The coronavirus seems to be worsening with each passing week. There may be something just as bad brewing in the book world, however. It’s name? Misinformation. An article published by Allison Flood on The Guardian highlights a recent uptake in self-published books. “How is that bad?,” you may be asking. Well, according to The Guardian, the books being published are ranging from children’s stories to plagiarized cut-and-paste guides of the official advice that we’re seeing from agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization.
image via john roark / idaho post-reigster
As we’ve seen recently, there has been a lot of price gouging for various health-related items like face masks and hand sanitizer on Amazon. Now, Amazon is seeing lots and lots of books being put up for sale that don’t offer any real useful advice for those worried about coronavirus. It’s merely feeding off people’s fears for monetary gain. #QuestionableEthics!
According to Flood, search results for coronavirus on Amazon on Thursday morning gave results like Corbi Yang’s Coronavirus, which allegedly copied most of its information off of a web page. As of right now, this book isn’t on Amazon anymore. Funnily enough, after typing ‘coronavirus’ into the search bar on Amazon, one book that stood out to me was titled “in the end you have to protect yourself at all times mask Notebook…”. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a published notebook before. This notebook capitalizes on fear of the coronavirus by using an image of a mask in order to sway you into buying it (feel free to search for it on Amazon for fun, but I didn’t link to it to prevent people from mistakenly buying it).
image via amazon
Flood also highlights various books that were on Amazon that simply plagiarized off of official sources. Such examples are “Wuhan Coronavirus,” which was published by Tracy Rinehart, or books by Dr. Kelsey Graham which drew information from the CDC. Flood states that Rinehart’s book “features a girl in a face mask standing in front of a castle, which makes use of NBC News stories about the crisis.” It’s really disturbing to think that people are willing to plagiarize and exploit people’s fears to make money.
This isn’t to say that all the new books being published on Amazon are bad, though. If you were to search for ‘purell hand sanitizer’ on Amazon, you can get search results for many books on how to make your own hand sanitizer. Considering that there is a shortage on hand sanitizer, these books offer different solutions. Mari C Alvarez’s book “All Natural Homemade DIY Hand Sanitizer,” is currently a best seller. Flood also links Amanda King’s “DIY Hand Sanitizer” book, which is another best seller on the website right now. As Flood mentions in her article, there is some original content being sold on Amazon, despite the plagiarism.
Amazon states that they are continuing to maintain their content guidelines for books and require sellers, authors, and even publishers to maintain correct information in not only their products but the product details on their sale pages. Amazon is currently providing a link above search results related to the coronavirus titled ‘Coronavirus protection’ for those who want detailed, accurate, and official information about the virus.
featured image via Reuters on ny post
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