Fraudulent Third-Party Book Sellers On Amazon
Like many other authors whose books are listed for sale on Amazon.com, I constantly deal with Amazon’s lack of control over their third-party sellers.
Since all my books are published by traditional publishers, these publishers duly list the books on my Amazon Author Page.
In fact, Amazon is pretty much the primary place where most book titles are listed for online sale.
I don’t have a problem with Amazon selling my books for my publishers.
Amazon pays these publishers a percentage of the profits, and the publishers that pay me royalties then disburse these royalties to me.
But lately there has been much discussion about how thousands of third-party sellers on Amazon are not only depriving legitimate publishers and authors of their cut of sales revenues, but are also fraudulently creating duplicate listings for book titles.
This creates confusion among book buyers and results in listings that advertise ridiculous prices, like the $1305 price tag placed on a couple of educational books (that normally sell for around $25) which I wrote for Capstone Press.
Amazon’s official policy is that third-party sellers are free to set their own prices, but they cannot create duplicate listings for products.
Thus, Amazon allows these sellers to offer $10 books for sale for $800 or $30 books for 50 cents or whatever, as long as the offerings are listed underneath the listing and photo of the book provided by the publisher.
I have had about fifty books published, but the enormous quantities of duplicate listings created by nefarious third-party sellers on Amazon made it seem like I had published many more.
In addition, the ridiculous prices and the fact that these fraudulent listings contained no ISBN (International Standard Book Number) that uniquely identifies each book made it appear that I, the author, and my publishers, were running some sort of scam.
So I recently decided to try to get Amazon to delete the more than forty fraudulent listings I found among the legitimate listings for my books.
I asked their Author Central response team how to do this, and they instructed me to compile a list of all the duplicate ASINs and send the list to Author Central.
ASIN, by the way stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number.
Each item listed for sale on Amazon has a unique ASIN number.
For books, it is supposed to match the ISBN, but none of the fraudulently listed ASINs offered by third-party sellers matched the ISBN that appears on legitimate listings.
As previously mentioned, these fraudulent listings contained no ISBN at all.
This, along with the fact that these fraudulent entries often list ridiculous publication dates such as 1750 or 1812, and along with the ridiculous prices, is in fact an easy way to determine which book listings are illegally placed.
In addition, while some of these third-party sellers simply steal the book cover photographs provided by publishers, others include no photo or contain a photo of the cover of another, unrelated book. For example, one of the fraudulent listings on my Amazon page had a photo of the book cover for a Disney Princess book on the entry for my book Brain Science.
What To Do?
It took me a considerable amount of time to compile the list of fraudulent entries, and even after I sent it to the Author Central team, they failed to delete all these entries and I had to repeat the process five times before all of them were deleted.
Finally! I thought.
Ha! Two days later two new fraudulent entries popped up.
Obviously, Amazon is doing nothing to control this problem, even though I know that many authors have complained about it.
I’m not sure about what else to do about Amazon’s lack of oversight, but one thing I can do is to boycott and encourage others to boycott the scamster third-party book sellers that post the vast majority of the fraudulent book listings.
I am posting a list here, and hope that readers will share it far and wide.
As the saying goes, money talks, and consumers can have a huge effect by choosing to not support fraud.
The Most Prolific Fraudulent Third-Party Book Sellers On Amazon
ZEN Books, Orange Zebra, Oasis 1270, Mollie Books, melisasandy, SA James Books, Kingmakerbooks, The Shine Store, Books Land, the_book community, bookbazaars, RedGooseMedia, Jason_Kurt, Airbook-US, Threefecta, PublixBooks, Brendons, Flower To, Bruce’s Garden, H-Channel, Book Pal, Aprilbookstore, Onlinebookshop, Rocket Book Store, Deals Within, Treasury Store, Exclusive Sales Online, Lambele, Kairostine, Bronze Classics, Reach The Goal, glklcsii, BLU-NEKO*US, Yankee Clipper Books, George_Store, Cool Friendly, Flower To, Snow Discount, hippo_books, Da Book Mine, Katiesbooks, AZ_Fulfillment, linkearth, better_bargains.
About Melissa Abramovitz
Melissa Abramovitz is an award-winning author/freelance writer who specializes in writing educational nonfiction books and magazine articles for all age groups, from preschoolers through adults. She also does freelance critiquing and editing and writes short stories, poems, and picture books, and is the author of the acclaimed book for writers, A Treasure Trove of Opportunity: How to Write and Sell Articles for Children’s Magazines. Melissa graduated summa cum laude from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in psychology and is also a graduate of The Institute of Children’s Literature. She is a member of SCBWI and The Wealthy Writer’s Club. Visit her website at www.melissaabramovitz.com.