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Author sues over negative review and wins.

I heard from Natasha who heard from Bookninja about this story over in Russia. Apparently a writer sued a journalist over a negative review, “claiming that the author and his family had experienced severe mental suffering and that his professional reputation was damaged as a result of the review. The writer stated that after reading the book review, he experienced chest pains, headache, and elevated blood pressure. He demanded to be compensated in the amount of US$150,000.” The writer only won US$1,000, which neither party is happy with so both parties will be appealing.

Does this scare me? Not at all. I think it’s ridiculous and will no doubt be overturned by a higher court. But the best part is the end of the article:

Some have even suggested that if a book reviewer can be sued, a reader who did not like a book can sue the author for making a bad quality product.

HAHA!! How many times have I read a book and lamented over the time I spent reading it that I will never get back. How much happier would I be if I could be compensated for my time when *I* think a book is crap? If I could sue someone for books I’ve read in the past, who would I sue?

Heck, I’d sue myself over some drivel I’ve written.

I’ve been amusing myself the last few days imagining how this whole suing-over-bad-writing would happen. I can imagine witnesses and cross examination and a judge. What do you think would be better punishment than the author paying you for your lost time?

*incoherentmumblingiwoulddefinitelysuenicholassparksandhewhowillnotbenamed butcanbefoundhere*

| Tags: , , , , 31 comments »

31 Responses to “Author sues over negative review and wins.”

  1. katiebabs

    What if the books was total crap? Did the jury or the judge have to read it?


  2. Christina

    Oh, I wish that was possible. Of course, then you have all those legal fees and time you have to take off from work and actually driving yourself all the way down to the courthouse…

    Personally, I’d like a refund of the money I spent buying the book or getting to the library.


  3. bethany (Dreadlock Girl)

    That is great! Yes, everyone whould sue everyone!!!!

    Ha, nope. I am not a suewing advocate at all. That is a crazy story though!


  4. Staci

    I laughed out loud!! I could really make a lot of money for every book that I found unsatisfying and suing the author over!!! Authors need to be ready to accept negative and positive reviews…they need to have thick skins, but in the end it’s just someone’s opinion…sounds crazy!!


  5. Literate Housewife

    This world gets crazier by the day it seems. I hope that would also apply to movies. There are many of those I would have liked to at least gotten my money back afterwards.


  6. Trisha

    If I take this one step further….Could we sue teachers who made us read boring, incoherent, or just plain ridiculous books? As a former student, I certainly have some teachers I wouldn’t mind suing. As a teacher, AAAAHHH!


  7. claire

    That is unbelievable. Doesn’t make sense. Does that mean readers who didn’t like a book and say so should be sued also? Lol.


  8. Natasha @ Maw Books

    I enjoyed your incoherent mumbling! Personally, I’m to lazy to sue anybody. I don’t need complication in my life. But then again, if I won . . .


  9. Teddy

    Unbelievable! I can think of plenty of authors to sue for pain and suffering. LOL!


  10. Elizabeth

    And what about crap movies? I’ve experienced more of those than crap books!


  11. Yvette Kelly

    Just this past week I have been stuck with 2 terrible books and got so depressed I got blogger’s block.I couldnt do any posts for a week.So I need the money back for the two books and then for the loss of joy by not being able to blog,and the mental anguish and depression and never mind the anguish my readers went through by not having any posts to read off my blog(lol)


  12. Yen

    This, from a country that’s home to feral children. Perhaps an examination of priorities are in order …


  13. Kristi

    Talk about someone who can’t accept criticism – If someone is willing to have something published – they are going to have to take the bad with the good. Granted, some people may write “bad” things just because they are evil – but you need to recognize that and just move on – I think the lawsuit is just another way to get publicity!


  14. Raych

    I’M GOING TO SUE ALL THOSE ANONYMOUS COMMENTERS ON MY BREAKING DAWN POST!!! They have caused me emotional distress, what with all their bad grammar and their loving those books and their hating me.


  15. Lahni

    Oooo, can I sue Dan Brown?


    Susan @ Reading Upside Down Reply:

    I’m with Lahni about Dan Brown. Maybe we can make it a class action?

    I’ll also jump on the bandwagon with Natalie about taking up two car spaces. We could claim compensation for mental anguish and petrol usage/car wear and tear for having to drive around looking for another park.

    Can we also sue celebrity chefs for their cookbooks that make my own mealtime offerings seem so inadequate and poorly presented? Surely my suffering self-esteem deserves some compensation…


  16. Lori L

    Oh, I’m going to be contemplating all day the possibilities if we could sue the authors of books we didn’t like….


  17. Rebecca @ The Book Lady's Blog

    How about the author pays me for my lost time and agrees to never write another book again, so no one else will be harmed by the poor writing? That would make me happy.


  18. Tonya

    I am just rolling!!! I read that review you mention at the very end (yes I was curious enough to decode your alltogetherwords). I would have to sue Stephenie Meyer not only for the time I wasted on her first two books but also for the lowering of self-esteem in young girls all over the world!


  19. Diane

    WOW>>> this one would have to be overturned it would seem.


  20. David Cain

    Hah! Ridiculous.

    One good thing about the internet is that news of these frivolous suits can spread like wildfire, making the plaintiff look pretty dumb to a lot of people fast. I think that this “laughing stock” ability of the internet will help to weed some of this idiocy out of our culture as technology improves and more and more people get online.

    I actually wrote a post called “Get Up, Stand Up” on Raptitude as a call for internet people everywhere to draw as much attention to the cease-and-desist letter Leo Babauta (of ZenHabits) received from the author of the book “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”, after he used the phrase in one of his posts.

    I love that the internet brings pettiness like this to light so easily.


  21. Seaside Book Dreamin'

    Boy, just think how many times I wasted my time reading trashy books. Boy, I would be a millionaire. So many times I thought to myself what a waste. Wouldn’t it be nice to get a refund on a book.
    Interesting thought. The authors I guess would have to be more creative and careful to write good books that interested everyone.


  22. natalie @ book, line, and sinker

    i’m going to sue myself…i could use the money.

    are people serious? what is this world coming to? i think the only lawsuits i’d like to see are ones where i sue bad drivers who aggravate me. there should be lawsuits for: failure to use signals, taking up 2 parking spaces, and tailgating. now THOSE lawsuits i could get on board with.


  23. Chris@bookarama

    Yeah, that’s pretty bad. It could go on forever with the reviewer suing for mental anguish. Where is Judge Judy when you need her?


  24. Meghan

    I don’t know, this is Russia we’re talking about here. I’m sure they’ve killed each other for less there. My Russian teacher told us that he had to be very careful taking class trips there because the Russian army officers would try to conscript any teenage male who looked suitably Russian, assuming they were dodging the army. That was at least 5 years ago, but this doesn’t surprise me. It would surprise me if it happened here.


  25. Jessica

    Y’know, I think there is precedent for getting one’s money back for a bad book. People have been getting refunded for walking out of a bad movie for ages. Bad haircut? No charge. Aesthetic disapproval seems like grounds for “compensation” in some fields, at least!

    The problem is whom to blame. I’m going to say we should blame the publishers, since they no doubt assume that the public will buy based on an author’s earlier success. (Bad first novels don’t seem to make it through the gauntlet as often). You know the trick where the author’s name is in really huge print, while the title is almost hidden beneath it? It’s clearly a case of false advertising, saying, “Remember this guy? You love him! You love all his books! This one is just as lovable as the last one!” Which is patently untrue. They ought at least to sell the inferior efforts at a discount, like day-old bread.

    Speaking of parking, we saw a Humvee take up no fewer than six parking spots in Santa Cruz this weekend. Got a picture, too.


  26. Dawn - She Is Too Fond Of Books

    Crazy story – you’d hope no court in this country would agree to hear that complaint. … oh, wait, this is America … “caution, filling is hot!”

    So, Trish, have you ever returned a book to a store because you didn’t like it? I haven’t, just chalked it up to lost time/money. But some people do, what do you think of that tactic?


    trish Reply:

    No, I’ve never returned a book to a store because I didn’t like it. I didn’t even know you could do that. I know people ask for their money back with movies, but the only time I think that’s okay is if there’s something offensive in it that you didn’t know would be in there, and you get up and leave right away.

    I think when you purchase something, you purchase it. It’s not on loan, you’re not renting it. You’re buying it. I wouldn’t ask for my money back on yarn if it didn’t knit up the way I was hoping. I would chalk it up to a learning experience and get on with my life.

    What do you think of people who ask for their money back on books they don’t like, Dawn?


  27. zibilee

    I would agree with the poster above and say that I, too, would sue Dan Brown. I think this lawsuit is ridiculous, and that if anyone is suing anyone, it should be the reviewer suing the author for wasting his time.


  28. J.S. Brooks

    Let’s move it further up the food chain. If the book is crap can the editor sue the author before the book is released? If the author can be sued for a bad book, can the editor be sued as an accomplice? The mind reels!


  29. Rebecca

    So absurd. Why don’t we all find out what book caused all of this craziness and then vow never to read it? Or better yet, never to read the author?

    I don’t know the specifics of what the review said. Maybe it was one of those crazy reviews like we talked about not so long ago where the reviewer put down the author and said things like “gag me with a spoon”. Still, with all of that nonsense and immaturity in a review, it doesn’t give just cause to sue someone. It is a review, not a praise and worship article. If you can’t deal with negative reviews any better than that, you need to get out now, Mr. Writer.


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