“Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.”
– George Washington
CreateSpace (which is owned by Amazon) was recently criticized in THIS ARTICLE for publishing a fraudulent book under a real author’s name in what stinks to high heaven of a money laundering scheme.
In the article, the author (victim) states, “I have reviewed numerous Createspace titles and its clear to me that there may be hundreds if not thousands of similar fraudulent books on their site,” Reames said. “These books contain no real content, only dozens of pages of gibberish or computer generated text.”
Here’s how the scam appears to work:
1. A scammer, who has stolen an author’s identity, submits a fake book to CreateSpace under that author’s name. The scammer apparently also gives Amazon the author’s address and social security number.
2. The book is full of gibberish, and has a ridiculously high list price (in the hundreds of dollars or more).
3. The scammer gives Amazon their own payment information, however, so that “royalties” can be paid to the scammer’s bank account instead of the author’s.
4. The scammer then uses stolen credit card numbers to purchase copies of the fake book.
5. The scammer receives royalties from Amazon.
6. Amazon sends the author (the victim) and the I.R.S. a 1099 even though the author received no money from Amazon / CreateSpace.
NOTE: One comment under the article, posted by “Andre,” speculated – “It is the best way to launder bitcoin revenue generated from all kinds of illegal activities. They go to Giftly or Gyft and buy Amazon gift cards for the bitcoin. Then they just pay themselves. That is the only way to not get your account closed. It is not credit card fraud!!! Gift cards are always under the radar on Amazon.”
If people are buying Amazon gift cards to use for fraud, what incentive would Amazon / CreateSpace have to stop the illegal activities? Seems like none to me…unless the feds come crashing down on them.
The victim quoted in the article says Amazon refused to divulge any details to him, and refused to void his 1099. So, he now has to deal with the I.R.S. to try to prove that Amazon / CreateSpace didn’t send him any money.
While I find this entire scenario appalling, the fact that they obviously aren’t checking the books they publish for quality is incredibly irresponsible, and harmful to their book buying customers, as well as to authors.
CreateSpace recently stopped offering editing, formatting, and other services to authors. They only provide printing now. I guess this might be another excuse for them to not check books they’re printing for quality, fraud, and more.
Furthermore, according to posts on the CreateSpace author forum, authors are not permitted to put “Published by CreateSpace” in their books. When I first heard that, I thought, ‘Well, sure, why would they allow that? They publish so much garbage and they probably don’t want their name attached to those horrible products. If there are complaints, they probably want those complaints to go to the author, not to CreateSpace itself.’
Of course, books published by CreateSpace have the CreateSpace name listed on Amazon so it’s difficult for their authors to hide that fact.
In all the research I’ve done during and since our lawsuit against Amazon and its print on demand division, which is now named CreateSpace, I can’t say anything they do surprises me anymore. In my opinion, they are not good corporate citizens, and I doubt they ever will be.
I don’t know if the screenshot below is from a “fake” book or not but, again, in my opinion, it’s certainly an example of a substandard CreateSpace book.
Here’s why we think it’s a crappy book:
1. Misspelled word in the title: Filmaker (should be Filmmaker)
2. No punctuation whatsoever in the 66-word, single-sentence “About the Author” paragraph on the back cover. No commas. No periods. No apostrophes. Nothing.
3. The book is priced at a whopping $2589.83!
4. The “look inside” function on Amazon shows that the first 5 pages of this 24-page “book” are one long, run-on sentence in a humongous font. I’ll share 3 pages of the excerpt with you here:
Here’s another one – a bargain at only $277.02!
On the CreateSpace website, they feature this book’s title…but another book’s cover altogether.
And, here’s another CreateSpace book with the wrong cover featured. Notice the price. $2796.00!
Remember, authors, your publisher’s reputation can affect your book sales. A librarian we know, who does purchasing for his town’s libraries, told us he never orders CreateSpace books because so many of them are so bad. In the article, Top 10 Mistakes New Authors Make When Contacting Libraries, it states:
10. “Your publisher’s name and reputation can hurt your sales.”
This librarian in particular won’t order CreateSpace Books because the ones he’s seen are so poorly written and edited. If he sees the name CreateSpace, he automatically rejects the book. Librarians know about the poor quality of some of the books put out by some P.O.D. publishers, as well as those from other “we’ll-publish-anything-if-you-just-give-us-enough-money!” publishing services. If a librarian has received too many poor-quality books from one publisher, they will, naturally, stop considering that publisher’s books in the future.
Please share your thoughts about this controversial topic below!
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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