Counterfeiting/Fakes

(some negatives of social media)

In addition to social media having problems with misinformation or fake news, it encourages counterfeiting in books. For example, Amazon

"...dominates the book business......sells substantially more than half the books in the USA, including new and used physical volumes as well as digital and audio formats. Amazon is also a platform to third-party sellers, a publisher, a printer, a self-publisher, a review hub, a textbook supplier and a distributor that now runs its own chain of bricks-and-mortar stores..."

David Streitfeld 2019

Amazon does not discriminate between selling books that are the originals and those that are fakes or counterfeits. It

"...never checks the authenticity, much less the quality, of what it sells. This has resulted in a kind of lawlessness in which the counterfeiting of books has surged..."

David Streitfeld 2019

Generally Amazon only acts when somebody complains. It is reactive rather than proactive.

The widespread use of fake reviews and printing-on-demand technology has added to the problem, ie easy access to counterfeit copies of books.

Some examples include

Living authors

- 'Bad Blood' by John Carreyroou (best-selling account of fraud in Silicon Valley)

- 'Where the Crawdads Sing' by Delia Owens (popular novel)

- 'Less" by Andrew Sean Greer (Pulitzer prize-winning novel)

- 'Falling Through the Earth' by Danielle Trussoni (memoir)

- 'Florida' by Lauren Groff (National book award nominee)

Dead authors

- 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miler

- 'Murder on the Orient Express' by Agatha Christie

Technical books

- computer manuals like 'Adventure', 'Art of Assembling Language', 'The Linux Command Line', 'Python for Kids: a playful introduction to programming', etc

- medical texts like 'The Stanford Guide to Anti-bacterial Therapy', etc

It is Amazon's business model that is a problem, ie

"...assumes that everyone on its platform operates in good faith until proved otherwise..."

David Streitfeld 2019

Amazon has passed the responsibility of identifying fakes, etc to others in the supply chain.

NB Counterfeits are still a sale for Amazon while the author misses out.

Other issues on Amazon

- plagiarism, ie somebody else claiming to be the author.

- bait and switch schemes, ie you choose a title that is similar to a successful book and Amazon will promote it next to that successful book

- co-mingling, ie sellers on Amazon can pool their goods with the same exact goods offered by Amazon itself

Business model

Its business model involves selling from independent merchants

"...more than half the items sold on the popular side come from independent merchants. Amazon takes a commission on sales and charges additional fees for storing products in its warehouses, packaging them and delivering them. But it technically does not own the inventory, a fact it used to protect itself from product liability cases..."

Edvard Pettersson et al, 2019

This is based on the Third Circuit reasoning.

Furthermore,

"...The Communications Decency Act protects Amazon from......failure-to-warn claims......but the act's immunity provisions for online providers does not protect the company from claims that Amazon is liable for selling, marketing, distributing, failing to test..."

Edvard Pettersson et al, 2019

 

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