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Cengage print materials to include certification seal to fight counterfeiters

Beginning with shipments currently underway to on-campus, off-campus and online retailers, Cengage print products will include a unique certification seal developed by an expert third-party certification company. The seal includes a QR code and one-off indicators that verify the product’s authenticity. Cengage estimates that counterfeit course materials cost the company between $70 million to $100 million annually. 

In cooperation with the Education Publisher Enforcement Group (EPEG), Cengage recently reviewed the inventories of several online sellers to determine how much of their inventory was counterfeit. The results were startling: for portions of their inventory over 75 percent of the books were counterfeit, while some had 100 percent of the titles offered for sale being counterfeit.

Moving forward, the certification seal will allow sales partners and customers to easily confirm they have an authentic Cengage product, avoiding the potential for incorrect or inferior class materials. Students, professors and retailers need simply scan the QR code, which will take them to a Cengage website to verify the one-off indicator that the product is legitimate.

“Every product we create is the result of painstaking work on the part of authors, editors, manufacturers and countless others who want to bring students truly impactful learning materials,” said Michael E. Hansen, CEO, Cengage. “Unfortunately, some seek to profit—illegally—on the backs of those who have devoted their lives to helping students. Counterfeiters, and anyone who enables them, ultimately profit at the expense of innovation, which students and faculty desperately need.

“Stolen materials hurt students by driving up costs and limiting investment in new, more affordable products. We are committed to fighting this illegal activity in all forms and are aggressively exploring additional ways to reduce its impact with our sales partners,” Hansen continued.

Shawn Everson, Chief Commercial Officer, Ingram Content Group, stated: “At Ingram, we value the efforts of Cengage to crack down on counterfeit materials. Their certification seal will enable us, as well as others in the industry, to better identify counterfeits and work to eliminate risks. We’re eager to work with Cengage and others in the publishing community to help ensure that the marketplace is secure and legitimate for students and faculty.”

“The rise of print and electronic technologies in recent years has made it incredibly easy for counterfeiters to deliver seemingly equivalent but inferior textbooks at much-reduced cost. In addition, students who purchase counterfeit texts do not receive the support and ancillary materials provided by the original publisher,” said Cengage authors Stanley R. Crouch and F. James Holler. “Counterfeit materials trivialize our life’s work and cheat students out of their full educational experiences. We strongly support Cengage’s efforts to combat counterfeit materials beginning with their certification seals program. We look forward to working with them in the fight against unauthorized use of our creative intellectual property.”

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