These are the times that try my soul.
I mean, it’s not like Amazon hasn’t been made aware. Readers complained about long before I said anything.
Readers have complained via reviews, although they thought the problem was plagiarism, not just lazy assholes looking to make easy money by conning readers, cheating the system, using dishonest business practices by packaging a book as new even though it’s been pubbed 1x, 2x, 3x already, using reader farms where the people involved will review the same book each time it’s released under a different name & cover, they don’t ever reveal that either.
Amazon always talks about how customer-centric they are, which is bullshit, because they’ve ignored customer complaints about this. They’ve also gone on record and openly stated they do have ways of tracking duplicate content…so, yeah, they could totally stop this bullshit. They just choose not to. When did they admit this…?? Well, if you’ve been following along with the #CopyPasteCris saga, you know that Nora Roberts filed suit against Cris Serruya in Brazil last week. In the US World News and Report article, Amazon gave a statement.
Amazon said that it takes “violations of laws and proprietary rights very seriously.”
“We use a combination of teams of investigators and automated technology to prevent and catch the vast majority of bad actors who attempt to violate our policies before they publish,” the statement reads. “In the rare instance where one gets through, we investigate and remove violating books. Additionally, all Kindle product pages contain a link for anyone to flag suspicious titles and the team investigates all titles that are flagged.” -US News and Report
Bold type is mine. And to these comments, I must say… oh, rly?
Do they not consider people who deceive readers by distributing rehashed book content and selling as new to be the product of bad actors?
I guess not. It’s all about the almighty dollar for Amazon. BTW, there was an update yesterday about the plagiarism case… La Nora won the first round against Cris Serruya.
So, about the regurgitated titles. Amazon has admitted they have ways of tracking duplicate content. I’m almost positive I’ve had to clarify rights on backlist books even after they’ve out of print/unavailable as ebooks, so Amazon shouldn’t have issues addressing these rehashed, recycled works.
After a certain sort of shit was raised, Amazon removed a few titles that were posted to my blog, but not all of them. It’s like they’re acting all unaware of how pervasive the problem is, even though I’ve written several times over, CCing each letter to legal as well as Jeff Bezos. Nah, it’s not like I expect Bezos to really pay much attention, but you’d think legal would, as these asses are using Amazon’s platform to cheat & lie to readers, and they are dancing fast and loose with the FTC’s laws about truth in advertising laws.
There are still a ton of books up for sale on Amazon. I can list scads in the badboy/mc romance trope categories alone. Rumor has it there are problems in historical as well, but I can’t check and look at everything, so that’s up to others to look at and report on and raise hell about.
First, let me point out again that I didn’t stumble onto all of this going on on my own. I saw images of the recycled content by twitter users who no longer want to be involved and I started digging from there.
And…WOW. Did I strike a payload of horseshit. It was so much horseshit, I was drowning in it and enlisted Claire Ryan, the lovely lady who put together an algorithm that detects duplicate content, handy for plagiarism… and regurgitated ebooks. I also asked for help from a couple of dedicated readers, a rather brilliant vet and somebody who specializes in security & investigations. Once they got involved, a lot of shit started turning up, and some of it, I can’t go into, because it ties into something some other parties are looking at.
But this book regurgitation crap? Yep. I’m talking about it. So… these… ‘companies’… These are the umbrellas I’ve referenced before when I mentioned that there are pen names being used to sell uploaded content that has been sold & resold. We’ve been calling them author groups and there are three connected at this point.
ETA: The tables below went a little wonky, so I think I’ll just post a link to the modified google sheets doc I’ll be sharing with RWA. Here you go. Read to your hearts content. If you want to post it, please email me first.
I stumbled across the first one when i found a book on overdrive via an image search.
May I present Sopris Page Press.
How did I find this? As I said…Overdrive.
They’ve got an entire catalog over there.
Check it out.
I very excitedly told Claire about this,and she quickly connected the dots on more. Like eBook Publishing World.
Of course… the people behind eBook Publishing World seem to be slowly transitioning their books into a new ‘publishing’ company.
There are really just a couple of guys–yes, guys, behind it, which makes sense, because a lot of the book blurbs come off as misogynistic or nothing but pure sexualization of women as little more than playthings–things like, his cock is tearing my world apart and lots of I’m going to bend her over or I’ll give her something to swallow. Sure, I get that works for some women, but it’s an ongoing theme with a lot of these and it’s unsurprising at all to find that the people running this circus are a couple of guys who don’t know jack shit about the premise of respecting the readership or romance in general.
Of course, some are just written with the intent to come over as very dark, and readers will read them and end up like… *What the hell…that’s not the story the blurb promised…*
Anyway, the new group is run by the same guys associated with Sopris Page Press per corporate filings, Max Budovskiy – director/co-founder & Brett Hanson – director/co-founder. Let me present MBK Hanson, Inc.
They’ve got a lot of ‘author’ names to spread amongst themselves, and some we haven’t connected to regurgitated books.
Those that have been connected?
|Confirmed Group 1 – Sopris Page Press||FB Page|
|Confirmed Group 2 – Ebook Publishing World –|
|Kathryn Thomas||Publishing in 2015|
|Claire St. Rose||https://www.facebook.com/Claire-St-Rose-296621220753015|
|Vivian Gray||Publishing in 2015|
|Clara Wood||Publishing in 2015|
|Sophia Hampton||Publishing in 2015|
|Confirmed Group 3 – MBK Hanson Inc|
And the book list… these are books we’ve verified are recycled. Older books list the GR profile. Newer ones are on Amazon.
This shit is ridiculous. If these stooges want to use this model to package and repackage, the least they can do is make it clear these are republished books. And Amazon should require that.
Amazon has been made aware. Extensively. But frankly, they don’t seem to care that these yahoos who have no respect for the romance industry, for the craft of writing or creativity, or the readership are misleading readers or abusing the KDP system which is harming other authors.