scalzi_thumb1_thumb[1] John Scalzi has pointed out a problem with Barnes & Noble’s site search feature brought on by fly-by-night self-publishing firms. When you type “Scalzi” into the Barnes & Noble website search box, the first page of results is cluttered with what appear to be illicit republications of Scalzi’s works, but are actually something arguably worse. They are 32-page compilations of Wikipedia articles about Scalzi’s work, bundled by self-publishing firm “Books LLC” and sold for $12.72.

(If you should for some reason want a printed compilation of Wikipedia articles about Scalzi’s works, you can get it a lot cheaper by going through Wikipedia itself, thanks to its recent print-on-demand partnership with PediaPress.)

Scalzi writes that what annoys him is not so much that people are selling Wikipedia articles as printed books, but that these faux-Scalzi works are crowding out the things that he actually wrote in the top results on Barnes & Noble.

Call me crazy, I think the “Top Matches” for my name should be my own work, not the work of Wikipedia-snurching bottom-feeders. Likewise, it would be substantially less than awesome if someone desiring to purchase my work clicked on the book bearing the name of four of my works, paid for it, and then got a tiny, slim volume of Wikipedia articles. Because that reader may end up pissed off. And that’s not good for me.

So, let the Barnes & Noble buyer beware—especially if the cover looks lousy and the publisher is “Books LLC”.


  1. B&N did a site re-vamp over the past couple of weeks, and their search facility has gone wacko. Sometimes you get back a page of non-HTML ASCII gibberish. If you order your search results by release date, you get the *oldest* items first. Sometimes if you ask for e-books you get paper books.

    Beyond the search facility, they’ve got broken links, malfunctioning drop-downs, erroneous pricing sometimes being shown, and who knows what all. Kind-of reminiscent of the TeleRead makeover. 🙂

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