B&N Scam


Barnes & Noble Copyright Infringement


In late July 2018, Once Upon a Time on a Bicycle began appearing for sale on the Internet from companies that had no legal access to new copies of the book. Dozens of email demands and inquiries across many weeks eventually stopped the illegal offerings and identified the origin of the illegal printings. Astonishingly, the culprit proved to be this year’s “Most Reputable Retailer in America”: Barnes & Noble. A charming B&N employee named Stephanie Casella apologetically assured me by telephone that she would be my personal representative in mitigating her company’s “mistake,” but after two months of whatever it is Ms. Casella has been doing all I have learned is that B&N is at fault and that the company will reimburse me for unpaid royalties. Despite twice requesting written correspondence from B&N, it has become obvious from Ms. Casella’s numerous telephone messages that I can expect nothing in writing.

Until Barnes & Noble explains (in writing) how such a “mistake” occurred and what has been done to assure it will not happen again – to me or to other authors and publishers, I must assume that this was not a mistake at all, but a deliberate attempt by Barnes & Noble to profit from the illegal sale of books printed in violation of US Copyright Law.

Correspondence I received (probably by accident) within an early email chain suggests that Once Upon a Time on a Bicycle is not the only book whose illegal printing was “authorized” by Barnes & Noble. These reports – here, here, and here – and the company’s history of revolving-door CEO hires suggest that the bestowment of “Most Reputable Retailer in America” probably derived from some sleight of hand.

Authors and publishers desiring additional details or documentation may inquire via this site’s Correspondence page.

Michael Russell
November 2018