Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

What Responsibility Do Bloggers Have In Regards To Plagiarised Books?

Book cover

Today’s post is inspired by Christian fiction author Rachel Ann Nune’s ongoing battle. Nune’s work, available for free electronically, out of print physically, was plagiarised and sent out by the plagiarist as an ARC. The bloggers who let Nune know and helped her verify the plagiarism have been subjected to attacks by others (verified later as supporters/the plagiarist themselves).

What is our responsibility to the original author? Do we have a responsibility? I’d of course argue that we do, not simply because we review books but because of the way the Internet has made contact and networking easy. If we are able to talk to authors, to have that contact that allows us to request books, form friendships, have a working relationship, then we have a responsibility. No matter that blogging’s a hobby for most of us, some of our time should go towards helping authors if needed.

If we have a responsibility then what to do seems obvious – you let other bloggers and the author know. You may have read the original, but they might not have heard of it and may have a review pending of the copy. Reviewing the copy yourself is inappropriate – give it a bad rating and you’re just adding to the drama rather than helping to solve the issue.

It pays to research before accepting a pitch. Basic research – finding extracts for an example of the writing style and editing, working out if it’s the book for you, finding out the context the book’s written in and so on – should have the added bonus of bringing up any news of plagiarism as it will bad behaviour.

The issue is that we don’t always have time to research and there are those occasions when a pitch blows us away enough that we don’t think to research. Maybe the book is being pitched by one of the Big 5 that we trust (and you do because they’re gatekeepers but let’s not forget that even they have missed facts and plagiarism before). Research means more work.

And what about books we already own? I can’t say I’ve ever researched in these cases, it would seem silly to as all the basic information we need is in front of us. We’ve already ‘accepted’ the book.

In order to savour the relationships we have we need to keep our ears open for issues. If we love books and blog about them then we’re almost required to help.

Over to you. What do you think of the idea that we have a role to play?



September 5, 2014, 6:40 am

Of course we do! But, the bad thing, i would never have known. I would have read it, reviewed it and :/

vicki (skiourophile / bibliolathas)

September 5, 2014, 11:59 am

Absolutely! (And what a terrible thing to happen to someone’s inspiration and hard work.)


September 5, 2014, 4:28 pm

Well, yeah. This is one reason for slowing down with the boatloads of ARCs some bloggers seem to get every week. I prefer to read about fewer books from bloggers who post less often and generally take the time to find out more about a book than just reading it through once.

Literary Feline

September 8, 2014, 9:37 pm

I don’t know if the research I do before accepting a book for review would be enough to ferret out whether a book has been plagiarized. Unless, that is, it’s already public knowledge. And really, doesn’t this also apply to books we read that we buy or borrow from the library? Plagiarism isn’t just found in ARC’s or new releases.

I agree that if we come across or know of plagiarism, we have should say something about it. I wouldn’t knowingly read a book that has been plagiarized.


September 9, 2014, 6:29 pm

Wow–guess this shows how naive I can be. I would have never DREAMED that something like this would happen.

On the other hand, I have come across stolen posts (some of my own!) and I do think that it is decent human behavior to let the person know that his/her content has been stolen. There is nothing more frustrating that having someone take your words.



Comments closed