The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 25, Number 6
Apr 2002

Publishers' Page of Shame

Last year, the Boothbay Public Library in Maine decided to do something about new books that were falling apart before, or soon after, they were first circulated. The approach they decided on was to publish the names of the publishers, the defective books, and the libraries that bought them, on the Internet at The printout now takes up ten pages, and holds reports from 29 states. The four books that were reported most often are listed below with their publisher and the number of libraries reporting.

Lord of the Silent - William Morrow - 18
Protect and Defend - Knopf - 32 (including several consortia or county libraries with multiple copies)
Winter Solstice - St. Martins - 27
1st to Die -Little, Brown - 20

The apparent webmaster is John Clark, M.Ed., MLIS. He says: "I can assure all of you who have contributed to this list that publishers and others in the book industry ARE checking it and it is having an impact." He says to report bad books to> OR <>.

In another informal note, he says: "Folks, I think it's time to go to the next level—that of contacting the authors or the webmaster of their official websites and let them know how the library community feels about the products with their name splashed across the cover.... If you are so inclined, drop one or two an e-mail and tell them about the page and how shoddy products are sucking away at your limited collections budgets. What the heck, it can't hurt and you all know you'll feel better for having done so. Yours from the Trenches." (This is followed by 12 e-mail addresses for authors or for publishers' customer service.)

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