Thursday, March 18, 2010

ARC's & Ebay Vent

There is something that has been bothering me and I’m really need to get it off my chest. Something that annoys me and borderline pisses me off. Some of you may disagree with my thinking, and that’s fine. I’m even open to a discussion about it. But, this something that affects not only my author friends, but the publishers as well. What is this “something” I’m alluding to????


First off, selling ARC’s is ILLEGAL! It says right on the cover “not for resale”. Yes, that means not to put up on Ebay (and other book selling sites) and make yourself a quick, easy buck. By selling these on Ebay or other sites, you’re not only cheating the publisher, but you are cheating the author as well. ARC’s are also not the final copy of the book. The author/publisher may decide to make changes to the book and the reader of the ARC may then feel cheated that they didn’t get the “final” story. ARC’s are sent out to book review magazines and bloggers like myself so that we can hopefully create good, early buzz about the book.

Here’s what happened that started me on my little crusade J A publisher friend of mine had sent me a super secret e-copy of a book before the bound ARC’s went out. (She’s SO good to me and very appreciative of my detective skills.) Well, a few days later I was browsing on the internet and I found the book and followed the link – right to EBAY! So I sent the link to my friend – we’ll call her L. To say that L was shocked is an understatement since she had just mailed the bound copies out two days earlier. So this person, we’ll call her X, received the book and immediately posted it to Ebay – with a starting bid price of $19.99 and a “Buy It Now” of $29.99. L went to Ebay and purchased the book (she wanted to find out if her suspicion as to the seller was correct.) And wouldn’t you know that as soon as the seller realized who purchased the book, the money (plus pay pal fees) were returned to the buyer with an e-mail professing apologies – the book was her niece’s and X “accidentally” posted it. L demanded the immediate return of her ARC and in the condition that it was sent. L also sent X a harsh email on how what was done was wrong . One would think that X would have learned a lesson – X got caught. But noooooooooo……. X continues to post books – and fantastic books that anyone would kill to get their hands on early. Here are some of X’s completed ARC transactions.

Innocent by Scott Turow - sold for $49.99 and one sold for $72.00 (sale price $15.11 in May)
61 Hours by Lee Child – sold for $49.99
Naahman’s Curse by Jacqueline Carey – sold for $99.99 ($17.81 when it comes out in June)
Deliver Us From Evil by David Balducci – sold for $36.00
Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris – ready for this – sold for $217.50 ($12.00 when it comes out on 5/4)
Blood Harvest by S.J. Bolton – sold for $39.99
A Mighty Fortress by David Weber – sold for $113.50 ($18.47 when it comes out in 2 weeks)
Faithfull Place by Tara French – sold for $49.99 ($17.13 when it comes out in July)
And this one astounds me – Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts sold for …..make sure you’re sitting down…. $257.00 – yes, you read that right. A book that you will be able to buy for $8.00 in one month sold for $257.00.

This is total, pure profit for this person. All X is doing is flipping books – ARC’s at that – something that is both unethical and ILLEGAL! Man, would I like to make a quick buck like that. I wonder if X has a real job? Or is this how X makes a living? This person has excellent contacts in the publishing industry because they are getting the “must have” titles as soon as an ARC is available. I wonder how many of the publishers that send to X realize what is going on? I know my friend L will no longer send X anything (even though X continues to protest that the book was her “nieces” and it was an accident. Just like all the other postings are accidents too right?) How many publishers/authors will read this and want to know who X is so that they can stop supporting this person in this manner? And I wonder, since selling ARC’s is illegal, if anyone has ever contacted Ebay directly to let them know that what X is doing is against the law?!?! And, yes, I know...X is not the only one doing it. There are plenty of others. I'm just using X as an example because my friend is the one who got stung.

Want to know what REALLY ticks me off about X and what is going on? X is a fraud. No doubt about it. My friend L and I proved it - X is not a journalist like it was made to appear, but someone looking to make a fast buck. There are real book bloggers out there who will do with the book what is intended – read it and review it. It’s those same book bloggers who would kill to get on the mailing lists X is on (and uhm…I would be at the top of that list thank you very much!), but we aren’t because scammers like X are taking our copies.


Jeanne C. said...

Yes, I understand what you are saying. I am one of those people that would kill to be able to get copies for review. I don't even know how to do that!
Interesting post, thanks for sharing!

Leann Sweeney said...

Thanks for your respect for ARCs and your honesty. We need more people like you!

StephTheBookworm said...

Wow, that astounds me. People were paying over $200, and this scammer is making money off an author's hard work!!! That is just terrible. What a shame!

dollycas aka Lori said...

OMG, yes thankfully I was sitting down but now I am as mad a hornet!!! How do we stop this?? I would love to make a little cash, but I am having so much fun with my blog and do is for purely enjoyment purposes and wanting to help authors sell their books, so they keep writing more for me to read. Like you say this ruins it for everyone, I hope every publisher finds out about X and never sends them another book. Maybe we need to surf Ebay and look for people like this committing fraud and report them to a higher authority. I am now po'd just like you.

Becky LeJeune said...

It really irks me that people are selling ARCs. They are a great way to generate reviews and buzz, but when the publishers get wind of this kind of thing, I think it's sort of a bad apple reaction -- if X causes me not to get ARCs because of her actions, I'm going to be pissed! I don't get paid to do reviews, I do them because I'm passionate about the books and want to get people interested in them. This, auctioning them on EBay to the highest bidder is crap.

Publicist who agrees 100% said...

Your comments are SPOT ON! annoys me to no end when people try to sell ARCs --especially when the people selling them try to get them in deceptive ways.
Anyone who works in the book business knows it is a tough industry. It doesn't help at all that there are unscrupulous people out there taking advantage of publishers and authors by selling their ARCs.
Glad you brought this to light!

LuAnn said...

No wonder the FCC is trying to make bloggers claim taxes on the books we are given. It's people like that who give us a bad name and I, for one, totally agree with you, Lori. People certainly can be greedy.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh--what an eye opener. Surely, now that it is known what is happening couldn't eBay be notified and the sale of these ARC's be banned as well as the seller(s)? Is that possible to do? I sure don't like seeing this nicety taken advantage of. It ruins it for everyone.

Good for you for speaking out.

Alison said...

Lori, you are not alone in your outrage. I have heard from authors, publishers, and booksellers who are saying that they are seeing this more and more. BAD NEWS indeed!

I would like to think that people who have access to ARCs show the proper respect for what they are.

Unfortunately, I think ARCs are passed on to friends, relatives, etc, who don't have the same accountablity or suffer the same consequences as we do.

I hate to be a book hog, but maybe we should make a pact to keep our ARCs within the book blogging community, instead of giving them away to readers.

Teresa said...

I too can understand your frustration. I would love to be able to read and review those books. It is not a difficult concept to understand that they are not for sale. I hadn't heard that the FCC wants to impose taxes on ARCs. Does anyone have more information on that?

Angel said...

Makes me upset! Also, you can find DVD's full of ebooks on there as well. That's awful too, they'll sell DVD's with 100s of books on them. Authors and publishers get nothing :-(

Linda said...

This is terrible. I think it is time to start naming names an notify publishers what she/he is doing. I take some of my arcs to my local "Curves" exercise place where we have a little lending library. I put a sticker in each one that says NOT FOR RESALE.

Deb said...

There are those of us who work so hard to receive ARC's so we can read and review them. This is terrible. Every ARC that I have ever received is here on my bookshelf. I consider it an honor to have gotten them. I wish there was something we could do to stop this. Outraged!

Kristi said...

Absolutely agree with your post! I cannot believe someone would have the audacity to do this. I hope X gets prosecuted by someone! Thanks for putting this out there!

Camille Minichino said...

The usual way around this is that the seller offers the COVER LETTER for a price and throws the ARC in for free.

I'm amazed some don't even try to cover it up.

Bekah said...

I know there are dishonest people. It still gets me mad when I hear about their exploits.

DemonLover's Blog said...

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I can't believe someone would do that.

Mary said...

I can't believe Ebay doesn't know (or hasn't been alerted by a publisher or two) that ARCs are not to be sold. Any ARC I've received states that on either the front or back cover. I would think there would be legal issues for seller as well as Ebay.

Lori's Reading Corner said...

I sent a message to ebay last night. I didn't name names - YET. For now, I just wanted to know how they can allow items that are illegal to sell (ARC's/uncorrected proofs, etc) to be posted for sale. I'll see what their response is (and post it here) to that and take it from there.

Unfortunately X isn't the only person doing this. If you go to Ebay (and they are also the only ones not doing this, I'll get back to this in a second), and you do a search for "ARC" you will get 2679 hits. If you search for "uncorrected proof" you get another 277 hits.

Today, a new posting for the upcoming Charlaine Harris book has a "buy it now" price of $249.95!!! No bidding, nothing. Buy it now only. I actually put it on "watch" so I can see if another person is foolish/desperate/has enough money in this economy to actually pay this price for it instead of waiting 6 more weeks and paying $12.00.

Now Ebay isn't solely to blame. I have been on doing searches for upcoming books. When you find a title and scroll down, it will list all the places you can buy a book. For example, search (on FF) for The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory. A listing on Abebooks will come up where you can buy "an uncorrected proof" now, for $20.00. The book won't be released until August 3rd. So it's not just ebay that's breaking the rules, it's booksellers too!

All I know is that if an author, publicist or publisher sends me an ARC (I'll be more than happy to give any of you my address :) I will read it and give an honest review of it. I may pass it along to a friend, or use it as a giveaway to create more buzz, but I would NEVER sell it! That's my promise as a reader & blogger.

dollycas aka Lori said...

I totally agree, when I am lucky enough to get an ARC it goes on a special shelf in my bookcase. They are like presents to me, my family or friend may read it but it goes back on the shelf.

What's so hard to understand NOT FOR RESALE!!

I hope every one of those pirates are caught and made to walk the plank.

Anonymous said...

wow that's sad to hear though. It's no wonder ARC's are harder to come by nowadays thanks to a few idiots who feel the need to make some cash.

Ani said...

I completely agree! What ticks me off even more though is when I see them for sale at a library sale!

Come on!! The library should have MORE respect for books, authors, etc.

I remember years ago buying a book on ebay and receiving an ARC. I was shocked and annoyed and embarrassed. I thought I was buying a foreign copy as I knew it had been released in Europe already. I didn't even know what to do with it once I received it because I didn't want to keep it.

Great post!!

Teddy Rose said...

Lori, thanks for posting this. I had no idea that people were selling ARC's. I am very interested to see if Ebay responds back to you. Perhaps a bunch of us could do a anti-ARC blit on Ebay and shower them with complaints. I would even go as far as reporting sellers that are doing this.

Suzanne said...

Great post and I totally agree with you! When we get ARC's, we are doing it for the sole purpose of reading & reviewing and creating buzz for the books that will soon coming out. I hope that the publishers who are sending those amazing ARC's ( and I too would LOVE to have her connections!) realize what is going on. Does the person even post a review somewhere? Just goes to show you that there's always a few bad apples in the bunch.

Lori's Reading Corner said...

Here is the response I received from Ebay. I guess since the publisher (who owns the book) put a big "NOT FOR SALE" sticker on it, that doesn't mean too much!

Thank you for writing eBay to report advance reading copies.

If a seller were to xerox a book and attempt to sell it on the site, we would remove it under our Unauthorized Copies policy.

While advance reading copys do not violate any of eBay's immediate policies, it may be that the listings infringe on the intellectual property rights of the rights owners associated with the advance reading copies. Rights owners can have items which they feel infringe on their intellectual property rights removed through the eBay Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) program. When participants in our Verified Rights Owner
(VeRO) Program notify us that a listing has violated their intellectual property rights, by law we have to remove that listing.

As this is the case, we encourage you to contact the rights owner when you come across an item that you believe may infringe on their intellectual property rights.

You'll find a list of rights owners and contact information, as well as information about infringing items, in the VeRO Program About Me pages.
To view the list, please go to:

Keep in mind that the list of rights owners does not include all rights owners that report through the VeRO Program. This list contains the rights owners that have chosen to post About Me pages that provide information regarding their products and legal positions. If you can not find a specific rights owner in the list, a web search should help you find contact information for them.

For future reference, using the "Report Item" link on the listing page makes it much easier to report potentially violating listings to eBay in the shortest amount of time.

Thank you for your efforts which help keep the eBay Community safe!

NancyO said...

I'm totally appalled at what some people will do for money. In some of the cover letters I get inside ARCs the publisher might say "please feel free to share these with your friends," but I doubt that they understand that some people take this to an extreme and sell them.

My thinking on this is that perhaps when you see something like this happening, you should contact the author and the publisher as well to let them know what's going on...point them to the link. You should also let them know that there are still honest people in the world who are really dismayed over the few who might possibly wreck it for all of us.

Sadly, I'm not surprised at this situation, but I am saddened. It has seemed for some time that there are some people who are feeling much more "entitled" and don't really care about what consequences their actions may have on others. You know, like those of us who actually ask for the ARCs in the spirit in which they are meant to be received.

If you need in publisher/author contact, feel free to email me. I want to keep getting ARCs to review and I don't want some greedy person screwing it up for me or any of you reading these comments.

Monique said...

Just a correction - it's not illegal (it's not against the law), but it may be against the publisher's wishes. If they know who is selling them they won't give more copies to that person. Also, as a former bookstore employee - I was told that wording was there so the potential buyer would know it wasn't a post-release copy and also so it couldn't be returned for cash.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I am fired up now too. Your little picture on the post could be right now. Unbelievable how abusive some people are. I hope to someday be an author, and I would be crushed to see if I entrusted my book into the hands of people for early reviews and this happened.

This sort of activity will ruin it for those who can be trusted.