A little over three months after it was sued by three major educational publishers charging it with selling counterfeit textbooks, Follett Corp. has agreed to adopt the anti-counterfeiting best practices program developed by a new publishers' group. In exchange for adopting the program, the lawsuit has been dismissed.
In late June, Cengage, McGraw-Hill Education, and Pearson filed suit in a New York court charging that Follett, through both its college stores and distribution businesses, had been selling counterfeit copies of their books. Follett responded by asserting that the suit was an attempt by the publishers to limit the buying choices of students and force them to buy "higher-priced" textbooks directly from the publishers. Follett also questioned the timing of the suit, which it noted came shortly after publishers had started a campaign to get textbook retailers and distributors to adopt the publishers new best practices.
The anti-counterfeiting measures were developed by the Educational Publishers Enforcement Group, which includes the three publishers who filed the suit as well as Elsevier. The program outlines steps designed to help retailers and distributors to verify suppliers and avoid illegitimate sources, recognize inventory that may be counterfeit, and provides for cooperation with the publishers to review any suspect inventory.
In agreeing to adhere to the best practices, Follett joins Ingram, Barnes & Noble Education, MBS, and Chegg, all of which had previously adopted the program.
"Follett has always been committed to combating counterfeiting, and through productive dialogue with the publishers over the last several months, we are pleased to have found common ground with them in the ongoing fight against counterfeit textbooks," said Clay Wahl, president of Follett Higher Education, in a statement.
Executives at the three publishers who had sued Follett issued individual statements applauding Follett and the other distributors who agreed to work with publishers to, in the words of Cengage CEO Michael Hansen, "work together to continue [to] improve the fight against insidious counterfeit materials."