Authors from a variety of publishers ask me this question ALL THE TIME and, frankly, I’m tired of answering it. So, after I post this, I will simply give this link to people who ask. It’s unfortunate that these authors’ publishers don’t explain this in detail to their authors when their contracts are terminated. It would save so many authors a lot of stress.
Here’s an edited version of one such email:
Have you had any success in getting Amazon to “take-down/remove” a copyright-illegal, out of print, “no royalties to author upon third party sales,” book at Amazon?
The 2006 edition of my book is still on Amazon. The 2016 edition has the exact same title.
Both I and the former, original publisher have legally instructed/ordered Amazon to void their website of all images/references to the 2006 edition.
Four or five days ago, Amazon’s copyright/legal department “declined” to observe copyright law. The 2006 edition is “still there” and it looks like Amazon will not remove it. Indeed, Amazon-legal is not even responding to emails and faxes now (and, when they did, it was a one-time “declined” response,
which took 10 days to arrive).
Any thoughts here? Do you have any “pull” (or even contacts) at
Amazon or did your lawsuit sour things totally here?
I looked at your book page on their site. Amazon isn’t selling the book directly to buyers. The are allowing resellers to list the book.
Any bookstore (online or brick and mortar) and any reseller/individual/distributor/wholesaler can sell used copies of a book. The “new” copies you’re seeing on your book’s page on Amazon likely don’t even exist. Only if somebody orders a copy from that reseller would they then attempt to order a copy from your publisher. Of course, they can’t get a copy and they would then have to notify their buyer that the book isn’t available.
Anybody with an Ingram account (like the resellers listing it on Amazon) can pick up Ingram’s feed, and can list the book for sale on Amazon, or anywhere else, including sites like ebay. By the way, I checked and your book IS for sale on Ebay as well.
Many of those resellers have thousands of books for sale and they really don’t care if a book is later inactivated. They also don’t appear to care about the accuracy of their listings since there are countless errors appearing on Amazon.
Since Amazon isn’t selling your book directly to customers, they’re not violating copyright law. They’re simply allowing other folks to list/sell used books on their website. Again, that doesn’t violate copyright law.
Amazon would likely remove the book if somebody else was selling your book under their name (meaning a different person’s name was on the cover, inside the book, etc.). THAT would definitely be copyright infringement. Amazon’s legal folks are probably ignoring you now because they know they’re not violating copyright law. What they’re doing is perfectly legal. You’re a bee in their bonnet…and there are a LOT of bees in their bonnet. Since they know they’re not doing anything wrong, they don’t need to take any action. Believe me – they hear from disgruntled authors all the time. If they’re falsely accused of something, they’re not likely going to pay their attorneys to keep responding to that author. They likely respond to authors’ attorneys but not many authors can afford to pay an attorney each time they have a beef with Amazon.
For authors who don’t want their old edition competing with their new one, and who don’t want confused book buyers, I always recommend releasing the new edition under a different name.
You could contact those resellers on Amazon and buy up any used copies while also asking them to remove the faux “new book” listings but, honestly, I don’t think you’ll have much luck. You could do all of that and still see more listings pop up. The old listings might still remain as well.
And, no, our lawsuit against Amazon didn’t “sour” things. Under Amazon’s settlement (http://antitrust.booklocker.com) with BookLocker.com, they have to play nice with us. But, they don’t necessarily have to play nice with anyone else. As far as my “pull,” I am very busy taking care of our BookLocker.com (http://publishing.booklocker.com/) and Abuzz Press (http://www.abuzzpress.com/) authors, as well as our WritersWeekly (http://writersweekly.com/) readers. I wish I had time to take up everybody’s fights but I just don’t.
I know this is a frustrating situation. You’re definitely not alone. Many other authors have been incensed with Amazon’s refusal to remove old book listings as well.
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).
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