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Free Book Scammer on the Loose

The Bookseller reports on an enterprising book collector who has been scamming publishers of free books for well over a decade. Peter Oosterbos, who also calls himself Fred, has approached Dutch publishers for over 15 years, claiming to be the book reviews editor for the non-existent Furore Magazine. Oosterbos, who communicates only by fax, has now contacted British publishers as well as Penguin USA and Italy, and Dutch publishers De Geus and Tirion. In mid-April he requested that Canongate forward 25 review copies. Canongate export sales manager Anna-Lisa Sandstrum said: “Most of the books were not frontlist titles, so I called a customer in Holland and they said this man had been pulling this scam for years.”

Hans van der Klis, a reporter for Dutch publishing magazine Boekblad, estimates that Oosterbos has received “hundreds, maybe thousands” of free books over the years. He said: “By now, most publishers in Holland know him. But he tries to target new PR people and publishers who may not have heard of him.” So if there’s a request pending from this guy at your publishing house, better steer clear.

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