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How Amazon benefits from counterfeit books

Vox – “Amazon has a counterfeit book problem. But it isn’t really a problem for Amazon itself, reporter David Streitfeld argued in an investigation published in the New York Times on Sunday. In fact, publishers and authors whose books are photocopied or otherwise plagiarized just come to rely on Amazon even more. Streitfeld starts by telling the story of the small, Sperryville, Virginia-based medical handbook publisher Antimicrobial Therapy. The company is best known for a book called The Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy, which is extremely popular, is commonly used by doctors to prescribe various drugs, and has been ripped off by counterfeiters regularly for the past two years, the Times reports. (This particular scam is actively dangerous, since photocopied versions of the book often smudge numbers in recommended dosages.) Antimicrobial Therapy’s vice president Scott Kelly told the Times that his company found out about the problem via Amazon reviews (customers wrote things like “Several pages smudged and unable to read”), and started test-purchasing copies of the book via Amazon and third-party sellers. At least 30 of those 34 books turned out to be counterfeit, and Kelly connected the dots between these knockoffs and a “downward spike” in sales in 2018. “My estimate is that approximately 15 to 25 percent of our sales were taken away by counterfeiting,” he told the Times. “We’re talking thousands of books.”..”

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