Slate contributor Joseph Stromberg chronicles his trip through “the shadowy, surreal world of an academic book mill.”
The bloggers and academics who’d written these posts had gotten emails virtually identical to mine and wrote about how the company obtained the rights to tens of thousands of theses, dissertations, and other unpublished works for essentially nothing; sold copies of them as books to unsuspecting online buyers (who assumed they were purchasing proofed, edited work); and kept essentially 100 percent of the proceeds. LAP Lambert, I learned, is the print equivalent of a content farm: a clearinghouse for texts that generate tiny amounts of revenue simply by turning up in search and appearing to be legitimate, published works.
So, naturally, I replied to Holmes, telling her I was interested in hearing more.
It’s a marriage of content-scraping and tax-evasion, by the sound of it. Certainly there is evasion of paying royalties. And this:
Some naive academics think publishing will add cachet to their C.V., but they find that having the Lambert name on it is an embarrassment.
Authors in the developing world may be the most easily exploited, thinking that they are being published by a prestigious German house. And like all vanity presses, this one makes some of its money by selling copies to the books’ authors.