Well, I’ve used all of my viable options to get Amazon to take down the third stolen book. I contacted Amazon at their copyright email address, like they keep saying to do. I’ve gotten no response, and it’s been two full weeks now since I contacted them about it. I conacted them three times total, and in the last email, I told them I’d be contacting a copyright lawyer if they don’t take the book down. Mark Coker, the CEO and founder at Smashwords, even contacted them on my behalf last week. I published The Path to Christmas at Smashwords but not at Amazon. Why not Amazon? Because it’s a six-page play, and I don’t see the point in asking $0.99 for something that short. Amazon will not let me offer something for free. Oh, they’ll make my books free as they wish, but they won’t let me make the call. Smashwords will let me decide my price, so I use them to reach places like B&N, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, and Apple. I don’t know the details, but Smashwords doesn’t ship to Amazon. (At least, that’s my understanding.)
All I’m going to say is that Smashwords is more in favor of the author than Amazon, but for an author to ignore Amazon might be a mistake. I got the two stolen books I did publish on Amazon removed within two days of notifying the copyright department at Amazon. So, I can’t say it’s all been negative with Amazon over this copyright infringement issue. The key, it seems, is to make sure your book is published on Amazon so if you have a stolen book, chances are better you’ll get Amazon to pull them down easier.
I am going to see a copyright lawyer this Friday about the third stolen book that has yet to be taken down. I don’t know what will happen, but it’s clear to me that Amazon has no intention of removing the book without proper motivation. What that motivation will be, I guess we’ll find out.
I know I have some emails and messages waiting for me via Facebook. All I can say is that my husband is here from Korea and I have this copyright issue to deal with, so all of my energy is going into those two things. I am not sure what the lawyer will want to do or how much this whole thing will end up being, but I’ll pursue this as far as I can.
Apparently, there’s a seller called “Origin” who is taking authors’ books and putting them into paperbacks to sell on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_pg_pg1?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx2IKOW1H7WWYMQ Do you think Amazon removed this seller once they were notified of what was happening? From the sound of it, they didn’t.
I don’t know what the answer is unless Amazon has a process of checking through all the books that get uploaded onto their site. What that process would be, I don’t know. My expertise is not in this area. It’d be nice if there was a legal organization that got established to protect authors, but again, this is not my expertise. All I can do is blog about my experience and hope it helps someone. Of all the posts I’ve seen by writers, I’ve read stuff on writing, publishing, and book promotion. But I haven’t read anything about “What to do When Your Book Gets Stolen”. Some things you have to learn by going through it, I guess.
But I just want to explain to everyone if I don’t email or answer a comment on Facebook, it’s because I am overwhelmed with everything that is going on. I was going to North Dakota to take pictures of the Mandan village to add to my website and this blog, but that won’t happen because I have to be here for the lawyer visits, to keep updated on what is or isn’t happening on Amazon, etc. That was going to be the “big surprise” I had planned, but I can’t be dealing with that when I have to keep track of how things are going here and who knows how much things will cost when all is said and done with the lawyer.
People who are unhappy with buying my books might want to consider that I have to pay for this lawyer and for copyright registration to protect my books. For me, writing isn’t free. I don’t do this without some costs. Never mind the proofreaders, book covers, and other expenses that go into making a book. I don’t mind being generous, but the emails I get telling me it’s wrong to ask for payment on one of my books will be ignored by my author assistant who filters my emails so I don’t have to deal with people who feel it’s their right to get something for free when I worked hard and spent money to get books up on the Internet. I’d love for these people to go to their jobs and work without getting a paycheck. If paying for my books is such a hassle, then I suggest you find another author you don’t mind paying to read or focus on reading authors who only produce “free” stuff. Keep in mind though that nothing is truly free. The author put time into that story they’ll never get back, and it’s harder to write a book than it is to read it, regardless of how “painful” some people thought it was to read it. I’m tired of seeing those “this was a painful read” reviews. If the book sucks, don’t finish it. That’s what I do. I only finish 50% of stuff I start reading, but I would never email the author to complain, nor would I demand my money back. I figure that there is no book out there that will please everyone, so if I don’t like a book, it’s because it wasn’t a good fit for me. I don’t assume the writer is worth crap or that they should go back to grade school to figure out how to construct a sentence. I really wish people would understand that even if a book isn’t for them, it might actually make someone else very happy.
Okay. End rant. I never meant to go off on that tangent. All I can say is having your book stolen is a very trying experience and knowing I have potential legal fees staring at me aren’t fun. I can’t force Amazon to do anything. All I can do is my part to get it done.