Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sustainable Energy Pirates

I'm upset to discover that some criminal types have gone to considerable lengths to make and sell fake paperback versions of Sustainable Energy - without the hot air on amazon marketplace. [Photo above shows a pirate copy (left) alongside a genuine paperback copy of the book (right).]

This page shows photographs of an example pirate paperback alongside genuine paperbacks. If you bought SEWTHA from amazon marketplace, please check your copy. If it looks awful, maybe it's a pirate copy. (Some reviewers seemed to think that the genuine book looks awful too!) The genuine books look professionally produced and are on good quality paper. To check whether your book is a pirate, please look at the photos. If anyone has been sold one of these fakes, we urge you please to (a) ask amazon for your money back; (b) complain to amazon about the 'marketplace' criminals. Thank you!


GP Schweinhund said...

OK David, I'll be devil's advocate here. Obviously, it's galling (and wrong, and illegal) that people are making money probably for purely selfish reasons from something they had no part in producing themselves.

But your attitude all along with this project seems to be 'get the message out to as many people as possible.' And you could argue that this development furthers that aim. If you make the publication available freely online, and people are prepared to pay other people for printing and binding the same text, what's your beef?

[I'll stress again- definitely playing devil's advocate here. I wouldn't be at all happy with this in your situation. And of course, it is illegal.]

David MacKay FRS said...

The goal is to get the message out, yes. But these criminals are making a shoddy awful product, which is really nasty to look at - which is bad for the message, because people will buy and be disappointed (and thus stop spreading the word). The criminals are killing off potential interest in the message. One thing that mystifies me is that the criminals are selling copies of an old pre-publication version of the book, which is incomplete and ugly with images falling off the page. If they were mass-producing the real book, I would be a little less upset. But I would still be upset, because I have made a deal with my publisher - he gets the right to publish my book for money, and he put in a lot of work. He needs to get paid.

Milan said...

Sorry about the pirates.

I think it's great that you made the book available online for free. I bought a physical copy because I wanted to read through all of it in detail. Having the free online version lets you link relevant sections for people during online discussions, which has been hugely valuable for discussing sustainable energy on various websites.

Brian O' Hanlon said...

I agree with Milan's point. It is like the google maps. Google maps is a nice little tool, if you quickly what to search the name of a particular street, so that you have it correct for a letter or giving someone directions, or whatever. But Google maps is a very shoddy product in many ways to a physical map that you buy in a store. However, I get lazy to take out the physical map every time I wish to check a street.

A physical map is also like weight and you can carry it with you in your car, your back pack or your bicycle. Google maps doesn't have that advantage. I bought David MacKay's book as a present for someone recently.

For myself, I use the copy I printed on the lazer printer at the university. Why? Because I put one chapter into a plastic sleeve and carry one chapter with me in my backpack every week while I commute. That cuts down on the bulk and weight I have to carry in my backpack. Especially on days I do soccer practice and carry an additional sports bag.

If I was to make one suggestion to publishers, especially ones like Amazon who operate on a different model to more traditional bookstores etc. . . . save me some trouble and allow me to buy a set of loose punched A4s of books, so that I can do what I said. I would be willing to pay the same price for it as the book. Not everyone has access to a good lazer printer, or nows how to use it.