Originally published in The Christian Post
Tish Harrison Warren, a priest in the Anglican Church in North America and the author of Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life, asked her supporters for help and prayers on Monday after learning from her publisher, Intervarsity Press, that Amazon had sold some $240 000 (R3.4-million) worth of fake copies of her book.
“Someone (or a group of people) has made high-quality, fake copies of Liturgy of the Ordinary, and taken over the “buy” button on Amazon under a fake name; when Amazon customers purchased my book, counterfeit books — not ones from IVP’s warehouse — were sold and delivered. When this happens, IVP gets no money from or record of the purchase, and I get no royalties. Counterfeiting books and selling counterfeit books are crimes,” Warren explained on her blog.
“We don’t know how long this has been happening, but IVP estimates that it’s been happening for around nine months (though we can’t be sure without a more thorough investigation) with a loss of around $240 000 in retail sales. Suffice it to say, this represents a significant loss of profits, and shrinks my counted sales numbers, which may affect future contracts and advances,” she added.
InterVarsity Press said in a statement that after they filed a formal complaint, Amazon, the online retail giant, removed the re-sellers of the counterfeit editions from its store.
“We are grateful for Amazon’s response to our complaint and its expressed openness to hear directly from us if we encounter counterfeit editions in the future. We consider Amazon a valued trade partner and recognise the extraordinary place it occupies in the global supply chain for books,” the publisher said.
The company further noted that they have also taken steps to more closely monitor how their products are sold on Amazon and said part of the reason they chose to go public with the issue is to raise awareness about the issue of counterfeiting in publishing.
“Unfortunately, we do believe that there are other authors and publishers who will find themselves in a similar situation. It is our hope that by exposing what has happened with Liturgy of the Ordinary we will raise awareness of counterfeiting among publishers and readers alike,” the company said.
Warren and her publisher said approximately 15 000 counterfeit copies of her book have been sold on Amazon and shared several photos of misprints and cover image discrepancies that can help readers distinguish between real and counterfeits ones.
Warren suggested several steps people who have bought counterfeit copies of her book can take, including returning them to Amazon and requesting a full credit. She urged fans who bought counterfeit copies of her book to consider buying legitimate ones through InterVarsity Press’ website.
For those who can support her through prayer, Warren said: “Pray for the ‘bad guys.’”
“Our two kids overheard my husband and I talking about this situation last week, so we had to explain to them about how some ‘bad guys’ stole from our family. They were full of good questions. And we talked to them about how we need to pray for and forgive the people who committed this crime,” she said.
“We prayed together for their blessing and for their repentance, and my six year old—whose heart is 97% gold and 3% cotton candy — prayed that the ‘bad guys’ would ‘read Mama’s book and become Christians.’ I would love for all of us to join her in her good, kind prayer and ask God for a redemption story out of this. Maybe it will be a dramatic— a Jean Valjean ‘I have bought your soul for God’ with these candle sticks situation. Crazier things have happened in the kingdom of God. Maybe it is a more subtle story of redemption. Either way, pray for God to use this situation for good and for His glory. It would make it worth it,” Warren said.