Barnes & Noble Education (Basking Ridge, NJ) signed on to a college publisher initiative to counteract counterfeits of print textbooks on July 31.
In doing so, B&N Education and its subsidiary MBS Textbook Exchange join distributors Ingram (Nashville, TN) and Chegg (Santa Clara, CA) in implementing the publishing industry’s Anti-Counterfeit Best Practices.
“We recognize the importance of protecting the intellectual rights of publishers and authors and remain steadfast in our commitment to enforce these rights as we have in the past, now guided by the Anti-Counterfeit Best Practices,” B&N College president Patrick Maloney said in a statement.
Barnes & Noble Education operates 1,481 physical and virtual stores in the higher education market, serving more than 6 million students.
Enforcing Barnes & Noble channel exclusivity and working to eliminate counterfeit or unauthorized content was at the top of a seven-point to-do list B&N Education CEO Max Roberts outlined for the business in early July before resigning in mid-month.
Publishers in the lead of the anti-counterfeit initiative include Cengage (Boston) Elsevier (New York), McGraw-Hill (New York) and Pearson (London/New York).
While estimating loss is difficult, Cengage has attributed $70 million to $100 million in lost revenue to the distribution and sale of counterfeit textbooks.
Cengage, McGraw-Hill, Pearson Square off With Follett
Escalating their anti-counterfeit effort, higher education publishing giants Cengage, McGraw-Hill and Pearson filed a lawsuit in June in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Follett (Westchester, IL)—including its Valore subsidiary—alleging the company distributed and sold counterfeit textbooks.
According to the lawsuit, the publishers have been able to buy counterfeit copies of “at least 46 textbook titles” from physical stores and online sites that Follett owns or operates in the past four months.
"As the largest textbook customer of these publishers, Follett has been actively working for decades to identify and remove counterfeit books from inventory," said Follett president and CEO Ray Griffith. “Counterfeits hurt everyone in the industry, and the solution requires a collaborative industry response. It's unfortunate these publishers don't agree with that approach."
In response to the agreement with B&N Education, Tom Kline, a Follett spokesman, told EM on June 31 that the company had no additional comment at this time other than the earlier post on its website.
Stay tuned for Simba Information's upcoming report, The State of College Course Materials 2017, which will cover higher education's controversy over counterfeit textbook materials, as well as used textbooks', rental textbooks', and open educational resources' impact on new textbook sales.