Lately, plagiarists have been outed by readers on the ‘net but it doesn’t seem to deter the practice much. Other than banning the plagiarized work for profit, publishers seem to be forgetful and forgiving for this sort of fraud. Perfect example of this would be Janet Dailey, whose books I see on bookstore shelves all the time. When you steal somebody else’s work, you shouldn’t be allowed to publish again. One would think that your credibility as an “author” would be shattered to pieces. At least that’s the way I see it. This is a new day where most authors are just an email away (in most cases) publicists, editors– so it continues to surprise me, the audacity of thieves who steal words. But in my book such authors aren’t meant to succeed if this is the way they choose to do it.
Plagiarism As Viewed Outside Online Communities
Realistically, most of the reading community off line have no clue about what authors stole from whom and when. If you ask random readers at your local bookstores, most readers will probably say that they didn’t know Janet Dailey plagiarized Nora Roberts and some probably wouldn’t care. As a reader I would feel betrayed if I realized that an author I enjoyed plagiarized another author’s work. Publishers may seem ready to forgive and forget but readers like me do not suffer from long-term memory loss to part with our money so easily for a thief. I can forgive but never forget.
Plagiarism is unethical and wrong but the message about it doesn’t have legs outside the online community nor much sympathy with readers. I’m not speaking of academia where plagiarism will get you kicked out of college. Some readers are going to continue reading Janet Dailey’s Calder series–despite the fact that she committed fraud against another author — that’s a fact and the reason why she continues to thrive. Cassie Edwards fans may stick with her regardless of the charges of fraud. As reading community we should care about this issue but I’m a realist, I know that many don’t. When plagiarists start getting penalized in a monetary way then I’ll start to believe that this an issue that is taken seriously by the publishing industry. This ends my two cents on the subject. Other articles of note on plagiarism: SBTB and Dear Author.