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If you're buying a Paper Book, check the publisher carefully - the General Books LLC version is total rubbish
on August 26, 2010
Perhaps unfortunately, Amazon associates reviews for a book with many of the different versions of the book available. When you're looking to buy a copy of "The Works of Edgar Allan Poe Volume 1", check the edition and publisher carefully.
The version of "The Works of Edgar Allan Poe Volume 1" published by General Books LLC is a poor quality, automated reproduction with no index, no illustrations and quite a number of typos. The one star review applies to this edition only. Note that the poor quality comment does NOT apply to the Kindle edition (different publisher) or to Nabu Press / Dodo Press, who have reprinted Facsimile Versions rather than the OCR Scan that General Books LLC uses.
To quote a few specifics from the General Books LLC web site:
"We created your book using OCR software that includes an automated spell check. Our OCR software is 99 percent accurate if the book is in good condition. However, with up to 3,500 characters per page, even one percent can be an annoying number of typos....
After we re-typeset and designed your book, the page numbers change so the old index and table of contents no longer work. Therefore, we usually remove them. Since many of our books only sell a couple of copies, manually creating a new index and table of contents could add more than a hundred dollars to the cover price....
Our OCR software can't distinguish between an illustration and a smudge or library stamp so it ignores everything except type. We would really like to manually scan and add the illustrations. But many of our books only sell a couple of copies....
We created your book using a robot who turned and photographed each page. Our robot is 99 percent accurate. But sometimes two pages stick together. And sometimes a page may even be missing from our copy of the book. We would really like to manually scan each page and buy multiple copies of each original. But many of our books only sell a couple of copies....."
The owners of General Books LLC, VDM Publishing, are flooding Amazon with these low quality publications (450,000 listed under General Books LLC) and, unfortunately, many of them have the reviews associated with the original or with better quality imprints associated with them. While the price is at least reasonable, the product description is totally misleading for the buyer that's not aware of this publisher.
IMHO this is unethical marketing.
Jason - in reponse to your comment (sorry, Amazon has never restored my ability to Comment and hasn't replied to my requests so I've given up on that one): check the General Books LLC website - it's the same wording as Books LLC / LLC Books and if you recall some of the early Alphascript Product Descriptions, they talked about the "Million Books Club" thing and "free content update" - seems far to close to be a coincidence. The General Books LLC / Books LLC websites contain absolutely NO info about the Publisher and I haven't been able to ttack ANYTHING on them down. Right now, I'm working the the assumption that, based on the modus operandi and the wording used, it's VDM Publishing, or at least the same people.
And to J. Pendris, thx for the kind words. However, you may wish to pay a little more attention to detail before launching insults at people. The PAPER version from General Books LLC, which is what my review was about, costs real money. The Kindle version's are from different publishers. The paperback reprints are from 2 different publishers, General Books LLC and Nabu Press (another Print on Demand Publisher) and the Hardback reprint is from yet another Publisher (Benediction Classics). It's all in the details with these reprints.
Re the comment from Ruth French: thanks for pointing out the differences with Benediction Books. There ARE many ethical POD Publishers out there doing an excellent job of making older books available to the book buying public. I should add that my general rule of thumb for these Print on Demand publishers is to take a look at the cover - if it's a good quality illustration that reflects the content, there's a table of contents, and when you do the Look Inside thing there's no disclaimer saying you're looking at another book, and they've used facsimile reproduction technology (rather than OCR), it's usually a pretty safe bet. Conversely, if any of these are missing, you're taking a chance on the quality. I've bought more than a few based on my selection criteria above and they've been good quality. General Books LLC however, is a publisher to steer clear of at all costs.
And in general terms, I have to say I think PoD is a great new technology - in addition to helping authors self-publish, it also lets ethical publishers (such as Benediction) get older books reprinted which, because of the often very limited demand, might never have seen the light of day again. I must say, I find myself buying more of these lately, especially obscure historical books such as the The Murmansk Venture or the totally obscure ADVENTURES OF DUNSTERFORCE :)