Book Chat: Does Plagiarism Exist Within The Book Community?

Hey guys! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and is starting their week off right! I wanted to take some time today to pick your brains on a situation I found myself in over the last 24 hours. Over the past day or so — while catching up on your thoughtful and entertaining posts — I came across a fellow blogger’s review of one of my favorite reads of the year. Naturally, I insta-clicked and started reading. I was especially eager to read this particular review because:

1) I loved this book

2) One of my favorite parts about the book community is seeing how fellow readers interpreted the same material

3) I had discussed this book — at length — with the blogger in question on my very own review and was excited to read their final take — especially since their review had been posted for several days and had escaped my commentary…

So consider me startled when I started seeing lines from my own review sprinkled throughout their post. In some case practically verbatim, which is what brings me to today’s chat:

Does Plagiarism Exist Within The Book Community?

I know as a tight-knit community with similar interests and views we’re bound to have comparable thoughts. But when those thoughts appear elsewhere, are identical — down to descriptive word choices — in nature, and aren’t credited back to the original author — are we — as writers — allowed to be bothered? Is it an honor? A coincidence? Purely accidental? Bound to happen eventually? How are we supposed to feel when words we painstakingly drafted from thin air are passed off as someone elses?

In the past when I feel I’ve had similar viewpoints to posts I’ve seen I’ve tried to address it point blank. In efforts to protect their (fellow bloggers) intellectual property, I’ve always drawn attention to the fact that the opinion runs rampant or given credit to the person that inspired me (see #4). I feel like giving credit where credit’s due should be a no brainer, but maybe I’m alone in this opinion?

Have you found yourself in this situation? What is your take on this issue?

I know I’m just a tiny blog and that my reviews aren’t changing the world, but isn’t that why we write? To get our OWN voice out there? To see if people understand and agree with OUR opinions.

This is the first time I’ve run into something like this and your comments and feedback are greatly appreciated.

I promise to be back and chipper tomorrow! As always, happy reading!

51 thoughts on “Book Chat: Does Plagiarism Exist Within The Book Community?

  1. Emma says:

    I’ve seen this happen to a friend of mine before, plagiarism in book reviewing is definitely a thing! While there may be times when it’s accidental, especially if you and the other person have discussed the book at length and have similar opinions, I think there’s somewhat of a line crosses if the same phrases are used on multiple occasions.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. aredheadsrambling says:

    Such an interesting post and I totally agree with you! One time I thought of my own discussion post and saw someone else do the exact same post only days later. It seemed too weird to be a coincidence and it did make me quite sad as I’d only just started my blog too. I’ve since had other people ‘steal’ my ideas but give credit, which I think is great! I always try to credit ideas I’ve pinched off others if the idea is exactly the same, or give the idea my own twist to make it mine. It’s hard to tell sometimes as there’s only so much you can talk about, but I do believe plagiarism exists, whether direct or indirect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nerd Narration says:

      Thanks for your feedback and I’m sorry you’ve found yourself in the same boat. I appreciate you expressing that it made you emotional, because I honestly wasn’t sure if I was “allowed” to be bothered by this! But whether you’re a huge blog or a brand new one our ideas are what get us heard and get us readership and the idea that someone could take favorite lines and re-purpose them just gets my blood boiling. Thanks so much for your thoughts.

      Like

      • aredheadsrambling says:

        No problem, I know I never mentioned it until now because I didn’t want anyone to think I was being silly. It must be especially horrible to see if they’ve taken lines from your own review. I hope it never happens to either of us in the future!

        Like

      • Nerd Narration says:

        Honestly that’s WHY I HAD to write this post. I truly find writing to be cathartic and whether I’m overreacting or not, I needed to get my thoughts out there because I was hurt that a review I’m so immensely proud of was stolen. Maybe it’s a form of flattery and I should be happy instead of angry, but either way I needed to get my thoughts out! And I totally wish the best for both of us!!

        Like

  3. celestialblackrose says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen or heard of this happening, but I’ve only had my blog for about a year. I think I would be really bothered by it. Giving credit would be good, but you could also just use your own words. It’s not hard to paraphrase.

    Like

    • Nerd Narration says:

      I’m glad you’ve never witnessed this, because it does — in my case — rattle you a bit! That’s why I feel it’s hard to say it was indirect/an accident because paraphrasing is such an easy thing to do. You can get the same thought across, but in your own ways. Again, I’m not saying MY voice is the end all be all and worthy of being copied in the first place, but it’s clear it was copied and that just doesn’t sit right with me.

      Like

      • celestialblackrose says:

        I could see being honored and upset, too. I mean… yes, it’s nice to know someone really understands and shares your opinion, but it’s also wrong to not credit the person whose words you took. I feel like people do this all the time in the book blogging community by sharing who tagged them, or even where they first saw the tag. It seems ridiculous to credit people for that and not do it when we do other things.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nerd Narration says:

        Yeah I guess I just need to let it go. But reading their review and mine there’s 7 thoughts that were taken, and simply reformatted — not even reworded but reformatted — to make their point. So it’s just too close to be coincidental that line for line ours match. Like you said we credit/pingback everything from images borrowed to tags so it just blows my mind that you could take 2 PARAGRAPHS from a review and just let it lie…Oh well, moving on…lol

        Like

      • celestialblackrose says:

        I do feel like you should let them know. Because maybe they just don’t understand how it’s wrong. And really, doing stuff like that can get them in trouble down the road. Then they’ll just get comfortable doing it and do it to more people.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nerd Narration says:

        Yeah, I have to believe that’s the only reason it happened. That they’re young — not even 21 — and didn’t realize what they were doing and how it could affect/feel to others. I feel bad reaching out now after ranting and raving away here, but that’s probably the mature thing to do.

        Like

      • celestialblackrose says:

        I don’t think you need to feel bad. You never mentioned who it is and you just needed to vent. I think this was probably a great way to get your thoughts together on this before talking to them about it. I’m sure they’ll understand too.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Steph says:

    Oh yes, this exists and it’s ridiculous. I can’t tell you how many times I have scrolled through Goodreads, even Instagram, and have seen lines from my reviews used as someone else’s. I have blocked people, messaged them, even called them out, but they deny any wrong doing. It’s baffling to me. I always have said if it’s not okay to copy an author, it’s not okay to copy a blogger. I totally understand reading something in a review and thinking “yes! I thought that, too.” But if you want to USE that line, the person who WROTE IT needs to be quoted! It’s not cool to try to pawn off someone else’s words as your own.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nerd Narration says:

      Oh my gosh! Thank you! I feel so validated reading this! And I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve had this happen multiple times. Same thoughts are one thing. Same words are another. Writers of ALL people should understand why we’re so fiercely protective of our words.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. allymemes says:

    I mean, the definition of plagiarism is taking someone else’s work and using it as your own without proper crediting, and this definitely sounds like that happened so I think it counts as plagiarism. I’m sorry that happened to you 😦 it definitely sucks

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nerd Narration says:

      Thanks, Ally. Yeah I guess I just wanted to see if we felt like we played by the same rules in the blogging community. There’s no true way to monitor it and with so many posts/blogs/writers maybe people think it doesn’t matter? Ultimately I just wanted to write this post to see how my community feels about the issue.

      Thanks for your comments and kind words though. I really appreciate the understanding.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Leah Rachel (While Reading and Walking) says:

    This can definitely happen in the book community. I think it can be tricky when conversations and influence come into play. I once read a book and then discussed it at length with my sister. She brought up a lot of good points, and I wrote up a review, but I ended up getting rid of some of them because I felt uncomfortable publishing them as my own. But when a conversation is had about something, and the person agrees with you, it can end up as “what a great point. I agree,” and then when they write a review, they want to share that with their readers. And sometimes, I’ll read a review and realize when I’m writing my own that I’m taking too much from the review I liked of the book, and have to revise or link to it. It’s a difficult balance.

    But here, it’s really clear that it’s plagiarism. The big flags for me are that your words were reworked outright and copied over from your review. That means this person knew they were taking your work, and didn’t credit you, which would have been easy enough to do.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nerd Narration says:

      I hadn’t thought about it like that. That by reworking it they were putting in effort to “disguise” the copying, which is almost more aggravating. Especially because it takes less time than saying “so and so and I were talking and agree that:” or “I think so and so said it best when they said:”

      Because even in discussion we don’t talk like how we write — in most cases — so these same words/references were clearly borrowed.

      Thanks for contributing to the convo. I felt I had to get this out so I don’t become the hermit thats wary of talking to others in the future lol

      Like

  7. Shanah - Bionic Book Worm says:

    It’s absolutely a thing!! It’s a thing with both reviews and blogs. I have faced a similar problem where another blogger “conveniently” posts “original” ideas the same day I do just a few hours later. It doesn’t happen all the time but enough for me to know it’s not a coincidence. I stopped reading their posts because I was just annoyed and didn’t care to see if they took my words as well as the idea. It happened the first time and I went huh, weird, but ok. After the 5th time within a few weeks it was too much. It’s sad, but it happens.
    If someone took my words verbatim I would have to call them out on it! Especially if you had had a conversation with them about that particular book!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. emmareadstoomuch says:

    so interesting (and horrifying) to scroll through this post and comments! i had no idea this was such a rampant issue. i don’t read reviews nearly often enough, and now i’m scared i’ll find plagiarism 😮 i have seen my reviews/instagram photos reposted on other sites, though, but the ones i’ve seen have at least given credit

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nerd Narration says:

      Honestly I had no idea it was as common either. I don’t know if that makes me feel better or worse. I just wanted to see if me being upset was justified in the eyes of the community. I don’t care at all if my ideas/pictures/concepts are used elsewhere as long as it’s credited. And that’s really not hard to do.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. karenjo46 says:

    I don’t think it’s happened to me… at least not that I know of. I don’t even know this really exists. I mean I’ve read reviews before that had similarities. I don’t really have time to go to everyone’s blog. I barely have time to even write my own reviews and work on my posts because I’m way too busy at work and adulting. I pretty much do this because I enjoy it and reading/blogging relieves my stress. I totally get how we can have similar ideas, thoughts and feelings every now and then…but if it the wording and description sound almost the same, then I think that’s crossing the line. Hope it never happens to you again. =(

    Like

    • Nerd Narration says:

      Thanks! I feel you it’s too hard to monitor and you absolutely can’t read every post because there’s just too much. But we had discussed on my review how much they liked mine and how they agreed with what I said and I commented back like I’ll be sure to check your review out when it comes. And sure enough it got posted 2 something week’s ago — I hadn’t noticed, and went to read it recently and was just blown away.

      Thanks and I hope it doesn’t happen to any of us in the future!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. karenjo46 says:

    I think that’s even worse… Having discussed it with the person already. I don’t know what’s wrong with just mentioning that “I was discussing this with ____ and I agree with ____ and so on.” Just give credit where it’s due.

    Hope you have a great rest of the week! Don’t let this get you down =)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. themanylivesofaria says:

    I think there are cases. One was a big one when I started joining the community, where a huge and popular blogger was plagiarizing other reviewers review. I mean, we share the same opinion on books, but it really unlikely that one’s opinion would be the same, word for word, with someone else. Reviewing and blogging is something I’m very passionate about. I dont do it for the likes or even the subscribers, i do it because I love it. If someone does it for just likes and all that jazz then they need to get their thinking straight. Great post by the way. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nerd Narration says:

      Thanks so much for the feedback. Yeah trying to understand their mindset has been the most problematic part of this: Was it blissful ignorance? Was it for likes?

      I mean we all have blogs for our own agendas. I assume no one is here because they are being forced to. So why even bother taking someone else’s work? If it truly is just to get “net fame” I agree with you (and Ron Weasley) they need to “sort out their priorities.”

      Like

      • themanylivesofaria says:

        *high five Ron*

        Yeah. I just wish they understand that it isn’t easy writing these reviews. Sometimes mine take days, sometimes weeks if I’m being lazy. 😁 so they need to consider those things before they pass off someone else’s work as their own.

        Again, great post. 🙂 looking forward to more. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Amber says:

    I’ve never had this happen to me. Firstly, I’m a small blog, and second, I don’t read a lot of the HOT COMING OUT RIGHT NOW OMG books? I read whatever I want lol so some of these books are 10-100 years old and there aren’t a lot of other reviews floating out there to formulate my thoughts.

    THAT SAID.

    I’ve heard about this happening a lot to other blogs lately? Especially the big, popular ones? Whether it’s word-for-word verbatim or mimicking style, a lot of people are (understandably) upset.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nerd Narration says:

      Yeah that’s why I’m so shocked. I am a small blog and the review in question was from a book published 7 years ago. It is a difficult book to review, which is why I was so proud of what I wrote so to see a hacked-up imitation presented on someone else’s page was such a punch to the stomach. But it shouldn’t matter what we’re reading or the size of our blogs — OUR voices should be protected. I’m glad this has never happened to you and I hope it never does! And you keep reading what you want to read lol! That’s what it’s all about!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nerd Narration says:

        Yeah I think I would have been less annoyed if it was random blog surfing. A small piece of me would have been like “this is coincidental — even though it’s clearly not.” But the part that irks me is I know they did it because they commented on my review 3 times and then put my text — in a haphazard rewrite as you said — right under their what I liked…smdh

        But for real, I’ve felt encouraged from your guys support and feedback and I’m choosing to move on.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nerd Narration says:

        I know right. I don’t think I made that point clear when I was writing this ranting post, but I felt like my fingers couldn’t keep up with my thoughts so if it’s even comprehensible that’s a miracle!! Lol

        Oh yeah, there’s far more good than bad out here so I’m moving on! Thanks for being one of the good ones! =D

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Cymraes says:

    Yes, I’ve had it happen to me so often, now, I just file the DMCA and no questions asked. It’s far more common than people think, and to be frank, it’s stealing, plain and simple.

    So yes, get annoyed, speak out but file that DMCA as well. The perpetrator might not know what they’re doing is wrong… or they just might.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nerd Narration says:

      Yeah, I ended up hashing it out with them in this particular scenario and they were unaware of what they’d done. I felt better to have gotten in out, talked it through, and come up with a game plan to solve it, but I honestly felt so good to write this initial post because I wasn’t sure my opinions were warranted and I’m glad to see so many people agree. Although it’s unfortunate that this issue is so prominent within our community.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cymraes says:

        It’s such an emotive situation to be in; its good to get it out of the system. I’m glad you managed to sort it, bringing it out into the open and discussing it with them. Yes, some people are unaware of what they’ve done, but there are always those who know only too well – believe it or not.

        Hopefully, this won’t happen again for you, but if it does you now know others will support you and help if they can. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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