My Book Was Plagiarized

At first, I thought the message was a fake.

A reader of my first book wrote that she had discovered another version of Camino Sunrise: Walking With My Shadows on Amazon.

“I started reading and realized I had already read it…with new and peculiar grammar,” her note said.

I found the book on Amazon, with a new cover, title, and author, but there was no doubt. It was my book, sort of. The book description was mostly the same, with a few awkward revisions that made me wonder about the editor’s language skills.

It got worse. The character names were the same, the chapter organization was identical, and my wife’s artwork was there, in living color. My story was there, but with seemingly random substitutions that made me laugh as I winced painfully.

I felt violated and was mystified. I reported it to Amazon, using a form for infringement complaints. I sent Amazon a record of my copyright and links to my book and the other version. A few exchanges later and Amazon wrote that the offending book would be removed.

I am relieved and grateful to the reader, who, by the way, wrote a review of the copied book to alert prospective readers that it was a fake.

I also appreciate Amazon’s quick response. Amazon was a big help getting my books published, but I am disappointed that the fake book made it through their “filters,” even though it was only offered on Kindle Unlimited.

The offending book is gone, for now. But I wonder: What would motivate someone to do this?