Is Webster’s Digital Services The New Hephaestus Books?

You may remember my piece on Hephaestus Books, the “publisher” who automatically packages up free digital content (like Wikipedia articles) and slaps them together as a Print on Demand book with a deceptive title available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Well it appears that a company called Webster’s Digital Service is doing the same thing. Here’s a volume on Octavia Butler that appears to be put together the same way, though the title doesn’t look quite as misleading as those Hephaestus Books used. The first line of the description reads “Please note that the content of this book primarily consists of articles available from Wikipedia or other free sources online.”

The “author,” one “Elizabeth Dummel,” appears to be quite the busy bee, being listed as the author of no less than 907 books on Amazon, including this one on Jo Walton. I wonder if she know about it. I suspect not. I’ll send her email after I post this.

I wonder just how many other content scrapers are assembling such books?

Like Hephaestus Books, these books are complete ripoffs, but not technically illegal. As always, let the buyer beware.

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6 Responses to “Is Webster’s Digital Services The New Hephaestus Books?”

  1. svillain says:

    There are a lot of “publishers” that packaged (mostly) public domain books but routinely create pirate editions of books by folks (like Link, Doctorow) with CC-licensed books. I have a whole folder of “hey! you’re being ripped off again!” emails to Gavin Grant at SBP.


  2. Diane says:

    I too have been duped by this dubious publication method- I bought ‘The essential writer’s guide: spotlight on Irving Stone… (the title rambles on) which purports to have been written ‘from high quality wikipedia articles’. What a disgrace to the publishing business.

  3. Jackie Howlett says:

    Check out the ‘Countries of the World’ series by Tomas Clancy, published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. He doesn’t even edit out the links (‘click here’ type) when he copies websites.

  4. This seems to be one of theirs too: The Aesthetic Variable: Defining the Contemporary Art Movement of the 1990s (Cynical Realism, Bioart, Internet Art, Massurrealism, Maximalism, (Paperback)
    Author: Beatriz Scaglia

  5. Chris M. says:

    This outfit is also attempting to sell a book about Joe R. Lansdale for $21 on Ebay. Joe is less than thrilled, but seems powerless to stop it.

  6. David Mitchell says:

    Where is Webster’s Digital Services located?

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