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The BBB Warns Of Possible E-Book Scams

According to the American Association of Publishers e-book sales are growing exponentially. Between the months of January and August of 2011 e-book sales increased 144.4 percent to $649.2 million. In February the sale of e-books actually overcrowded the sale of paperback books.

Since e-books are expected to be a popular holiday gift item the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has naturally put out a warning for consumers.

As always, when something grows in popularity so grows the possibility of scams piggy-backing on the success of said item. The BBB warns of:

  • “E-books filled with useless and often badly written information sold for a couple of dollars. Malware is sometimes attached in order to obtain your credit card information.

  • A single book is given different editorial spins and then sold under different titles or authors’ names.
  • Material that is plagiarized from websites and blogs then packaged into an e-book and sold.


  • Writing competitions with the winner having his or her work published digitally. Although the contests include entry fees, the cost to publish digitally is minimal.

  • E-readers spammed with ad-laden works and hotlinks to both commercial and malware sites that load viruses onto your machine.
  • E-book purchases and sales used to build up credentials for bogus sellers and buyers on auction sites

To avoid e-book scams, the BBB advises:

  • Stick with authors you already know or those who have an established reputation.

  • If you decide to buy from an unfamiliar author, see if you can download a free sample (Amazon lets you do this) first to test the quality.
  • Don’t be taken in by great reviews that accompany cheap e-books. They may be genuine or the writers may have been paid to produce them.
  • Do a search on the book name or author to see what other people say or how many other books they supposedly have written.
  • Don’t click on links inside an e-book unless it’s by an established, reputable author. Even then, it’s advisable to visit their websites via your Internet browser rather than using the link.
  • If you believe you’ve been scammed, seek a refund. You should also register your complaint with the seller’s customer service department. And, if all else fails, do other readers a favor by writing an honest review of the book – Source.”

What are your thoughts on the matter, do you think we’ll see a spike in e-book scams?

If you have been scammed and would like to file a scam report, please click here.

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Amanda Miller

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