Counterfeit Bluebooks – How to Tell & What to Do if You Have One

So counterfeit Bluebooks are a thing.  According to the editors of the authentic Bluebook, some counterfeit books are being sold on online marketplaces, including Amazon and Alibris. Many of these books contain errors and inconsistencies.

The editors encourage buyers to proceed with caution if purchasing a Bluebook from online marketplaces and are working with Amazon to have the counterfeit sellers removed. Another alternative is to purchase a subscription to the Bluebook Online in lieu of purchasing a hardcopy Bluebook.

So how can you tell if your Bluebook is a fake?  According to editors, the best way to tell is to enter the subscription key located inside the book (at the bottom of one of the first few pages in the Bluebook, titled “BLUEBOOK Online Free Trial”) into On the homepage, there’s a box that looks like this:

bluebook fake check

If the subscription key works, it’s an authentic book; otherwise, it is a counterfeit.  Hat tip to UW Legal Research & Writing Faculty, Trina Tinglum, who contacted the Bluebook editors to ask.

What should you do if you believe you have purchased a counterfeit book?  Contact the seller and online marketplace directly to report the issue and request a refund.

Wisconsin readers – If you’re looking for more citation guidance on Wisconsin-specific sources, check out the Wisconsin Guide to Citation, from the State Bar of Wisconsin as a complement to the Bluebook.It’s currently in its ninth edition.  Read more in this week’s InsideTrack.