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February 24, 2010

Heads Up For Our Friends at Random House
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 03:53 PM * 156 comments

For all mail room folks at Random House who are about to get a bunch of printed and bound books from PublishAmerica, and for the editorial assistants who are going to be asked “What the foo do you want us to do with these?” and are wondering what this is all about … here’s the skinny.

Our good friends at PublishAmerica (a vanity press located in Frederick, Maryland) have hit on a way to increase their sales! Observe this letter sent to all their authors yesterday morning (emphasis theirs):

Your Book Published By Random House?‏
From: PublishAmerica Author Support Team (noreply@publishamerica.com)
Sent: Tue 2/23/10 11:35 AM
To: [Redacted]
Dear Author:

PublishAmerica will submit your book to Random House!

Random House, the publishing company? Yes. We’re submitting your book to the world’s most famous publisher so they get a chance to read it and see if they want your book.

Every writer dreams about becoming a published author. Once they have reached that goal, as you have, many dream of the next step up: to become a Random House author. Random House is one of the most prestigious publishing names. Their extensive operation a few miles from our own headquarters makes them virtual neighbors.

We will submit not one, but up to five copies of your book to Random House’s acquisition editors, so that they can also pass the book around their imprints if they want. They may do anything they choose with the books. We will alert you immediately if Random House shows interest, and in that case we will do everything we can to ensure a smooth transition. Since PublishAmerica is not affiliated with Random House or its owner Bertelsmann, we would totally share in your pride.

Here’s how we do it:

If you want to have books on hand, order now, and we will donate up to five copies to Random House. And you receive a 50 pct discount!

Go to www.publishamerica.net, find your book, click on it, then add to cart, indicate quantity, and use this coupon: Random50. Then click Recalculate and finish the transaction. Minimum volume is 10 copies.

By using the coupon you are authorizing us to donate the books to Random House. You may also request that we ship five FREE books to you instead.

Full-color and hardcovers excluded. Offer expires this weekend on Sunday night.

Thank you,
PublishAmerica Author Support Team

“Not affiliated with Random House” is pretty much the understatement of the year.

All I can think is, “Wow.” PublishAmerica is going to be your agent now? What about those PA authors who already have agents?” (Yeah, yeah, I know, those agents would be either gormless, hopeless, greener than grass, or out-and-out scammers in order to have submitted a book to PA, but still….)

This does represent a change for PublishAmerica—up to now their party line has been that the major commercial publishers are trembling in their highly-polished wingtips at the thought that this upstart publisher has opened up publishing to folks who aren’t celebrities or already best-selling.

From another letter sent to their authors in 2005:

…We are the David who has opened the gates of what used to be elite territory. We are championing the underdogs. You, our authors, are putting an end to what used to be literary Apartheid. You did not pay a penny to walk through the gates, and now you are published authors, the peers of entrenched power. Of course Goliath fights back. They don’t want you to be their peers. They won’t tell you that, though — they will say that they don’t want your publisher. But it is you that they are after, and you — that is whom we are fighting for.

Everyone knows the final outcome. The Goliath elite will be beaten, not by our slingshot but because we are darfing them.

Yeah, they really said “darfing.”

What this is, of course, is a naked inducement to get their authors to buy multiple copies of their own books at inflated prices (and that’s before figuring in postage and handling, which are insanely inflated themselves). A PublishAmerica book at a fifty-percent discount still costs more than most books of the same length at full retail. Like any other vanity press, PublishAmerica’s market is their own authors.

So, stand by, Random House. Soon you’re going to get a ton of unedited, poorly typeset, previously published books. As the letter says, what you do with them is up to you.


[UPDATE 02MAR10]

This just in: PublishAmerica sent this letter to their authors this morning:

Dear Author:

PublishAmerica will submit your book to the New York Times Book Review!

Home of the famous NYT Bestsellers list? Yes. We’re submitting your book to the nation’s most notorious reviewers so they get a chance to read and recommend it.
Every author dreams about writing a bestseller. And, honestly, is your book really inferior to most celebrity books that make it to the NYT Bestsellers list? Many would say it’s not. Let’s present your book to the New York Times Book Review. We will submit not one, but up to five copies of your book to the NYT reviewers, so that they can pass copies around if they want. Here’s how we do it:

If you want to have books on hand, order now, and receive a 50 pct discount!
We will ship your books to you, and we will donate an EXTRA up to five copies to the New York Times Book Review, at no cost to you or the New York Times.

Go to www.publishamerica.net, find your book, click on it, then add to cart, indicate quantity, and use this coupon: NYT50. Then click Recalculate and finish the transaction. Minimum volume is 12 copies.

By using the coupon you are authorizing us to donate up to five books to the New York Times Book Review for their reviewers’ consideration at their discretion, at their 8th Ave office in New York, NY. You may also request that we ship five FREE books to you instead.

Full-color and hardcovers excluded. Offer expires this weekend on Sunday night.

Thank you,
PublishAmerica Author Support Team

Hardcover books excluded? Presumably because, as is well known, the NYT never reviews hardcovers. And at no cost to the New York Times, too! Wow! Presumably because other publishers make reviewers buy the books.

In other news, PublishAmerica is suing Lightning Source, and Lightning Source is countersuing.

Man could I use a slice of Schadenfreude Pie about now.

Comments on Heads Up For Our Friends at Random House:
#1 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:03 PM:

I foresee a sudden upsurge in the volume recovered from the Random House recycling bins.

#2 ::: Adam Rice ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:16 PM:

"darfing"? I thought this was a family show!

#3 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:17 PM:

Gimmicky, under-handed tricks like this are part of what give self-publishing such an awful reputation. And it's a shame, too, because there are authors who are using POD options with a relatively high degree of success. Quality is the exception in such a business model, obviously, but schemes like this often prevent people from seeing that exceptions exist at all.

#4 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:19 PM:

We are championing the underdogs

Just call me Mighty Mutt.

#5 ::: Dave Fried ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:22 PM:

Will all that free wood pulp bring down the cost of RH books?

#6 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:39 PM:

Darfing?

I've heard of yiffing, but never darfing.

#7 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:43 PM:

I looked up "darfing," and this is one of the results:

Pipkins - Google Books Result
Kathleen Bauly Bayer - 2001 - Poetry - 144 pages
I went to see my darfing-wasted, sunken, ... 'He whispered '"Darfing this is good, ...
books.google.com/books?isbn=1563117525...

The actual poem (which of course has "darling," not "darfing") is pretty funny, too. There's a poem about Churchill a little further on in which I got the impression at first that the author had rhymed "WWII" with "victory," as if WWII were a more than merely temporal precursor to the Wii.

#8 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:44 PM:

I'm staring at the "darfing" and cannot parse* what word it was supposed to be. The best I can come up with is "daring" and that's not going very far up. "We are daring them" implies there should be an infinitive floating around sooner or later (to publish better books? to compete with these books? to offer bookstores discounts this bad? to let themselves be beaten?) that I can't see as implied by what's already there.

I would say that clearly my lack of comprehension comes from insufficient context, except I then remember that the context is "written by Publish America" and thus comprehension is not coming any time soon.

But. Seriously. Darfing? What was that supposed to say?


* Spelled the first time through as "prase", in accordance with the ancient laws of the internet that dictate any comment about grammar or spelling must itself contain at least one mistake of the category it criticizes.

#9 ::: arkessian ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:46 PM:

Lord, fourteen months and counting that Random House have inexplicably failed to acknowledge the reversion of my rights. The last missive said that "we're mortified that this has taken so long".

I fully expect that the next missive will say: "we're sorry but out entire staff has drown in teh PublishAmerica slush".

#10 ::: Paula Liebeman ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:47 PM:

The issue isn't POD, it's shysters/scammers/crooks/scum exploitationists....

POD is a reasonable technology for limited distribution printed bound matter documents. When I was at GTE Strategic Systems Division, the facility I worked at had a pair of high speed printing collating and binding (stapling or othe non-glued non-sewn binding) Xerox machines, for producing up to a few hundred copies of Limited Distribution documents.

AuthorHouse and PublishAmerica, on the other hand, are entities run by people who might even be self-congratulatory about engaging in deceptive business practices up to and including outright fraud and deceit....

Any changes in society or technology, inevitable include who look for new way to enrich themselves with exploitive schemes for fraud, deceit, predatory business practices, and scams, exploiting the changes...

#11 ::: Larry ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:49 PM:

Everyone knows that to darf means "to bluff." I think this is what we have here.

#12 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:51 PM:

darfing = dwarfing, I'd expect.

Which is an entirely different kind of funny, really.

#13 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 04:58 PM:

My sakes. It's an old-school DoS attack on Random House!

#14 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 05:01 PM:

Are you sure, Jim, that they don't mean that they're sending their marks', er, clients' books on a random walk through a house?

#15 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 05:04 PM:

. . . or that they are going to mail the books to randomly chosen single family dwellings?

#16 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 05:06 PM:

No, they're just going to snailmail your book to a random house. It won't decrease your chances of getting it published...

#17 ::: Carrie V. ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 05:11 PM:

Then there's that word "donate." You donate books to libraries, not Random House!

And PA admitting they're not the most prestigious publisher in the universe?

Wow.

#18 ::: thanate ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 05:17 PM:

I didn't realize I was supposed to dream of becoming a Random House author. Really, a reputable publishing house with real editors (possibly even for their press releases) and real advances sounds ok by me...

#19 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 05:22 PM:

I can just imagine the thought process that, word by word, led to that letter.

"Every writer dreams about becoming a published author."

(Which we know, because that is the fantasy we are selling them. Wait! What if they realize that this letter implies they still aren't real authors? Um,)

"Once they have reached that goal,"

(Whew! Close one! But what if it's not obvious enough? Better pile it on a bit more)

"as you have,"

(Hopefully that's ham-handed enough for even our densest authors)

"many dream of the next step up: to become a Random House author."

(Perfect! Just like leveling in WOW!)

"Random House is one of the most prestigious publishing names."

(I hope they've heard of Random House, but better safe than sorry.)

"Their extensive operation a few miles from our own headquarters makes them virtual neighbors."

(Ah, "virtual," the scammer's favorite word. People think it means "almost," but it actually means "not at all.")

"We will submit not one, but up to five copies of your book to Random House’s acquisition editors, so that they can also pass the book around their imprints if they want."

(Hope they've never heard of spamming!)

"They may do anything they choose with the books."

(The best part is that it's perfectly true.)

"We will alert you immediately if Random House shows interest, and in that case we will do everything we can to ensure a smooth transition."

(For only a very modest fee.)

"Since PublishAmerica is not affiliated with Random House or its owner Bertelsmann, we would totally share in your pride."

(We would also share your total fucking amazement.)

"...If you want to have books on hand, order now, and we will donate up to five copies to Random House....Minimum volume is 10 copies."

(Hiii-yah! I am such a WORD NINJA. Why hasn't the CIA snapped me up yet?)

"Offer expires this weekend on Sunday night."

(...until we extend it for JUST! ONE! MORE! DAY! And then another. Because it's not like you can put a time limit on printing money. Because for that is what I am doing.)

#20 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 05:39 PM:

"I think so, Brain, but what if Random House doesn't want multiple copies of vanity books? Darf!"

#21 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 05:47 PM:

Good thing I leap-frogged PA and went straight to Random House. I'm not sure I could afford to submit my book through them.

Also: "darfing" is an error of some kind, yes? Google doesn't seem to be able to cough up a simple definition. Therefore, I propose we make up a definition for it. Something suitable. For instance:

"Darf" v. to claim to be engaged in and winning a non-existent fight or contest against a more powerful opponent.

#22 ::: MM ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 05:52 PM:

#21 - Bonus if the opponent in question hasn't noticed one's existence in the first place, despite the supposed declaration of non-war.

#23 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 06:01 PM:

I'm outta town in New Orleans, and I come back to a snowstorm and THIS?

These people should be hung by their thumbs over an old school newspaper printing press that works with hot ink.

Love, C.

#24 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 06:11 PM:

Urbandictionary.com begins its definition of "darf" thus:


"The most foul word known to mankind."

I forbear to bring you the rest.

#25 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 06:13 PM:

Hmm. I wonder how hard it is to get permits for a bonfire in Central Park...

#26 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 06:14 PM:

Fragano, urb*nd*ction*ry.com is a cesspool of misogyny and trollish stupidity. Best to pretend it doesn't exist.

#27 ::: Stephanie ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 06:21 PM:

Does anyone really believe this is going to put anything in anyone's hands other than money into PA's? If I were at RH, I certainly wouldn't be ordering an extra Dumpster for these alleged "donated books" to go into.

#28 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 06:23 PM:

I thought the whole point of urban dictionary was to make the old slam "I looked up [derogatory term] in the dictionary, and there was a picture of you" true.

#29 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 06:26 PM:

"we will submit not one...copy to Random House acquisitions editors."

And, um, that operation a few miles away? That's the warehouse.

Looks like a great idea -- get the patsies to pay for copies that they'll never see, and therefore never have to be printed.


#30 ::: y ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 06:36 PM:

Auf Deutsch, man darf nicht.

#31 ::: Parris ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 06:42 PM:

Is there anyway that RH's mail room could just send back COD all those unsolicited manuscripts at the door? In the movie/tv industry most companies will not accept an unsolicited/un-agented manuscript in any form, not even to add to a slush pile for the PAs to slog thru at night, for fear of being sued later by a unsuccessful writer who had submitted a proposal/pitch/script that may have had a few elements in common with their summer blockbuster.

Besides the annoyance factor, the cost would add up for PA (if they used their business address on the return address line, not the writers home address on the package) if there were enough suckers hopeful writers were to pay for this alleged service.

Funny, I lived less than 3 miles from RH, but never thought of them as my neighbors. My neighbors were the people in the same building, maybe the same block, but south of 86th and Lex, all those people were weird.

#32 ::: Michael Walsh ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 06:57 PM:

Some recent PA books I've seen in various B&Ns have on the title page:

PublishAmerica
------------------
Baltimore, MD

Yet they seem to still be in Frederick. I guess Bawlmur is more cosmopolitan than Fredrick?

And I don't expect the books will end up in the RH dumpster/recycle bins. They'll be taken down to Strand Books (the ATM of publishing) where they'll be laughed at and then the books will end up in a dumpster or recycle bins. I can't imagine the books even being considered for the $1.00 carts outside the store.

#33 ::: Wesley Osam ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 07:06 PM:

What I was wondering was "why Random House, specifically?"

Then I realized: it was chosen Randomly.

#34 ::: Polenth ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 07:12 PM:

"Their extensive operation a few miles from our own headquarters makes them virtual neighbors."

This makes me wonder if they plan to pop round a trunk full of books in person (it'd save on postage). Otherwise, it wouldn't matter if Random House was a neighbour or not.

#35 ::: Emily ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 07:13 PM:

"So, stand by, Random House. Soon you’re going to get a ton of unedited, poorly typeset, previously published books. As the letter says, what you do with them is up to you."

It's still pretty cold out there. I think they will be having the BIGGEST BONFIRE EVER outside of the Random House offices very, very soon.

#36 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 07:27 PM:

Harry Connolly @ #21, it would describe Leonard Wibberley's The Mouse That Roared quite well.

n.: "A cracking good darf, that one!"

or

v.:"Wibberley's darfed up a good one, hasn't he?"

#37 ::: Jennifer S ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 07:33 PM:

How, exactly, does one darf? Have I done it without knowing?

#38 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 07:35 PM:

I love their new definion of "donate". "You pay us, and we'll donate the book to them." Umm, no. You're not donating anything to anyone; you're shipping a purchased item to a third party on behalf of the purchaser. No donation is involved, except perhaps for the donation of the books to the recyclers.

Always assuming PA actually bothers to send anything at all, rather than just pocketing the money.

#39 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 07:45 PM:

I agree with Graydon (#12) that 'darfing' is supposed to be 'dwarfing'. But keep the other definitions coming!

#40 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 08:15 PM:

Hrmm. While I've been having a merry laugh at this, some of the suggestions for how to deal with the deluge gave me pause. (I'm not a fan of book burning in any case, really. Plus: too many associations with authority squashing new ideas, not the sort of martyr image I think PA should be able to get traction with.) So, I wondered what Random House's submission guidelines are:

"Like most big publishers, Random House only accepts manuscripts submitted by an agent--the volume of materials we receive is just too large to accept unsolicited submissions. There is an excellent listing of literary agents in a book called The Writer's Market, which you should be able to find in a local bookstore or library. "

(From Random House's FAQ)

There are several variations on this question and answer scattered about the FAQ, and nothing indicates that any individual other than an agent can expect any sort of reply from Random House for unsolicited submissions. Such submissions appear to fall into some sort of black hole. This is very convenient for PA - as some have mentioned, they don't even have to print the books if they know RH won't even look at them. (Indeed, beth meacham @#29 shows how one can interpret their letter to say that they don't have to send anything anyway!)

I'd suggest that RH stick with their normal disposal methods, or more discreet ones if the current ones can be viewed from outside the building. A mixed-waste dumpster or bonfire or other similar ugly/high-profile disposal of books would give PA too much anti-big-publisher ammo if they found out. Ditto the used bookstore or their dumpster. "We sent them your wonderful books - and they threw out/burned/defaced/desecrated/other your precious ideas! The Big Publishers are just as nasty as we've been telling you all along! Stick with us, we'll print your books - not barbecue them."

Or something. If RH wanted to make an exception, they could mail postcards to the authors whose books show up at RH from PA, including the FAQ answer from above. If anything, I'd suggest adding a single line to the effect of "PA is not, nor ever has been, nor ever will be, a literary agent that RH accepts submissions from." Just in case that relatively clear FAQ answer isn't clear enough.

Now back to the somewhat guilty pleasure of reading all the myriad ways really bad slush pile fodder can be disposed of...

#41 ::: VCarlson ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 08:16 PM:

Note, also, that while the maximum number of your books they will "donate on your behalf" is 5, the minimum you can order from them is 10.

#42 ::: Chris W. ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 08:21 PM:

Paula @ 10:

The issue isn't POD, it's shysters/scammers/crooks/scum exploitationists....

POD is a reasonable technology for limited distribution printed bound matter documents. When I was at GTE Strategic Systems Division, the facility I worked at had a pair of high speed printing collating and binding (stapling or othe non-glued non-sewn binding) Xerox machines, for producing up to a few hundred copies of Limited Distribution documents.

AuthorHouse and PublishAmerica, on the other hand, are entities run by people who might even be self-congratulatory about engaging in deceptive business practices up to and including outright fraud and deceit....

Glad to see someone say this. It really is worth emphasizing that that the problem here is not the business model of POD per se. It's companies that use POD to trick gullible would-be authors into believing that they're doing something equivalent to traditional publishing.

Of course I'm not entirely unbiased here, since I have a dear family friend who runs a company that does a modest business in using POD to make all sorts of obscure public domain Americana available.

#43 ::: Penny C. Sansevieri ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 08:38 PM:

Shame on you, Publish America - see the Twitter stream which is exploding with this topic!

http://twitter.com/#search?q=PublishAmerica

#44 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 08:48 PM:

Is it too cynical of me to wonder if Publish America will actually even send the books?

"What? Random House never responded? Huh. They must have lost the copies. we've had a lot of problems with them doing that. Want us to send more? We'll discount 50% again ..."

#45 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 09:05 PM:

Speaking as someone who works for a Web review zine--you get unsolicited vanity and PA books all the time. You can't give them away. Libraries don't want them, and will suggest the recycling depository.

They are unreadable. I stopped trying after the first 100 or so in less than six months.

#46 ::: Warren Lapine ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 09:06 PM:

Publish America is the reason that we sell books to our writers at cost and show them the invoice from LSI. I want no part of making a profit from writers. These guys make it harder for the rest of us.

#47 ::: Janet Reid ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 09:15 PM:

Let's assume (just for fun) one of those books is actually interesting. Or has potential. Or has a kitten on the cover. Or has something that catches the interest of the person designated to deal with this deluge.

Unless the author has put contact information in or on the book, there's no way to actually reach them.

#48 ::: VCarlson ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 09:26 PM:

I just realized! Jim Macdonald has already instituted the first phase of his Cunning Plan. Since the RH site is a warehouse, the storage problem brought up by Erik Nelson (@355) is already solved!

That, or someone at PA and/or RH has stolen your idea, and you should sue.

#49 ::: Sara J. Henry ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 09:27 PM:

The key words in this letter are "They may do anything they choose with the books." Authors don't realize this almost certainly means "dump them in the recycling bin."

#50 ::: ChinaMatt ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 09:40 PM:

They could send those copies of books my way. I could use them to heat my apartment.

#51 ::: Max M. Power ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 09:54 PM:

I am with Publish America and have learned my lesson well. I was following the advice of a trusted friend. Anyway, yes PA does inflate prices to the point that I won't even buy my own book. I have created my own publishing outlet and the outcome of my sales is all on me. Its all a scam of everyone they "send" these books to. Tom Hanks is about to receive a lot of books as well.

#52 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 09:57 PM:

I expect that Random House's legal staff will be sending an official cyst-and-decease letter to PA immediately, reiterating their stated policy of "no unagented submissions" and demanding that PA stop using RH's name in their promotion. For RH, this is -- at best -- a nuisance. Why should they have to pay for the handling and disposal of PA's paper rubbish? Or deal with the inquiries from authors who've told PA to send their books to RH?

#53 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 11:09 PM:

I asked Patrick whether he'd see Beth Meacham's comment, #29.

"She beat me to it," he said. "I was going to say the same thing."

"Er, how is it that you and Beth both know where the Random House warehouse is located?"

"Because they're all in Maryland, Virginia, or Tennessee. Ours is in Virginia."

I'd somehow missed knowing that. I figure I've made up for it by knowing the exact location of our hardcover bindery.

---

Another thing I know is what's going to happen to those PA copies. Publishing houses know how to deal with superfluous paper. Either the books will get recycled straightaway, or they'll get cycled through the Random House equivalent of the freebie shelves, and then they'll get recycled.

Random House isn't obliged to account for unsolicited books that show up in their offices. But if they were to make a statement, they could point out that those authors haven't entered into a client/agent relationship with Publish America, which (if you're being persnickety about it) means that Publish America can't submit their books to Random House or anyone else, and Random House can't consider them for publication.

#54 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 11:27 PM:

Could Random House put the donated books up for sale? Say, in those remaindered-book bins I see in local supermarkets and other stores? If not, as far as I can see, accepting and handling those books -- even just sending them for recycling -- is a loss for RH.

#55 ::: PixelFish ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2010, 11:28 PM:

Confused about what the PA author is supposed to take away from all this.

Maybe:

A) My publisher is sending my books to another publisher to go "neener neener neener"!

OR

B) My publisher is not a real publisher or why would they be sending my books to Random House, who should in theory be their economic rival.

#56 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 12:00 AM:

PixelFish@55, what the PA author is supposed to take away from this is check stubs and/or credit card receipts... Less to the point, the author is supposed to take away "My publisher handles production of small batches of books, and Now That I'm Famous, they're helping me get into the Big Leagues with a publisher who handles larger print runs! Happy happy joy joy!"

And Random's warehouse has a storage container on their back dock for books that are Awaiting Silent Tristero's Empire.

#57 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 12:40 AM:

I have been reliably informed by one who actually has to deal with unrequested and unwanted POD books (to the point of being told the local mail carrier will not deliver to the office any more)--

The paperbacks burn quite nicely; better than those recycled material "logs," even

#58 ::: mea ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 12:56 AM:

I love reading ML articles about these companies. Keep the spotlight on the shenanigans. So many companies sell products with empty hype and a business model dependent upon lack of critical analysis by the customers. Since I have no relationship with publishing (other than as a reader), my eye is drawn to the companies selling "woo" products while avoiding claims to be a drug or other regulated product. I'm always amazed at the EFFORT that is put into avoiding the law to make a parasitical profit off of other peoples' dreams.

#59 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 01:11 AM:

Darfing go barfing
See Seth Breidbart snarfing
The scamsters are scarfing
Up gullible sorts.

The same types keep trolling
Their scams all logrolling
Financially holing
Deserving of torts.

#60 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 01:20 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @24: Urbandictionary.com begins its definition of "darf" thus: "The most foul word known to mankind."

I thought the worst word in the world was "gunch", which used to be a perfectly good onomatopoeic word popularized in Vaughan Bode's caveman comics back in the 1970's. At least, that's where I first saw it.

#61 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 01:33 AM:

Maybe they could simplify things by submitting the books by e-mail.

#62 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 01:37 AM:

Thank you, Mea. We'll do our best.

#63 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 01:58 AM:

Another alternative to burning the books.

(This is totally going into the moderation queue.)

#64 ::: Mo ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 03:42 AM:

Provided that PublishAmerica actually mails the submissions and doesn't have a wage-slave drive them over in his/her personal vehicle, once Random House has identified the problem they can simply refuse to accept the postal delivery, which will then be shipped back to the sender, on PA's dime.

#65 ::: Kathryn Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 04:14 AM:

Ah laughing...I know it's bad but come on, there is a funny side and you've got to give them credit for 'literary Apartheid'....

#66 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 07:13 AM:

Urbandictionary.com begins its definition of "darf" thus: "The most foul word known to mankind."

Wrong, of course... there is one word that is still beyond the pale. The concept it embodies is so revolting that the publication or broadcast of the word is utterly forbidden in all parts of the galaxy except one, where they don’t know what it means. That word is “Belgium”. And it is only ever used by loose-tongued people like Zaphod Beeblebrox in situations of dire provocation.

#67 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 09:16 AM:

#19--

nice rant, heresiarch, and i particularly admired the clarkian coda.

#68 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 09:24 AM:

@15, @16

"we'll send it to random house!" [they send it to a random house].

those of us past a certain age may remember tv ads for records filled with the current top 40 hits, "all recorded by the original artists!"

[they send you a disc full of lousy covers by a group called "the original artists"]

from proper name to description, from description to proper name.

#69 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 09:33 AM:

[grumpy reviewerly sidenote] "uncorrected" galleys from genuine presses (small or large) usually don't have all that many typos, and those are easily overlooked, but one small-press galley that came in this year -- anthology with a highly respected editor, from a well-known press -- is so badly typeset, I can only assume whoever did the job is some unfortunate suffering from dyslexia. Multiple errors in every sentence, worse than my typing before the second cup of morning coffee! Damn shame, since I was looking forward to the book. [/grumpy reviewerly sidenote]

#70 ::: Marian ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 09:37 AM:

So far, PA had sent emails offering to "donate" copies of authors' books to the authors' employers, the military, Target, Wal-Mart, Stephen King, Oprah, The Today Show, Tom Hanks, Hollywood, local bookstores, Starbucks, local hotels and airports.

Because airports *love* receiving unsolicited packages.

I wonder who could be next. My money's on the White House.

#71 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 09:49 AM:

PA had sent emails offering to "donate" copies of authors' books to the authors' employers, the military, Target, Wal-Mart,

As Blackadder would say, "Ah, yes. Without a doubt, my favourite reading material. Soft, strong, and thoroughly absorbent."

#72 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 09:49 AM:

The "They'll send it to a random house!" comments are reminding me of one of Asimov's Black Widower stories which hinges on a writer saying he'll send a book "To Morrow" which the hapless editor misunderstands as "the next day".

#73 ::: thanate ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 09:53 AM:

abi @63: Lovely! I've always felt bad about altered books, as most of them seem to involve cutting up something that someone else might want, but that would be a perfect source for the raw materials.

#74 ::: Josin ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 10:59 AM:

Well, they've already had a "We'll send your book to:
Oprah, Tom Hanks, Stephenie Meyer, Stephen King, hospitals, Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble, big movie guru of your choice, the troops, etc." Along with a tie-in offer for Haiti.

They seem to kick out one of these offers every few days or so. (It's frequent enough that you'd think more of the PA writers would catch on.) A little bit of research into any of the offered locales would tell them that none of them are open to cold deliveries. At least one author who took them up on this offer was contacted by the bookstore to which she had her books sent and told to come pick the books up because they wouldn't shelve them. Most don't get that courtesy; the books disappear into recycling or the shredder, or maybe (in the case of the library deliveries) get sold for $0.50.

It doesn't much matter what they sell them for anyway, there's no way for the author to get money off the sale.

At least with this one, the initial response was anger from the PA writers and not excitement.

#75 ::: Laura J. Underwood ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 11:07 AM:

Ye Gods. I feel sorry for PA authors who fall for this crap. I hope Random House has Very Large Recycle Bins. ;-)

#76 ::: Laura J. Underwood ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 11:08 AM:

Ye Gods. I feel sorry for PA authors who fall for this crap. I hope Random House has Very Large Recycle Bins. ;-)

#77 ::: --E ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 11:13 AM:

tnh@53: Also, Pennsylvania. (Alas, the state postal abbreviation is ironic in this case.) There's a little enclave of HarperCollins, Scholastic, and a couple others up by Scranton. I wouldn't be surprised if RH had one there, too, since the major mm paperback printer that is owned by Bertelsmann is in that area.

#78 ::: lmashell ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 12:07 PM:

I deal with a darfing problem in my house all the time. My cat just darfed up another hairball this morning.

#79 ::: DaveKuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 12:09 PM:

I've actually had one email sent to me asking why P&E didn't recommend Pennsylvania.

#80 ::: P.N. Elrod ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 12:11 PM:

I'll go for the "pocket the writers' money, don't bother printing or sending the books" option.

There's NO proof that PA has ever sent a single book since they started this.

They've been doing it for months, just the destination changes: Oprah, those serving in the military, Target, Wal-Mart, NBC Today, Stephen King, Tom Hanks, and others have also been named by PA as venues to "donate" books.

The one that made me hurl was when they claimed they'd donate a dollar to Haitian relief efforts for each book the writers bought. (They then "donate" the books to Barnes & Noble.)

Sounds great until you play with the numbers.

For every 144 bucks to the Red Cross, PA would get over 3,000.00. I did a fine rant about it last month.

http://p-n-elrod.livejournal.com/75118.html

They make me sick. I just hope their writers don't fall for it.

Again, NO PROOF that PA sends any of those books as stated.

Perhaps it's one of those "at the publisher's discretion" things like they have in their book contracts, meaning it never happens.

#81 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 12:19 PM:

abi @ 63 -- Reminds me slightly of a high-school math club Christmas party, many years ago, in which I paper-folded some old trade-paperback-sized math journals into "trees". (Each page is given a diagonal fold to tuck the top edge into the spine, then a second diagonal fold to bring the lower corner up towards the spine. Then the book is opened into a 3D figure, a cone base-to-base with a truncated cone, and stood on the truncated surface.)

------     
|    |     |\        |\
|    |     | \       | \
|    |     |  \      |  \
|    |     |   \     |   \
|    |     |----|    |----
------     |----|    |--|/
#82 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 12:29 PM:

From context, "darfing" simply means "slush bombing." Considering the distances involved, I'm wondering if this might involve some sort of trebuchet.

Hm. Donate. The one who donates is a donor. Going to my 2002 edition of Roger's Profanisaurus, I find:

"donor. See benefactor."

"benefactor. n. Of farts and farting, he who supplies it. Also known as the donor."

"beneficiaries. n. Those who 'benefit' from the odour of another's fart. The fartees, as opposed to the farter."

It starts to make sense.

#83 ::: CaoPaux ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 02:53 PM:

P.N. Elrod @80 There is one (1) confirmed delivery: a PAer who took advantage of the "we'll donate to your local bookstore" scheme was subsequently called by the store to come pick up the books.

Ouch.

#84 ::: Cassandra ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 03:07 PM:

PublishAmerica has found a way to make authors pay to get rejected.

I feel really bad for all the people who will never understand that they could have been rejected without an inital $10,000 investment, if only they hadn't gone with PA, but I feel worse for the ones who will figure it out after the fact.

#85 ::: ppint. ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 03:50 PM:

"darfing" could be a tyop for "durfing"...

"to durf" was implicitly created when a certain english fan started publishing the fanzine, Durfed, having thought this wondrous word the correct interpretation of a comment scr^W written by ken slater [a] regarding a book then in stock at fantast (medway)...

when this explanation of his fz's name came to ken's notice, he explained that what he'd actually intended, was "DUMPED".

- quite appropriate, really, don'tcha think?

[a] - ken is no longer with us, alas; but the late-night card games outside inadequately-secure books-rooms will never be forgotten whilst a single participant therein lives...

#86 ::: Tatterbots ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2010, 04:40 PM:

I just read portions of this post to my mother over the phone, and when I got to "darfing" she said, "As in Vader?"

#87 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 05:57 AM:

In Soviet Russia, large respectable publishing houses darf YOU!!!

I'll get my coat.

#88 ::: modallist ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 07:16 AM:

Oh come on, you guys are skiffy types, right? Never heard of Darf Vader?

#89 ::: modallist ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 07:18 AM:

Oops. I don't know how I missed #86. Sorry.

#90 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 09:50 AM:

For some reason my brain, struggling for a possible explanation of "darfing", came up with "defying".

I can find no pathway to get from one to the other, though. A calls B, excited on a bad connection... B scribbles down something and leaves it on the desk of C to type out the next morning... a darf is born?

#91 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 10:02 AM:

@89--

you didn't miss it. it e-vaded you.

wonder whether any of you old-timers remember darfa net. predecessor to the world wide woof.

#92 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 10:09 AM:

kid bitzer @ 91 ...
Er... DARPA ?

#93 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 12:45 PM:

(warnig, ranthood below...)

Er, the ARPAnet never was arpa.net or DARPA.net etc.... It was a LAB EXPERIMENT in internetworking, that escaped the labs and scientist that/who built and played with the original equipment and comlinks (hey Seth, are you around here to expound about the IMPs?) and did the trial and error DEVELOPMENTAL software development.... The problems include that unlike a proper prototype/lab/developmental/etc. system, it didn't STAY in the lab, the public, shyster lawyers, and greedy commercial enterprises all gloomed onto the damned experimental semi-functional (proof of concept and experimentation functional, NOT functional as regards any design or measures built-in to resist depredations by Clueless Wonders, the Greedy (both "legitimate" corporate and sole proprietor businesses, AND shysters/scammers/fraudsters/etc.), the Incompetent, the Inept, and the Malicious. Most researchers are not oriented towards intentional fraud/malice/deceit/enrichment-by-beggaring-or- otherwise-making-life-miserable-for-others... actions and activities, and don't design lab experiments unless the lab experiments are specifically designed to look at "security" for its own sake or for applications to other things to INCLUDE "security" and "resistance" to tampering etc.

Anyway the stupid (and they ARE stupid, half-rate convolutional coding, Viterbi encoding, etc. etc. have "security" and "error detection and correction" and "forward error correction" available in them from the bottom up, designed not only to resist malicious attack, but designed to resist "dropouts" and "interference" and "spoofing" and MIJIing etc. that happens to be from "environmental" causes or noisy comm channels for whatever reasons....) Internet protocols were first, early, non-"robust" things written relatively quickly, FOR A LAB EXPERIMENT investigation!!!!! TCP/IP is NOT "robust"!!! There were/have been lots of better protocols, but since TCP/IP was -there- and in use in the escaping lab experiment, Greshlam's Law didn't even get a chance to apply--the first stuff out there, half-baked and all, took over and locked out "better"...

Oh, and I forgot to mention stuff like "access control" and identity fraud resistance, and such... the protections on the original ancient Bell System were a lot stronger than anything ever "built-in" to the Internet--all the "security" on it is applique, there is no organic security and such on the Internet, for example.

#94 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2010, 01:58 PM:

Shame on you, Publish America - see the Twitter stream which is exploding with this topic!

Oh, ouch. So much sadness. An outpouring of PA authors shilling their books. Occasionally a lone nay-sayer tweet shows up. It's like the PA forums only without having to fake a login.

#95 ::: Ron Sullivan ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 12:15 AM:

This guy has yer altered books right here!

Joel Polowin @ 81: I paper-folded some old trade-paperback-sized math journals into "trees"

When I was a schoolkid (1950s) we did that with Reader's Digests. Sometimes we spraypainted them green or gold.

#96 ::: Hob ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2010, 04:18 PM:

Paula #93: I know there's plenty that's less than ideal about Internet protocols, and I'd like to know more about the early history, but I'm having trouble decoding your rant; could you unpack it a little? What on earth do "shyster lawyers" have to do with TCP/IP catching on?

#97 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 10:10 AM:

Hob@96: I think Paula is referring to Canter and Siegel, the lawyers who sent the first commercial spam onto USENET. (This was when I first realized that commercial speech was even allowed on the internet.) Her point, if I read her correctly, is that the network infrastructure we have now was designed to withstand noise, not malice.

#98 ::: Stuart ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 10:58 AM:

Hmmm. It is inappropriate to compare the security of a packet switched network with a circuit switched network. They constitute two very different sets of problems.

That said, the security of the analog phone network was remarkably low. Toll fraud, the big thorn in mother Bell's side, was facilitated by the fact that the choice had been made to transmit the call progress tones on the voice signal lines. This meant that with $20.00 worth of parts from Radio Shack you could build a blue box and steal long distance calls to your heart's content.

I attended the University of Utah starting in October of 1973. They were the fourth node on the ARPA net and a major topic of the DARPA funded research was voice coding schemes. This research was pursued with the goal of increasing the security of military voice lines. The military operated on the assumption that any voice line was already tapped.

As for TCP/IP, you can build any level of security and verification on top of it that you want. I am continually amazed after watching this all grow from a network connecting a few universities to a world spanning network. Businesses bought and used computers and operating systems that failed to have a level of security that would have been considered merely adequate in 1970. I call the time wasted and the money lost: the Microsoft tax.

#99 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2010, 12:56 PM:

wow--i feel bad for having shunted the thread onto this siding.

especially given that i only wanted to make a pun on "darfing" + darpa.

which was a distinctly sub par onomasia to begin with.

#102 ::: jennie r strader ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2010, 04:00 PM:

i had my book published by Publish America and they continue to screw me over. they promised to market my book, and have not done so. i have not seen a single dime. i guess its my fault for not doing my research. i wont make the same mistake again.

#103 ::: [спам удален] ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 12:11 PM:

[posted from 79.172.98.55]

#104 ::: Summer Storms sees probable spam ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 12:12 PM:

Mmmm. Russian mystery meat.

#105 ::: Xopher agrees with Summer on Vitamin B spam ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 12:15 PM:

Google Translate says "Vitamin B in Badakhshan Tianshi."

#106 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 12:17 PM:

Not any more, it doesn't. Though you'll note I've been by Google Translate myself there.

#107 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 12:29 PM:

Heh. Sharp abi is sharp.

#108 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 01:48 PM:

спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам спам, wonderful спам

#109 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 03:23 PM:

Ну, есть яйца и грудинку, колбасу и бекон яйцо; яйцо и спама; яйца бекон и спама; колбасы яйца бекон и спама; колбаса спам беконом и спама; яйцо спам спам спам беконом и спама; спам спам спам колбаса бекон томатнМго спам и спам ... или Омар Термидор Кревет с Морней соусом таким образом Провансаль с луком-шалот и баклажаны гарнир с трюфельным паштетом, бренди и с жареным яйцом сверху и спама.

#110 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 03:35 PM:

My Russian Lit teacher in high school taught us Russian swear words to keep us interested. These days, he'd probably be fired for it if anyone snitched.

#111 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 04:50 PM:

он не Мессия—а он очень непослушный мальчик!

#112 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 05:03 PM:

Вы знаете я люблю вас ребята, правда?

#113 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 05:24 PM:

Да, аби, мы знаем. А еще мы любим вас.

I learned this in college:

Я не знаю, я не знаю,
ничего, ничего
ничего не знаю, ничего не знаю
хорошо, хорошо.

(To the tune of "Frere Jacques.")

#114 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 05:37 PM:

What are people saying here? I don't know many Russian words besides спам.

#115 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 05:39 PM:

Erik @116:
don't know many Russian words besides спам.

Neither do I. But I know the URL of something that does.

#116 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 05:46 PM:

It actually translates coherently. Scary.

#117 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 05:59 PM:

Xopher, 115: I learned the third line as "ya ne ponemayu." ("I don't understand.") I think my last line was different, too, but I don't remember enough to reconstruct it.

#118 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 06:45 PM:

Xopher@115, TexAnne@119: I think jingles like these are particularly useful for Russian since they're one of the few reliable ways of keeping track of where the damned stresses fall (I find the mobile stress on nouns an absolute nightmare...)

Is "Monty Python in Russian" geekier than "Star Wars as an Icelandic Saga"? There ought to be some kind of offical scale for such things.

#119 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 11:06 PM:

Eric@118, I'd been expecting it to translate fairly cleanly, because I'd assumed it had been translated from English into Russian by the same method, except for the song, but since Xopher had taken Russian in college, perhaps he was doing it the old-fashioned way.

Steve@120, I'd rate "Star Wars as an Icelandic Saga" as one of the more spectacularly geeky things I've seen in a while - it worked on a wide range of different layers. (On the other hand, I found bits of it hard to follow precisely, having not gotten around to watching movies 2 and 3 :-)

#120 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2010, 11:35 PM:

I used a mixed technique for the song. I don't have a good way of generating Cyrillic on my computer, so I used Google Translate to generate words with the letters I needed. Actually for some reason it didn't tranliterate Crevette a Mornay either, so I had to fill that in by the same method.

#121 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 12:27 AM:

jennie @ 104 no, it's not your fault. It's common for people of good will to misunderstand one another, and for that reason we have contracts. But when one person, or entity, deliberately sets out to lie, cheat and steal, the fault does not lie with the person being cheated, stolen from or lied to.

Just as money should always flow toward the author, blame always settles on the wrongdoer. It'd be easier on us all if we could all count on seeing the wolf under the sheepskin every single time, but the fact remains that where I see a wolf, a hundred others will see a sheep, and vice versa.

It doesn't absolve us from doing our research, from paying attention, but it doesn't make us responsible for the lying-cheating-stealing part.

#122 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 12:49 AM:

TexAnne:

I think I learned the same version as you did. Vsyo radno, vsyo radno was the last line -- "it doesn't matter", or "it's all the same".

#123 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 12:50 AM:

Xopher: if you'd told Google that crevettes sauce Mornay was French, you'd have got:

Креветки Mornay соусом

So I reckon it just didn't recognize 'crevettes' as an English word. Reasonably enough...

(I'm amused that Russian lobsters go by Omar, incidentally)

#124 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 12:53 AM:

Actually, checking with teh Google, that must have been все равно, so transliterated as Vsyo ravno

#125 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2010, 12:59 AM:

#96 John
TCP/IP is neither malice nor noise resistant. The "native" mechanism is to request retransmission if there are dropouts. This stinks for anything that needs streaming.... there are reasons why UDP exists. But UDP stinks, too, for reliablity purposes, packets that drop out, tough, UDP last time I was dealing with it, was pure one way delivery, if packets drop, eh....

The lawyers I categorize as noise, not malice.... malice includes denial of service attacks, fraudulent/forged headers, forged email origination addresses, computer virus transmission, etc. Most spam is noise....

The infrastructure protocols don't have any true intrinsic protection/deterrence against forging origination, destination, and transmission path protection. They don't have provisions intrinsically for noticing and squelching denial of service attacks and distributing false payloads--e.g., sending a computer virus which is an executable masquerading as some other type of file....

Sensible encoding data for transmission protocols include capabilities that involve the decoding systems doing multiple integrity checks on the payload contents--and having the payload protected against en route interception and intrusion and distortin. Sensible encoding protocols and include internal redundancy so that lost packets doesn't cause actual data loss until a substantial number of packets get losts.

As for the Bell system, analog phones first went into commercial use decades because an MIT student cracked the tone code--and he was immediately hired by Bell Labs. Alexander Graham Bell's telephone system was state of the art for 1880--long, long, LONG before transistors, solid state electronics, digital technology, digital signal processing.... Twenty years or so ago, Melvin Stone, a cousin who's been part of MIT's radar research staff since the days of the MIT Radiation Lab "in a rat-infested wharf on the Boston waterfront" said to me "If you told me 25 years ago what we'd be doing today in radar technology, I would have told you it's impossible. And it is impossible, with analog electronics. The difference is digital electronics [in the form of digital computers] and digital signal processing."

Yes, the 3kHz analog phone line tech is trivial stuff today to muck around, and what's still analog in the US is an ever-shrinking percentage of the lines out out of central switches to homes and businesses (the switches are digital, and connect to the analog lines by cheapass 8 kHz 13 bits compressed to 8 bit telephony codecs, each line connected in via one codec) --but what do you expect of technology based on the state of the art when there wasn't even analog television technology, when radio broadcast was in the future, years before the first airplane flight even, the first airplanes made of wood and fabric and non-electronic....

#126 ::: Stuart ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2010, 01:41 PM:

Paula,

You don't seem to have any awareness of the OSI Seven Layer Model. Much of what you are complaining about involves other layers of the protocol stack than TCP (Transport Layer) and IP (Network Layer), or involve defects in operating systems.

In the 2001 to 2003 timeframe I worked for the Pro Systems Division of a large American audio company. I designed the architecture for a professional audio networking system. One of the approaches I considered was whether it made sense to use TCP/IP. I concluded that it did not, it could be made to work, but it was too much like trying to teach a pig to sing, and I chose IEEE1394b instead.

I later (2005-2006) worked for a startup that had developed a TCP/IP based audio networking system. It gave me a chance to see what a bad idea it really was. After burning through $40,000,000 of venture capital they were acquired in November for $2,000,000. Not only were they trying to teach the pig to sing, they had made a number of bad choices in the hardware design that tilted the cost equation against them.

Yes, the problem that all security technologies face is that the opponent is in the future, and has access to cheaper, more abundant computing power. That is the reason for not coding the whole thing as one layer. It allows different aspects to be tweaked without having to do a complete redesign.

#127 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2010, 11:09 AM:

the problem that all security technologies face is that the opponent is in the future, and has access to cheaper, more abundant computing power.

That is an amazingly elegant, simple explanation. You have just saved me hours of future explaining on this subject. I understood the concept, but couldn't explain it simply.

Thank you.

#128 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2010, 06:44 PM:

#128 Stuart
I consider the OSI transport model an wrong-headed misguided crock of shit.... start with crap, and the result is no going to be decent....

Have you ever worked with e.g. Viterbi encoding or half-rate convolutional coding?

#129 ::: Jody ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2010, 10:41 PM:

Apparently the Random House scam didn't pan out. So PublishAmerica is now targeting Bertelsmann in Frankfurt, Germany, the parent company of Random House.

Here's a link to a Facebook entry posted by a PublishAmerica author.

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=10335565151

#130 ::: mdmarkets ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2010, 08:17 PM:

deleted spam

IPA: 79.172.121.102

#131 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2010, 10:01 PM:

Not any more.

Thank you, David.

#132 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2010, 03:31 PM:

PA's latest letter to their authors:

Dear Author:

Quick update on next month's Book Expo America:

PublishAmerica's booth will be located close to both Publishers Weekly and Random House. Google is also only steps away, as is Disney. Really, you want those folks and everyone else who is somebody in the publishing industry to notice your book.


***We are now also making a third-row display possible for books
that we will showcase in New York.


Here's how:
If you want a few copies of your books on hand anyway, go to www.publishamerica.net, find your book, click on it, then add to cart, indicate quantity, and use this coupon: Expo40. Then click Recalculate and finish the transaction. Minimum order volume is only 7 copies, and we'll give you a 40 pct discount. Your use of the Expo40 coupon automatically puts your book on display at the BEA show.
(Remember: Titles that sell 19 or more copies will receive front row display. Between 12 and 19 copies gets you in the second row. See Monday's email for details, different coupon.)


Full-color and hardcovers are included. Offer expires this weekend on Sunday night.

Thank you,
PublishAmerica Author Support Team

PS: to understand the importance of Book Expo America, go to www.bookexpoamerica.com.

#133 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2010, 02:57 PM:

From today's mailbag:

===================

Dear Author:

Let's ask bestselling author John Grisham to endorse your book.

We are scheduling to actually meet the bestselling and movie-making author during the Book Expo America in New York later this month. And we are going to make sure that we bring your book to John Grisham's attention. We will ask for his endorsement of your book.

Celebrity endorsements are printed on a book's back cover, and advertised bright and clear on the front cover.


Here's how we do it:
Go to www.publishamerica.net, find your book, click on it, then add to cart, indicate quantity, and use this coupon: JohnDiscount. Then click Recalculate and finish the transaction. Minimum volume is only 2 copies.


In the Ordering Instructions field, write "John Grisham". Your order
of only 2 or more copies will ensure that we ask John Grisham to read
and endorse your book.


Hurry! Offer expires this Wednesday. Full-color books and hardcovers are included!

Thank you,
PublishAmerica Author Support Team

#134 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2010, 01:57 PM:

Heads up for our friends who are going to the BEA:

Dear Author:

This is the week! This is when PublishAmerica is rubbing shoulders in New York with the who-is-who in the publishing world! And then some.

You want to leave a note for the big publishers, or for these best-selling folks?

How about this for participating celebs: Jon Stewart, Condoleezza Rice, Barbra Streisand (the keynote event!), James Patterson, R.L. Stine, Lemony Snicket, Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson (in hot water this week!), Mika Brzezinski, soccer star Pele, Baker&Taylor's Larry Bennett, Barnes&Noble's Patricia Arancibia, John Grisham, Mary Higgins Clark, Pat Conroy, Tess Gerritsen, Kathy Lee Gifford, Patti LuPone, and many more.

They're all coming to the Book Expo America in New York this week, where PublishAmerica has two booths and where thousands are expected to come and see what we have to show.

Talk to them! Write them a note, and we will post it prominently at our booths at the Expo, starting as early as tomorrow. Be sure to include your e-mail address so that someone can respond to you if they want.

Here's how we do it:
Go to www.publishamerica.net, use this coupon: Bestseller50. Minimum order volume is 4 copies.

In the Ordering Instructions field, write your message. You can write a a general note, or something to someone in particular. Your order of 4 or more copies will ensure that we'll post it for everyone at the Expo to see. Our booths are located near Publishers Weekly and the Random House, Disney, Scholastic, and Simon and Schuster meeting rooms.

Offer expires Wednesday. Full-color books and hardcovers are included!

Thank you,
PublishAmerica Bookstore

#135 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2010, 05:12 PM:

Now heads-up for our friends at Barnes & Noble: You're about to get an award.

#136 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2010, 05:42 PM:

Just in case our friends at Barnes & Noble didn't know, PublishAmerica has been pretty free in throwing their name around:

03AUG10:

Dear author:


Barnes and Noble just called in this morning to stock multiple copies of multiple book titles.


If you want your book considered for stocking by Barnes and Noble, we will let those responsible for the purchase order know.


Softcovers only.


Go to www.publishamerica.net, find your softcover, use this discount coupon: B&N55, which gives you a discount that our industry typically reserves for bookstores only: 55 pct. Must order at least 4 copies. Use the coupon on your softcover only. All non-softcover orders under this coupon will not be processed, so you'd be wasting your money if you tried.
Your use of the B&N55 coupon will automatically cause your book to be recommended for stocking.
Thank you!

--PublishAmerica Bookstore


11AUG10:

Dear author:


The news from Barnes and Noble is getting better and better. We just got off the phone with a director in their headquarters.


Now they want your book and make it available as a Barnes and Noble e-book this summer.


Here's the beauty of Barnes and Noble: they don't just passively put an e-book on the internet. They actively carry it in each of their many bookstores. What this means is that your e-book will be stocked and immediately available in every single Barnes and Noble store.


They are totally relying for their future profitability on e-book related sales. Barnes and Noble has invested enormous amounts in upgrading its digital world, and they report top sales for their Nook e-reader. If you have visited a Barnes and Noble store lately, you must have seen their Nook corner. PublishAmerica is willing to partner with them on e-books as long as they charge no fee.


Do you want your book made available as a Barnes and Noble e-book, both online and in their bookstores? Barnes and Noble will carry your book in all of their many hundreds of superstores.


To qualify, go to www.publishamerica.net, find your softcover, use this discount coupon: EBarnes40 . Minimum order volume is 4 copies. Use the coupon on your softcover only. All non-softcover orders under the EBarnes40 coupon will not be processed, so you'll be losing your money if you try.
We'll see you in a Barnes and Noble store near you!

--PublishAmerica Author Support Team

Note: That 4 copies of the "softcover" (as opposed to the "PAperback" (sic)) can run $120 and up.

#137 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2010, 01:27 PM:

Today's offer:

Dear author:

Follow-up for those of you who couldn't or wouldn't activate their Barnes and Noble e-book yesterday. There is now also a low-barrier activation.

Remember, after we talked to Barnes and Noble director Marcella Smith who was all excited, in her own words: "about the progress we're making on getting access through [wholesaler] Baker and Taylor to the PublishAmerica titles for our [Barnes and Noble's] customers", this was the big news:

They want your book and make it available as a Barnes and Noble e-book this summer.

Barnes and Noble actively carries its e-books not only online but in each of their many hundreds of bookstores. What this means is that your e-book will be stocked and immediately available in every single Barnes and Noble store. PublishAmerica has said that it is willing to partner with them on e-books as long as they charge no fee.
Here's the low-barrier option: go to www.publishamerica.net, find your softcover, use this discount coupon: EBarnes25. Minimum order volume is only 2 copies. Use the coupon on your softcover only. All non-softcover orders under any EBarnes coupon will not be processed, so you'll be losing your money if you try. The EBarnes40 coupon remains valid also. It gives you the better discount, and priority conversion as soon as Barnes and Noble opens their fee-free program this summer; minimum volume is 4 copies.

We'll see you in a Barnes and Noble store near you!
--PublishAmerica Author Support Team

#138 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2010, 04:10 PM:

I'm completely failing to understand what they're proposing. If B&N were (hypothetically) to want to make book X available as an e-book, why would the author need to order copies to make it happen?

#139 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2010, 09:10 PM:

The author needs to order copies from PublishAmerica because that's how PublishAmerica makes its money: By selling overpriced copies of their own books back to their authors.

I'm certain in my heart that what's going on is that those authors who take the bait will have the digital files of their books uploaded to the PubIt! program that B&N is kicking off.

#140 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2010, 09:17 PM:

Good thing I hit "reload" before posting a reply to Joel Polowin. Jim had already posted his own answer: same information, but more concisely written.

#141 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2010, 09:58 PM:

The author needs to order copies from PublishAmerica because that's how PublishAmerica makes its money: By selling overpriced copies of their own books back to their authors.

Yes, I understand that. What I don't understand is the justification that PA gives -- do they provide any explanation of why B&N wanting to do an e-book would involve the author having to buy copies? Or is it a straight "if you want us to provide this additional service, you will need to buy at least [n] more copies of your book"?

#142 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2010, 11:24 PM:

Joel, this is just one more in a lengthy series of special offers that have all required that the authors buy x copies of their own book. Others have included sending your book to Random House, sending your book to the New York Times Book Review, sending your book to Tom Hanks, sending your book to Wal*Mart, sending your book to Oprah, getting an autographed copy of a Nora Roberts novel, and so endlessly on.

The poor n00bs who've gone with PublishAmerica seem to think that this is all Standard Publishing Practice, and a Really Good Deal for them.

#143 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2010, 01:39 PM:

Yesterday's offer from PublishAmerica to its authors:

Dear author:

Three days only.

Let's promote your book at one of the AARP's best attended events, Orlando @50+. If you are a Baby Boomer, this is your crowd!

PublishAmerica is scheduling to be there as the event kicks off September 30. If you are an AARP member, you undoubtedly know about this high-energy phenomenon that attracts tens of thousands. Crosby, Stills and Nash and B.B. King will entertain them, as will Whoopie Goldberg and Larry King.

We plan on showcasing your book at this major 3-day AARP event.

Orlando @50+ is an AARP event for Main Street folks and celebrities alike. For many of you, this is your core audience! Also, if the AARP Magazine takes in interest in your book, well, the sky is the limit! With 40 million or so members age 50 and over, the AARP is one of America's largest membership organizations.

Secure your book's spot at our presentation. Go to www.publishamerica.net, find your softcover, use this discount coupon: AARP40. Minimum order volume is 4 copies; one will go to the AARP event, the others will be shipped to you. Use the coupon on your softcover only. All non-softcover orders under the AARP coupons will not be processed, so you'll be losing your money if you try. Use AARP50 for orders of 9 or more copies, and you'll secure front row display.

Many authors will be present, so there will also be live book signings going on. You can choose to participate from a distance. You have the option to submit signed copies of your book. In the Ordering Instructions box write "Book signing" if you also want your books to participate in our virtual book signing, and return your signed copies asap so that we can ship them to Florida in time. Only copies purchased under the AARP coupons qualify.

Offer expires Monday night.

We'll see your book at the AARP in Orlando next month!
--PublishAmerica Author Support Team

#144 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2010, 06:29 AM:

The latest, from the 16th:

Dear author:

Are you sometimes thinking about an overhaul of your book? Think it can use some changes, or even many changes, but it needs a fresh pair of eyes to pull it off?

Use a PublishAmerica ghostwriter.

Our veteran group of PublishAmerica ghostwriters have been editing, changing, improving thousands of books for many years. They often report that their "fingers are itching" to rewrite this or that portion of the books they were working on. They have just recently been reassigned from our text department to our ghostwriting team.

Ghostwriters may touch a plot or storyline, improve characters and strengthen dialogue, change the language, elevate the book to a new level. They rewrite anywhere between some and all of the book. They will work with you, ask for your input. Ghostwriters waive all rights: the book's copyright remains exclusively yours. Once they are done, you can choose to use some or all of their changes. Your ghostwriter will take care of submitting the rewritten book file to our printers, but only after your final approval. Oh, and of course we will send you some copies of the brand new version of your book, for free.

Ghostwriters make you a better writer. They stay anonymous. You will still receive all the credit for your improved book!

Go to http://www.publishamerica.net/product95963.html and instruct us to assign a ghostwriter to your book. In the Ordering Instructions box, write the title of your book. You will be contacted by your ghostwriter within 48 business hours. Benefit from our low introductory price of $499 before it increases to $699. You must choose a shipping option to activate the service. First come, first serve.

Thank you,
--PublishAmerica Author Support Team.

#145 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2010, 10:18 AM:

How many deceptive business practice lawsuits have those shysters lost so far, and why are they still in business.... ?

#146 ::: Mike Tatroe ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2010, 12:24 PM:

Spotted this on fark and immediately thought of Jim MacDonald. Glowing review of Publish America by a self described S.F. author and staff writer for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. I suspect some of the facts in the article are...inaccurate.

"Self-publishing is hot trend in book world."
http://bit.ly/cr67sM

Comments are full of P.A.==SCAM with related URLs.

#147 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2010, 01:39 PM:

James D. Macdonald @#146: (Excerpted from the "offer" from P.A. that you reproduced) All non-softcover orders under the AARP coupons will not be processed, so you'll be losing your money if you try.

This reads to me like if one were to order non-softcover books, they'd take your money non-refundably and not print anything nor follow through on the "offer". It fits the pattern, but seems somehow even more wrong...

#148 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2010, 04:31 PM:

Get paid for your writing! Become a PA ghostwriter!

#149 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2010, 05:07 PM:

cajunfj40 (150): They might mean that you'd get your books but not get in on the special-offer-of-the-dayTM. But I wouldn't bet that your interpretation is wrong.

#150 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2010, 05:33 AM:

From PublishAmerica to their authors, 18 August:

Dear author:

You didn't opt for your book to be available in a $9.95 PAperback version.

Check your softcover price today.

How about instructing us to create your book as a Pocketbook? Because that's what we're introducing today:

the PublishAmerica Pocketbook.

PublishAmerica Pocketbooks look like our softcovers, same cover, same binding, same page count, same paper stock, but they have a different ISBN, and they are designated and marketed as a Pocketbook, which is clearly stated on the book, at a very competitive retail price. Consider them a hybrid between our softcovers and our PAperbacks.

Almost all Pocketbooks* list for only $14.95, permanently.

Most softcovers list for $29.95.

Activate your Pocketbook today. Go to www.publishamerica.net, find your softcover, use this discount coupon: Pocket45. Minimum order volume is 6 copies. Use the coupon on your softcover only. All non-softcover orders under the Pocket45 coupon will not be processed.

The coupon activates the production of your book's brand new Pocketbook version. It will make your $14.95 Pocketbook available to the whole wide world within approx. 24 hours after your order. In the Ordering Instructions box write "Send Pocketbooks", then the Pocketbook version of your book is what you will receive for this order.

PS: you did activate your PAperback? Adding a Pocketbook version is a smart move anyway. Activate it today.

Thank you,
--PublishAmerica Author Support Team
*Only Pocketbooks with high page counts list at a higher price.

I wonder if our good friends at Simon & Schuster (who own the trademark on "Pocket Books") would be interested?

#151 ::: Susie ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2010, 09:01 AM:

Is this the right thread in which to mention an ad that appeared in my Gmail today (above the inbox)?

"Need a Book Publisher? - www.publishamerica.com - Avoid stigma of paying a publisher! We want your book, not your money."

#152 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2010, 11:53 AM:

Q. What does "we want your book, not your money" mean?

A. We want your money.

#153 ::: Leah Miller sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2011, 05:11 AM:

Ugh, spams upon scams. At least my insomnia gives me ample opportunities for spam detection.

#154 ::: Bill Gilliss ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2012, 12:54 PM:

I love the idea that the books are going to "the nation’s most notorious reviewers." Gives you great confidence in PA's copy-editing strengths.

#155 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 14, 2012, 04:09 PM:

I just now noticed this:

Their offer boils down to "If you buy ten books at 50% off we will send you five books!"

Woah, Nelly, that's brazen.

#156 ::: Lee sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2014, 02:02 AM:

Porn spam @156.

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