The battle of publishers and textbook distributors against counterfeit books has been going on for quite some time now. Various laws and measures are being taken in order to prevent the distribution of counterfeit books, nevertheless, there are still many of them circulating on the market. Counterfeit books are seen as an illicit business in which criminals thrive; by making second-hand physical copies of books without authorization and then selling them off either directly to students or to textbook distributors. In most cases, they sell them at cheaper rates than the original ones.
Counterfeit copies of books pose a threat to students because technically they trick students into buying books of low quality (which may contain typos, missing pages, and blurred photographs) and when it comes to buyback, companies such as BooksRun will not accept them – thus, students are stuck with these books even when they don’t need them. The government, as well as book publishers, are compelled to take effective measures so as to create public awareness of counterfeit books and also to put an end to its distribution. In websites such as BooksRun, you can find articles written on how to differentiate counterfeit books from the original, how to spot them easily so that you won’t be tricked into buying them.
Counterfeit textbooks usually come in poor biding. It’s obvious that they are of cheaper make because the papers are thinner and of low quality (the next page can be seen through it). The covers might have a different color shade than the originals, it may also differ in width and thickness. Typos can also be found in counterfeit books.
There’s also a list of anti-counterfeit best practices that book publishers, distributors, and students as well have to follow in order to minimize the spread of counterfeit books. And perhaps to once and for all bring an end to it.
Textbook Distributors in the Battle against Counterfeit Textbooks
The fight against counterfeit textbooks is something that can’t be done solely by publishers, that’s why textbook distributors are required to cooperate with them.
- All textbook distributors before purchasing an inventory from sellers should ask for an affirmation that the books being provided to them are authentic and were lawfully acquired;
- They have the right to request from their supplier an accurate identification, i.e, true name of the individual or company, physical address, telephone number, etc.
- If a textbook distributor should find a book they have purchased to be counterfeit, they should immediately notify the publisher by email and ship the textbook or an exemplar of the textbook to the publisher;
- Textbook distributors are required to have an inventory management system that will help them track the source of each particular book that they purchase, sell, or maintain in their inventory. This way they will be able to keep track of who provided the textbook to them, the date it was received, and the purchase price;
- It’s also recommended for textbook distributors to hire trained and qualified personnel who will be in charge of inspecting incoming inventory. The job of the personnel is to examine each book or set of books purchased in bulk by the textbook distributor, including buybacks returns, and rental returns in order to determine which is counterfeit.
Students also play an important role
The role of students in the battle against counterfeit textbooks lies in their ability to avoid, identify them, and take the needed measures in reporting counterfeits to the right authorities. Students can take action by:
- Avoiding Counterfeit Books. Before you purchase a textbook you should be sure of the distributor you are buying from. Ask the supplier enough questions until you’re comfortable and certain that their inventory was obtained lawfully without any counterfeits. Signs that a book might be counterfeit include missing pages, typos, different paper, blurred photographs, different size and bulk, cheap binding. A book might also be counterfeit if the ISBN on the cover does not match the ISBN on the inside copyright page of the book;
- Identifying Counterfeit Books. Before purchasing a book you should compare it with a copy from the publisher for a side-by-side comparison. Ideally, the book should be from the same printing as a copy from the publisher. If not, then caution should be taken. If you’re unable to acquire a publisher’s copy for comparison, then you should put into consideration facts such as; book price, source, condition, quantity offered, and online feedback;
- Reporting Counterfeit Books. If you ever come across counterfeit books, don’t destroy, sell, or return them back to the seller. Instead, you should separate them from other books that aren’t counterfeit and promptly contact the publisher. In most circumstances, you should get a response from the publisher in less than two weeks where you’ll be informed on what to do next. In the case that it turns out to be legitimate, your book will be returned to you in a given period of time.
- Use a Counterfeit Calculator. BooksRun has recently launched a Counterfeit Calculator that will help you estimate the chance of a certain edition to be a counterfeit. It’s obviously impossible to tell with 100 percent certainty, but you can use this tool as a guideline. If the chance of counterfeit for a textbook is high, you should once again inspect it according to these guidelines.
Counterfeit books are a recurring problem in the educational industry; it burdens students with inferior products of low quality, deprives authors and publishers of the revenue they require and deserve, in turn decreasing the possibility to reinvest in the production of new educational content. If not put to a stop, it might become detrimental to the educational process as well as affect scholarly endeavors and progress.