At Booklinker, we help authors and publishers sell more books via our universal book links.
Upon entering an ISBN or Amazon link for a book that is published widely, we churn out a beautiful landing page, hosted at a vanity URL, that includes stores we identified that list that book.
Unfortunately, in some cases, authors generate a Booklinker link and encounter their book listed on a platform that they’ve never listed it on before.
Or, even worse, a sales page different than their own is being shown.
This is extremely concerning to our authors for two main reasons. The first being a potential thief is out there earning money off of your hard work. The second is that if the author is enrolled in Kindle University, this can completely ruin their exclusivity deal with Amazon.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much Booklinker can do on our end to remove these fraudulent store links, but we can help you navigate how to tackle these scams.
This guide will cover how to deal with common book scams that we’ve encountered over time.
Let’s jump right into it.
Scammers Go Wide On Your Behalf
The first book scam we’ll discuss is when a thief takes your book and fraudulently lists it on a platform on your behalf.
For example, let’s say you’re exclusive to Amazon and KU, and you discover that someone has taken your book and listed it on a platform like Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or Apple Books.
In this situation, your best first step is to contact the platform and let them know about the fraudulent listing. Ask them to take down the listing and provide as much proof and documentation as possible for the best chance of success.
Below are the contact pages for all platforms:
- Barnes & Noble
- Apple Books
Unfortunately, Booklinker doesn’t currently have the solution to fix an individual link for you.
Please select the “Report a problem” button at the bottom of the choice page that you are referencing, and fill out the form to provide more details on the specific issue you are having.
This will greatly help us in our efforts to continue to improve our matching results.
That said, if you need an immediate fix for this issue, the best option would be to upgrade your account to a Geniuslink account.
This will give you full control of your individual links and the destinations that they point to, instead of using the automated matching that the free Booklinker service provides.
If you are interested in upgrading, Booklinker would be happy to provide you with a free 60-day trial extension to give you enough time to migrate your links over and begin using the Geniuslink service.
Duplicate Copies on Amazon
The next scam is when a pirate takes your book and lists a copy of it on Amazon via Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon), typically undercutting you.
The best way to stay on top of this is to monitor your book for price changes. There’s a free tool called ReaderScout that you can use to track this.
If you get notified of any changes to your books, you’ll first want to check and see if the change was made by Amazon itself. Amazon’s pricing algorithm changes the price of products occasionally to maximize revenue.
The second possible reason why you may see your book listed for a different price than you listed it for, is going to be if someone is selling a used copy of your book. This is 100% Amazon compliant, so there isn’t much that can be done here.
If neither of these reasons are the culprit, then you’re likely being targeted by some pretty advanced scams.
Similar to the case above, your best bet is again to contact Amazon customer support with as much proof as possible that your book and its sales are being stolen.
Due to the incentives of the Amazon platform and its at times questionable customer support, it can be difficult to get them removed.
Dave Chesson of Kindleprenuer did an entire talk on this at 20Books Vegas and covered this topic in more detail than we can here.
Is it Worth Fighting?
While we understand how frustrating it can be that someone out there is potentially profiting from all of the hours you spent writing your books, as an author you have to view yourself as a business and identify where the best use of your time is.
Realistically, the thieves are not making much money, and the majority of your time should be spent increasing the audience for you and your books. Tim Grahl has an interesting perspective on piracy that you can read here.
Assuming that you’re a well-known author, and the thief stands to make a lot of money, then taking a look at a DMCA takedown service like TakeDownCzar could be a good option.
Please message firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.