True Crime Thursday – Sentenced to Give Away Books?


By Debbie Burke


This is a particularly weird case that mystifies me. I’m eager to hear what TKZers think about it.

Recently, in an author blog, there was a link to “ANTIBOOKCLUB.COM.” Clicking on it brought up the following letter:

Welcome to Submission Free Download Project

Dear Critic / Prospective Reader,

You do not know me.

Soon you may.

The attached file is yours to keep and read.

I will now explain why.

I took other people’s books and did not provide them with proper compensation in return. I have been instructed to write that sentence as part of my sentence. The punishment does not require me to write it five hundred times on a blackboard like a student in violation of classroom codes of conduct. I only need write it once. But I have to do more than write it. Since I took other people’s books, I must give my own.

When I wrote Submission, my chronicle of how various books written by others came to be in my possession, I did not intend for it to be published. It was a private diary. Circumstances beyond my control put it in the hands of others. I was told that it would be published and there was nothing that I could do to stop it. “Oh, well,” I said, shrugging. Maybe I’d see a few euros—a few bucks—from the deal. I was still thinking primarily of myself. Then came the judge’s intervention, and a set of orders. The most important one is the one that is guiding this message, and the attached file: it obligated me to send my manuscript out to others for free. The file is a “PDF,” which stands for “Portable Document Format,” but might as well stand for “Pages Delivered Freely,” because that it what is happening.

And so I reprint the other sentence that I have been compelled to write: Please enjoy this book, Submission, free of charge.


A Chastened

Filippo Gannatore


At the end of his letter, there was a form to click to download the .pdf and add it to a shopping cart, price $0.

I didn’t click on the link because I’m cautious about unknown links. I do not know what this one leads to.

He also included an email address “for press inquiries.”

Is this a marketing gimmick? Is he hoping the NY Times will review it? Does he think Hollywood will call about film rights?

Was there an actual legal case about stealing authors’ books? Had a judge really issued an order that compelled him to give his book away for free?

Curiosity piqued, I consulted Mr. Google. The only other mention of this particular book entitled Submission was on GoodReads with a three-star rating but no reviews. No Amazon listing. No information about Filippo Gannatore. No court case I could find.


TKZers, please chime in.

Do you believe a crime—presumably the theft of intellectual properties—was committed?

If a judge ordered him to give away his book for free, why?

Is this supposed to be restitution to authors whose works were taken without proper compensation? If so, how do the aggrieved authors receive any benefit?

If this is a marketing gimmick, what do you think of it?

This entry was posted in #truecrimethursday, Copyright by Debbie Burke. Bookmark the permalink.

About Debbie Burke

Debbie writes the Tawny Lindholm series, Montana thrillers infused with psychological suspense. Her books have won the Kindle Scout contest, the Zebulon Award, and were finalists for the Eric Hoffer Book Award and Her articles received journalism awards in international publications. She is a founding member of Authors of the Flathead and helps to plan the annual Flathead River Writers Conference in Kalispell, Montana. Her greatest joy is mentoring young writers.

26 thoughts on “True Crime Thursday – Sentenced to Give Away Books?

  1. Having just finished “Phishing Camp” at the day-job, methinks it could be a “trojan horse,” making pdf stand for perfidious, deceitful, felonious…

  2. Very interesting case, Debbie.

    I’m with George, Vera, and Terry. I think this is an elaborate phishing expedition. Much of what old Filippo says makes no sense. And I can hear the voice of a ghostly computer speaking. I wouldn’t be surprised if he actually used AI and stole from many manuscripts.

    If this is AI-abetted marketing, it is very clever. And if he is seeking to get noticed, he succeeded. Now, when a writer uses AI in publishing, we can simply call it a “Filippo.” And there may even be an accompanying had gesture. Just sayin’.

    • Steve, your suppositions are certainly plausible. I also wondered if the author is fictional or using a nom de plume since the name didn’t show up on a Google search. As for “clever” marketing, well, it’s not a technique I’d use as an author or respond to as a reader.

  3. This smells like a phishing attempt to me, Debbie, or a malware scam of some sort, especially since you came up empty in searching for it. There’s a long-shot that it’s a marketing ploy, but given how widespread both phishing and malware are, it’s ill-considered for that reason alone.

    Still, another terrific True Crime Thursday post. Reader beware 🙂

  4. I do IT security. SOOOOO many red flags here. No way I am clicking on any links. I have also delt with IP attorneys. If you plagiarize, you get to pay the original authors, not give away books.

    Sorry Fillipo, no can do.

  5. Gave antibookclub a look. It is a Google Hosted site with the owner’s name protected by Google. That isn’t that nefarious, it is about $10 a year. The site was created on 2010-04-13 and the registration last updated on 2022-08-06.

  6. Even if it’s not phshiing, I wouldn’t be interested. I have more books in my Kindle and shelves than I can ever read. One review and three stars on Goodreads says a lot.

  7. Sounds like phishing to me. Sort of a new take by trying to get the reader to act out of a sense of pity. I’d give him a C for creativeness and an F for believability.

  8. Fake News! Debbie, you could title this post, “Maybe True Crime”…

    “Circumstances beyond my control put it in the hands of others.” Huh?

    And …”Then came the judge’s intervention, and a set of orders.” Vague, vague.

    Sounds like computer-generated sentences, not a real human. And, IMHO, a real “chastened” human would say the words, “I’m sorry” somewhere. AI doesn’t experience regret. Only people do.

  9. Filippo Ganna: (born 25 July 1996) an Italian track and road cyclist who currently rides for UCI WorldTeam Ineos Grenadiers. He is a record-breaking six-time world champion in the individual pursuit, winning a total of nine medals at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships… –Wankerpedia

    Ganna: (South Africa) A plant formerly used to provide alkaline ashes for soap-making, Salsola aphylla.–Wiktionary

    Ganna: someone making prophesies–Wankerpedia

    Ganna: sugar cane –

    Ganna: n., arabic, paradise, a girls’ name in the middle east –urban.dictionary.

    Antibookclub: “Founded in 2011 by Gabriel Levinson…” followed by puffery.

    Antibookclub author: Nine entries on Amazon.

    Gannet: n., Old English ganot, name of a kind of sea-bird, from Proto-Germanic *ganton- (source also of Dutch gent, Middle High German ganiz, Old High German ganazzo “a gander”), from PIE *ghans- “a goose” (see goose (n.)). Old French gante is from Germanic.

    What are the odds a plagiarist is capable of writing anything worth reading? Slim, I’d say. I think this is hoskaplop, as they say in both rural and urban Deresthok.

  10. This seems too bizarre to be real. At first, I thought maybe it was a centuries old case, but once I read “pdf” I figured it must be a phishing scam. I wonder how many fell for it.

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