Thursday, December 22, 2011

Buyer Beware: Hephaestus Books


Robin Hobb writes about a new scam. Hephaestus Books, and others, are selling public domain articles ABOUT an author's books, but marketing it so it looks like they are getting the books themselves. Clear as mud? I'll let Robin explain it.

If you go to Amazon.com, or Amazon.co.uk or BarnesandNoble.com and do a search for a book titled Novels byRobin Hobb, you will find one published by Hephaestus. In the description it lists my books, and even adds (novel), just like that, in parentheses, after some of the titles. So one might get the impression that for $12.29, you are getting a nice collection of my novels in a paperback format. After all, there is no detailed description to tell you otherwise. The astute buyer will look at the stats on the book and possibly be astonished to discover that all my novels will fit in a 42 page paperback.

Or they may immediately discern that this is a deceptive description. These are not my novels at all. These are a selection of ‘free to read’ articles about my novels gathered from the internet and put into a print on demand format.

Hephaestus Books is listed as the author. If you do a search for Hephaestus books, you will find that my readers are not the only ones they are luring to buy. There are ‘novels of’ books for readers of Ray Feist, Kurt Vonnegut, Diana Gabaldon, E.M. Forster, Sylvia Plath, Lloyd Alexander and, well, you get the idea. Each 42 pages long, and being sold for $12.29. Ouch. $12.29.

So, I’ve done what I can. I’ve posted a ‘review’ on each of those sites letting people know that Hephaestus is not my publisher, and those publications are not a collection of my novels. I hope I save a few readers from making a $12.29 plus shipping and handling mistake.

If you have bought one of these books, I urge you to post your own review, and to let Amazon and Barnes And Noble know how you feel about Hephaestus Books.

Click here to read Robin Hobb's entire article: Caveat Emptor! Hephaestus Books

5 comments:

  1. Yea, just when I thought I'd heard it all!

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  2. Thanks Karen, I'll pass it along -Kelly

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  3. The Hephaestus trickery was NOT a piracy of my books.

    What Hephaestus is doing is technically legal, but a rip off of the reading public. The title makes it appear to be a collection of my works. Instead, it is nothing but a collection of articles about my works. The articles are public domain essays that are available for free on line. The business model relies on catching buyers who make assumptions from the generic book description. They send in their $12.95 and get no real value for their money. NOTHING between the covers of those books was written by me. Not one word. That’s the rip off.

    What they are doing is the opposite of what Cory Doctorow does. He gives valuable materal (i.e., his stories) away for free. It’s a business model that works well for him.

    These people are taking free material and charging unsuspecting readers for it! Please don’t compare these rip-off artists to Doctorow!
    Wii Games

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