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Paperback Pirates of Kiwi Novel

4th September 2002

Paperback Pirates of Kiwi Novel

'Used, like new' in the USA

Much has been made recently of pirated music and films, but now questions are now being asked in America about pirated books. Pirated paperbacks are not new, the Lord of the Rings originally became successful through the pirating of the book in America, and now it looks like Kiwi author Alan Clay is in a similar situation with his new novel, Believers in Love, which has been 'very highly recommended' this year in reviews on Amazon.

Just as with other media, the onset of the digital age has made the pirating of paperbacks much easier, because these days many books are printed individually from file, as required. This publishing revolution has enabled small publishers like Sydney based Artmedia Publishing to successfully publish New Zealand fiction in the USA, and the reviews of 'Believers in Love' in America have been so good, that Clay will now be touring literary festivals in North America next year.

The book is proving so popular that companies across America are discounting the recommended retail price and selling the book 'used, like new' through Amazon zshops, a part of amazon which functions a little like eBay where anyone can sell books. Some of them even claim to have sold thousands of copies of Believers in Love, or to be holding stocks of the book which are in excess of the numbers sold by Lightning Source, the authorized US content provider.

Lightning Source are based in St Louis, Missouri, and they print and supply the books for those buying direct through Amazon. But as all the other 'used like new' listings also come up in searches for the book on amazon, buyers naturally choose the lowest price. The only problem with this is if one or more of these discounters are pirating the book, a process which is easier these days than photocopying.

Artmedia served a notice of demand on a1Books of Fairfield, New Jersey, in March to 'permanently stop selling 'Believers in Love' and Clay's second novel 'Dance Sisters', and remove all references to the books from the site and amazon zshops or to correct the publisher information for these books on the site to read Artmedia Publishing and explain how they could sell 'Dance Sisters' at a profit at US$11.75?'

This price was actually below the retail discount, which meant they were subsidizing each book sold out of their own pocket, unless they weren't paying someone like the artist. Ironically the slogan on their site is 'making knowledge affordable', which begs the question, 'at who's cost?'.

They responded, "We are removing these books from our site, and as for the pricing, we have a bug which occasionally drops the price under the margin floor and we are working to correct this. Another bug we are fixing is the insertion of our internal publisher identification code in the publisher field on our site."

The books duly disappeared, but reappeared on their site a month later, still with the bug which generates incorrect publisher information, which, if they are pirating the book, means they can not be held liable for passing off their product as the Artmedia product, although still liable for copyright infringement.

This month the books reappeared in the a1Books zshops listing, and possibly to avoid scrutiny, at the most expensive end of the discounters at US$15.93, while on their site they are now selling it for US$12.75, the lowest price on the market.

If consumers look closely at the feedback for each of the zshops however, they will find some with negative feedback about the delivery and condition of a significant number of the books purchased, which should alert them to the business practices of some of these companies.

Ordering 'Believers in Love' through the local bookshop, rather than online, is one certain guarantee of the authentic product, and, as with all the other media these days, it is up to consumers get a quality product with good service, by buying the authentic article and not the 'used like new' versions of the book.

Find the text of the Notice of Demand and a1Books reply at More information and images at
ISBN: 0957884400
American Reviews
Australian Reviews

Artmedia Publishing, 18a Enmore Rd, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia. Ph (61-2) 9557 7837


"A powerfully creative work, with prose that sings like poetry. Beautifully told and evocatively rendered, Believers in Love comes very highly recommended." Cindy Penn, Amazon top 50 reviewer, June 2002

In Alan Clay's new novel, Believers in Love, a father and daughter team of sand-sculptors embark on a crazy adventure which takes them from Sydney's Bondi Beach, to a magic mountain in New Zealand, in which they explore the transient nature of art and life, and discover that dreams are real.

Giving Meaning

Sarah sat at the side of the road, with what looked like the contents of her pockets spread out on a towel before her. "What are you doing?" her father asked. "I'm fishing for trout," the girl told him. The father looked amused, but said nothing, and determined to watch how the game proceeded. Soon a passer-by stopped, and asked Sarah the same question. "I'm writing a book." she responded. Each person who stopped to ask, and the father counted fifteen in about ten minutes, was given a different answer. "How many trout have you caught?" he finally asked. "About fifteen in the last ten minutes," the girl answered.

Light and yet profound, this novel is a most unusual find which all will enjoy and savor, long after the last page is turned. Art and living may be treasured repeatedly, but must yield to the next magical moment! RightLifestyle

A book about love, laughter and life. Not just a story, this is an exploration of emotion and philosophy. A novel of journey and self-discovery. Aussiereviews

A gentle and enlightening story, following the crazy adventures of a team of sand-sculptors from Bondi to NZ. Nice book, one the family would enjoy. Altair Magazine Alan Clay Alan was born in 1954 in New Zealand and grew up in Auckland. He attended a Clown School in Sweden in 1977, and has since taught and performed extensively in Scandinavia, England, Australia and New Zealand.

Alan has lived in Sydney since 1992, where he runs Playspace Studio, a physical theatre training centre in Newtown, which has been gaining international recognition in recent years for a uniquely irreverent Australian approach to clown.

Alan's first novel, Moontan, is the story of a couple of clowns, set against the occupation of a theatre by a collective of artists in Auckland. It was well received at its launch at the Wellington Fringe Festival in New Zealand, and in Australia at the Warrana Writers Festival in Brisbane in 1994.

Alan's second novel Dance Sisters is set in Sydney and tells the story of a female song and dance trio which threatens to self-destruct on the brink of fame, when its leader becomes involved with a manipulative cult, touting sex, astrology and virtual dreaming. It was launched at the Melbourne Writers Festival in 1997. Dance Sisters gained particular attention when it was released in May 2000 as an eBook in a format which was packaged to enhance the reading experience on a computer with sound and visuals.

The State Library of NSW last year purchased the manuscripts and associated papers to both Dance Sisters and Moontan, to be held in the Mitchell Reference Library, together with a set of 12 archive videos from the work at Playspace Studio.

American reviews of 'Believers in Love' have been so good, that author, Alan Clay, will now be touring literary festivals in the USA and Canada next year, and negotiations are underway in Australia to develop the film rights to the book.


American Reviews Australian Reviews More information and images at ISBN: 0957884400


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