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May 11, 2008

Busted! Airleaf/Bookman Marketing and the Indiana AG
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 01:22 PM * 32 comments

My name is Carl Lau
On the web, on the web,
My name is Carl Lau
On the web
My name is Carl Lau
And a-spamming I did go
To gull writers of their dough
On the web, on the web
To gull writers of their dough
On the web.

(Tune: Captain Kidd)

Long-time readers of Making Light will remember The Uselessness of Airleaf Publishing. Longer-time readers will remember the discussion of Airleaf (called “Bookman Marketing” at the time), in the Follow the Money comment thread.

Now, from Publishers Weekly:

Indiana Sues Book Publisher
Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter is suing book publisher Airleaf, formerly known as Bookman Marketing, for accepting payment from authors and not following through on its promises to provide book publishing, royalty reimbursement and promotional services. The suit is seeking restitution for more than 120 people who claim to have lost money to fraudulent promises made by Airleaf.

Carter is seeking reimbursement for the affected customers and civil penalties of up to $5,500 per violation of the state’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act. Owner Carl Lau apparently promised his clients in-person participation at book fairs, presentations to movie producers and advertising.

Carter said that in addition to the 120 people named in the suit, “Hundreds more may have lost money. They paid for services. Airleaf did not deliver, and now those consumers deserve refunds.” Carter said the scheme has been going on since at least early 2006 and that owner Carl Lau used company assets to cover expenses unrelated to his business.

Since at least 2006? I’d say so: they were already notorious in 2003.

Here’s Bookman/Airleaf in 2005. Note the comment from Stu Taylor. Here’s another mention of Stu Taylor. I wonder if the Indiana AG has had a chat with Stu yet?

Alert Attorneys-General might like to look at the posts by “Herman Gold” and “Dwayne,” posting from the same IP address in Indiana (69.219.68.182) in our comment threads (here and following). “Dwayne” and “Herman” look like they’re posting from Bookman Marketing (per WHOIS), using false identities on the internet for the purpose of deception. Who associated with Airleaf lived on Wilbur Road (39.4615N x 86.4578W)?

Here’s Writer Beware on Airleaf (with links to earlier posts about Airleaf/Bookman), from November, 2007. One of the funniest is the one where Brien Jones (of Airleaf/Bookman) takes on the watchdog sites by revealing that SFWA is owned and operated by a jealous rival POD publisher.

If you are, or think you might be, or know someone who is, a victim of Bookman/Airleaf, you might want to get in touch with Bonnie Kaye. And definitely get in touch with Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter. He’s waiting to hear from you!

If you haven’t been scammed, you can sit back and enjoy the spectacle of Evil’s Just Reward. (More stanzas for “Carl Lau” appreciated.)

Comments on Busted! Airleaf/Bookman Marketing and the Indiana AG:
#1 ::: Ame ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2008, 02:31 PM:

...I will go away now. D.Gray-Man has clearly eaten my brain, since my immediate thought on seeing "Bookman Marketing" is "Oooh, Lavi?"

#2 ::: Bonnie Kaye ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2008, 04:01 PM:

Carl Lau at Airleaf is sitting on the web of deceit that he and some of his co-workers weaved layer by layer for hundreds of authors. If you were an Airleaf Victim, feel free to drop me a note at Bonkaye@aol.com. Our battle has just begun. It will be a long road to victory, but we plan to win.
Thanks for your support.
Bonnie Kaye, M.Ed.
Organizer, Airleaf Victims

#3 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2008, 05:57 PM:

Sitting in his web of deceit or wrapped in it?

A silk noose would probably be better.

Indiana doesn't still do that do they?

They should.

#4 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2008, 08:22 PM:

Is "weaved" acceptable as a word now?
I've noticed over recent years — possibly because of the large number of non-native English speakers, a growing world group — that most of the irregular verbs are being smooshed* back in to the 'regular' verb pattern.

*Yes, not a word <g>

#5 ::: joyjoy ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2008, 08:26 PM:

I'm Bloomington, IN. I did a radio news story on this last Thursday (WFHB Community Radio, 91.3 FM, www.wfhb.org). Got audio from the spokeslady at the State AG office. (I tried to find you, Bonnie Kaye, but all your sites give is e-mail! And the Phila. Community College number kept me on hold for half an hour.)

The details of the deception, laid out on Bonnie Kaye's web site just made me sick.

#6 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2008, 10:42 PM:

Good for Indiana! Now if only Maryland would follow suit...
-Barbara

#7 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2008, 09:34 AM:

I read the first few lines to the tune of "Sam Hall" (the meter is pretty close) before seeing the note at the bottom, and I think that works pretty well too.

Oh, my name it is Carl Lau, it is Car Lau.
My name it is Carl Lau, it is Carl Lau.
Ny name it is Carl Lau,
and I'm here to take a bow.
I've scammed you all, and how!
Goddamn your eyes.

Now it's off to jail I go, off I go.
It's off to jail I go, off I go.
It's off to jail I go,
but I don't care, I know.
That I've brought your bankrolls low,
Goddamn your eyes.

#8 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2008, 09:44 AM:

Barbara Gordon... Good for Indiana!

Coming soon, Indiana Jones and the Last Airleaf Scam of Doom!!!
(Just don't call him Junior.)

#9 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2008, 10:23 AM:
Is "weaved" acceptable as a word now? I've noticed over recent years — possibly because of the large number of non-native English speakers, a growing world group — that most of the irregular verbs are being smooshed* back in to the 'regular' verb pattern.

The usage is also regional - UK English uses the regular versions far more than US English, or at least than the US regional dialects I am familiar with.

#10 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2008, 11:51 AM:

Incidentally, Great Big Sea has a wonderful version of Captain Kidd (link to a live performance here).

#11 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2008, 12:06 PM:

It's a shame that this isn't a criminal proceeding; if it were, somebody would get to point at Lau and say, "Book 'im."

#12 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2008, 12:59 PM:

Bonnie, JoyJoy, glad to see you here, but we are clear on the issues. We've been tracking these guys for a long time.

By the way, can you tell us which Airleaf/Bookman employee it is that lives or used to live on Wilbur Road between Ballinger Road and E. Shore Drive? (Most likely in one of the two houses north and east of this curve.) Jim mentioned this in the main post. Whatever Airleaf/Bookman associate lives there will be the person who came into our comment threads under two different false names in order to promote a criminal enterprise.

#13 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2008, 01:39 PM:

Epacris @#4:

Is "weaved" acceptable as a word now?

Yes, if you're talking about traffic. Less so when talking about textiles or webs.

#14 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2008, 01:44 PM:

Bruce: "Sam Hall" was likely based on the tune to "Captain Kidd", so you're also perfectly right.

And the people down below,
They'll say "Carl, we told you so"
They'll say "Carl, we told you so"
So damn your eyes.

#15 ::: David Manheim ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2008, 02:32 PM:

I did a bit of legwork (the summer interning at the FTC taught me how to do research, at the very least);

First, anyone nationally can be included in this. People should definitely get in touch with the state AG.

There was a promise of voluntary compliance on behalf of Carl Lau, president of Airleaf. He said he'd stop doing a number of things which he had no reasonable method of procuring/producing.

"Promised his clients in-person participation at book fairs, presentations to movie producers and advertising," from the news article, compared to: "agrees to refrain from representing... a sponsorship, approval, ... or benefits it does not have ... [or] is able to complete ... the transaction ... when the respondent knows or should reasonably know it could not." from his assurance.)

http://atgindsha01.atg.in.gov/cpd/docs/enforcement/SteveCarter-397144-1.pdf

I'm not sure exactly how the new suit relates to this, but it is certainly related; the fact that he voluntarily agreed that there was jurisdiction, and promised to stop certain activities he continued with is a bad sign for him; I'd expect this to be a relatively quick proceeding (months, not years, from now.)

#16 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2008, 04:57 PM:

If Bookman fails, are they going to create an online Viagra-selling company called Venus Bold Extended?

#17 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2008, 06:23 PM:

Is Your Girlfriend Satisfied With Descenders?

#18 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2008, 07:14 PM:

"Wove" and "weaved" (in the threaded sense) are linked by "or" in Web 11, meaning basically equal acceptability in American English (though "wove" is listed first, out of alphabetical order).

#19 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2008, 11:31 PM:

Yay Indiana! How come this stuff happens only after I left? One of the guys running for Monroe County office proposed a single-payer health care system for Bloomington and the county, too, just this year. Freaky.

A year ago, I could have done a drive-by in Martinsville -- now there's a scary town. As recently as the 80's, the local Klan was reputed to meet at the Rax restaurant. I've always thought of it as Bloomington's evil twin.

#20 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 06:05 AM:

Three Airleaf spams:

From September, 2006:

For two years we have been working hard to get our author's books made into movies. We have made many trips to Hollywood, so many in fact that we opened an LA office with our partner Cinemagic!

What started it all was our Filmmakers service. We are offering that service today, but now we have 1000 brand new producer/ director contacts!

What we do first is design a special promotion for Producers and Directors(called a treatment)about your book. While we write the treatment, you can make any changes you want(no charge.)

Once you approve it, we send it to 2000 Filmmakers.

We follow up responses whatever way is necessary including visiting in person. I personally have been to Hollywood six times in the last 9 months.

As always, you will reserve all the rights to your book.

The regular price for this unique service is $350

TODAY AND TOMORROW, THE PRICE IS JUST $199

To save over $150 on this unique service call me now at 1-800-342-6068 or email khatfield@airleaf.com!

Krystal Hatfield
Author Consultant

PS. Check out our ads this month in Oracle Magazine and Veterans Reporter, and our new websites
http://www.airleafeuro.com/ and
http://www.bowkerclub.com/
http://www.airleaf.com/
http://www.airleafclub.com/
http://www.authorsspeakout.com/
http://www.doctorauthor.com/
http://www.airleafeliteclub.com/
http://www.airleafselect.com/
http://www.thebigbooks.com/
http://www.marquisbooks.com/
http://www.bookatron.com/
http://www.signedbytheauthor.net/
http://www.airleafeuro.com/
http://www.bowkerclub.com/
http://www.brienjones.com/

From October, 2006:

Our bookstore clients have asked for a bigger variety of books and we plan to deliver! That's why we're offering our Introductory Bookselling Package at half price until Monday, October 30! You pay just $199 to contact 2000 bookstore owners. (The regular price is $399)

Step one is featuring your book on our bookselling websites, airleaf.com and bookatron.com. That happens the day you sign up.

What we do next is write a custom promotion about your book and then send it directly to the owner's of 2000 independent bookstores. Youapprove the promotion, and can make any changes you want. You also help choose what part of the country and what kind of bookstores to target. We follow up all responses by mail or telephone.

We will also sell your book in our stores in Harrison, Ohio, Martinsville, and Nashville, Indiana.

As always, we will sell your book even if you publshed with another company--and we can have your book for sale on our websites TODAY! Just give me a quick call at 1-800-342-6068!

Craig Gustafson
Author Consultant

If you don't want any more emails about selling your book just hit <REPLY> and type "Remove."

PS. Check out our ads this month in Oracle Magazine and Veterans Reporter!

PS. Check out our ads this month in Oracle Magazine and Veterans Reporter, and our new websites
http://www.airleafeuro.com/ and
http://www.airleaf.com/
http://www.airleafclub.com/
http://www.authorsspeakout.com/
http://www.doctorauthor.com/
http://www.airleafeliteclub.com/
http://www.airleafselect.com/
http://www.thebigbooks.com/
http://www.marquisbooks.com/
http://www.bookatron.com/
http://www.signedbytheauthor.net/
http://www.airleafeuro.com/
http://www.brienjones.com/

From November, 2006:


From: brien@airleaf.com [mailto:brien@airleaf.com]
Sent: Saturday, November 11, 2006 3:23 AM
To: [withheld]
Subject: Reach 400 Decision Makers at Traditional Royalty-PayingPublishers!


Selling a book to a royalty paying, traditional publisher is always along shot for unknown authors. However, Airleaf Publishing & Book
Selling Services has developed a unique list of Senior Editors at the
biggest publishing houses, and we also know how each publisher accepts
new submissions. This puts you at least two steps ahead of the
thousands of authors submitting books every week.
What we do is compose a special full-page release about your book. While
we write the promotion, you approve it and have final authority. Once
you are satisfied with the promotion we send it directly 400 Senior
Editors at Traditional Publishers. Then we follow up whatever way we
can to try to secure a contract and an advance.


If we are successful, we will not charge any commission. As always, you
will reserve all the rights to your book.
The regular price for this unique service is $499


RIGHT NOW, THE PRICE IS JUST $270


As always, we will sell your book even if you publshed with another
company--and, more importantly, we can have your book for sale on our
websites NOW! Don't miss the best time of the year to sell books. Just
give me a quick call at 1-800-342-6068!


Brien Jones
Author Consultant


If you don't want any more emails about selling your book just hit and type "Remove."
PS. Check out our ads this month in Oracle Magazine and VeteransReporter!
PS. Check out our ads this month in Oracle Magazine and VeteransReporter, and our new websites http://www.airleafeuro.com/ and
http://www.airleaf.com/
http://www.airleafclub.com/
http://www.authorsspeakout.com/
http://www.doctorauthor.com/
http://www.airleafeliteclub.com/
http://www.airleafselect.com/
http://www.thebigbooks.com/
http://www.marquisbooks.com/
http://www.bookatron.com/
http://www.signedbytheauthor.net/
http://www.airleafeuro.com/
http://www.brienjones.com/

#21 ::: Rebecca ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2008, 05:20 PM:

Bruce @ 7: So did I! And I hissed at it accordingly.

#22 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 10:52 AM:

[Police sirens]

[Chorus:]
Indiana sued me, calling me a schemer
Indiana sued me; Lord I'm just a dreamer
I wish I had Stu, to tell you.

Folks, if this e-mail finds its way to you
Pursue the link for fortune and be famous too and on TV
And when you're there in Hollywood just think of me

Good lord I think I've just seen a
State lawyer with a subpoena!

Indiana sued me (just for fleecing losers)
Indiana sued me (Lord I hate those hoosiers)

This is the police. Stop typing. Stand away from the computer.
[repeat to fade]

#23 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2008, 10:08 PM:

Kip: Brilliant! (at least for those of us old enough to remember the original)

#24 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2008, 12:41 AM:

Kip, #22: *giggle* Wow, I didn't think anyone else remembered that!

#25 ::: Spam Deleted ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2008, 06:47 PM:

Spam from 70.183.174.182

#26 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2008, 06:53 PM:

Oh goody, now this thread is inviting book-promoting spammers.

#27 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2008, 06:56 PM:

The first wave was the scouts. Now the bombers are here.

#28 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2008, 09:42 PM:

Oh goody, now this thread is inviting book-promoting spammers.

It's kind of like watching someone try to sell perpetual motion machines to a roomful of physicists.

#29 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2008, 08:07 AM:

It looks like #25 references a book from a real publisher (at any rate "What Color Is Your Parachute" is on their list, and that's a Real Book), that has positive reviews on amazon that possibly aren't from friends of the author.

I note that one source I found refers to the book's author as a "former Disney Imagineer," which suggests that the email address imagineer1@comcast.net (used in post #25) may belong to the author.

Also, someone named Mae Collins at Amazon has posted exactly three reviews--all of books about innovative thinking, all of them trashing the books in question. Mae Collins doesn't post a review of "Thinkertoys" though.

Hypothetical: mae collins=Michael Michalko?

I wonder if 10 Speed Press approves of spam marketing?

#30 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2008, 10:10 AM:

Lee@24: Those of us who hear the BBC's news broadcasts (either direct or (my case) through local NPR-station relay) got reminded of it just recently; Auntie used it as a lead-in to their story about last week's primaries.

#31 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2008, 12:32 PM:

Mary Dell: I assumed the poster was the author.

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