A few weeks ago, I penned a piece on why all books should be non-returnable. In that article, I mentioned a scam that involves authors placing fraudulent orders at bookstores and then never showing up to purchase the books. Below is a series of emails I exchanged with a real author who admits she placed several orders for her own book at bookstores and then never purchased them. The funny thing is, she obviously doesn’t think she did anything wrong and she even signed her real name! Can you believe that?! Not surprisingly, as of this writing, her book isn’t even ranked on Amazon.
If an author places false orders for their own book, can you trust anything from them? Have they told the truth in their book? Are their book reviews real or are they also false? My personal opinion? I would never buy a book from an author who does “business” this way.
Not surprisingly, she stopped responding after I let her know that what she did is illegal.
INITIAL EMAIL FROM AUTHOR:
I liked your piece on non-returnable books. Last year I ordered about one copy each for 10 stores in the Atlanta region of my book, Fertile Prayers. I couldn’t get book signings, and it sells in the stores.
They now have me on a list where I cannot order books without pre-paying.
That is fine, and the good news is I finally had a book signing and sold three books. I have a lot of publicity set for another book signing before Christmas. Slowly but surely I can get more book signings.
I first heard about ordering at book stores by an author who wrote a book called (name of book removed for publication). He gave speeches at retirement homes about getting what you want done.
So, you fraudulently ordered copies of your own books from bookstores and then never went to pick them up?
No, I gave my real name, and said I had changed my mind to ten stores. There was no fraud in it. Sometimes friends have ordered books so that it is on the shelf, and guess what? They sell. That was the point of this book by (author’s name removed for publication). His book also sells. Very few of the books are on the shelf, and I check. I don’t hire people to order my book like (author’s name removed for publication) did. He had them call bookstores nationwide and order books, and he did use other people’s names, but I never have.
I get closer to getting a book signing in a store if I tell them about the newspapers and emails county governments are willing to post than by telling them how hard it is to go through the holidays after a miscarriage, or surgery where a baby was lost. This is a warm and caring world, but sometimes people don’t get it.
ANGELA’S FINAL RESPONSE:
Placing an order with no intention of ever purchasing the product is indeed fraud. You can be prosecuted for what you did.
AND A FINAL NOTE: I can’t believe someone would blatantly advertise participating in this type of fraud in their own book. I have ordered a used copy of the book mentioned by this author (not surprisingly, it appears to no longer be in print) and will let you know what I discover when it arrives.
Also, she claims her books are selling because they’re no longer on the shelves. Actually, when bookstores suspect fraud, they immediately return the books to the publisher. Her book was published by a large POD publisher that is distributed by Ingram, so I did indeed report this activity to Ingram.