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Harper Collins Employees Caught Selling Proofs on EBay

There have been a couple heated online debates about the legality of selling Advanced Review Copies, Galleys or Proofs, all of which pre publication copies of books. Nora Roberts was angered over the appearance of advanced copies placed on EBay by a seller who had eight of them. It was clear to me that any individual having 8 copies must have procured them with inside help for no reviewer gets more than one copy or maybe 2.

This seems confirmed by the recent report at Media Bistro that Harper Collins UK employees were caught selling Proofs of books on E-Bay. Apparently, an email went out company wide asking for employees with paypal accounts so the company could bid, purchase and find out the identities of the sellers. The Proof selling employees, in true Darwin Award fashion, didn’t really connect the dots and failed to pull down the auctions.

I have maintained that the sale of the ARC is not illegal. It is the point of procurement of the ARC which were the theft, if any, occurs. I am sure that Harper Collins was not gifting the ARCs to these employees as a form of a Holiday Bonus.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 22, 2007 @ 17:28:53

    an employee… now that is just wrong.

    I don’t approve of reviewers selling them. It may be techinically illegal, but I think ethically, it’s wrong. Especially in cases like Nora Roberts, where the seller can make hundreds of dollars from one book and they did NOTHING to earn it. Boils down to a moral thing in my opinion, especially when it’s booksellers or reviewers who are selling them.

  2. Janine
    Feb 23, 2007 @ 14:18:47

    I haven’t ever sold an ARC and don’t intend to sell one. I think that for an employee of a publishing house to sell them is particularly stupid. But I have been pondering what to do with print ARCs that aren’t keepers (Not an issue for me yet, but maybe it will be in the future). Since I love books, I shudder at the thought of ripping the cover off and then tossing them in the recycle bin. I’ve never been one to bang walls with bad books, either. I just love them too much as objects. Keeping ARCs until well after the publication date and then donating them seems like it would be more respectful, but is it fair to the author or publisher?

  3. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 23, 2007 @ 14:42:17

    Keeping ARCs until well after the publication date and then donating them seems like it would be more respectful, but is it fair to the author or publisher?

    Personally, I don’t have any problems at all. Nobody should feel compelled to keep every book that comes their way, unless they want to. I’m a booklover too so I understand not wanting to throw it away. Just my two cents.

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