Beware the wiki books

1 minute read

I was browsing on Amazon this morning, and found rather a surprising number of new books about human evolution. The thing is, I didn’t recognize any of the authors’ names.

Now, you might well imagine how I was feeling about this. Is this one of those dreams, where you go to class on the last day, and it’s the exam, and you didn’t read any of the assigned books? I mean, who are these people? How are there specialized books on these topics, not involving any authors I’d ever heard of before? Have they been holding symposia I didn’t know about?

Then I noticed – they’re the same group of authors again and again.

These people are selling print-on-demand, bound compilations of Wikipedia articles. It’s the same group of “authors”, so they’re easy to recognize. I won’t list or link them, but many readers might want to be aware – if for no other reason, than that students might run across these. They’ve priced them very high – higher than $70 – so I can’t imagine they actually sell any. But you never know – that price and titles blend in with the scholarly edited volumes around them, which have similar low-ranking sales and often no reviews.

Plus, they might in the end have the sense to drop the price to something that might actually attract potential buyers. So be aware!