On Monday, The New York Times published an article titled, “The Best-Selling Book in the World,” with the headline, “How to Lie and Steal.”
The Times article featured a chart that read, “1 in 10 people have been duped by an online scam,” as well as the following statement: “This is a textbook case of how to lie and steal a book from someone.”
The article was taken down and was later replaced with a second one that stated, “We’ve seen the same thing happen to millions of people every year for the last 20 years.”
However, the same problem still exists today.
A website called “FakeBookLists.com” lists the “most popular books” in the United States, and it claims that more than 70 percent of books sold on Amazon.com are scams.
In fact, more than 1 in 10 books sold are not legitimate, according to the study.
But in a recent conversation, I reached out to several prominent bookseller, marketing and industry insiders for their opinions on the best and worst ways to scam books, as well their best and bad tips to prevent a scam.
I asked several of the experts if they knew anyone who was duped.
The first person I spoke with was Daniel G. Ruhlman, a senior associate at WME, the world’s largest multi-media agency.
I spoke to him about the worst ways booksellors can be duped, and he recommended a few tactics that he has personally used:First, it’s a matter of trust.
“It’s not about the person who’s the scammed,” Ruhlenman told me.
“It’s about trusting the author.”
The second reason is to make your book look legitimate.
“If you make a book look real, it will come out looking real,” he said.
“You can’t tell it’s real if it doesn’t come out as real.”
I spoke with Mark Fung, CEO of Lulu, the leading bookseller, publisher and technology platform in the U.S. He said the best way to keep your book from being sold is to use real people and real companies.
“There are a lot of scams that look real,” Fung told me in an email.
“They’re the ones that have a real person behind them, so they have a better chance of being noticed.”
However he cautioned against using the same trick to sell fake books as the ones to sell legitimate ones.
“I’ve never seen someone use a scam that looked real to sell a book, and that’s because they’re trying to sell something fake,” he wrote.
“The trick is to sell the real thing, and not the fake thing.”
Ruhlenmann also said that “the most important thing is to never use an e-mail address.”
“Never send e-mails to your booksellership,” he advised.
“Email addresses are a way for people to trick you into believing you’re a real seller.”
For more tips on how to prevent fraud, check out my post on the most common scams, scams that seem legit and scams that aren’t.
If you want to sell your book on Amazon or Amazon.de, it might help to consider using an agent.
“If your agent is legit, you’ll be getting a lot more sales,” Rundlman said.
“And that’s the best part of it.”
You can read more from me here.