Monday, 8 December 2014

A Warning to Readers and Writers Everywhere

There's a bit of a situation unfolding on Amazon right now - a user going by the name of "Jay Cute" has been uploading other people's books, slapping their name on them and hoping it will pass as one of their own.

For the past little while I've been scrolling through the pages of search results for "Jay Cute", one-star reviewing them all as the piss-poor attempts at plagiarism that they are.

It makes me really sad to think that somebody could really just take the work of another person and try to make money off of it like that. Authors spend months - heck, even years as I well know - drafting their book, going through the euphoric and frustrating process of shaping it into something readable, drowning their sorrows in their beverage of choice, et cetera... and then you get jerks like this who just disregard all of that and pinch it for a quick buck.

"Jay Cute"'s efforts really are bizarre, though. The stolen books have little to no product description, and the thief has made no attempt to conceal the name of the original author. They've just slapped their name on there somewhere, and more often than not the original author's name is quite clearly visible.

I'm scrolling and scrolling and it's becoming sickeningly obvious that there are quite a few victims of this crime. "Jay Cute" has victimised erotica authors, writers of chick-lit, non-fiction, there are a few covers in there that look fantasy-ish - but like I say, it's hard to tell with the vague or non-existent product description. I get the sense that "Jay Cute" is randomly stealing books to sell, not sticking to a particular genre. The prices vary as well, from about £1 - £6 that I've seen so far.

((Later, after many many reviews in which I began to lose the will to live and started copy-pasting "PLAGIARISM, AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE...IARISM" over and over))

Some of the stuff is downright confusing. They attempted to sell Kaje Harper's "Show Me Yours" (available for LEGITIMATE download on her Goodreads page) as "City of Bones" by Cassandra Clare?? Whuuuuu????

I've also been checking the reviews of other people on there who are calling this individual out and I've seen a few remarking that "Jay Cute" has other pages on Amazon, which probably means that they are going under several different names.

The whole situation just makes me sad. I'm sad that there are people out there who would do this, and I'm sad that Amazon has let so many plagiarised titles slip through to the point where the thief could actually make money off of them. And as a writer who was seriously contemplating going down the self-pub route, it makes me feel nervous and kinda unprotected. What is there out there to stop somebody doing this to one of my books in the future?

I dunno. I just thought I'd get this out there, so that writers and readers alike can become more aware of what this person is doing, and the risks. From what I've heard, people have been e-mailing and Amazon is aware of the situation, so hopefully soon we'll have a result.

People, don't plagiarise. And be wary when buying books online. Might be worth noting that these links probably won't work any more when Amazon resolves this, which will definitely be the best outcome.

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