Anyone who has been subscribed to this blog for any period of time will know or suddenly be reminded of my no love affair with Amazon. I still butt heads against them from time to time, but I hardly buy anything from them any more. And if I had been what I found out today would make me quit cold turkey.
Amazon’s new thing, unbeknownst to customers and possibly author’s as well, is to market any book written by an author who may not be much known who just happens to have the same name as a famous well known author right alongside the famous author. Making it look like the unknown books from the unknown author are actually written by the famous author.
Because I heard this from Stephen King, I’m going to use him and his fame as an example. There is another Stephen King, now whether this person is honestly using that name for whatever reason or if it’s a ploy I cannot say. What I can say however is that if you do a search for Stephen King you will get a few books like ‘The Stand’, ‘IT’ and ‘Mr. Mercedes’ but you will also get ‘Awaken’, ‘The Descendants’ and ‘Beast Control’. Many well versed Stephen King fans will possibly know that the last three books aren’t part of the horror writer’s library, but even if you are a big fan of the horror writer, you may not realize this little fact as he is indeed writing new material. So, based on Amazon’s search results (and if you have purchased Stephen King books in the past, you may just get an email suggesting one of these books) you will probably, assume it’s King, check out this book you’ve never heard of before.
As you look at the page, you are not given any warning that this is indeed NOT Stephen King best seller, but another Stephen King. Many people don’t go down the page farther than the “Customer’s Who Bought This Item Also Bought” section. Normally not a big deal when you are dealing with books. I myself usually didn’t go this far down. And even if you did, you’d see even more ‘Stephen King’ books that you had never heard of and suddenly your wondering just how many of his novels/stories have you missed! You more in likely will start checking them all out and see which came out when so you can start at a beginning (if there ever is one!) and probably eventually buy one in whatever format.
It’s not a problem of course until you get and read the book.
I thankfully, have not been prey to this. And upon looking at the page for the book ‘Awaken’ the only clue that this isn’t a Stephen King horror writer novel is not there. This could be because I did a ‘review’ of the book, that has gone live on the site so the ‘warning’ is no longer there. But I grabbed another book by this author ‘Descendants’ and the warning is on that one. Nestled under that ‘Customer’s Who Bought This Item Also Bought’ section many don’t go down past. The warning is in the form of an Editorial Review:
As you can see, it’s a small blurb about it not being by that Stephen King, but only because they’ve been forced to put it there. At least I assume that the pestering from the Stephen King’s people has made that be there. But for some reason, these books STILL show up when looking for Stephen King. Which is highly understandable if you do a search. But to get these books in an email because you’ve bought Stephen King books in the past.
If you look at the reviews, Stephen King fans have been duped into getting and reading the book. There are MANY one star reviews that have NOTHING to do with the book itself. There are some I assume are about the book, but there are also some of these that do not seem like real reviews as they actually say or push you believe the books are written by the well known and loved Stephen King. The one thing many have in common is that they are angry because they got books not by the Stephen King they believed they were getting. And I do hope these people demanded refunds from Amazon for this mistake.
The fact that they would email it as a suggestion to buy however is a little strange. I think it is the fact that the non horror writer is nestled into the results of the horror writer Stephen King is what angers people the most. That and there may not have been any type of warning on the site about it not being the author everyone knows.
StephenKing.com had to do a special news page about this as well as send out an email to those subscribed to the site AND on the Facebook page as a warning to the fans. The fact that they have to do that DESPITE talking to Amazon about it is appalling! As if it wasn’t bad form to begin with when one talks about Amazon and small authors getting shafted by them when they try to self publish, they’re now doing this? Correction: have been doing this for years.
One does have to wonder however if this other Stephen King was one of those poor writers who was shafted by Amazon and now Amazon is trying to find a way to make money on the books. They seem to be doing this exact same thing with the author Dan Brown. Mixing another Dan Brown’s materials in with the famous author. Another hypothesis is that the original writers didn’t use these names but their own, but Amazon shafted them and changed their names in order to do this type of thing.
But coming up with ideas about what Amazon is up to could be a nice fun time waster, the thing is not what they *might* be doing, but what indeed they ARE doing. Here’s the information straight from Stephen King’s people on the subject:
Some Other “Stephen King”
October 11th, 2016 7:23:11 pm
Amazon has been deceptively marketing and selling books by some other “Stephen King” as the work of this Stephen King for several years. Despite innumerable requests from us to address this problem within their system, these books are still listed as authored by and associated with Stephen King, the author of Misery, Carrie, etc.
All of the books by this Stephen King can be found within The Library section of this website.
None of the following books are by this Stephen King. If you have been deceived and purchased one of these books, you should contact Amazon and demand your money be refunded.
- Grave Decisions
- The Crossroads Series
- Dark Love The Underground
- Beast Control
- Blood Rituals
As Amazon has failed to resolve this with only our requests, please drop them a line and let them know how you feel about their marketing of these books to you Constant Readers.
Update: We’ve now heard from many people that Amazon is additionally email-marketing these other “Stephen King” books to people who have bought books by Stephen King in the past.
Until Next Time (something apparently I haven’t said in a LONG time): When buying books on Amazon, make damn sure you are getting the author you want. Google the author’s name and click on a wiki page about the author you know or on their actual website and look up the book you’re thinking of buying. If push comes to shove, buy it directly from the author themselves!