J.B. took a phone order for The Shortcut: 20 Stories to Get You from Here to There from a vanity press. He took the customer's name, phone number and credit card information before placing an order through Ingram. All three turned out to be phony - something JB didn't find out until after the two non-returnable copies arrived.
JB put a warning on the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association listserv, saying, "I hate like hell committing my buffoonery to the world-at-large, but if it stops someone else from making my mistake, good. If it can expose the mean-spirited jackasses behind this scam, all the better."
Booksellers in other states said they had gotten stuck with the same book. In fact, the customer ordering the book had used the same fake name, Michael Evers.
Evers, it turns out, is the name of the main character in a suspense novel called The Palace of Wisdom: A Rock and Roll Fable by Kevin A. Fabiano, printed by another self-publisher, PublishAmerica. Fabiano, whose Web site
says he's a New York lawyer, is also one of the
contributing authors to The Shortcut.
This is also covered on the Writers Beware blog - look for the April 4 entry.
Although the book was sold as a non-returnable title, as are many self-published books, an Ingram spokesman says, "In the interests of supporting our customers, we have decided to accept returns of this book even though it was sold as non-returnable. It can therefore be handled like all other returns."
Writers Beware says not many more than a 1,000 copies have been sold. What a weird, short-sighted way to do business!