6.12.2006

Sue for $1 a typo!! I love it!!

I'm late to the game on this news, but I still think it's hilarious.
You call yourself a publisher, I guess people might think you are one.
Silly them.
Well, until you agree to publish a book from a guy who knows how to file lawsuits.

31 comments:

Jean said...

One of the first things I learned as a writer is "money flows to the author, not the other way around." Seems this guy didn't learn that.

Of course, anyone who pays almost $15,000 for 1,750 copies of his book to be printed needs to be beaten soundly with the clue stick.

Maya said...

I blogged about this on May 23 and May 24. This story hit the news right after Amazon announced its new initiative with BookSurge (the POD company they purchased in April, 2005).

The announcement was about "a new Print-on-Demand (POD) program designed to help book publishers sell lower volume book titles through a more economic supply chain." [Amazon press release]

Translation: Amazon is now offering publishers an inexpensive way to print as few as one copy of an out-of-print title from their list.

Amazon must have been really embarrassed to have this item surface right after their press release.

Sue said...

Wow! Bizarro page!

Anyway, you may love the idea of this lawsuit, but I don't. I have great sympathy for those who are taken in by lofty, yet unreal promises, and sympathy for those who do not get what they contract for, but this guy sounds like nothing more than that pain-in-my-butt kind who lives off lawsuits.

From his comments it sounds like he was expecting to this response from the "publisher", yet, he persisted in using them. Why? Probably because he thought he could make money by scamming them.

These are the people who drive up court costs and waste my time as I'm called to jury duty, not to judge my peers in some criminal case, but to listen to wild-eyed claims of abuse when many times, the only abuse is found in the accuser.

hmm, verification is blank

Anonymous said...

Hey, I think it's fantastic. In fact, I hope the guy did it knowing the "publisher" would ef it up so he could take them down. If they are going to screw over desperate, blue-eyed authors, at least they can have the courtesy to deliver a professional looking largely worthless product.

-C-

Anonymous said...

Anyone who doesn't know they themselves are responsible for every single typo in the book needs to be beaten with a clue stick too. You can expect your publisher/editor to catch all the stuff you shouldn't have put in there in the first place.

And I don't want to hear about conspiracies that that Booksurge purposely puts spelling errors in that didn't exist before. They use the digital file you submit.

Ms. Librarian said...

Did anyone get chills when you realized that the guy doing the suing is a candidate for the state senate of New York? Argh!

Carter said...

This story reminds me of an inmate I knew at a state prison when I was the librarian there. He was trying to get an appeal based upon his own violation of his own 5th Amendment right to remain silent.

Just bizarre.

MommyWithAttitude said...

It's hard to sympathize with this particular author, because he really ought to have known better. (I mean, I'm assuming that being a lawyer he might know how to carefully read a contract.)I guess he missed the "self" part of "self-publishing."

Dick Margulis said...

Koziol was a publicity-seeking blowhard when I lived in the Utica area fifteen years ago and I see he still is. The amazing thing is that he's still alive and kicking. His behavior is consistent with the general principle that people do not get smarter as they get older.

tlh said...

I've been confused about this since I first heard about it. Booksurge's website seems pretty upfront about the fact that it's a self-publisher, and that editing services are extra. I don't see any of the usual scammy hyperbole or "get rich quick" smoke on there either.

If they violated his contract, that's certainly wrong, of course. But I'm just not seeing a scam if the writer chose to have his book printed and distributed through a self-publisher and editing services were stated as 'extra'.

So... since most everyone else seems to consider this a victory against scammers, and at the risk of sounding really clueless, what am I missing?

Feisty said...

Was this guy promised a copy edited manuscript? I'd like to see his contract.

Traditional publishing aside, there are many folks who do not know the ins and outs of the industry. Call them stupid if you want, but it takes a while to learn all this junk about "do this and don't do that". And quite frankly, it kind of tickles me to see someone come flying out of the blue to tackle a giant. I could care less if they call me to jury duty to judge the case. I love watching people go off on tangents. It's pure entertainment and that's the only reason it's in the paper.

Besides, he's a lawyer. Lawyers sue. They only know what they're taught.

Jeff Foster said...

As a "former" Booksurge customer my sympathies go out to the author. Yeah, yeah, yeah, he has control over he digital master. What he does not have control over is the actual production.
I POD'd my book in spring of 05 and my first 250 copies had the cover so violently off center as to make me return ALL of them. Booksurge replaced them, but with the back 4 pages missing! Ugh!
My complaints were answered, but no matter what anyone says the POD process is flawed. No one, repeat no one, does quality control or even looks at the books as they roll off the press.
I had errors yes, were they mine? in many cases no. Line skips, section breaks, broken sentences, missing pages. No of which were on the "master" digital file.
The correctons that were mine were fixed, but only after I had ponied up another $250 on my credit card. I got a credit on my account! Whoopee! How the F am I going to use that? I ended up screaming so hard I all but $50 credited back. Whew!
This all after I had spent the $399 for the best-seller blurb, $299 for marketing materials, $2000 in expenses to go to BEA - which I was assured was the best thing for me to do to promote my book. Luckily there is other stuff to do in NYC.
Needless to say, I have found a local press that will produce my next book for me, in hardcover, at a small premium, but I get much more control. As for the first book, I will write it off - pun intended - to purchasing a masters in POD.

Writer Beware of POD!

Jeff Foster said...

BTW, Booksurge has no contract per se.
I never signed anyting except a check to Visa to pay my bill.

Pepper Smith said...

I have no idea how Booksurge operates, as I've never done business with them. But I do know from what others have said that glitches show up in electronic files when they're sent from machine to machine, and I've seen errors in my own files when passed back and forth that weren't there in the originals. It does seem like this guy should have received a test copy of the book for him to proofread and catch the errors before it went to print. It would be interesting to find out if he got a test copy and didn't bother to read it.

Mad Scientist Matt said...

If he paid for editing, he should have expected something for his money. And even POD printers should have better standards than to print text crooked. If I were hiring a machine shop to make some parts, I wouldn't expect them to check if they would work - the engineering would be my job - but I would expect them to have reasonable quality control standards.

Anonymous said...

"It's created a disparagement upon the author more than the publishing company because it's my name on the product that the people are reading."

If this guy writes the way he talks, I find it hard to imagine how BookSurge could've done anything to make it worse.

Writerious said...

He chose to publish via a vanity publisher. What did he expect?

Still, I hope this gets the whole vanity scam out in the open once again.

bookfraud said...

i think this was a brilliant ploy on the part of mr. koziol. he had a book that three people, all relatives, were going to read, and now he gets all this free pub. and possibly money.

litigation: one great way to make money as an author.

-C- said...

I think the guy is justified for sueing, and winning, just to make me feel better about our poster Jeff Foster. Oh Jeff Jeff Jeff. BEA?

These friggin vanity presses are as bad as any penis enlargement or spray on hair or cellulite cream scam artists out there. The LEAST they can do is make sure the books that will never sell look professional. Because if by chance Somebody Important does take a look at your book, it would be nice if page 3 wasn't missing.

virginia said...

I'm dealing with typos right now. It's hard enough to get a legit publisher to make corrections! Maybe I should bribe the copy editor...

Katharine said...

Virginia, not all typos are the copyeditor's fault. (Full disclosure: I am a freelance copyeditor who worked in-house for publishers for years.) Sometimes the typesetter (who handles the ms. after copyediting has been done) introduces typos. It's the proofreader's job to catch those. Bribing your copyeditor won't help. (And yes, some of us in the industry spell it "copyeditor" and others spell it "copy editor.")

Termagant 2 said...

Pepper's right. I'm checking galleys right now from a small press (not self-pubber or vanity press), and there are quite a few typos, line skawapities, and the like, that weren't in my original file. I think something cyber-happens when you morph a Word document into an Adobe document.

That said, my pub sent me galleys. Do Booksurge and publishers of that ilk not send the author galleys to check? If not, SCAM, say I.

T2

Skylar said...

It sounds rather like he intentionally set out to sue in the first place, even before he published. (Can you tell I don't trust trial lawyers?) Unless he purchased an editing package (and the article didn't say he did), then any typos are likely his own. The article said he "self-published" the book. So why isn't he suing himself?

Mark said...

The typos could be some of his some of theirs. Self-publishing isn't what this is. It's pure vanity. The history is the companies add mistakes as fast as the self-editor takes them out and resubmits.

Katharine said...

There’s an update on the story here:

“Koziol’s complaint claims Booksurge outsourced the editing of his book to an editor in India and that a series of manuscripts were returned riddled with grammar, spelling and content errors that allegedly were never corrected.”

Publishers, especially medical publishers, are increasingly outsourcing copyediting, typesetting, and proofreading to India, where labor costs are much lower. There was a discussion of this just in the last week on the e-mail list of the World Association of Medical Editors, of which I am a member. If you don’t like the quality of the copyediting when your pub returns the ms. for your review, or you don’t like what you see when you get page proofs for review, ask if any of the work on your book has been outsourced—and complain.

virginia said...

katherine,

You're right, of course. I'm sorry for blaming the copy editor--it's been through five people since her. I'm just frustrated. Must be the intern's fault.

Jeff Foster said...

OK, With Booksurge you get one, yes one proof. Oh Joy! Mine looked great it had all the pages and everything. Silly me, I thougth I would get somethign that looked just like it. Why would I think not.

Anyway, yeah, five grand and trip to BEA later, never again. I did come out of there with about 80 books. My wife and daughter went too. So all was not lost. Never again, POD or BEA but once was an experience.

Lydia said...

I've had a typesetter who must have been banging the keyboard with his elbows. Penguin contracts it out, sadly, so I couldn't put that typesetter on my "do not come within 200 years of my ms" list as I did one copy editor who didn't understand correct comma usage.

Anonymous said...

I had posted this in another forum, and I was asked to repost it here. I apologize if this repeats anything that people have already said.

I do editing for BookSurge, and while I am in no way speaking in any kind of official capacity, I'd like to shed a little light on the POD process. I haven't spoken to anyone at the company about this, and all I know is what I read in the article.

BookSurge only provides editing services if you pay for them. It is completely a self-publishing company. They will print anything you give them, and they make no claims to check it for errors. If this guy didn't pay for editing, then he has no case. And if he did pay for editing, BookSurge will go back and correct any mistakes free of charge if the author finds problems in the manuscript before printing. All editing is done with Track Changes, and it is made very clear that the author has the final say on what changes stay or go.

Considering the technology involved, it is very unlikely that changes were made to the manuscript in production.

Also, this part about 1,000 copies makes no sense either. The very basis of print on demand technology is that the books are printed...on demand. You pay an initial fee, and then the company will print a book each time one is sold, no matter how many are sold. You get a royalty off each one, and the company takes some money. You're not paying for a set number of copies.

Regardless, I am very curious to see what happens.

Anonymous said...

In response to the previous post from the Booksurge editor-- while I am not slamming the co. completely, and I agree that the above-mentioned lawsuit seems suspect, I will nonetheless point out that some small presses use Booksurge as a PRINTER (rather than as the vanity-PUBLISHER), and do in fact order bulk copies at once. And I know firsthand, as I am associated with such a small press and know others with the same press, that there have been problems with production, delivery time, and payment of royalties. In defense of Booksurge, in the case of the production problems that I know of, the situation was corrected in due course. However, I know for a fact that my own book has sold copies through Amazon, which was even initially reflected in the 'My Sales'/'Revenue' section of the Booksurge website, before this feature was summarily discontinued (why, I wonder?)-- yet the latest royalty payments to the publisher claimed no sales of this book. Perhaps there is some explanation-- the book has been published for less that one year-- does it take a year before the first royalties are paid on a book? If so, no one from the publisher seems to be able to get an answer from the Booksurge reps so far. It just seems like Booksurge is potentially ruining what could be a really good idea with what is maybe just a series of oversights, but in the worst case scenario--?? I hope the co. will see fit to stay on the right course, and treat its customers with a tiny bit more respect, and stop making things more difficult than they need to be.

Anonymous said...

Some interesting comments there. A snippet for you - Booksurge has refused to pay its Australian publishers and authors for the last six months! (Maybe they're trying to save their pennies for the lawsuit - LOL).