Hello Seekerville! Annie here today to share a bit about my obsession with, you got it - books! I have this fabulous T-shirt that I just love! Not only is it soft and comfy, it has a fabulous saying on the front. Want to see it? Here you go:
For those that don't know, I'm no author, and have no desire to be one. However, I have this crazy obsession and innate fangirl persona when it comes to authors. Ever since stumbling across the bookish community a few years ago, I've been in awe by how awesome authors and publishers are, and how HARD it is for them. Granted, I still don't know the whole inside story, but from what I do know, there are a lot of obstacles when it comes to not only writing and publishing a book but also marketing it. Long story short, I'm an advocate for authors and publishers, and I'd like to share with you a particular way we can support them.
Buying books can be simple, but it’s recently become more tricky! Why? Counterfeit books.
As author Kara Isaac shared with us about piracy in a previous post on Seekerville, it hurts authors on many fronts. I’m not going to go into all that again, but instead tag team off the topic to focus on counterfeit printed versions of novels (as opposed to just ebooks). According to the official StopFakes.gov website,
“The term "counterfeit" describes fake goods. The term "piracy" describes the act of reproducing movies, music, books or other copyrighted works without permission from the copyright owner.”
Combine the two? You have counterfeit books, similar to the ever-increasing problem of counterfeit textbooks. To be honest, I’m not even sure we really know how big this problem is. Personally, I received a gift of a previously released novel purchased through Amazon on sale. My friend had it shipped directly to me. When I received it, it looked a little off. Granted, I understand some publishers have different style, paper quality and such, including using Amazon’s or another large retailer’s Print On Demand services for subsequent print runs, but typically the quality of these print runs should not be too off from their original. Since I know this publisher and its quality, I was even more certain it was not an original published copy. To top it off, the cover was obviously subpar in terms of the image quality. I then reached out to the publisher and sent them the copy so they are aware of it. Doing a bit of research since, this happens more often than we realized, and it’s not always easy to spot. Can you spot the counterfeit version between these two copies of The Wedding Dress?
I’ll let you know which one is the counterfeit one in a bit. After that incident, I decided to look closer at my past purchases. Even though I am 100% sure most are legit, there are a few older titles (released in the past 2 years) I purchased that did not look or feel like the same quality as others from the same publisher. Again, I’m no expert, but merely from my experience as an avid reader and patron of bookstores, both online and in stores, there were noticeable differences. Research tells me that most of these counterfeit books were purchased from Amazon. Since Amazon’s fulfillment service allows Amazon to sell and ship on your behalf, one will not necessarily know where the book came from. Now, I’m not saying all of Amazon’s books are questionable, just that if you do order from Amazon, inspect immediately.
Here are some signs you can watch out for:
- If you are familiar with a publisher’s printing quality/style, compare it.
- Is the book cover glossy when others are matte?
- Does the spine line up properly?
- Is the overall size the same as their standard paperback or hardback editions?
- How’s the quality of the cover image? Is it blurrier than it should be, even compared to an image you find on the publisher’s website?
- How is the type quality? Is it fuzzy on some pages or on the back cover?
- Most notable sign is that it is on sale for much lower than you’ll find on other retailers (and it did not state “price set by publisher”). It’s usually more than $2 difference. Publisher sales typically run across the board.
Why am I pointing all this out? I’m sharing with you my experience with counterfeit books because as consumers, we should be aware of what is out there, and be smart about our purchases. Counterfeit books not only are pirated works, but the sellers are profiting from it, taking what could’ve been additional sales for the author and publisher for themselves. It’s not only morally and ethically wrong, illegal, while damaging the image of the publisher due to its poor quality, but it also basically is stealing from those working in the publishing industry.
Back to the pictures I showed before, of the two versions of The Wedding Dress. Which one did you choose? If you chose the one on the left with the glossy cover, you are correct. That is the counterfeit copy. The main issue is how the cover image looked to be spliced together with the letterings.
So what do you do when you suspect you’ve received a counterfeit book? Several things:
- You can reach out to the vendor to exchange it, explaining that you don’t think this is right. Mention the quality. By reaching out, the vendor will now be aware that something is wrong here and the supplier may be banned or removed from future orders.
- Reach out to the publisher to let them know of your suspicions. Send photos or even the copy of the book.
- Report counterfeit or pirated goods to the FBI Intellectual Copyright Infringement department. You can find out more info here: https://www.stopfakes.gov/article?id=Report-Counterfeit-or-Pirated-Goods.
It’s a scary world out there, and there will always be people trying to take advantage. I’m not trying to discourage you to buy, but rather I encourage you to buy from local bookstores or retailers that you feel secure with. I still am an Amazon consumer with many things, including ebooks and new releases of hardcover books. However, when it comes to paperbacks, lately I’ve mainly purchased from local bookstores, Barnes and Nobles and ChristianBook.com. Plus, I truly believe that giving this feedback to publishers and helping to stop counterfeit sales, even if it’s one book at a time, is another way to support authors and publishers.
To that end, let us continue to support and encourage one another. As I said before, there are many ways we can show our bookish support. 😉
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. - Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)
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