Wolves Not Far (Or Amazon scammers)

Wolves Not Far (Or Amazon scammers)

Sorry about the title, but I’ve been on a The Walking Dead binge lately and I couldn’t help myself. However, the title certainly applies to this blog post.

Being a self-published author is hard. I don’t have a marketing team behind me with nearly unlimited resources like a traditionally published famous author would. It’s just a one-man shop where I wear all the hats.

Recently, I published The Mysterious Manuscript both in Kindle and through CreateSpace. It’s not selling like hotcakes, but a few friends and family have bought the Kindle version.

When I looked over at my Amazon listing, I noticed that there was someone else (rather than Amazon) selling my paperback book for 40 cents cheaper. When I looked at that seller’s profile, I noticed that nearly all (if not all) of the books they “sell” are from authors who self-published through CreateSpace.

Now, I knew that something was up because I hadn’t sold any paperback copies yet. It was impossible for this person to have a book, let alone two books for sale. They also listed one as “used” and for some odd reason, the “used” copy was more expensive that the “new” one they supposedly had.

Again, CreateSpace is a Print On Demand service, that is, a book only gets printed when someone makes an order.

This is what I had for March:

CreateSpace Evidence

As you can see, that’s $0. I hadn’t sold any paperbacks. In fact, it had only been a day or two since my book had gone live.

And yet, this is what was listed in Amazon.

Amazon evidence

First, it makes no fiscal sense to pay CreateSpace $10 and then sell my book on Amazon for $9.53, let alone $10.59.

Second of all, and most important of all, there was no possible way for “Green Lion Farm” to list my book, since it was impossible for them to own a copy.

I was furious. Not only am I a struggling writer, which is hard enough, but now someone was trying to take away potential readers (buyers) from me. These guys are wolves, devouring indie authors like myself. Like I said, a visit to their profile shows that they are doing this to MANY other indie authors.

So, I emailed Amazon. I was surprised to see a response and a quick resolution:

Amazon response

So, when I looked at my book’s listing page, I was glad to see that “Green Lion Farm” was gone. I gave Amazon support a glowing review and was genuinely happy, but only for a few days. Not less than a few days later, guess who was back?

Scammer returns

Whatever “discipline” Amazon implemented, it obviously wasn’t enough. Since the first time I contacted Amazon, I sold two copies of my paperback book and I know EXACTLY who they went to and it wasn’t “Green Lion Farm.”

So, I wrote to Amazon a couple of days ago and I’m still waiting to hear from them

I’m writing this blog post to bring attention to a scam that affects the thousands of self-published authors that use CreateSpace. Amazon should have a system that detects scams like this, and when people report this abuse, they should completely cancel the scammer’s account.

I work very hard to write and promote my book for someone to come and steal the fruits of my labor.

So, please, if you’re an independent author who uses CreateSpace, take a look at the sellers who are undercutting your price. I’m 100 percent sure that “Green Lion Farm” is not the only account performing this scam. There are many wolves out there.

And please, share this blog post, report the abuses, write to Amazon. If we’re loud enough, we force them to make changes.


2 thoughts on “Wolves Not Far (Or Amazon scammers)

  1. I don’t think the scammers are going to buy any paperbacks for resale. I think that if they get an order, they will download a cheap or free digital copy, and then print a ripoff from it.

    The solution is for Indies to withdraw their works from all 99-cent and free promotionals, to charge only what their work is really worth in all formats, and to register their copyrights, so they have legal proof of ownership, which will win their case if copyright infringement occurs.

    By the way, what the scammers are advertising is not very different from what Amazon itself does. Amazon also advertises paper books “in stock” when none have been printed, because they have access to the digital files from CreateSpace. If customers order directly from CreateSpace, they will get a book that was printed by CreateSpace in South Carolina (and the author will be paid more). If customers order the same book from Amazon, they will get a copy printed by Amazon in Kentucky or California (and the author will be paid less).

    CreateSpace also prints books that are listed by other publishers. I exchanged autographed books with an author in Canada, who has a contract with a Canadian publisher. The book the author sent me – from Toronto, Canada – was printed by CreateSpace in South Carolina.

    Amazon also has “arrangements” with other publishers to print copies of books that are ordered from Amazon. For example, I ordered, from Amazon itself, two books: one listed from a small publisher in Alabama, and one listed from Cambridge University Press. Both were printed on the same date, by Amazon in Kentucky.

    I’ve blogged about piracy and plagiarism here: http://wp.me/p30cCH-1yr and here: http://wp.me/p30cCH-1zP

    Best wishes for your efforts to protect your intellectual property.

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