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Warning about other books that copy my title

Warning: Two other books copied my title

There are two other books with the same title as this book, but neither is written by me. One is apparently written by a committee (no author is named) called the American Sport Education Program. That book used to be titled Rookie Coaches Football Guide. Then they changed its name to Coaching Youth Football. It stinks

Amazon used a review of my book to sell the ASEP book used a very favorable testimonial about my book to sell the ASEP book, in spite of having been told repeatedly that the testimonial was for a different book by a different author. It actually mentioned me by name until one of my readers complained. Then they “corrected” the situation by simply deleting my name from the review, but they left the rest of the review on the ASEP book page even though they knew it was a review of my book, not the ASEP book. Eventually, they stopped using it.

Amazon used my name to sell the ASEP book

On 8/3/00, I received an email from a reader reporting that Amazon had started listing me as the author of that book. I checked their site and he was right. I did NOT write the Coaching Youth Football book that Amazon sells with ISBN 0-880115-39-4. The ISBNs of my books all start with 0-939224.

The Parents Guide to NFL Coaching?

The other non-John T. Reed Coaching Youth Football book used to be called The Parents Guide to Coaching Football by John P. McCarthy, Jr. Now it is officially The Parents Guide to Coaching Youth Football [emphasis added], but the spine and front cover of the new edition leave off the words “The Parent’s Guide to.” They just say Coaching Youth Football. You don’t see the words “Parent’s Guide” until the inside title page. I do not know what legitimate reason the publisher of this book, Betterway Publications, felt required adding the word “Youth.” Were they concerned that parents would think it was a guide to their becoming NFL, college, or high-school coaches?

I did not have any objection to the content of McCarthy’s book, but neither did I find it memorable or helpful. It is extremely basic and general and aimed at parents of youth players more than coaches.

Is this illegal?

Some have asked me if it is illegal for these other books to use the same title as me. You cannot copyright a title. In some cases, you can get a trademark, but probably not for a title as generic as Coaching Youth Football. There is a common law called “unfair competition.” That was defined in one case as “endeavoring to substitute one’s own...products in the markets for those of another, by means of imitating...the...title..., the imitation being carried far enough to mislead the general public or deceive an unwary purchaser...” I know of a number of people who thought they were buying my book, but got one of the other two from online book sellers.

Don’t use a title that is already being used

When I pick a title for a new book, I check to see if it is already being used. I wanted to title my baseball book “Coaching Youth Baseball” to make it as similar to my football titles as possible. But I found Coaching Youth Baseball has already been taken. So I called it Youth Baseball Coaching, a title which had not been taken. At best, ASEP and Betterway were slobs about checking to make sure the title to which they changed had not already been taken. Indeed, they appear to have done a fine job of picking a unique, original title the first time around. At worst, their title changes were deliberate attempts to confuse book buyers who have heard about and wanted my book, into buying their book by mistake.

Specify Coaching Youth Football by John T. Reed

 The bottom line is, if you recommend my book to someone, or try to buy another copy for yourself, make sure you specify Coaching Youth Football BY JOHN T. REED and ISBN prefix 0-939453 and tell them not buy from Amazon. As far as I know, Amazon does not have and cannot get my book. Of course, those who buy direct from me do not need to worry about being cheated like this.