I heard about Jamie McGuire and here fight with Amazon. I didn’t know much on the details, so I read the following on a blog post by Kristen Eckstein

Often, the facts of these stories are as “big company is the bad guy” as much as I’d like to suppose (I get mad a big companies from time to time), but regardless of the facts or resolution, I’m inclined to agree with Kristen’s comments.

jamie mcguire

email from jamie mcguire

While the author, Jamie McGuire states that one of Amazon’s problems with her book is “content,” and other trusted publishing blogs including this post at The Passive Voice and this one at Author Marketing Experts, Inc. hint at song lyric copyright issues being the primary “content” issue, all of these ideas are simply speculation as Amazon has kept conveniently silent, even to the author. In my opinion, a publisher and/or author should be informed as to anyissues with their book, especially legal issues. What if Amazon had caught a copyright infringement issue when the book was still in distribution as a self-published title? Would they require the author to pay their profits as well as hers back? And would they inform her and let her correct the book?

When it comes to copyright, if that is indeed what’s going on here (again, speculation), authors need to be more careful in general. I always coach authors to only use what they know for sure is in the public domain, and even then find a way to say it in their own words to avoid any issues like this. Again, if copyright is the primary issue at hand, most authors haven’t a clue what they can and can’t use, what’s fair use and what requires permission, so they should at least be told that is the issue and given the chance to rectify it.

Read the full post on Kristen’s Blog

My Comments on Jamie McGuire and Kristen’s Post

You referred to the relationship between the author and Amazon as if Amazon were the publisher.

The word is “self-published” and in case that isn’t clear.. it means that the publisher of the book is the author.

As a publisher, I am liable for what’s in the book. I also have a fiscal responsibility to the authors I publish. I’ve not read the terms of the KDP contract lately, but assume that Amazon is not offering to act as publisher for authors in that program.

I’ve seen discussions where uneducated authors imply that Amazon should be taking responsibility and assuming that Amazon somehow is out to defraud them. To imply intent without any evidence is reckless.

I like how you label your views as speculation. Speculation and opinion are beneficial.

On the subject of Amazon’s right to the profits they made in legal activity are covered by contract and case law. If the off author does something that harms Amazon and has accepted liability in contract between the parties, it’s probably not Amazon’s bill and the amount of money in dollars or percentages has no bearing on the legal.

It may be a good marketing for Amazon to explain themselves and/or lower the cost of defending party. I can’t comment on whether or not they are doing that as I don’t have the facts. My calculation of what fines and legal fees would be to Amazon compared to the income made from a small publisher would have me guess that the author in this story is getting off cheap:)