As if the publishing industry didn’t hate Amazon enough, well-known bestsellers are now being sold (and created) with copycat titles and author names on the site.
Some users will log on and quickly search for Steve Jobs, the biography by former TIME managing editor Walter Isaacson, and will unwittingly actually be purchasing “Steve Jobs”—a “poorly produced pamphlet,” according to the title’s one reviewer—by an “Isaac Worthington,” Fortune reports. Unfortunately, it’s been selling, too.
Other books with blatant knockoffs include I Am the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Twilight New Moon. If you were buying books off your phone or on the computer while multi-tasking, as many people are wont to do, it wouldn’t be too hard to mistakenly purchase one of these copycats. The wildly popular romance novel Fifty Shades of Grey has its own evil twin, Thirty-Five Shades of Grey, also written by an author who goes by two first initials: Fifty’s written by E.L. James, while Thirty-Five is by J.D. Lyte.
Fortune writer Stephen Gandel, a former TIME writer, contacted Amazon late last week about the knockoffs, and the retailer promptly removed the Worthington book, as well as Fast and Slow Thinking by Karl Daniels, a rip-off of Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, from its offerings.
What’s worse is that Amazon has actually been helping these books come into fruition. All of the copycat books that Fortune found were made through CreateSpace, a division of Amazon that allows authors to create and self-publish their books.
Karen Peebles, author of I Am the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, told the magazine that she’s published 10,000 books using Amazon’s self-publishing platform (and sells “thousands and thousands” of them each month), often under a pseudonym.
The e-book pricing fiasco is one thing, but copycat books are another. While there are two sides to the debate over how to handle and democratize e-book sales, there’s really only one side to take when it comes to blatantly taking advantage of customers with fraudulent works.