View 699 Wednesday, November 02, 2011


First order of business is personal/professional:

You might see whether they’re scamming you, too


Harry Erwin

A quick excursion to Carolyn Cherryh’s web site reveals that there’s a real problem. Carolyn says

Everybody first search my books on B&N, and if you find Hephaestus Books with omnibuses of my work, go to customer service at B&N’s corporate site and write them explaining these are ripoffs and not real books. Be nice, but be firm that these are ripoff collections of Wiki articles purporting to be a book by me and that these have been tossed off Amazon and are now victimizing customers of B&N and cluttering up the search list under my name. This is the e-mail form: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/help/customer_service/morehelp.asp

I went Googling for Hephaestus Books and my name, and found lots, at both Amazon and B&N. All of the Hephaestus Books I looked at had publication dates of September 2011, meaning that this is a rather recent event. I certainly have never authorized any publications of anything of mine by this publisher, and I am sure that Niven has not, but they sure will sell you a lot of works by us. They’ll also sell you works by Harlan Ellison, and many many others. I called Harlan and Susan to let them know. I note they also have many collections of Heinlein stories. I am pretty sure that Robert’s estate never authorized any such thing.

These appear to be actual printed books, which may mean a considerable investment? It’s certainly a larger operation than the usual pirate site.

My experience has been that readers prefer to buy legitimate copies of books rather than get them from a pirate site, and that includes libertarian friends who don’t believe in intellectual property as such; for them it’s a matter of ethics and courtesy. The argument is that if they download a pirate copy of a book it doesn’t cost the author anything; it’s not like stealing a chair or a car or something. That isn’t my view, but it’s also not the point of what I am saying: even the strictest libertarians apparently prefer to buy copies of books including eBooks, presumably as courtesy to the author. That view makes all eBooks operate the way this site does – it’s free but I encourage subscriptions because if there are no subscriptions I can’t do it. That works here, but I doubt it’s a good business model for publishers. Of course the way the publishing world is changing there may not be any good business models for publishing but that’s another story entirely.

In any event there are to the best of my knowledge no authorized Hephaestus Books by Pournelle or Niven. The good news is that the Hephaestus editions don’t appear in early pages when you Google my name, but I don’t know how long that will last.

Doing a Google of Pournelle Hephaestus turns up a ton of such books offered for sale by Abe Books http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?paratrk=&isbn=9781242814747&ltrec=t&bi= including one published by Superbookdeals, which appears to be in some way connected to ABE BOOKS. There are giant collections of my stuff, none ever authorized by me in any way. I don’t know what the quality of the book might be. I suspect these will turn out to be Print on Demand books if they exist at all, but they are also said to be available through Amazon. There is some indication that ABE is owned by Amazon. This would mean that Amazon owns a pirate book company and I hesitate to say that; but I do note that http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=5892701584&searchurl=isbn%3D9781242814747%26ltrec%3Dt offers

Novels By Jerry Pournelle, including: The Legacy Of Heorot, The Mote In God’s Eye, The Gripping Hand, Footfall, Inferno (novel), Fallen Angels (scienc
(ISBN: 1242814744 / 1-242-81474-4 )

And I am sure that we have never authorized any such collection. This is a POD book. I suppose I should order one, but frankly I am aghast.

I have informed my agent of all this. I do not know the connection between ABE books and Amazon. I don’t know who is selling my works as POD. I get a fair amount of income from Amazon, including from eBook sales, so I am certainly not intending to denounce Amazon. If there’s someone in my readership who knows what is going on, I’d appreciate the knowledge.


Digging in further I find that many of the works Carolyn complained of are just collections of articles about her works put up as “books” ; but there are also POD editions of the actual works offered for sale. I found a POD edition of Deathbird Stories by Harlan Ellison, some Heinlein novels, a bunch of other such stuff. I’m only learning about this now.

I don’t seem to have Carolyn’s email address and it’s not obvious on her site, and I don’t have an account there, so I can’t tell her but there are still POD copies of her works for sale out there. Not sure whether on Amazon or not. I have wearied myself in digging up this stuff.  Time to do some real work.


abebooks. Used Book seller?

According to wikipedia, abebooks is a used book seller. A quick look I did for your books and Niven’s. All your books that I saw were "used" (condition "good", etc.). Two of the listings for Nivens were "new", but most were used? There were a lot of books listed for both of your names, and I didn’t check all of them.

Wikipedia says Amazon bought AbeBooks in 2008.


-Bill Elliott

I do not know how to make it clearer.  The work cited above http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=5892701584&searchurl=isbn%3D9781242814747%26ltrec%3Dt offers a printed new copy of a compilation of many of my books that have never been compiled into a single work. It can’t be a used book because no such book ever existed. I found many such works on ABE Books. I found a POD of Harlan Ellison’s Deathbird stories. Yes, there are many copies of used books offered for sale, but among them are new POD copies of the work. Perhaps some authors have authorized them to do POD copies of compilations of their works, but I certainly never have , Niven hasn’t, Harlan hasn’t, Carolyn Cherryh hasn’t, and in fact I don’t know of anyone who has.

Go to the link. See what is offered. Go to the link on that page about booksellers. It tells me that SuperbookDeals is the printer/publisher. I know that ABE Books is a used book store and has been for a long time. It offers rare books. It also appears to offer unauthorized POD copies of new books. I’m, not sure what else I can say.


See also http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=5816508978&searchurl=isbn%3D9781242814747%26ltrec%3Dt which offers a collection of my works in a compilation of Hephaestus Press.  I have never signed a contract with Hephaestus Press. I have not authorized anyone to off Hephaestus Press copies of a compilation of a number of my works. I have never authorized ANYONE to make a compilation of a lot of my books and sell them in a single volume.




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