A bookseller’s website has become the subject of controversy after it was found to be selling counterfeit copies of the popular book Protagonist.
The website’s main page for Protagonist now features the word ‘fraud’ instead of the publisher’s name and description.
In a statement, the bookseller said the fraudulent items were sold in a number of other online bookstores and had been found in several other countries.
“The sale of counterfeit copies was not part of the sales process.
It was done with an agent and a third party who had no knowledge of the items.
We apologise to all customers who have bought this book,” the company said.
Protagonist has sold over 3 million copies worldwide and is currently available for purchase from Amazon and the US.
It has sold more than 1.5 million copies across its eight books since its publication in 2016.
The bookseller did not specify whether it had stopped selling counterfeit Protagonist, but the website said it had taken the action following complaints from customers.
Protagonists publisher, John Clements, told the Telegraph: “We have taken immediate action to stop selling these counterfeit copies and we apologise to anyone who was harmed by this scam.”
He added that “our sales of this book are unaffected by the issue”.
“Our aim is to support the rights of authors to protect their work and to provide the best possible customer experience.
We believe we have successfully managed to avoid the problem by providing an excellent customer service experience.”
The website that sold the books, bookseller.me, has since removed the counterfeit items.
“We were not aware of this incident and have not received any complaints from any customers, however we are aware of the issue, we have taken all necessary steps to fix the issue and apologise to those affected,” it said in a statement.
“To ensure the best customer experience, we will now review all the bookselling websites that we sell through and make further adjustments.”
Amazon and other booksellers have been warning customers to be wary of e-books that contain counterfeit or pirated content, with Amazon banning Amazon sellers from selling any product containing pirated material.
Amazon’s policy states that sellers cannot resell e-book content, including books.