A novelist says fake editions of his works were listed on Amazon as centuries old, with one $7 book going for $1,008
- A novelist says he found fake editions of his
bookson Amazonwrongly claiming to be centuries old.
- One of them was being sold for $1,008, despite having a $7 list price, said John C. Boland, who is suing Amazon.
A novelist says he discovered fake editions of his books on Amazon advertised as hundreds of years old, with one on sale for 144 times its $7 list price, according to a lawsuit.
The author, John C. Boland, is suing Amazon over the matter, saying he discovered a "fraudulent
Amazon has struggled to police unreliable listings on its platform. In 2019, an investigation by The Wall Street Journal found that more than 4,000 items on the site that had been declared unsafe by federal agencies were deceptively labeled or had been banned by regulators.
Boland novels were advertised on Amazon as being published in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, his lawsuit says. A Boland book with a list price of $15 had a fake 1602 edition listed by three separate third-party sellers, with prices ranging between $907 and $987, according to the suit.
Boland told The Times: "When a seller claims to have a 1602 edition that it's charging nearly $1,000 for, it's defaming me by implying that the book existed before I wrote it — i.e., that I'm a plagiarist."
In one instance, a fake edition of a Boland novel was listed on Amazon for $1,008, when in reality the book costs $7, the suit says.
Per the lawsuit, Boland found fake listings involving eight of his own books, plus a further eight to which he claims intellectual property rights through his publishing company Perfect Crime Books.
Boland says in his suit that he alerted Amazon to the fraudulent editions in April. He told The Times that Amazon did not start removing the listings until he filed his lawsuit, which was in August.
In the suit, Boland claims Amazon breached its publishing services agreement with him, and that it harmed him by allowing him to be defamed by the fraudulent editions carrying his name. His suit asks the court to force Amazon to ban third-party sellers from offering fake editions, and for "appropriate monetary damages" — although there's no indication of how much he thinks damages should be.
Amazon has denied all allegations leveled against it, court documents show.
An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the existence of the fraudulent editions in a statement to The Times. "We do not allow the activity Mr. Boland observed and are working to correct it," the spokesperson said. "It appears only a small number of these books were sold by third-party sellers in our store, and we have no evidence that any were counterfeit. We are investigating how this occurred."
Amazon did not immediately reply when contacted by Insider for comment.
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