Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Another Publishing Scam

Publishers Weekly (PW) had two articles in the last week about a scam directed toward booksellers.

Last Thursday, PW reported on a Seattle bookstore owner who recently took an order over the phone for two copies of a book titled The Shortcut: 20 Stories to Get You from Here to There. The customer, who identified himself as Michael Evers, provided a credit card number.

The Shortcut's publisher is Author Identity Press, a vanity press.

The bookseller placed the order through Ingram, the wholesale distributor. The two non-returnable books arrived, followed by the news that the credit card wasn't real.

The bookstore owner was so annoyed by the scam that he posted the story on the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association listserv to warn his peers. One after another, booksellers in different states came forward to admit being ripped off by a man giving the same name and ordering the same book.

This is where it gets interesting. The twenty short stories in the book are a mix of public domain works by well-known authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain and Charles Dickens along with stories by novice writers.

PW reports that the name the phony customer gave, Michael Evers, "is the name of the main character in a suspense novel called The Palace of Wisdom: A Rock and Roll Fable by Kevin A. Fabiano, printed by another in-demand publisher, Publish-America. Fabiano, whose Web site says he's a New York lawyer, is also one of the contributing authors to The Shortcut."

I guess that's one way to sell your self-pubbed book.


Marie Tuhart said...

I'd read about this last week. I really felt for the bookstore owners, especially those small independents.

Maya Reynolds said...

Marie: The sad thing is that this is theft under $50, which means that law enforcement is probably not going to knock itself out with trying to track the perpetrator down.