Beware when buying books!

I am very sad to have to issue such a warning, but I am afraid that it has become very necessary due to the actions of shameless fraudsters! It has come to my attention that a number of books available on amazon have used images and text of my work and the work of others. This contravenes international copyright law and no reputable publisher would have anything to do with such books.

How has this happened? Up to now, if someone wanted to write their own book they would either need to have a contract with an established publisher or they would have to finance the publishing of the book themselves. The first option is not easy to achieve and the second option is very expensive, so many people are unable to realise their dream of having a book published. This is where Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing can offer a solution and on the surface this might seem like a wonderful idea. This is a quote from Amazon, ‘Amazon is committed to simplifying the publishing process for indie authors and doesn’t charge them anything for setting up or maintaining a Kindle Direct Publishing account.’ Take a look at the advertisement below. What a great opportunity for a budding author! The book they have been working so hard on for so long can now find a greater audience and is finally a published work.

Sadly, it is also a great opportunity for intellectual property thieves! All that is a required is a file of information and some cover photos. I have been really upset to see my photos brazenly adorning the covers and my instructions filling the pages within. The photos and text I have seen so far has been taken from my website. This is information that I provide for free to help people to discover the wonderful world of kumihimo and to develop their skills. I am really upset to see my work stolen in this way. Sadly, it is even worse than that because my work has been used randomly and often distorted, so that it becomes worthless. These are examples of what I have seen.

  • Distorted images so that the round kumihimo disk appears to be oval
  • Blurred images because small photos have been expanded to fit a space
  • Black and white photos, where mine were in colour because the text refers to different coloured cords
  • Copy and pasting of text leaving off the last half of a sentence, rendering it meaningless
  • Text rewritten by computer to the point where it is impossible to understand
  • My own additional comments left in, eg ‘I will be adding to this section in the future’
  • Images and text taken from different sources, so they make no sense at all
  • Duplication of material on different pages, just to make up the quantity

I could go on! This list is just some of what I have seen regarding my own work, but I can also see the work of many other people. These are people who have been generous enough to provide free instructions to help others. I am also aware that this is happening on a much bigger scale than just kumihimo. I presume that any area of special interest is being targeted and especially for books for beginners.

What can be done about it? I have spent a lot of time reporting books to amazon and supplying all the proof. I have not found amazon to be helpful. It looks as if some, but not all of the books I reported have been removed, but others have appeared in their place. I even find amazon recommending some of these new books to me because I have spent so much time looking at the listings! That really is adding insult to injury! I feel it is fighting a losing battle and I am not going to waste any more time trying to get justice.

The most important thing for me now is to warn others. If you want to buy a book online about kumihimo check that you recognse the name of the author. Do a quick google check, if necessary. Click on the ‘Look inside’ button on the listing and check that the images clear and consistent with the text. Does the text read well or does it sound a bit strange? Unusual names or odd subtitles are an indicator that all is not well. Do the images on the front cover look professional and as if they are all from the same source? Are any images blurred or distorted?

If you come across a book you are suspicious about DO NOT BUY IT! I know it might be tempting to buy one to see just how bad it is, especially as they are not generally very expensive, but all you are doing is encouraging both the fraudster and amazon to ‘publish’ more of these terrible books. Don’t give these books airspace by posting details about them. The more people who click on them, the more encouragement we give to amazon to allow such unscrupulous publications. That is why I have not listed any of the titles or the authors in this blog.

I am going to finish off with a sentence from one of these books. Some copy the text directly from the source, but this one has used a computer to put the text into different words. Although I am cross and disappointed, I have not lost my sense of humour!

‘To make a level kumihimo mesh, you will require the square interlacing froth plate’

Does anyone have a spare froth plate I could borrow?!

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