A New Scam Targeting Authors – “Will you swap ebooks with me?”

A New Scam Targeting Authors – “Will you swap ebooks with me?”

I heard from an author this week who found her book being given away for free on a foreign website. She had received a personal message on a social media site from someone in Singapore. The person who sent that email offered to “swap ebooks” with her.

It is not illegal for an author to give away free copies of their own book. It is, however, illegal for someone to receive a copyright-protected ebook from someone, and to then upload that file to a free ebook website, give it away to others, sell, or even republish the book. Yes, while these situations are rare, they have happened.

Each time an ebook is sent from one person to another, a new copy of that file is produced. If you send a copyright-protected ebook to anyone, you have duplicated the product and given it away, which is illegal. Copyright infringement judgments can be very expensive but, unfortunately, finding and suing someone overseas can be costly and unsuccessful. Copyright infringement judgments can also be very expensive, especially if the infringer knew the book was copyrighted.

So, if someone asks if they can “swap” ebooks with you, decline the request, and block that person from your website. They just might be planning to make your book available for free to the masses.

RELATED:

Is That Free Ebook Site REALLY Violating Your Copyright? Maybe Not… By Angela Hoy

Can Your Publisher Get YOU Sued For Copyright Infringement? Yep!! By Angela Hoy

“Amazon Won’t Remove My Book! Are They Violating My Copyright?”

Yet Another Website Lifts our Copyrighted Material

Who Gets Your Book(s) When You Die? – Yet Another Case of Heirs Fighting Over an Author’s Copyrights

 



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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).

WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.

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Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.

PubPreppers.com - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!

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Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)

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6 Responses to "A New Scam Targeting Authors – “Will you swap ebooks with me?”"

  1. Marja McGraw  August 20, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Over the past few years I’ve found my ebooks on “free” sights. I contacted one of them and told them to take down my books immediately, and their site soon disappeared completely. I guess I was taking a chance by contacting them, but in this case… I don’t really know what happened.

  2. lindamthorne  August 19, 2017 at 9:02 am

    There are scammers everywhere. This is the first I’ve heard of this type, but I’m not surprised. Thanks for the heads up.

  3. pamelaallegretto  August 18, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Thank you, Angela, for keeping us all on the “know.” Where would we be without you? Cheers!

  4. stevenbhowwrites  August 18, 2017 at 5:06 am

    Just curious, what would be the advantage for these websites to post stolen e-books for free? Do they use it as a way to draw more readers who might buy other books that are for sale there?

    • By Angela Hoy - Publisher of WritersWeekly.com  August 18, 2017 at 11:11 am

      1. They can be selling ads on their website that gives away “free” ebooks.
      2. They can be charging readers a monthly or annual fee for access to the “free” ebooks.
      3. (This is the most likely scenario.) They are pretending to charge people for access to the “free” ebooks but they are actually stealing people’s credit card info. and selling it.

      Of course, if somebody is trying to get “free” ebooks, they deserve to have their credit card info. stolen. It’s pretty dumb to trust a firm that has built a business around breaking the law (copyright infringement).

  5. writerleenda  August 17, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    So glad we have you Angela. Hawkeye! You the best.