NEW YORK - Two days after dismissing allegations that romance writer Cassie Edwards lifted material from other sources, publisher Signet Books has decided "the situation deserves further review."
"Our original comments were based on Signet's review of a limited selection of passages," according to a statement issued Friday by Signet, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA).
"We believe the situation deserves further review. Therefore we will be examining all of Ms. Edwards' books that we publish, and based on the outcome of that review we will take action to handle the matter accordingly. We want to make it known that Signet takes any and all allegations of plagiarism very seriously."
A romance novel website has posted numerous excerpts from Edwards' novels and placed them alongside passages from reference books and magazines that were found by using the Google search program.
Penguin Group (USA) had said Wednesday that Edwards had "done nothing wrong" and that any use of other texts was protected by "fair-use doctrine."
Nora Roberts, the genre's most prominent writer, said Thursday that "it seems clear Ms. Edwards copied considerable portions of previously published work and used them in her books without attribution to the original source.
"By my definition, copying another's work and passing it as your own equals plagiarism. As a writer, a reader and a victim of plagiarism, I feel very strongly on this issue. I'm not a lawyer, but I can't see it as fair use, or fair anything when one writer takes another's work," Roberts, who also is published by Penguin Group (USA), wrote in an e-mail.
In 1997, romance novelist Janet Dailey acknowledged taking material from Roberts, saying that "my essentially random and non-pervasive acts of copying are attributable to a psychological problem that I never even suspected I had."
Edwards has written more than 100 novels in the last 25 years and, according to her publisher, has more than 10 million copies of her work in print. She usually writes about American Indians but also has written about pirates and the Civil War.
In a phone interview earlier in the week, the author said that she indeed "takes" material from other works, but said she didn't know she was supposed to credit her sources. She then asked her husband to get on the phone. Charles Edwards said the author only gets "ideas" from other books and does not "lift passages."