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It's one chain of a money laundering operation.

Multiple books are created at high but not too high prices. Stolen funds are used to buy them; (through multiple intermediaries, work from home mules being a favorite) and the profits are moved through multiple accounts as well.

The criminals don't care that they are giving a bunch of money to Amazon (it's stolen remember), they do want the funds coming out to be clean, untraceable, and usable.

The unfortunate thing being that Amazon's incentives are, in this case, aligned with those of the criminals. And while I'm sure that Amazon regularly helps law enforcement track down this sort of thing, I wouldn't doubt that there exists a temptation to not notice that sort of misbehaviour.

Sounds like this could be the plot of the next Stross book. In 2020, the ordinary tax base has almost been destroyed. Everyone channels their illegal earnings by generating and reselling Kindle books. The main character of the book is a government bot program designed to analyze books and dig through BitCoin chains to determine whether the transactions are fraudulent or genuine. But as all goods have turned to electronic form, are they even any humans at the end of these transactions? Everything changes when the computer program has to analyze (some religious/philosophical book).

I wonder if anyone has written a book from the point of view of a computer program (and not just yet another human-like AI in a strange glowing suit). Stanislaw Lem's books may be close.

Parts of _The Adolescence of P1_ by Thomas Ryan are from the viewpoint of P1, which is an AI that develops from a learning worm written for IBM mainframes by a protohacker at U Waterloo.

Or the Philip K Dick version. Everything changes when the program has to analyze... itself.

I believe it is entitled "Vulcan's Hammer"

How would amazon even know?

And in any case it's not necessary to use fake book. You can publish a 10 page "book" with your random doodles and use that.

Taking this line of thought to it's logical conclusion, how many real "books" are actually just a simple way of laundering money? I mean, who actually buys the book by Rick Santorum?

That's a good point. Few actual people want to read Newt Gingrich's political autobiography, yet it was a New York Times bestseller based on sales. And Romney has done similar things http://www.salon.com/2010/10/15/mitt_romney_book/

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