You refuse to address thee issues I’ve brought forth. The photo on this blog post is even offensive. There was no lynch mob. Authors did what agents told them to do, what lawyers told them to do and what Amazon told them to do. Mark wrote to voice his opinion. He was very correct in what he said. No one seems to agree with what Mark said, you simply skim over that. I’m not ignorant and neither are the hundreds of authors who questions Dale’s unprofessional web site. Without knowing all the reasoning and facts for why authors asked their books be removed, you call us a lynch mob without asking us. Now who is the lynch mob? We have blogs with our names listed to black ball us. That is A LYNCH MOB. And I have seen many authors come forward on some of these blogs and respectfully apologize and you rip them a new one. Funny how you call us a LYNCH MOB yet you respond in the same way but worse. Taking down Dale’s site does not hurt him financially unless he was making money illegally via the authors who have written the books so where is the harm? Oh…his hobby? Well he needs to get a hobby that he can do that doesn’t scream of unprofessionalism and look like a pirate site to many, many professional people; including lawyers, agents and publishers. I offered an explanation to this unfortunate happening and it is very valid. All this is new…Amazon, B&N, lending libraries, new hobby sites popping up as lenders..there is a lot of gray. And this happened for a reason..not because people hate Dale or his site. Because there needs to be more clarity across the board..from websites like Dale’s, from Amazon, from authors. We need to communicate better. Dale didn’t communicate at all. Until it was too late. Amazon DID communicate and told us to have our books removed. Now I’d like to see some other authors, agents, lawyers, publishers step up and join this conversation, instead of all the people who like to scream lynch mob. I’m really, really tired of some of you acting like those authors deserve a death sentence or something. These are real issues that need to be discussed within the digital world.

Kai August 12, 2012 um 5:08 pm

Its hard to have a discussion when you shout other people down.

Nate Hoffelder August 12, 2012 um 5:26 pm

I understand how you feel but I don’t think anyone is reading his comments. The lack of paragraphs render the comments as an impenetrable unreadable babble.

On the plus side, if Patrick writes books in the same style as his comments he is virtually piracy proof. No one will read his crap anyways.

albieg August 14, 2012 um 10:35 am

Would you consider something written by this author a product worth buying? How much editorial work would be needed? The murderous use of points of ellipsis, along with the wall of text, is making my eyes hurt. I’d instantly give a one star review to such an author.

So I’ll introduce my point of view, knowing that it isn’t particularly popular:
I’m not going to give fake one star reviews. I gave a true one and it was removed. I stated the truth: I was giving a one star review because the author was one of the main contributors to Lendink’s demise.

My review has been deleted by Amazon, which didn’t bother to contact me. The review was made with my real account, with which I bought two kindles (one for me, one for my girlfriend) and a valuable amount of books. Certainly Amazon had no reason to ban me or reprimand me since I’m a valuable customer, but now I have an issue with them: my review was based on ethical grounds and I was very specific about it. I didn’t lie about the book. I evaluated the product, not the work of art.

It’s always difficult, for me, to review an e-book: I found some of them having many problems, from page layout to editing. Suppose you buy a masterpiece which is badly crippled by problems: what would you review, the five stars masterpiece or the one star edition? Each evaluation would be fine, but generally you have to review the product: you cannot really recommend something that’s barely usable.

So for me one star reviews based on ethical grounds are fine since pointing out major problems in the development or sale of a product (for instance those involving minors in their production) is a service to the community, and then it’s up to the consumer to decide if a product is worth buying or not.

I can’t think a potential buyer – thus a potential reader – doesn’t read reviews to understand them. Stars are almost meaningless, opinions are important. Stars only direct me to opinions that I evaluate, and often I find bad reviews as important than good reviews since they point out potential problems with the book or, sometimes, with the reviewer himself/herself, so some ugly judgements become virtual excellent judgements, and viceversa.

So, in the future, I may give some excellent five stars reviews stating my reproach for the way the author behaved. At the same time, I will buy much less from Amazon.

Al Norman August 12, 2012 um 9:20 pm


I will make this rather simple.

Did you or any of the knee-jerk mob of authors verify that the site was committing any illegal acts?

Now, we all know the answer to that question, therefore your entire rant is invalid.

Nate Hoffelder August 12, 2012 um 9:29 pm

Patrick isn’t allowed to comment on this blog until he can format his comment so it doesn’t resemble text vomited upon the screen.

But I seriously doubt that he had any proof of any illegal act on the part of Lendink.

O. G. Tomes August 13, 2012 um 7:11 pm

Excuse me gentlemen,

I must intercede on this point. Both sides of this issue need to be studied not argued about. A solution is needed, a protocol if you will, that will prevent something like this from happening again. Or do you think the lesson has been learned with Lendink?

The real issue, the one foremost in my mind, is this: by keeping everyone riled and on edge it is resulting in a man saying he and his family are being threatened. At this point I do not care if he is innocent or guilty.

The threats need to stop from both sides.
Let the dust from this fray settle; allow tempers to cool.

All this energy should be spent on finding a remedy that allows Mr. Porter and his family to safely go through the processes he is required to. Let us all step back so that he can take care of his family and business issues….SAFELY.

Yes, everyone, I said the same thing but in a much harsher manner to some authors.

If he feels his family is threatened by this hoopla why would he even try to restore Lendink? And who is really on what side here?

Nate Hoffelder August 13, 2012 um 7:47 pm

I have not threatened anyone and thus have nothing to stop. You, on the other hand, committed perjury.

And no, there is just one issue that needs to be considered, and that is the authors who didn’t know what the hell they were doing.

Nate Hoffelder August 12, 2012 um 10:11 pm

A whole bunch of authors spouted the same nonsense without having any proof. They reacted emotionally and as a group destroyed a legitimate business. That is close enough to the definition of a lynch mob to suit me.

As for the response in the blogs, I have information to back up what I am saying, and so does pretty much everyone else. We all sat back and researched the situation before writing anything. That means our condemnation isn’t a lynch mob; it’s an accurate conclusion based on the evidence available.

Timothy Wilhoit August 12, 2012 um 10:35 pm

It reminds of the murderous "witch burning" mob from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail…"

Sir Bedevere: What makes you think she’s a witch?
Peasant 3: Well, she turned me into a newt!
Sir Bedevere: A newt?
Peasant 3: [meekly after a long pause] … I got better.
Crowd: [shouts] Burn her anyway!

Karl August 13, 2012 um 8:05 am

Still haven’t figured out the "enter" key, eh Patrick?

O. G. Tomes August 13, 2012 um 4:06 pm

Thank you Patrick for stating your view of the situation clearly and supporting that the pertinent issues need to be addressed.

GLDrummond August 13, 2012 um 5:13 pm

"There was no lynch mob."

According to several people, over 500 authors sent threats and demands to Dale and his web host in less than 3 days. Meanwhile, several uninformed authors were tweeting, Facebooking, and blogging to 'spread the word' about 'the pirate site'.

I’m pretty certain that constitutes a 'lynch mob' in the virtual world, dude.

"There were authors who didn’t like being associated with a site that had all their UNLEANABLE BOOKS, NO FAQ AND DID NOT RESPOND TO EMAILS."

If they’re distributing their books through Amazon, they don’t get a say in what affiliates put their books on what sites, whether those books are lendable or not.

There was a FAQ page on Lendink. A nice, easy to understand one, if your brain wasn’t simmering in outrage over presumptions.

Dale has said he has service related injuries and was working a job. Three days? OMFG, you can’t get a response from most businesses in 3 days!

There’s this virtue called 'patience'. Some people need to develop it.

"When authors wrote Amazon and asked for clarification, they told us to request our books be taken down."

It was a form email. Amazon will send the exact same email out, with the appropriate site name, for any site you tell them has your books. Amazon reps don’t go look at the sites, they just respond with that form email.

"I’m not ignorant and neither are the hundreds of authors who questions Dale’s unprofessional web site. "

You’re not? Then why are you and those hundreds of other authors acting like you all are?

Who are any of you to decide whether a site 'looks professional' or not? I’m a web designer. There wasn’t anything particularly 'unprofessional' looking about Lendink. It looked nicer than Smashwords' current appearance. Heh.

"We have blogs with our names listed to black ball us."

Karma, dude. It’s a bitch. Don’t want to get blackballed for doing stupid things, stop doing stupid things.

"Taking down Dale’s site does not hurt him financially unless he was making money illegally via the authors who have written the books so where is the harm?"

You really don’t know anything about affiliate programs, do you? An affiliate program encourages people to make money by listing products from a retailer on their own sites. Dale was an Amazon affiliate.

"We need to communicate better. Dale didn’t communicate at all."

He didn’t get the chance to, what with being bombarded by hundreds of emails.

We don’t need to 'communicate better', you guys need to learn to read and comprehend what you’ve read/agreed to, and stop reacting at the first mention of piracy.

There were also hundreds of authors who looked at that site, and took a few minutes to read the FAQs, realize there were Amazon affiliate links, even sign up and try to borrow one of their own books that they knew wasn’t opted in for lending, and realized it was aboveboard, totally legal.

Now, all those authors who freaked out and went mob are trying to act like it was all a big misunderstanding/like nothing happened at all/that they are still right and it was a pirate site.

You’re all wrong. Even the author who thought her books weren’t opted in for lending found out she that was mistaken and they were lendable.

Books that weren’t lendable, people received a message saying they weren’t available.

Just suck it up, admit that you’re wrong, apologize, and move on already.

All those of you who are still trying to push people into believing Lendink was a pirate site are doing is further making jackasses out of yourselves. Branding your names into people’s minds so that they won’t ever forget you made this huge mistake and dog-piled an innocent guy.

Bill Smith August 13, 2012 um 6:09 pm

It’s "unloanable," not "UNLEANABLE"

Spelling counts if you want to be taken as a serious professional. Not shouting in caps is also advisable.

ereader August 12, 2012 um 5:27 pm

From the very first posts on the first day, there were authors and others answering and explaining how and why Lendle was legit. (I also thought the site’s FAQ explained it just fine!) A Google would have shown the answers.
At least one publisher took a look and assured the author the site was good.
One author posted that she tried to borrow a non-lendable book and was simply given the option to buy it.

But all those objective explanations were brushed off in favor of spreading accusations that had no basis other than suspicion. Some continue even now. Others are trying to blame the victim.

The site was taken down within two days. I can easily see how a webmaster would be overwhelmed to respond that quickly, even if he got the messages the first day.

ereader August 12, 2012 um 6:55 pm

Here is a copy of LendInk’s FAQ:

I don’t see how it could have been any more clear, or at the very least, given people enough information to stop and ask more questions before they not only assumed, but proclaimed guilt.

It’s obvious that many, if not most, of the authors didn’t even take a minute to read the FAQ, since the answers were right there.

Kai August 12, 2012 um 7:24 pm

I’ve seen that version of the FAQ floating around, was that the most recent? Looking in the web-cache, I found: This snapshot was listed as June 23rd, 2012. I didn’t see the site when it was live, so the cache’d version may not be accurate.

ereader August 13, 2012 um 2:49 am

Hi, Kai. The FAQ copy i linked to was on the site at least by early morning on August 2, as people were quoting from it on the Amazon KDP forum as they tried to put out the flames.

I don’t know when it was changed from what the Google cache shows, but from what i can see on Facebook, most of the demands to remove their "pirated" books were posted on August 2, when that FAQ was there.

The first alarm bells were sounded on August 1, and the site was taken down around midnight of August 2.

Syn August 12, 2012 um 8:13 pm

Wow, can’t believe they got a site shut down that was actually giving them free exposure without pirating. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. And they way they handled it just makes this reader want to stay away from anything these people have written.

Stephen L. Wilson August 12, 2012 um 8:54 pm

Nate, thanks for the post.

This situation has surely brought to light just how important it is for indie authors to be well-versed in more than just verse. In the end, it is our own responsibility to know the rules, laws, procedures, and consequences of our actions, good or bad. When it becomes painfully clear that other authors are stubbornly ignorant and unwilling to realize their culpability in matters such as these, it lends some credence to those who look down their noses at the entire industry.

I recently started a group, No Pirates, which has had success at battling true rip-off sites. From the beginning it was sufficiently clear to me that any actions on the part of the group must be sufficiently justified, since any backlash would do more damage than the positive effort gained by the group. Even then, due to the rapid popularity garnered by the movement, some due diligence was not performed to my complete satisfaction. I made sure that there was no egregious errors on the scale of the LendInk fiasco, but after our first concerted pirate battle, I made sure to go back and tie up loose ends.

I have made sure I have created a legitimate group dedicated to providing professional assistance to authors who feel violated by infringement. Fortunately, I have a background as a documents specialist, which provides a solid foundation for due diligence and the understanding of liability. I have discovered that most authors do not have this type of background. For anyone to pursue such matters as wading into a legal fray without a background or knowledge of the ramifications of their decision to do so is comparable to jumping into deep water before learning to swim. Just because other people make it look easy doesn’t mean it is, or that you have the same skills.

If there are authors who are interested in the help of No Pirates, please feel free to visit my blog/website, or contact me on Facebook: .

Meanwhile, people who post language such as Patrick or O.G. continue to make me cringe. While the electronic age has allowed the ease of publishing to be extended to everyone, it has also allowed for an influx of wannabe writers who have no business being in the industry. These people give the rest of us a bad name, and continue to erode the credibility of those of us willing to roll up our sleeves and make a go of self publishing.

Thank you in advance for posting this message.
Stephen L. Wilson
No Pirates

Karl August 13, 2012 um 7:57 am

What O. G. Tomes and others are doing in the aftermath is to be expected. Once you’ve publicly stated a position, it’s hard to publicly eat crow and admit you made a huge mistake.

One of the ironies to all this is that ALL of these authors, if they’ve achieved any success with their writing, undoubtedly have their books available via various REAL pirate outlets.

The proper response to:
"ZOMGs! Your books are being pirated!!!"
"Well, duh."

Philana Crouch August 13, 2012 um 5:12 pm

This site was doing the same thing that does. Connecting a legal and legitimate owner with a borrower of a legally purchased book. Unlike print books they cannot be relent. Sadly not only have these misguided authors taken away a good publicity resource from other authors, but they have damaged their own reputations.

I have seen people slandered before in my work, and I was on the recieving end of it. So guess what I don’t like supporting people who slander. Either by promotion or financially. So I won’t buy books from these authors nor recommend them. Like many who slander some of these authors have said they were not to blame and then place blame on the person they lied about. Doing this while trying to appologize invalidates the appology.

Some have tried to excuse what occured by placing blame on Mr. Porter the owner of LendInk by claiming he did not respond to your concernes. First, what he was doing was perfectly legal. Second, he was suddenly inundated by everyones complaints all at once…he understandably was overwhelmed. Linking to an authors work is not piracy. On my blog when I quote a book for a main post or decide to do a review I post a link to the book on Amazon (I am an Affiliate). Guess what the money I get as an Affiliate is not taken from the author’s royalties, but from Amazon. Nothing wrong with doing that. On several blogs dealing with this issue several authors imply that we need their permission to link to their book on Amazon or to promote their book (no we don’t).

Some authors have asked what can they do to right the situation. Hear are a few suggestions that would show a good faith effort, and I would recommned doing more beyond the first one listed.

1. Why not personally contact Mr. Porter’s webhost and withdraw your complaint.
2. Publically post an apology (without justifying your behavior or trying to place blame on Mr. Porter) on your blog, website, Facebook and Twitter. I mean all of those not just one.
3. In the case of Twitter and Facebook post your apology (you might wish to vary your post) the same number of times you posted about LendInk claiming it was stealing your work.
4. Work with other authors who made similar claims to raise funds to cover the costs of getting the site back up and hosted for say at least one year (this is merely compensating Mr. Porter for the stress and emotional hurt your actions caused).

Author’s may not realize this but allowing lending does not hurt them, it actually helps. I have borrowed books through Amazon Lending and also my local library. I have gone on to purchased some of those books. I have also purchased other books by those authors. Without the initial borrowing I may not have purchased more of their books.

Philana Crouch August 14, 2012 um 12:41 pm

So authors who falsely accused Mr. Porter of pirating your material why not donate some funds considering the damage you did to Mr. Porters reputation.

The Importance of Reading the Fine Print August 14, 2012 um 4:18 am

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Cypher Lx August 19, 2012 um 9:34 am

"… authors need publishers so that they don’t do stupid, ignorant things like this."

There are many authors, such as myself, who do not have publishers. But I must say that this statement is a bit broad and ignorant in itself. It’s not that authors need publishers. Many of us write, edit, have others edit before we edit again, and do our own cover design and publishing. What all authors need is the common sense to find out all they can before making a snap judgment. I was told about this by other authors, some of whom had publishing representation. I researched this myself and informed these same authors that it was not a piracy issue, but a legitimate lending site. What they did with that information afterward is unknown to me. The point is, I didn’t need a publisher to tell me how to properly investigate. Unfortunately, it’s human nature to conform to the mob mentality and, from what I understand of today’s major publishing world, publishers have less contact with their authors than they used to and expect them to take on more of the marketing and promotion that was once done for them. So please, don’t blame indie authors in a blanket statement. I was one of the indie authors who took the time to find out the truth. Sadly, the misinformed majority has caused potential irreparable damage for those of us who struggle to find a strong reader base.

Cypher Lx August 19, 2012 um 3:14 pm

In response to the several lengthy posts from Patrick:

You asked for other authors to join the conversation. Well, here I am. A self-published author, as you requested. I’m certain you expected one such as myself to support your argument. You were wrong to assume this. There are far too many flaws for me to address all of them. However, allow me to point out a few things.

1) You claim to be sorry, yet in the same breath (or run-on sentence) blame Dale for your ignorance. Unacceptable. Take responsibility.

2) You accuse the site of appearing unprofessional. I am forced to agree with others who have posted before me that your own posts appear considerably less professional. Your disorganized rants are making indie authors look like rank amateurs. I do not appreciate being associated with such an opinion in a category where I work very hard to establish myself as a professional.

3) You don’t have the courage to sign your full name. This gives me the impression that, no matter what you claim, you won’t admit to being wrong and fear the same backlash that was dished out to a legitimate website owner.

If you think my opinions are harsh, too bad. This outrageous action against an Amazon affiliate has damaged the reputations of ALL indie authors, not just the ones who participated in the mob. Get off your high horse. And for God’s sake, learn paragraph structure, spelling, and proper usage of words.

Pacific Blues August 19, 2012 um 4:37 pm

Cypher Lx ,
Bravo! I love your response, and I agree with you completely.

At least half of what I read is from first time and/or indie authors. While I will not read anything from those unwilling to sincerely apologize, I will not hold it against those who have.

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[…] none of those authors looked closely enough to realize that Lendink didn’t host any content. It was one of many […]

Where Security and Marketing Meet | INscribe Digital February 2, 2015 um 6:21 pm

[…] the case of LendInk, the authors are now realizing that they have done this site a disservice.  It had only given them the chance to make more money, […]

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